The new Fender Offset series resurrects two popular models from the 50's and 60's which became synonymous with punk rock and alternative rock, decades later. Meet the 2016 versions of the Fender Mustang and Fender Duo-Sonic!
The new range of Fender Offset series guitars offers a fantastic range of models that are great value, and which look amazing. These guitars are perfect for pros, but also great budget choices for beginners and players who want to buy their first Fender. These guitars are simple, light, affordable, reliable and packed with attitude:
What is an Offset-body guitar?
Offset guitars are guitars with an asymmetrical body designs, unlike popular models such a Fender Stratocaster or a Gibson Les Paul. The best way to describe it is that they look as if their bodies were "skewed" - the upper and lower halves of their bodies look offset from each other. This leads to an offset-waist design that means the neck sticks out away from the player a bit more:
Offset guitars were originally designed to feel more comfortable when played sitting down - which leads to a slightly different balance when you play an offset guitar standing up. Not every guitarist feels comfortable with this, but most players don't seem to mind. Those who choose an offset guitar are often attracted by their looks, usually seem as "edgier". Maybe that's why they're often used by alternative / indie-rock guitarists! Some of the popular offset models include the Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster (which we wrote about on a previous blog) and the Gibson Firebird.
Fender Duo-Sonic: Punk Rock icon?
Perhaps the most exciting of the new offset models is the new Fender Duo-Sonic, an almost-forgotten model, at least when compared to most other Fender guitars! It was an affordable "student" model first introduced in 1956. It was a very basic but highly-effective guitar, and one of the first owned by Jimi Hendrix:
However, it was during the punk rock boom in New York during the 1970's that the Duo-Sonic found its most dedicated users. Lots of CBGB's acts seemed attracted to this model, including David Byrne of the Talking Heads, Patti Smith (who even name-checked her beloved Duo-Sonic in song lyrics), and Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine of Television.
According to the legend, Tom Verlaine played Jimi Hendrix's Duo-Sonic on Television's debut single, 'Little Johnny Jewel':
True or not, the guitar (which was played by Hendrix when he performed with the Isley Brothers during a 1964 tour) later resurfaced at an auction in 2010, and was sold for £164,000 - making it a true bargain... but also the most expensive Duo-Sonic, ever!
There's no doubt that the Duo-Sonic is a versatile model, which was also used by blues players such as Rory Gallagher and Johnny Winter, but it's the alternative rockers who'll really LOVE the 2016 reissue, which come in a range of different colours and with two different setups: either two single-coils for a more traditional look, or humbucker (with split coil) and single coil, for added versatility.
Fender Mustang: Back with a twist... or two!
Guitarists will be much more familiar with the Fender Mustang, thanks in no small part to Kurt Cobain, who helped to popularize this model in the early 90's.
While it's true that Nirvana's superstardom helped to make the Mustang more popular than ever, this guitar, first introduced in 1964, had already was used by many other well-known players, before and after Cobain, including noisy alt-rockers such as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, as well as Adrian Belew, John Fogerty and, more recently, The Cribs.
"Out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite." Kurt Cobain
The new Mustangs, however, come with a difference. Now they feature Duo-Sonic style fixed bridges and 3-way toggle switches, and one of the models comes modded with a pair of P-90 pickups, for a totally new sound. Both are awesome models which will be perfect for the alternative-rock crowd out there!
Watch: Fender Mustang P90 demo
Fender Mustang Bass: Back & Better Than Ever!
The return of the "cult" Fender Mustang Bass is a nice surprise - especially because it looks like the new version is the best yet! Why? Because it mixes the ease and comfort of the short-scale Mustang, with upgraded pickups - a Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position, and a split P-Bass pickup in the middle, pretty much delivering the best bass tones Fender can provide!
The illustrious selection of star musicians who chose a Mustang bass in the past include: Bill Wyman also played a short-scale Mustang bass, like Mikey Way (My Chemical Romance), Dee Dee Ramone (Ramones), Carl Wilson (Beach Boys), Rhys Webb (The Horrors) and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. Pretty cool... do you wanna join the club?
Whatever Mustang you prefer, these new models certainly offer a new twist of this old favourite, now more playable and reliable than ever! Which one is your favourite?