Shortscale Guitars

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The Originals

What makes a guitar "short scale?" Typically, this term refers to guitars originally produced by Fender Musical Instrument Corporation during the 1960's including: Mustangs, Duo-Sonics, Musicmasters, Jaguars, and Broncos. What set these guitars apart even from other Fender models was the reduced scales (the length from the bridge to the nut) and off-set or elongated bodies. The scales of 24" and 22.5" which were 1.5" and 3" (respectively) shorter than Fender Stratocasters, Telecaster, and Jazzmasters. This made for easier speed-playing on heavier gauge strings, and these shorter instruments could be used as "Student Guitars" as the reduced length was easier for smaller and less experienced hands. The body shapes and sizes were also quite unique, from the longer, thinner body of the Mustang to the offset, contours of the Jaguar.

New Comers

As other trends come and go, so do styles of electric guitar. Most of the original short scale models had disappeared from Fender's catalog by the late 1970's (perhaps not so coincidentally after corporate buyer CBS had begun its attempt to streamline production costs). With the resurgent influence of punk rock in the late 1980's and early 1990's there arose a crop of players willing to use non-traditional instruments. This primarily was due to how inexpensively one could find a Mustang, for example, at a pawn shop or local music dealer. Prices as low as $50 for instruments rarely played were not unheard of.


However, not long after teenage fans saw their favorite bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth sporting these distinct looking instruments, they began to disappear from the very storefronts they once had flooded. Not to be left out of this rebirth, Fender Music Corporation began not only re-issuing these short scale classics, but new breeds of varying shapes, sizes, and setups began rolling off the line and continue to this day. These updated models include the Jag-stang, Toronado, Squier Jagmaster, Squier Supersonic, and Cyclone (offered under both Squier and Fender labels). Each of these guitars carries with it a unique, fresh attitude while still paying homage to the original look and feel Fender afficionados hold dear.


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