There are many different types of offset guitar, but they all have one thing in common; they all feature an asymmetrical body shape with an exaggerated waist and horns that gives them a distinctive ‘leaning’ look.
Fender first launched offset guitar in the mid-to-late 1950s, and they quickly became popular. This initial move in the offset direction was taken by Fender when they debuted the student-sized Duo Sonic model in 1956. It was immediately followed by the Mustang and full-sized Jazzmaster models.
The Duo Sonic, with its lightweight construction and short scale neck, was a big success, so did the Mustang. The Jazzmaster, on the other hand, didn’t get nearly as much attention. Fender filed for patent protection in 1958 on behalf of an offset body shape that was designed to improve the comfort of the sitting guitar player.
.They were granted patent protection two years later. The Jazzmaster got its moniker because of its offset body design, which was initially meant for jazz artists who sat down to play their instruments. With its exaggerated waist and horns, the Jazzmaster was simple to play while seated, and it was equipped with cutting-edge pickups and electronics that were innovative at the time of their introduction.
Jazzmaster was expected to overtake Stratocaster as Fender’s most popular model when it debuted in 1958. A more balanced design, mellow sound from Alnico single coil pickups, and Rosewood fingerboard were considered to make it more appealing than the Stratocaster or the Telecaster.
What is in the name?
The Jazzmaster, despite its name, was never popular with jazz guitarists, preferring to be popular among rock & roll musicians. Fender introduced new offset guitars in the early ’60s to take advantage of the surf’ sound’s growing popularity, which led to a surge in sales.
Short scale neck and more percussive sound led to the debut of Jaguar in 1962 with its combination of Jazzmaster body design with standard Strat-type pickups and complicated electronics that made it incredibly adaptable after you figured out all the knobs and switches.
To this day, the Jazzmaster’s offset body design can be seen on a slew of guitar and bass models, including Fender’s Jazz Bass in 1960, VI in 1961, Jaguar in 1962, and Electric XII in 1965. Guild’s S-200 T-Bird in 1964, and other knockoffs may be found here.
Pros of the offset design
Let’s have a closer look
Because of their inherent benefits, offset guitars have become more popular in recent years. In the early days of discovering offset guitars such as Jaguar, Jazzmasters, and Guild T-Birds (which were recently reprinted), you could be perplexed as to the purpose of all the switches. Early Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars have a lot of circuitry because it was designed to make it easy to transition between lead and rhythm tones.
Forrest White of Fender allegedly saw Alvino Rey, a pioneering electric guitarist, attempting to switch from rhythm to lead tones during a performance in Ohio. While visiting the Fender facility later, White informed Rey that they had found a solution to his issue.
Rhythm and lead voicings could be quickly swapped out on the Jazzmaster since it was the first guitar to do so. A solid body electric guitar with a really diverse tone was created by Leo Fender throughout the process.
Balance and Comfort
In most cases, the recesses on the body of a guitar are laid out in a symmetrical pattern. The symmetrical body designs of the Strat, Telecaster, and Les Paul guitars may be problematic while playing from a seated position.
The location of your picking hand in respect to the bass or top side of the guitar body has something to do with it, to some extent. Because the instrument moves three to six inches away from the headstock, the pick hand’s resting position is more comfortable and easy while playing an offset guitar.
It is more stable to play the guitar while sitting if you adjust the waist of your body toward the headstock. In order to play comfortably, the treble side horn should be placed on either of your legs rather than against your chest.
Players of the Jazzmaster and comparable offset guitars, such as the D’Angelico Bedford, are subjected to less physical demands than players of Les Paul and Strat Style guitars. It is seen in the video below that the horn of this offset D’Angelico Bedford sits lightly on the player’s leg. Because of the offset design, it is possible to play for an extended period of time in perfect comfort.
Fender Stratocaster vs Telecaster
As with offset guitars like the Duo Sonic and Jaguar, a short scale neck is also popular in subsequent designs such as the reissued Guild T-Bird, the D’Angelico Premier Bedford, and the Eastwood Liberty MS150. A short scale neck allows these guitars to have an uncommon amount of expressiveness, which is due to the lower string tension caused by the smaller scale.
With its asymmetrical horns, the offset body form of many offset guitars allows for easy access to the highest register on the fingerboard while also providing a silky smooth finish on the neck. Offset guitars feature neck shapes and scale lengths that make it easier and more comfortable to perform, regardless of the kind of music you play.
As soon as the Jazzmaster was launched, it immediately established a distinct tone. In recent years, the Jazzmaster has gained in popularity among instrumentalists, especially surf artists who are looking for a unique, new tone that differs from the Strat or Tele. This is due to the fact that the Jazzmaster’s sound is deeper and more deeply resonant than the Strat or Tele.
This rich and full tone would continue to be a sought-after characteristic for many years to come. Even though the Strat and Super Strat guitars were the most popular in the 1980s, Kurt Cobain and other alternative bands such as Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and My Bloody Valentine, among others, brought the offset guitar back into fashion in the 1990s, and it has remained popular to this day.
It is expected that the popularity of offset guitars will continue to rise in the next few years due to their traditional aesthetics, deep, rich, and diversified tone, and smooth playability, which make them excellent for a broad variety of musical genres.
Fender Jaguar Guitar
List of highly-recommend offset guitar for you
The Sterling by Music Man StingRay SR30
A traditional offset double cut powerhouse with surprising versatility, the Sterling by Music Man StingRay SR30 is an excellent choice for almost any musical setting. With a 3-way toggle, you can mix and match pickup voicings for rock, blues, jazz, and metal.
While premium appointments such as a Music Man spec fulcrum tremolo and an ultra-smooth Hard Maple neck give the StingRay SR30 a luxurious feel that is uncommon in this price range. The StingRay SR30 is available in black or white.
The Eastwood Liberty MS 150
Designed in 1968 by Eastwood, the Eastwood Liberty MS 150 is a faithful reproduction of the original Japanese-made design, which was influenced by the Jazzmaster and other offset surf guitars introduced in the early 1960s.
Eastwood Liberty has the same eccentric offset double cutaway body design as the original, as well as a bolt-on maple neck with a 24 3/4″ scale length and a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard that is very comfortable to hold in your hands.
Electronics have been used to create a tone and adaptability that is both vintage and unusual on this offset double cut. Eastwood’s Liberty electric guitar is equipped with two powerful Vintage EW P-90 pickups with independent volume controls, pickup selector switches, and a rhythm/individual volume control, as well as a single master tone knob. This guitar produces full and rich Jazz, Blues, and Rock tones that will have you jamming for hours on end.
The Premier Grateful Dead Bedford
Introducing the Premier Grateful Dead Bedford, the second design to emerge from D’Angelico’s unique cooperation with the Grateful Dead. The Premier Grateful Dead Bedford is a modern-day auditory miracle! Aside from the Bedford’s offset body style, which is both lightweight and well-balanced. It has a super slim neck that is satin smooth and incredibly playable.
Making it an excellent choice for any serious guitarist. The Seymour Duncan designed pickups, which have coil splitting capabilities. Ensure that you will be able to get any sound you want from this guitar, be it blues, jazz, or hard rock. Simply told, this instrument is a force to be reckoned with! It is not necessary to be a Deadhead to appreciate this instrument!
The Left Handed G&L Doheny
Because of the inclusion of Magnetic Field DesignTM (MFD) jazz pickups with a passive tone circuit that lets you adjust the amount of twang, the Left Handed G&L Doheny pushes the offset bolt-on guitar into whole new sonic terrain.
The result is a surf guitar that has more jangle than twang, but yet delivers a full and warm tone that is rich in harmonics and sustains well. Although the twang is still there, the Doheny produces more output and has a wider sound spectrum than its predecessors, making it a perfect choice for musicians that play a variety of different genres of music.
The Jetstream 390 Oceanside Green Guitar from Reverend
The very flexible Jetstream 390 Oceanside Green Guitar from Reverend is ideal for playing blues, jazz, surf, or rock music. Its unusual design and lovely oceanside green finish make it a great choice for any kind of music.
This excellent and surprisingly inexpensive quality guitar produces both clean and distorted tones with enough twang for surf and rock, but not too much kick for heavy metal. This offset sonic masterpiece, which is available in either lefty or righty configuration, provides the flexibility and playability that contemporary artists need, as well as luxury trimmings that make it a delight to play!
The Ernie Ball Music Man Left Handed Axis Super Sport
Ernie Ball Music Man Left Handed Axis Super Sport features a lightweight basswood offset body with a quilted Maple top and a sculpted neck joint that allows unhindered access to the highest register of the 22-fret maple fingerboard.
It is finished in an eye-catching Trans Gold Flame color and has a lightweight basswood offset body with a quilted Maple top. The Maple neck has been treated with a light hand-rubbed oil finish and has a 10-inch fretboard radius, which provides next-level comfort and buttery playability for the player.
The pickups on this fantastic Ernie Ball Music Man lefty Axis are responsible for its very flexible tone. Custom-designed DiMarzio humbucker pickups are installed, and a 5-way pickup selector switch enables you to split the coils on both the bridge and neck humbuckers and combine them together in a variety of ways to produce unique tones. For those searching for a guitar that can handle anything from Blues and Country to Alternative and Hard Rock, this Axis is a fantastic choice.
This powerful instrument is completed with a range of fine hardware accents that only serve to enhance its opulent feel and professional studio level sound even more. Because it is equipped with a Floyd Rose type tremolo created by Music Man as well as Schaller locking tuners, the Music Man Axis Super Sport provides stable tuning and rock solid intonation no matter how much or how vigorously you play your tremolo guitar.
The Duo Sonic HS
The Duo Sonic HS is a contemporary classic that was originally designed as a perfect student guitar in the 1960s. It has the diverse tone and easy playing of a much more costly instrument without the price tag. Duo Sonic guitars have a light and slinky feel, with buttery playability and incredible sonic diversity.
With a 24″ scale length and a scaled-down offset body, the Duo Sonic gives you more control over your playing and ultimate command of your sound. This Duo Sonic is small enough to be played comfortably by students and beginners, but it is also musically varied enough to be enjoyed by players of any expertise level.
Fender American Professional Jazzmaster
With a Mystic Seafoam finish, this used 2017 Fender American Professional Jazzmaster is in good condition and offers the flexible tone and refined design that players from a wide range of musical genres have come to expect from Fender. Its highly resonant Alder body, silky smooth Maple Neck.
And incredibly versatile Michael Frank-designed single-coil Jazzmaster pickups with the proprietary Treble Bleed circuit that gives you enhanced tonal control make this Fender American Pro Jazzmaster a favorite among professional musicians across a wide range of genres.
Guild ST-200 T-Bird
In both tone and appearance, this lightly worn Guild ST-200 T-Bird is a reissue that is remarkably similar to the original in both tone and appearance. Asymmetrical ‘offset’ double cut body with LB-1 Guild pickups gives this old T-Bird the traditional sound you want with electronics that let you to dial in the exact tone you want with the push and pull of a knob or two.
With a Mahogany neck that is incredibly comfortable and simple to play, along with the Hagstrom Style Tremolo system, you get the whole image of a revolutionary guitar with quirky qualities that have helped it become an underground classic.
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