If you’ve been on much of the guitar-related end of the internet anytime recently, you’ve probably heard a lot about offset guitars. Short for offset-waist guitars, the most famous offset models are the Fender Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Mustang, Jazz Bass, and others. Of course, there are other original designs out there that earn the offset label, but here we’ll be looking at the lesser-known and lower-cost models and brands in the offset universe.
To begin with, Fender and its budget line Squier have several models that use one of the above body shapes as a starting point for their designs. Fender produced the Toronado in several different varieties between 1998 and 2007. It combined an offset-waist Jazzmaster-style body shape with a shorter scale, humbucking pickups, different (or entirely removed) pickguards, and non-tremolo bridges.
In a similar vein, the Squier Jagmaster had the body and pickguard shape of the Jazzmaster, but the short scale of the Jaguar. The Jagmaster also featured two humbuckers and a Stratocaster-style tremolo bridge. It’s discontinued now, but the recently released Squier Affinity Jazzmaster keeps the dual-humbucker setup and trades the tremolo for a fixed “hardtail” bridge. The theme here is that these models offer the Jazzmaster/Jaguar body shape with more distortion-friendly pickups and simpler bridge designs.
The sister guitar to the Toronado was the Fender Cyclone, produced around the same time. It used a Mustang shape for the body, but different pickups, a pickguard shaped more like the Stratocaster’s, and a Strat tremolo bridge. The Cyclone line had both humbucker-and-single-coil (HS) and three single-coil (SSS) configurations. Other Mustang-like models, originally launched in the 1950s-1960s and reappearing in different forms more recently, include the Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster.
Outside of the Fender/Squier brands, a few other makers offer lower-cost alternatives with offset good looks and a similar vibe to the originals. The Jay Turser MG-2 is visually very similar to the Mustang, with a Jazzmaster/Jaguar-shaped tremolo plate. Xaviere, the house brand of GuitarFetish.com, has the XV-JT100, a very similar model to the Jazzmaster, down to the style of pickups and tremolo system. Lastly, the Tagima TW-61 is a Jazzmaster-like guitar with either a maple or rosewood fretboard, P-90 soapbar pickups (rather than true Jazzmaster-style pickups), Strat tremolo bridge, and an extra knob on the upper cutaway. This control offers five variations on each pickup position, with a total of 15 tones on tap.
The options here are just a start, as companies like Reverend and others offer even more offset options at higher price points. If you are on a budget, you can still get traditional offset flavor or step out with hybrid designs to meet your needs.
Top Photo: Squier Jagmaster by John Clift via Wikimedia Commons