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6 Iconic Fender Offset Players

There are a few that will surprise you, for sure.

While perhaps not as widespread as Telecaster and Stratocaster players around the world, there have always been passionate fans of the Fender Duo-Sonic and Mustang.

They originally debuted as student guitars – the Duo-Sonic in 1956 and the Mustang in 1964 – but their shorter scale lengths, offset bodies and affordable price tags made them popular among left-of-center musicians in the late 1970s and alt-rock artists of the ‘90s.

In light of Fender's new Offset Film Series celebrating how artists get creative with the Mustang, Mustang 90, Duo-Sonic, Duo-Sonic HS, and Mustang Bass, here is a look at six key tastemakers who loved these offbeat guitars:

David Byrne

Embedded content: The Talking Heads frontman favored a white Mustang during his band’s early years. Seen above performing the single “I Can Feel It in My Heart,” Byrne casually plays the short-scale strummer that he largely used on the Heads’ first two albums, Talking Heads: 77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food.

Kurt Cobain

Embedded content: Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was rarely seen without an offset guitar, if ever. And the Mustang played a key role for a very important part of his band's career, as he nearly exclusively used one during the iconic In Utero tour. In 2012, Fender honored that guitar with a Kurt Cobain signature model, which boasted a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge position and normal Mustan single-coil pickup in the neck position. See one of Cobain play a Fiesta Red Mustang on the classic "Pennyroyal Tea" above.

Liz Phair

Embedded content: The indie legend loved her 1969 white Duo-Sonic with a red pickguard so much so that she featured it on the cover of her self-titled 2003 album. Playing it almost exclusively early in her career, Phair’s guitar was even included in a touring exhibit entitled “Women in Rock.” Watch her play this beloved Duo-Sonic in the official music video for Phair's hit 2003 single, "Why Can't I?" above.

Todd Rundgren

Embedded content: Hailed as a songwriting and producing virtuoso and technical innovator, Rundgren featured a black Mustang during live sets in the late ‘70s. Most notably, he brought it out on stage during his 1978 headlining gig at New York City’s Palladium for a benefit concert to raise awareness of Indochinese refugees. Check out “Love of the Common Man” from the event in the clip above.

Rory Gallagher

Embedded content: We all typically remember Gallagher with a well-worn Strat slung across his chest, but did you know he also used a Duo-Sonic? The Irish bluesman had a 1978 model that saw frequent action on the road around ’82, as noted in the concert DVD Rory Gallagher: Live at Rockpalast from 2007. Drink in that Duo-Sonic action with “Nadine” above.

Click here to learn more about the Fender Offset Series.