Fender's California series has acoustic players dreaming of big-bodied tones from small-bodied instruments

Fender California Series Mini Acoustics
(Image credit: Fender)

The past 15 months has seen the world go big for small-bodied acoustic guitars. Whether we are looking for a travel guitar or simply a playable couch-buddy, small is beautiful, and Fender's new California Minis are getting in on the action.

Comprising the California Series Sonoran Mini and Redondo Mini, these compact, short-scale acoustic guitars feature walnut fingerboards and bridges, Nubone nuts and saddles, and a good and tactile satin finish. The six-in-line Strat headstock is a nice touch too.

Available with an all-mahogany or spruce topped and mahogany build, the Sonoran Mini boasts a very approachable 23.3" scale and a slope-shouldered Folk body shape, while the Redondo Mini has squarer shoulders and is offered in Natural or Sunburst finishes, and features the classic spruce on top and mahogany back and sides tonewood configuration.

The half-sized bodies makes them ideal for travel, playing around the home or for young players whose hands appreciate the shorter scale, but Fender promises that the tones will bely their modest proportions.

Under the soundboard, Fender has used scalloped X-pattern bracing, while nato is used for the neck. Again, the shape is friendly to small hands, with a slim-taper C profile unlikely to frighten anybody – except perhaps when playing our first F major barre chord. Hey, we've all been there.

Best of all, these are hugely affordable. Fender lists the price at $179 / $199 / €199.99 but we have already seen them online for a little cheaper than that. They look a lot of fun and they ship with a gigbag. See Fender for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.