“Dear Guitar Pang, I know you are the world’s most dedicated source of commitment to obscure hybrid guitars, so here’s something that has been driving me completely off my strings. Did Fender (or anyone?) ever make an acoustic which had both a Florentine cutaway (like a Les Paul has) as well as a Strat neck with a Strat-shaped ‘six on a side’ headstock?”” Yours StanTheHybridFan from Kalamazoozoo”
Yes, there was, Stan, we can relieve your highly strung torment!
It was called the Fender Balboa, not to be confused with the Fender Pro Balboa Orchestra, which does not have a cutaway, but (of all things you wouldn’t expect to find on an acoustic) has a Tele neck and headstock.
Some say this was one of the best combinations of sound and playability on an inexpensive (low hundreds) acoustic ever released by a major brand. As subjective as such a claim might be, there’s no arguing that Fender might be wise to seriously consider a reissue, because the taste for unusual hybrids has never been stronger.
It was made at Fender’s Japanese workshop, part of their California series, it was on sale between ‘83 and ‘87, had a solid spruce top, with mahogany back and sides.
There was a later model, that looked identical, but instead of the Balboa’s natural finish:
And here’s the El Rio: