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Instruments previously produced in China and Taiwan between 1993 and 2005, in Korea between 1984 and 1987, and in Japan between 1974 and 1983. Distributed by Musicorp, Inc. in North Charleston, SC. The Hondo company was founded in 1969.
The Hondo guitar company was originally formed in 1969 when Jerry Freed and Tommy Moore of the International Music Corporation (IMC) of Fort Worth, TX, combined with the recently formed Samick company. IMC's intent was to introduce modern manufacturing techniques and American quality standards to the Korean guitar manufacturing industry.
The Hondo concept was to offer an organized product line and solid entry level market instruments at a fair market price. The original Korean products were classical and steel-string acoustic guitars, and in 1972, the first crudely-built Hondo electrics were introduced. However, two years later the product line took a big leap forward in quality under the new Hondo II logo. Hondo also began offering limited production guitars in Japan in 1974.
By 1975, Hondo had distributors in seventy countries worldwide, and they began producing other stringed instruments such as banjos and mandolins. In 1976, over 22,000 of the Bi-Centennial banjos were sold. The company also made improvements to the finish quality on their products, introduced scalloped bracing on acoustics, and began using a higher quality brand of tuning machines.
Hondo was one of the first overseas guitar builders to feature American-built DiMarzio pickups on the import instruments beginning in 1978. By this year, a number of Hondo II models featured designs based on classic American favorites. In 1979, over 790,000 Hondo instruments were sold worldwide. All guitar production returned to Korea in 1983, and at that point, the product line consisted of 485 different models!
In 1985, IMC acquired the major interest in the Charvel/Jackson company, and began dedicating more time and interest in the higher end guitar market. By 1987, Hondo had ceased operations and the trademark was put into hiatus. In 1989, Jerry Freed started the Jerry Freed International company, and acquired the rights to the Hondo trademark in 1991 (the "Est. 1969" tag line was added to the Hondo logo at this time). Freed began distribution of a new line of Hondo guitars. In 1993, the revamped company was relocated to Stuart, FL, and models were produced in China and Taiwan.
The Hondo Guitar Company was purchased by MBT International in 1995 and began offering Hondo guitars through their large Musicorp distribution catalog. MBT continued to offer a full line of entry-level acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers through the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, MBT International/Musicorp was acquired by Kaman Music. The distribution side of the company is now solely referred to as Musicorp leaving the MBT trademark for their lighting and sound division. Shortly thereafter, Kaman/Musicorp phased out the Hondo brand in favor of their other trademarks including Arbor and J.B. Player. Currently, there are no Hondo-branded instruments available in the U.S. Sources: Tom Malm, MBT International, and Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One.

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