It’s been over 30 years since we’ve had a guitar-themed movie like 1986’s Crossroads. I’ve got a pitch; a man living through a midlife crisis goes to the NAMM show in hopes of finding his dream guitar. After leaving empty-handed while on the long drive home he decides to start his own guitar company.
That’s the story of Durango Guitar Works. The dream guitar is now the Iron Horse. What’s so special about it? It’s an affordable 24” short scale electric guitar built for the gigging musician.
Let’s talk numbers for a second. Scale length is the distance between the nut and the bridge on a guitar. A full scale Stratocaster-style guitar is 25 ½ inches. If you’re a Strat player and pick up a Les Paul-style guitar and you notice the frets feel closer together, that's because they are.
A Les Paul-style guitar has 24 ¾” scale length. The Iron Horse trims things down a little more to a 24” scale. Below, you can see a picture of the Iron Horse between a Telecaster and a Les Paul for size reference.
What does that get you? A few perks are less of a stretch to get to those open chords and less string tension for easier bending. From a sound perspective there’s less volume in the higher harmonic range giving you a fatter, rounder tone.
Some of the features for the 2017 Iron Horse are 22 medium jumbo frets, maple neck, rosewood fretboard, 12” radius, 41mm nut, 2 PAF-styled humbuckers, 500k tone and volume knobs and a 3-way pickup selector.
Straight out of the securely packed double box, the Iron Horse was well setup. Each guitar is gone over before shipment. The fret ends were smooth and the action was comfortable. While the shorter scale took a few minutes to used to, I felt like I had superhero strength for bending!
Clip 1: Here’s a tour of the pickups through a slightly dirty Marshall. I start on the bridge pickup, move to both pickups and end on the neck pickup.
Clip 2: I recorded a loop. The beginning riff with delay is the bridge pickup, the first lead is the both pickups and the end lead is the neck pickup. The amp is a Fender Blues Junior.
The Iron Horse retails for $349.
For more on the Iron Horse, stop by durangoguitarworks.com.