FENDER | DUO-SONIC

Fender Duo-Sonic electric guitar

Six string short scale solid-body

The Fender Duo-Sonic in the 1958 Fender catalog
The Fender Duo-Sonic in the 1958 Fender catalog, alongside the Fender Vibrolux amplifier

The Fender Duo-Sonic in the 1960 Fender catalog
The updated Duo-Sonic in the 1960 Fender catalog, with sunburst finish, and white plastic scratchplate.

Fender launched two student guitars in 1956, the single pickup Musicmaster and a few months later, the dual pickup Duo-Sonic. These guitars were described as 3/4 size, though the scale length was actually 22 1/2" - a little shorter than the standard 25" of most Fender guitars. The guitars were smaller; great for younger guitarists, and those with smaller hands. But the Duo-Sonic build quality was every bit as good as the more expensive models.

The Duo-Sonic remained in the Fender line for the next 13 years, evolving slightly as time went by; most notably in 1964; at which point a longer 24" scale version became available alongside the 22 1/2" three-quarter size. These post-1964 guitars were designated the Fender Duo-Sonic II.

Due to their comparatively early demise, the Fender Duo-Sonic is one of the least well-known Fender solid body guitars, but they have found favour with many musicians, especially those that appreciate the simplicity and stability of a guitar with simple controls, easy-playing action, and no tremolo.

Fender Duo-Sonic, 1956-64

Available: 1956-59
Scale: 22 1/2"
Neck: maple, with 21 fret maple (1956-61) or rosewood (1959-64) fretboard
Controls: Single volume and tone control. Three-way pickup selector switch.
Finishes: Desert Sand 1956-61, Sunburst 1959-64. In mid 1964, finishes are described as White or Red Mahogany

The first version of the Duo-Sonic was a tan brown 'Desert Sand', with gold scratchplate. This was actually Anodized aluminum, giving the guitar a quite distinct appearance. Controls were simple, but the guitar was well-built effective instrument. Note the bridge, with cover.

The aim of an inexpensive, but high quality student model was always to instill a level of brand loyalty. Today's Duo-Sonic players would be tomorrows Stratocaster players. At launch, the Duo-Sonic was listed in the US at $149.50, compared to $274.50 for the Stratocaster.

There were gradual changes over the first few years of production, including the change from the gold metal pickguard, with white covered pickups to a single ply plastic pickguard with black pickups in 1959. At the same time, rosewood fretboards were also offered, though maple boards do not seem to have been discontinued immediately.

Jimi Hendrix and his first Fender Duo-Sonic - with the Isley brothers

Jimi Hendrix and the Fender Duo-Sonic

Jimi Hendrix used two late fifties or early sixties Fender Duo-Sonics. The first, shown here with the Isley brothers, was a (most likely) 1959 or 1960 example in light colored (White or Desert Sand) finish - with an aftermarket Maestro tremolo. Later he played an early 1960s example with Curtis Knight. Interestingly, both were 21 fret, short scale (22 1/2") examples. Hendrix certainly didn't have small hands.

1961 Fender Duo Sonic Image Heritage auctions

Fender Duo-Sonic II

Available: 1964-69
Scale: 22 1/2" or 24" scale rosewood fretboard
Neck: maple, with 21 or 22 fret rosewood fretboard
Controls: master volume and tone, plus separate on/off/tone switch for each pickup
Finishes: White, Red and Blue

In late 1964, the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic were re-styled, with the new Mustang having the same body style. All three guitars were available either with a 21 fret, 22 1/2" scale student model, or a larger 22 fret 24" scale. Body colors were now solid Red, White or Blue, with white pearloid scratchplates on Red and Blue instruments, and red tortoiseshell on White instruments. An extra on/off and tone control for each pickup was mounted onto the scratchplate above each pickup. There were also some hardware changes - note the separate control plate holding the master volume and tone controls, and new design bridge without cover.

Fender Facts 8

The final redesign of the Duo-Sonic and Musicmaster was described in the November 1964 edition of Fender newsletter Fender Facts

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic have recently undergone changes which we believe their performance and appearance. The bodies of both instruments are now contoured similar to that of the Mustang. They are available in red, white or blue finishes with either a 22 1/2 or 24 inch neck.
Both guitars have a full range tone control and in addition, the Duo-Sonic is provided with a three-position switch for each pickup. The middle position turns the pickups off and tone changes will be made on either side of the off position. Eight different tone selections are therefor available, plus the normal tone and volume controls.
The Duo-Sonic dual pickup and Musicmaster single pickup 3/4 or regular size guitars are truly outstanding instruments in their price range and will provide top performance and appearance.


1966 Fender catalogue - Fender Mustang, Musicmaster, Duo-Sonic

The Fender Musicmaster / Duo-Sonic II / Mustang series as shown in the 1966 Fender catalogue. The Mustang and Musicmaster were popular guitars that remained in the Fender line throughout the 1970s. The Duo-Sonic, however, was last included in the May 1969 price list, with a final tag of $189.50.

Fender Duo-Sonic reissues

The Fender Duo-Sonic has been reissued occasionally from the 1980s onwards, in various incarnations, including the rather nice Fender Duo-Sonic HS. The Fender Squier Duo-Sonic or 'Classic Vibe Duo-Sonic' is a great replica of the original 1950s guitar - though with the longer 24" scale of most post-1964 Duo-Sonics.

Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

Fender Duo-Sonic guitars for sale

1961 Fender Duo-Sonic, Slab board (#FEE0851)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2995

1961 Fender Duo-Sonic, Slab board, Sunburst finish, Clay dots, Spaghetti logo, Single line Kluson tuners, Bridge cover, Cool guitar! Very Good Plus condition, Original hard case, $2, 995 “At Gary’s Classic Guitars we professionally clean, setup & pro pack for safe transit of your new guitar to your door! We would love to earn your business ”... more

1961 Fender Duo-Sonic Maroon Burst w / OHSC!

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98126, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

£1867

1961 Fender Duo-SonicThe one, the only, the Elite Stratocaster. Built in the early 80s these guitars had some appointments similar to a normal Strat as well as some appointments that catered to the rockers from the era. This 83 Elite is overall in great shape and sounds fabulous. Great playability up and down the neck. Cool Strat! Comes with the original hardshell case. - See more at: http: / / www vintageandrare com / product / Fender-Elite-Stratocaster-1983-Elite-Sunburst-25645#sthash ... more

VINTAGE 1965 USA FENDER DUO SONIC GUITAR PICKUP ORIGINAL CBS ERA MUSTANG

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$449

FROM A PARTED DUO SONIC, ALL ORIGINAL, FLAT POLES, BLACK BOTTOM, 3" WHITE & BLACK CLOTH LEAD WIRES, HEAVY VINTAGE PATINA, READS A STRONG 5 68K ON METER, NORTH POLARITY, NICE ORIGINAL VINTAGE CONDITION .THANKS FOR LOOKING!... more

VINTAGE 1965 USA FENDER DUO SONIC MUSICMASTER GUITAR BODY DAPHNE BLUE 1966

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$995

ORIGINAL MID 1960'S FENDER DUO SONIC / MUSICMASTER GUITAR BODY IN ORIGINAL CUSTOM COLOR DAPHNE BLUE. ALDER, NITRO FINISH, FACTORY EC STAMP. FINISH AGED NICELY, NO ROUTES OR REPAIRS, NO POCKET CRACKS, NICE. NORMAL LIGHT VINTAGE WEAR, ONE HEAVIER DING ON END OF UPPER HORN. ALL ORIGINAL NO ISSUE CUSTOM COLOR BODY, INCLUDES COPPER SHIELDING AND STRAP BUTTONS . WEIGHS JUST UNDER 4 5 LBS .THANKS FOR LOOKING!... more

1961 Fender Duo-Sonic (#FEE0773)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $4385

1961 Fender Duo-Sonic, Slab Board, Desert Sand finish, Clay dots, Spaghetti logo, Two pickups, Light weight, Low action, Very good plus condition, Original hard case, $3, 295 There are no cracks or damages. The guitar has weather checking… There is a heavy weather check line on the back thru the finish… .where the burgundy lining of the case set in to that checked area. Not selling to certain countries. International customers must contact us for shipping rates. International Sales are ... more

Fender Vintage 1965 Duosonic Custom

BLACKFOOT, IDAHO, 83221, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1725

One of a kind vintage fender. In the 80s it was professionally converted into a super strat setup with the addition of a strat tremolo, a humbucker in the bridge by a shop back east called Paul c. Custom guitar. I replaced the pickups with a lollar imperial in the bridge that is spaced custom for the tremolo. The neck is a special strat lollar pickup. Hotter wound to match the humbucker. It's been wired so the three way toggle controls the pickup selection with a matter tone and volume. Anyone ... more

Original 1965 Fender Musicmaster Duo-sonic Guitar Body "Great Condition"

AUSTIN, TEXAS, 78719, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$525

Original 1965 Fender Musicmaster or Duo-sonic Body. Original Cream paint in great condition. Please look at all the pictures. No mod's, no issues. Comes with original strap buttonsPlease read before bidding or e-mailing: All auctions of vintage and / or used equipment are being sold "as is, as advertised and described only " . Please read the complete description, look closely at the pictures and ask questions before bidding. Our goal is to make sure that no one is disappointed with their ... more

1958 Fender Duo-Sonic Electric Guitar (FEE1008)

LOVELAND, OHIO, 45140, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$4195

1958 Fender Duo-Sonic, Desert Sand, Chunky burled Maple Neck, Gold anodized pickguard, Two great sounding stock pickups, Light weight, Low action, Very cool model, Original Hard case... more

Find more vintage guitars for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

There are 0 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

Comment on this article

Name
Email address
Anti-spam question - to catch web robots
How many legs does a tripod have?

Contact
info@vintageguitarandbass.com

Follow

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Google+

Other Great Sites