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.

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Fender Duo-Sonic guitars for sale

Two Vintage 70's FENDER Switches for MUSTANG or DUOSONIC guitars

MIAMI, FLORIDA, 33143, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$39

This listing is for 2 original vintage 70's switches for Fender Mustang or DuoSonic guitars. They come with non-original mounting screws. Sorry, I don't have them. These switches will work, but you should expect to spray them with CRC, as they are very old. 7 % sales tax will be added to all items shipped inside the state of Florida. I will ship most of my items to many countries other than USA, but I ask that all buyers contact me before making a purchase. Foreign buyers are responsible for all... more

Two Vintage 60's FENDER Switches for MUSTANG or DUOSONIC guitars

MIAMI, FLORIDA, 33143, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$39

This listing is for 2 original vintage 60's switches for Fender Mustang or DuoSonic guitars. They came off of a 1966-67 Mustang. These switches will work, but you should expect to spray them with CRC, as they are very old. 7 % sales tax will be added to all items shipped inside the state of Florida. I will ship most of my items to many countries other than USA, but I ask that all buyers contact me before making a purchase. Foreign buyers are responsible for all of their taxes and customs duties.... more

Fender 1963 Brown Duo Sonic or Musicmaster Body

GLASSBORO, NEW JERSEY, 08028, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$179

Gibson Dependable Home of the most First and most Dependable Gibson parts on Ebay U S.A. and Worldwide Bidders Welcomed Please note that we do not participate in Ebay's Global Shipping Program Out international buyers will not be required to pay import fees upfront during checkout through Ebay. How many of you Gibson fans out there have always wanted to build yourselves that awesome Gibson project guitar, but didn’t want to spend the money on a Gibson guitar only to dismantle it. Well, here is... more

Fender 1960s Original Duosonic USA body, lightweight vintage refin luthier part

RANCHOS DE TAOS, NEW MEXICO, 87557, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $197

Original Fender vintage American 1960s body, all original except decent home refin, looks like daphne blue. Nice lightweight original non-trem Strat body! Check out my other items for other vintage guitar and accessory items. Bid with confidence -- check out my 100% feedback on thousands of items over 20 years on Ebay! Please note I live in a rural area and may take 5 working days to ship.... more

Fender 1961 Slab Rosewood Duo Sonic Neck

GLASSBORO, NEW JERSEY, 08028, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$269

Gibson Dependable Home of the most First and most Dependable Gibson parts on Ebay U S.A. and Worldwide Bidders Welcomed Please note that we do not participate in Ebay's Global Shipping Program Out international buyers will not be required to pay import fees upfront during checkout through Ebay. How many of you Gibson fans out there have always wanted to build yourselves that awesome Gibson project guitar, but didn’t want to spend the money on a Gibson guitar only to dismantle it. Well, here is... 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 1964 USA FENDER DUO SONIC GUITAR PICKUP ORIGINAL PRE CBS

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $659

I AM UNABLE TO SHIP TO ANY DESTINATION THAT USPS CANNOT INSURE, SORRY. ALL AUCTIONS PAYPAL ONLY, WILL SHIP TO YOUR PAYPAL MATCHING ADDRESS ONLY, NO ALTERNATE SHIP ADDRESS. WINNING BIDDER TO PAY WITHIN 2 DAYS OF AUCTION CLOSE. ANY NEW EBAYERS ( LESS THAN 5 POSITIVE TRANSACTIONS) EMAIL ME BEFORE BIDDING, OR YOUR BID WILL BE CANCELLED. TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY 8 25% SALES TAX. PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS EARLY…SOMETIMES I AM REQUIRED TO BE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. INTERNATIONAL EBAYERS: ... more

VINTAGE 1963 USA FENDER DUO SONIC GUITAR PICKUP ORIGINAL PRE CBS 1964 MUSTANG

PLANO, TEXAS, 75025, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $659

I AM UNABLE TO SHIP TO ANY DESTINATION THAT USPS CANNOT INSURE, SORRY. ALL AUCTIONS PAYPAL ONLY, WILL SHIP TO YOUR PAYPAL MATCHING ADDRESS ONLY, NO ALTERNATE SHIP ADDRESS. WINNING BIDDER TO PAY WITHIN 2 DAYS OF AUCTION CLOSE. ANY NEW EBAYERS ( LESS THAN 5 POSITIVE TRANSACTIONS) EMAIL ME BEFORE BIDDING, OR YOUR BID WILL BE CANCELLED. TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY 8 25% SALES TAX. PLEASE ASK ALL QUESTIONS EARLY…SOMETIMES I AM REQUIRED TO BE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. INTERNATIONAL EBAYERS: ... more

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