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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

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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Vintage 1964 Fender Duo Sonic II Red w /  Vintage Hardshell Case

Vintage 1964 Fender Duo Sonic II Red w / Vintage Hardshell Case



Vintage original PRE-CBS 1964 Fender Duo Sonic II
Features a killer neck with rosewood fretboard and clay dots. Scale length is 22 5 " . Neck plays great
Neck date is 9 OCT 64. Pots are also dated '64
Guitar is all original with the exception of newer USA Fender Repro pickups. They sound killer. Guitar has a real nice vintage, warm tone
Comes with a good vintage hardshell case, too
Guitar is exactly as pictured.
Buyer pays $125 shipping in the USA, $150 to Hawaii... more
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1964 Fender DUO-SONIC II Blue with 66 body CLAY DOTS + L-PLATE + 64 pickups

1964 Fender DUO-SONIC II Blue with '66 body CLAY DOTS + L-PLATE + '64 pickups

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1964 Fender Duo-Sonic II. The body is from 1966, but everything else dates to 1964 with the exception of one switch. The original Red '64 body was replaced with this original Blue '66 body. In the routes for the pickups and switches a small portion of the treble side route walls have been slightly widened to make room for the original 1964 pickguard assembly. It has a great playing neck with great frets and clay ... more
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1963 Fender Duo Sonic Vintage Short Scale Guitar w /  Mahogany Body, 100% Original

1963 Fender Duo Sonic Vintage Short Scale Guitar w / Mahogany Body, 100% Original

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1963 Fender Duo Sonic in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and bridge cover. A rare variant featuring a mahogany body and distinctive transparent Cherry gloss nitro lacquer finish, this Duo Sonic has a natural midrange warmth and growl that sets it apart
The guitar has a bold natural acoustic tone, qualities which translate well via the original pair of black bobbin alnico magnet single coil pickups. ... more
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1956 Fender Duo Sonic Gold Guard Desert Sand

1956 Fender Duo Sonic Gold Guard Desert Sand

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale is a super cool vintage 1956 Fender Duo Sonic Gold Guard in Desert Sand. We love this era of the student gold guard instruments and this one is a lot of fun to play. It appears at some point in this guitars life the body was painted another color (Red?) and it looks as though the amateur refinish was sanded and removed to what we see now. This appears to be what's left of the original Desert Sand finish but its really tough to say for certain. The neck retains its original finish and... more
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fender duo sonic ii 1964 Kurt Cobain Inspired Seymour Duncan

fender duo sonic ii 1964 Kurt Cobain Inspired Seymour Duncan

Stanford, Kentucky, 404**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Plays great, sounds even better! Upgrades include - CTS pots and switchcraft switches, oil based capacitor, Seymour Duncan little 59, Seymour Duncan antiquity neck, Kluson tuners. Hardware is original.
... more
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1959 Fender Duo-Sonic Coodercaster Waterslide Sunburst Guitar

1959 Fender Duo-Sonic Coodercaster Waterslide Sunburst Guitar

Sunland, California, 910**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for your consideration is a Ry Cooder-inspired 1959 Fender Duo Sonic, that was put together by renown LA luthier Jon Wescott. The body, neck and tuners date to 1959, with the body having been refinished and routed for a Kahler bridge way back in the day. Jon expertly filled the hole and re-fretted the neck for better playability (headstock also showing signs of previously installed nut). The bridge, bridge screws and neckplate screws are vintage pieces from the 1960s. The pickguard, ... more
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Vintage 1966 Fender Duo-Sonic II Electric Guitar, Original Daphne Blue Finish!

Vintage 1966 Fender Duo-Sonic II Electric Guitar, Original Daphne Blue Finish!

Pensacola, Florida, 325**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Vintage 1966 Fender Duo-Sonic II Electric Guitar, Original Daphne Blue Finish, Stainless Steel Refret, New Bone Nut, Otherwise All-Original!
Tested and 100% functional! We ask you to look at our pictures and invite you to contact us with any additional questions
This stunning 1966 Fender Duo-Sonic II Electric Guitar with Original Daphne Blue Finish is in excellent cosmetic shape with lighter wear one would expect with a vintage instrument! Unbelievably clean for its age! This time capsule... more
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1959 Fender Duo Sonic Vintage Pre-CBS Electric Guitar Desert Sand w /  Case

1959 Fender Duo Sonic Vintage Pre-CBS Electric Guitar Desert Sand w / Case

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1959 Fender Duo Sonic in 100% original, collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original "knucklebuster" hardshell case and bridge cover. The guitar has a smooth, lively natural acoustic tone, qualities which translate well via the original pair of black bobbin alnico magnet single coil pickups. These pickups are essentially wound identically to a '59 Strat pickup, with the only difference being the flat pole piece design. Both pickups have ... more
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1957 Fender Duo Sonic very cool Desert Sand w / a Goldgard & figured maple neck.

1957 Fender Duo Sonic very cool Desert Sand w / a Gold'gard & figured maple neck.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 333**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is one of the coolest small guitars that??s an all original Duo Sonic from April 1957. Its original opaque Desert Sand finish is in nice shape over a lightweight alder body. Its Maple Neck is super comfy & very flamey. Its original Gold Anodized pickgard is worn as she??s been played most of her life w / a very cool patina. Its original pickups are super potent & she??s got original pots dated to 1957. It seems to have slight overspray on its headstock retaining its original logo. ... more
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all original 1964 pre-CBS Fender Duo-Sonic II RED

all original 1964 pre-CBS Fender Duo-Sonic II RED

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1964 pre-CBS Fender Duo-Sonic II in its original RED finish. It has a great playing neck with good frets. The neck pocket has a factory "64" stamped into the body. It's all original and 100% complete along with its original hardshell case along with the original key. One small corner of the pickguard cracked off, but is included. This Duo-Sonic looks great with nicks + dings, finish checking and other cosmetic ... more
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Used Fender 1965 Duosonic II Electric Guitar with Hard Case

Used Fender 1965 Duosonic II Electric Guitar with Hard Case

Hudson Falls, New York, 128**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale is a used 1965 Fender Duo Sonic II. This guitar has recently been set up and plays great. There is cosmetic wear from normal use consistent with its age. The guitar will ship with a period appropriate hard case
Approximate Weight - 7lbs
Listing and template services provided by inkFrog
... more
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Melksham, SN12***, UNITED KINGDOM


Here we have my 1966 fender Duo Sonic
When I got the guitar it was blue, see pictures, the paint came off very easily with alight scouring pad leaving this lovely Olympic white. All the wear is natural it certainly has been used
The electrics and pick ups work fine but a bit crackly so ill give them a bit of a spray with contact cleaner however one switch is a bit temperamental but it all looks original
I am selling as I??m thinning out my collection. I believe the value to be £1, ... more
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Fender Duo Sonic 1959 & Original Case

Fender Duo Sonic 1959 & Original Case



Including original case & bridge cover

A great way to own a Fender guitar from Leo's 'Golden Age' - without spending a fortune
This guitar is not a museum piece, it's been played and wants to be played more there's
TWO of Eric Johnson's favourite pickups on 62 year-old wood just waiting to be fired up!
... more
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1960 fender duo-sonic desert sand

1960 fender duo-sonic desert sand

Dijon, 21***, FRANCE


Voici une fender pre-CBS originale de 1960. Authentique et 100 % originale. La guitare en très bon état pour ses 64 ans Finition desert sand, touche en palissandre Brésilien bien foncé !Légère et résonnante elle sonne divinement bien. Ces guitares prennent de la valeur chaque année, on en voient a plus de 5k sur Reverb Elle est vendue en étui d'origine
Really nice pre-CBS fender guitar ! All original and in good condition for its 64 years old It has a desert sand finish wih a dark ... more
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Köln, 50***, GERMANY


* 24 " scale length
* same headstock shape as Jaguars of that time period
* rare A size=just 38 mm wide at nut=SLIM PROFILE
* only FENDER remains on headstock from the logo
* frets are okay
* finish has wear... more
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* refinished in white, rough
* humbucker rout at bridge
CHECK OUR SHOP OUT -------------->>>>>-------------->>>>>
... more
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Fender 1965 Duo Sonic II Red Original Finish Guitar - ALL ORIGINAL PARTS

Fender 1965 Duo Sonic II Red Original Finish Guitar - ALL ORIGINAL PARTS

Hamburg, 20***, GERMANY


Here for sale is a Fender 1965 Duo Sonic Guitar in Red with the Original Finish. It has all the original parts. It is in excellent condition for the age with some nice real relic play wear. Finding an all original Fender Duo Sonic with all the original parts is becoming increasingly difficult. The guitar has had a professional fret levelling and plays beautifully every where on the guitar
SALE WAS ... more
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1958 Fender Duo Sonic Ahornhals - Made in USA

1958 Fender Duo Sonic Ahornhals - Made in USA



* finish oversprayed
* frets are low
* neck date is gone
* noname tuners are included
* trussrod plug is protruding
* has 2 LOOOONG repaired cracks on back running up to the trussrod plug=check last 4 pics
* repair is ROCK SOLID
... more
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Vintage 1960 fender duo sonic neck

Vintage 1960 fender duo sonic neck

Dijon, 21***, FRANCE


Vintage fender duo sonic neck from early 1960 (no date on the neck heel) It is original and in good condition. It has a beautiful dark rosewood fingerboard with clay dots inlays Frets shows some wears but nothing unusual. Neck is straight and truss rod works fine Comes with original bushings and string tree.... more
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Köln, 50***, GERMANY


* 24 " scale length
* same headstock shape as Jaguars of that time period
* rare A size=just 38 mm wide at nut=SLIM PROFILE
* completely refinished and a MUSTANG logo was applied
* cool worn look
* frets are okay
... more
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1971 Rose_Morris catalogThe sixteen-page 1971 Rose-Morris catalog featured electric guitars by Rose-Morris' own brand, Shaftesbury, and budget brand Top Twenty; aswell as acoustics by Eko, Aria, and for the first time Ovation. The catalog contains the following instruments: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3264, 3265, 3400, 3402; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Ovation: Balladeer, 12 String, Glen Campbell, Glen Campbell 12 string; Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12, Colorado, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Studio 'L'; Rose-Morris Florida; Aria 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk

1972 Fender Precision bass

1972 Fender PrecisionA detailed look at an early 1970s Fender Precision bass guitar in custom black finish, with rosewood fretboard. 1972 list price, $307.50. The Fender Precision had been shipping since at least very early 1952 - with just one re-design circa 1957. This example, then, shows a model already two decades old, but barely changed since the '57 revamp. Fender got it right first time around, and although there are numerous minor cosmetic differences, the essence of this bass is effectively the same as it was in '52: a simple, single pickup instrument with a GREAT sound. Check out the demo video through an old Ampeg B15. It's no wonder this is the bass that everybody wants!

1967 Vox Stroller

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.

1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.