Fender Duo-Sonic Review

Function: Electric Guitar

: $499

: If you read our “best of the best” coverage last month, then you know how much we loved the Fender 2016 Dusonic reissue electric guitar! The original Duo-Sonic was introduced to the world in 1956 as a student model with a short-scale neck (for players with smaller hands) attracting young players such as Jimmy Hendrix in the early 60’s. A faithful reissue of the original, the Duo-Sonic adds a few modern tweaks for more versatility and playability.

: Much like the Mustang and Jaguar guitars of the 1960’s, the Duo-Sonic features a 24″ scale that’s not just for beginners. The shorter scale makes bends simpler and extended chords easier to finger. The modern “C” shaped neck will feel familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a Fender guitar, although the body is slightly smaller than a Stratocaster or Telecaster. The reissue Duo-Sonic sports two Duo-Sonic single-coil pickups with vintage-spec output, controlled by a three-way pickup selector, master volume knob and tone knob. Instead of a classic tremolo bridge, Duo-Sonic features a hardtail, string-through-body bridge for increased sustain.

: While the 2016 Duo-Sonic has all the chime and glassy top end familiar to fans of Fender electric guitars, the true standout of the guitar is its midrange. For such a small guitar, we were surprised by the growly, midrange bark that emanated from our tube amps when we plugged it in! At clean tones, the Duo-Sonic has a glassy, spanky clean tone slightly reminiscent of a Telecaster, but in overdrive, the guitar takes on a personality of its own, offering a signature midrangy growl and bite, all while preserving the signature Fender shimmery highs.

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: If you’re looking for a guitar that sounds like everyone else, pass on the Duo-Sonic, but if you’re looking for a guitar that is tremendously fun to play, sounds like nothing else on the market, and has enough versatility to go from twangy cleans to grungy drive sound, the Duo-Sonic is perfect for you.
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