Fender Duo Sonic Review

Russel Wolfe

 

We all know and love Fender. The brand is one of the most recognizable names in the music world and it produces some delicious instruments. However, to get a quality Fender guitar you need to invest a lot of money into it. Well, technically you can get a pretty good Squier model to deliver you a good performance, but it is still not Fender. But there is a choice though, the Fender Duo Sonic. For those in the know with the history in the instrument, the Duo Sonic is no stranger as it is an iconic model released in 1956, but the 2016 version is a pretty interesting iteration of the classic

Target Audience

The Fender Duo Sonic is one hell of an instrument, delivering some excellent qualities that are dedicated to different players. To be honest everything about this guitar points out to be a beginner-oriented model, that you can progress infinitely on. On top of that, it comes in two versions SS and HS, based on your pickup selection. I have played the original Fender Duo Sonic, but the new model really seems quite impressive, and like it can achieve a lot. I definitely think that it brings a lot of value to the table and have high expectations, but let’s see.

Specs and Features

The Fender Duo Sonic has some excellent set of features, and well you would expect that since it is in the mid-range price for guitars. But on the Fenders spectrum, this is the entry-level market. Still, it looks pretty impressive nonetheless, and based on what’s on paper I think that the Fender Duo Sonic is one hell of a guitar, so let’s take a closer look.

The Fender Duo Sonic was first designed for student guitarists but has become a classic of its own since. Let’s start with the body and construction first. One impressive thing that the Fender Duo Sonic delivers is its solid alder body, which is a classic Fender tonewood used in the 50s and 60s. Alder is known for being a strong wood and delivering meaty sounds, with great mids and quality lows, the highs are always exemplary as well. The durability should be over the top with that construction and the weight is a super lightweight 6.7-pounds which is one of the lightest I have ever seen in any guitar.

Moving on the Fender Duo Sonic has a maple neck that should deliver plenty of durability and on top of that sits the Pau Ferro fretboard with 22 frets. One thing that makes the Duo Sonic special is its 24-inch scale length which is shorter than the standard 25.5-inch Fender scale. On top of that, the nut width is also smaller at 1.65-inches and the 9.5-inch fretboard radius with the modern C-shaped neck makes this guitar one of the most playable ones in the market. This is clearly dedicated to guitarists with smaller hands and arms, but I can’t see a reason why other musicians shouldn’t have fun with this.

In terms of hardware, the Fender Duo Sonic is pretty good as it has the standard quality Fender accessories. Including the synthetic bone nut, Fender cast tuning machines, and medium-jumbo frets. The biggest selling point of the hardware is the Strat-style hardtail bridge with bent steel saddles, delivering amazing adjustability. For delivering the classic Fender tone the Duo Sonic is equipped with two Player Series single-coil pickups that emulate the vintage sound with modern features. You can also get the HS version which includes a humbucker pickup on the bridge position for those that want a bit heavier sound with thicker distortion.

First Impression

Looking at the pictures of the Fender Duo Sonic, I didn’t expect much from it as it looks like a cheap copycat. However, I was in for a treat as the Seafoam Green color scheme looked like it came back from the 60s. There are also the Tidepool and Desert Sand paint jobs, of which the latter looked like a dream. The Duo Sonic has a body shape that resembles the Fender Mustang, with its offset double-cutaway body that has some sweet Strat design cues to it. It looks good, like a playful Mustang actually.

When you take the Fender Duo Sonic in your hands you will see that it is a joy to play on. You will not feel this one on your lap and even if it is hanging around your neck for hours. The contoured body also made it pretty desirable and once you plug it in you will see that you are in for a treat. The neck is pretty fast and combined with the fretboard radius and the short scale this one really pushes you to be crafty with it.

Testing

As you might have expected it, the Fender Duo Sonic is definitely one fo the most playable and accessible instruments out there. Some users were are a little skeptical about the performance of this one since it is a bit shorter and smaller than a regular Fender.  However, I got a lot of twang from this guitar, it was absolutely dreamy with magical tones coming to form it. Fretting, soloing, fingerpicking, and bending this guitar did it all without any fault. The sounds of it reminded me of the classic Tele and like it, can handle every kind of genre without a doubt.

Verdict

I can say that the Fender Duo Sonic is one hell of a guitar. Extremely playable and very well worth its price without a doubt. It is great for those that want the classic Tele twangy sound and a little more vintage tones. However, if you are more of a modern guitarist you should probably get the HS version of this guitar, as the price and pretty much everything else is the same with it, except for the humbucker coming in at the bridge, for more meaty and modern tones. Overall I would recommend this guitar for everyone, beginners, professionals, enthusiasts, and especially those who want a nice guitar that can be taken to gigs.

 

Fender Duo Sonic

8.7

Value

9.0/10

Construction

9.0/10

Sound

8.0/10

Pros

  • Playability is effortless in this one
  • Great design and perfect out of the box

Cons

  • The pickup selection could have been better

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