rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

Fender Duo-Sonic review

Fender Duo Sonic - Torino Red

A little Fender that's good - when plugged into the right amp.

Last weekend I tried out three guitars and two of them were Fender Duo-Sonic models.

The last time I played one of these, it was a Squier Duo-Sonic in gold. I really wasn't too impressed with that guitar mainly for the reason I just didn't like the look. And speaking of which, the look of the Fender Duo-Sonic is the first thing I'll start with.

The Torino Red version looks unbelievably cool in person but awful in online photos. Not even Fender themselves got good photos of this guitar. You absolutely can't tell at all from internet photos that the pick guard is a 3-ply mint green. And it looks killer. The red and the mint guard go together very nicely.

There are two versions of the Duo-Sonic. One is a humbucker/single Duo-Sonic HS model and the other a single/single. I chose the single/single because that's what I like, and that's the one I'm going to talk about.

This guitar is a short scale 24.0" (for reference, a Stratocaster is 25.5" and a Les Paul is 24.75"). Neck is one-piece maple with 9.5" fingerboard radius and loaded with 22 medium jumbo frets. The bridge is "hardtail Strat", and yes the strings do go through the body. The body is made from alder wood.

Atypical is the fact the guitar comes loaded with 10-46 strings instead of the usual 9-42 size. This is actually something I totally agree with because 9-42 on a short scale is a bit floppy, even for me (and I prefer super light strings).

What I liked

My favorite part of the guitar is the 3-way switch. No plastic on it at all. It's a big, chunky, all-metal switch and feels good to use. Given the fact the vast majority of electric guitars use plastic-tip switches, to actually use one that's 100% metal is nice. It just feels more solid.

I liked the knobs, too. They're Telecaster style flat-top with knurled sides. And yes, they have side screws for easy adjustment. The turn of the knobs had good give to them also. Slightly heavier than usual.

The sound of the pickups is good, leaning more toward a Strat-like tone. However, I found that the tonal character is greatly affected by what amp the guitar is plugged into. The Duo-Sonic seemed to hate a tube-type VOX combo but loved a tube-type Orange cube combo.

What I didn't like

The short scale 1-piece maple neck just felt odd. But this is due to the fact that short scale necks usually don't agree with me.

My main guitar is a Jazzmaster. That guitar has a 25.5" scale, but also has offset waist construction, meaning the neck is "pushed out" slightly further than a Stratocaster or Telecaster. And I really like it.

The Duo-Sonic, while having an offset waist construction, has a neck position I didn't really care for. The tuners felt way too close to me, I found myself getting lost on the neck sometimes, and I was also hitting wrong notes because of the closer fret spacing.

If I owned this guitar then yes, I eventually would get used to it. But it was definitely not something I felt instantly comfortable playing.

Another thing I didn't like is that I would sometimes whack the front pickup (i.e. the "neck pickup") when playing.


It's a good little guitar that has some genuine mojo to it.

The only thing that really surprised me is how different the guitar sounds when going from amp to amp. This is true of any electric, but with the Duo-Sonic it was really obvious. There's just something about the "Duo-Sonic Single-coil" (that's what Fender calls it) that makes one amp sound great and another sound like total garbage.

Build quality was good. There were no flaws in either of the two I tried. One was Arctic White and the other Torino Red as described above. But again, the red one just stole the show with how good it looked.

Could you buy this guitar unheard/unplayed and be comfortable with the buy? With some guitars you can't do that, but you could with this one. You have to bear in mind I played one at a guitar store that wasn't set up to my preferences. Once set up right, I'm certain I could make it sound just fine with any amp.

📰Get Rich's newsletter to be notified of new articles

Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

⭐ Recent Posts

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

Epiphone Prophecy Les PaulA secret of the Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul hiding in plain sight
It's right in front of your face and you probably didn't even notice it

Fender Player MustangShorter scale guitars with the most bang for the buck
You can go short without spending too much nor getting something too cheap.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Rich buys a 2012 Fender Modern Player Stratocaster HSS (with extra info)
For the second time in my life, I have bought a Fender guitar. Okay, well that's not entirely accurate. The first true Fender Stratocaster I ever owned was bought for me by my father in 1993 USA Standard for an 18th birthday present. I still own that guitar but it has a busted neck that […]

Fender American Professional Stratocaster and TelecasterThe final word on Stratocaster vs. Telecaster
The final word on whether the Stratocaster or the Telecaster is the better guitar.

Casio G-SHOCK GWM5610All atomic watches are saved... for now
There will come a time when buying a watch with atomic time sync functionality will be completely pointless.

DigiTech Nexus LibrarianDoes the DigiTech Nexus software for the RP360 really work?
Information on DigiTech Nexus software for the RP360

Facebook AppThe differences between Facebook and blogs
Some people think there's no difference between Facebook and a blog save for they believe (incorrectly) that a blog is more difficult to use.

Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Stratocaster review
There's some nice technical wizardry going on with this Strat, but is that enough for this model to be truly "Deluxe?" Let's find out.

Casio A158, the "steel" version of the F-91W
I've only shown this watch in one previous post, so I figured I'd give a dedicated article to it since it's currently my daily wearer.