Duo Sonic, '59
Desert Sand, Serial # 36349.
In 1955 Fender Sales decided the company needed inexpensive student electric guitar models added to the existing lineup which included The Esquire, The Telecaster, The Stratocaster, and the Precision bass. These beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.
The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic shared the same double- cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22 and ½” scale one-piece maple necks. The Musicmaster had two Telecaster style volume and tone knobs for its one neck position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic was the same except for an added bridge position pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959 separate rosewood fingerboards were added (matching the change to the rest of the Fender line). Thick single ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option. The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.
Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the “big boy” Fenders and Gibsons.