Fender Duo-Sonic HS Electric Guitar Review – 2020 Deep Dive

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Looking forward to getting the classic 60s styled electric guitar capable of producing great tones? Fender brings to you the Fender Duo-Sonic HS. Read our review to know its features and other specifications if you are looking to get one for yourself.

A Deep Dive Into The Fender Duo-Sonic HS

Launched in 1956 before receiving a slight makeover in ’59, Fender Duo-Sonic HS is designed for beginners or kids with small hands and those on a tight budget. But even professional players have considered this model as an extraordinary creation. Many legendary guitarists including Rory Gallagher, John McLaughlin, and others consider this guitar to be their secret weapon during gigs.

With a slab alder body and flawless appearance in the sparkly surf green color, Duo-Sonic HS follows a classic offset Fender waist. The HS upgrades from the original Duo-Sonic’s three-saddle bridges to a six-saddle hardtail combined with a through-body stringing for better intonation and action adjustment. Even the name of Duo-Sonic HS is inspired by the original Duo-Sonic series.

Moreover, the three-ply white/black/white scratchplate is the host to a chrome-tipped three-position pickup selector switch, the easy-gripped volume, and tone knobs. The tone knobs provide service to the two pickups, a neck single coil, plus a bridge humbucker.

Besides, the 24-inch bolt-on maple neck is complemented by a 9.5-inch radius rosewood fingerboard, 22 medium jumbo frets, and a set of modern-looking tuners. The small headstock has a glossy appearance and the back of the neck is coated in a satin finish to prevent even the sweatiest of hands from getting stuck.

Keeping aside the dimensions and outward design, this model uses both a single-coil and humbuckers for tonal versatility. You’ll also see how efficient the string-through-body design is, which adds more sustain as you play.

Who’s It For?

The Fender Duo-Sonic HS is light weighted, compact, and compatible with all musical genres and styles. Hence, this makes it an attractive instrument for anyone to play – beginners and advanced professional guitarists alike. However, it’s mostly suited for beginners or amateurs only. This is because of the easy to play neck and the fact that it’s a shorter scale guitar.

Besides, it would be a perfect instrument for anyone who is just learning to play the guitar.
Nevertheless, as mentioned, it’s also perfect for more advanced players that need a guitar, which is comfortable yet versatile and suitable for professional gigs.

What We Like About Fender Duo-Sonic HS

Whether it is the design or its construct, its playability or performance, Fender Duo-Sonic HS has several unique features. One is the presence of both humbucker pickup and single-coil pickup. This makes Duo-Sonic HS more versatile when compared to its contemporary models on the market.

Moreover, this compact guitar has the power to deliver super-aggressive bridge and neck tones, which are ideally hybrid of Tele twang and Strat squall. Besides, if you are strumming clean rhythms, you’ll notice that the tone has a metallic clang with a loud bite and a trendy mid-range punch.

Another best aspect of the Fender Duo-Sonic HS is that even in shorter scales the players can use quite heavier gauge strings. Even the slinkier tension aids string bends to the extent of using .013s or .014s. This allows the guitar to produce fattier and stronger tones without sacrificing the playability.

Also, the single-coil pickups of Duo-Sonic are wired in the reverse configuration to offer actual humbucking performance even when both pickups are selected. On the whole, the Duo-Sonic might have a shorter scale and be compact in size, but its exceptional and distinctive tones are absolutely massive.

What We Don’t Like About Fender Duo-Sonic HS

In spite of such distinctive features, the Fender Duo-Sonic HS does lack in a few aspects. Some users complained that the guitar sounds differ when played on different amps. Also, some have issues with the humbucking pickups as it’s too noisy. Also, this model lacks a tremolo system, which is quite common in other guitars on the market.

Apart from these, some guitarists on testing the model have stated that the guitar could use one more pickup for better playability. Plus, some players preferred longer scale length, which is missing in the Fender Duo-Sonic HS.

PROS

  • Excellent craftsmanship with trendy design
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Single coil and humbucker pickups increase the versatility of the guitar
  • Cutaway makes it easy to play the higher frets
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CONS

  • Doesn’t sound the same when played on different amps
  • Lacks a tremolo system
  • Humbucking pickups are noisy

What’s Included?

Usually, Fender Duo-Sonic HS comes without any accessories, but you can always buy the recommended accessories and gears separately. The typical accessory for this versatile guitar is a gig bag, which is quite a necessity for protecting it from external damages. You can try Urban Short Scale Guitar Gig Bag, as it is very durable and is perfect for Duo-Sonic HS.

Besides, the other recommended gears by the brand Fender are a Ball Glove Leather Strap and G&G Standing Hardshell Case. The leather strap is perfect for the players and offers durability during the performance alongside giving a classic vibe which can surely set off any performance. Also, the cases of Fender include a classic flair which imparts good looks along with great durability and portability. Not only will it fit the Duo-Sonic HS, but the extra padding will also keep the guitar from scratch and damage.

With these gears added, Fender Duo-Sonic HS would have surely made for a complete package. Unfortunately, you would have to spend some extra bucks to buy these.

Overview Of Features

Neck: It was originally designed as a student guitar since its scale length is quite shorter compared to the other guitars. The C profile shape neck made it easy for guitarists to hold for long hours. This makes it apt for a beginner. It is also easy to move up the neck of the guitar due to the deep cutaway.

Also, compared to Fender Stratocaster or other electric guitars, Duo-Sonic HS is way easier to play. You can pick up any genre or style of music, as there are 22 medium jumbo frets.

Playability: Often regarded as the most versatile and uncomplicated guitar, Fender Duo-Sonic HS has impeccable playability as well. This is because both the pickups produce great sounding music without the complications of setting it up. Overall, the playability is credited to its responsive touch, which makes an excellent guitar for every music style.

Electronics and Internal Parts: The most important part of the guitar is its electronics and internal parts, which contributes to its excellent playability. The humbucker is the bridge pickup while single-coil is the neck pickup. Unlike other Fender guitars, which have only a single-coil pickup, Duo-Sonic HS models include humbucker pickup to enhance the versatility of the guitar. The Duo-Sonic HS also has a coil-splitting feature for versatility. So be it rock, blues, metal, jazz, any style you wish to play, it is possible with this guitar.

Moreover, the bridge of the guitar is a hardtail specially designed to keep its tuning stable. Additionally, to change the pickup sounds, there is tone control and volume control switch. For easy transition between the bridge and the neck position; there is a pickup selector switch as well. Lastly, on the top, an input jack is built for the guitar chord. On the whole, Fender Duo-Sonic HS has its tuning machine built in the standard chrome style.

Design: The guitar is known for its unique design and construction. Featuring pre-CBS style headstock, Duo-Sonic HS has a set of modern Fender Standard sealed tuners. The six-saddle string through body hardtail bridge with bent steel saddles delivers stability, impressive intonation, and offers better sustain.

Review Summary

An exceptional guitar constructed with quality materials and reliable hardware, Fender Duo-Sonic HS stands out as a versatile and affordable electric guitar. Offering dual pickups, Duo-Sonic HS paves way for better tuning and stability alongside providing players more opportunities to practice for different musical styles.

Even though the guitar falls short of a good tremolo system or has a too noisy humbucking pickup, yet its hardtail bridge and steadfast tuning make it one of the best budget-friendly guitars available.

In conclusion, the Fender Duo-Sonic HS is a modernized version of a student turned classic instrument created in a compact form but one that delivers giant-sized sounds. Undoubtedly, it turns out to be the ideal companion for adventurous guitarists and amateur players, who can bring out breakthrough music.

With this review on the Fender Duo-Sonic HS, we hope that you have a much clearer idea about the features of the guitar and its pros and cons before you decide to purchase one.

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