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The Musicmaster and Duo Sonic - Very Fine, First-Time Fenders

Posted by John Blanco on

We’ve had a particularly exciting delivery from the states, 12 colourful short scale and offset vintage Fenders are ready for the taking. Understated and deliciously quirky, the vintage student range from Fender boasts the same high quality craftsmanship as the pro models and offers superb value for first time vintage buyers.

The shrewd brainchild of Don Randall, Musicmaster production began in April 1956, available in two configurations it featured a simple single-coil pickup with a thinner and smaller body, 3-saddle bridge, and tele-style volume and control knobs. The two pick-up example, the Duo Sonic, was officially in production a little later in the summer of ’56.

The first line featured a black pickguard with Desert Sand finish, this was soon replaced with the stylish Gold anodised guard. 1959 saw the switch to the slab board, and Desert Sand was replaced with a Tan finish paired with cream-coloured guard and brown pickup covers. Shaded sunburst was introduced as the only colour option available from 1961.

1959 Fender advertisement “Like pro, like student”.

From 1963 two further colours were available (red mahogany, and white) and additional full scale options were also produced, the Musicmaster II and the Duosonic II. Mid ’64 saw the long-awaited release of the Mustang, Fender’s first student model to feature a tremolo unit.

 Mike Bloomfield with a 1956 Desert Sand Duo Sonic and below a youthful David Byrne with his modded Duo Sonic.

Much like the Jag and Jazzmaster, these guitars have quintessential surf-rock twang, but that's not to say they aren't versatile. The quality of build is exactly what you would expect from a golden era Fender and more than makes up for any limitations from a shorter scale neck. Any doubts about what these guitars can do then check out the video below, Gemma Thompson (Savages) has a unique and powerful presence as a guitarist, there’s magic in that wild, unabated fury. She plays a 1966 Daphne Blue Duo Sonic II.

 Savages “Shut-Up” live at Führer Bunker, Salford


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