A Fender for the Student
The Fender Duo Sonic made it's debut as a student guitar in 1956. Being marketed as a beginners guitar, mainly for children, along with the relatively new Musicmaster, this guitar was offered, only, in the 22.5" scale length. The guitar offered two Stratocaster pickups wired to one volume knob, one tone knob and a 3-way toggle switch. To cut costs, and be able to make these student guitars available to any teenager at the time, shortcuts were necessary. The biggest and most obvious shortcut was the bridge. It offered no tremolo and had only 3 saddles.
Duo Sonic II
In 1964, the same year that the Fender Mustang was introduced, the Duo Sonic underwent a complete face-lift. The body changed outline slightly, and the pickguard shape was changed to resemble the Mustang one. The bridge was changed to a larger item with more intonation adjustment to allow for a 24" scale neck to be used without the hardware being changed, also added were the two 3-way slide switches which provide the player with more tonal possibilities, (on/off/out of phase) and the deletion of the 3-way toggle switch from the lower horn. The guitar was now being built in the 24" scale and the 22.5" scale, and the pickups were also reverse-wound/reverse-polarity, to create a humbucking effect when both switches were in the "ON" position. This new design was christened the Duo Sonic II.
The Duo Sonic was discontinued in 1969, due to failing sales and the introduction of the Mustang, but was reissued in the mid 90's, in the main Fender range and as a Squier model. The reissues boast a mixture of features from the Duo Sonic and Duo Sonic II, but have a 22.7" scale length, similar to the original scale length of 22.5". This guitar is quite rare, and although not considered a "collectible" quite yet, it is quickly (as are all other Fender shortscales) becoming a "sought after" guitar. It was discontinued in 1997.