In praise of the Fender Duo-Sonic, the electric guitar for students that the pros grew to love

Fender Duo-Sonic
(Image credit: Nigel Osbourne/Redferns/Getty Images)

As far back as 1946, when it evolved from the K&F lap-steel/amp company, Fender was aiming products at music students. Prior to the 1950 launch of their game-changing “electric Spanish” guitars, the Esquire and Broadcaster, the firm continued to focus on lap-steel guitars and guitar amps, branding products with aspirational names such as Champion and Princeton. 

However, by the mid-’50s, the solidbody electric guitar had gained traction, with the Telecaster and Stratocaster leading the professional market. As the rock ’n’ roll era ushered in a new generation of players, Leo Fender’s business partner Don Randall thought it wise to expand their catalogue to include less expensive student-model equivalents. 

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Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.