6/01/2012

c.1964 Fender Duo-Sonic II Electric Guitar


This nice, beat-up, short-scale (24 1/8") Fender is a very early Duo-Sonic II, in the Olympic White/tortoise pickguard color scheme. It appears to be mostly original, with an obviously replacement brass adjustable bridge apparatus as well as replacement tuners. I did work on this for a customer of mine and to be honest, I'm sick with jealousy. After fixing its woes, this is an incredibly fun and great-sounding guitar.

My work on it included fixing some grounding issues as well as a fret level/dress, cleaning, and full setup. It plays slick and fast and has one of those great old Fender necks -- there's just nothing like them made today in the electric world. They're just -- different.


This guitar has aged to a buttery yellow, distressed color throughout, probably from tobacco staining while used in bars. This is not your normal finish yellowing -- it's a tougher version of it. There are assorted nicks, dings, scratches, and discolorations throughout -- but that's what makes it kick butt, right? At least I think so...!



Nice clay dots. I think I was the first person to work on the frets considering all the divots in the 1-7 area.


Amazingly, the original covered single-coil Mustang-style pickups are still surviving on this rig. So many of these guitars get brutalized with humbuckers!


The Gibson-y style brass bridge is pretty cool and I'm pretty sure adds some decent sustain.


All the pots and switches were a little scratchy to begin with, but after wiggling for 15 minutes or so while playing they're back to about 90% or so. The flip switches for controlling pickup selection are the worst, though, as one would expect them to be.


The simple but yet very usable design philosophy on this guitar is refreshing, as most Fenders are. I have to admit that I roll my eyes once I start seeing more than three knobs on an electric.






The previous owner canted the neck back to go over the adjustable bridge nicely, so I've left it like that.




Overall: cool! Cool!

2 comments:

lex dexter said...

Wonderful tribute to an overlooked guitar! I have a red Duo Sonic II from '64, sans the original case I'm afraid. Unfortunately as my playing has improved over the years and I have transcended the "power chords or die" school of gtr, my chubby fingers are proving too much for the narrow fretboard. I wonder, could a Duo Sonic II like mine - with less subsequent work done on it, but more nicks and dings from Friday nite gigs in dives - hold enough value to help me get to a Jazzmaster. Or should I simply hold on to the beautiful guitar and make a separate project out of arming myself with a more suitable piece for regular play? Thanks for reading.

Antebellum Instruments said...

Hi Lex: It will help you get maybe half the value of an old JM or so. :)