School me on the Duosonic

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by thx712517, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. thx712517

    thx712517 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    104
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    In the search for a guitar that's comfortable to play seated with a bad back and screwed up shoulders, I'm looking at the Duosonic. The front jack seems like a win for seated playing. Specs on Sweetwater indicate a satin finished neck, which is a big thing for me.

    Any owners here care to share? How do they feel, how's the reach, does it get too cramped at the dusty end of the neck? I can't find the guitar on Fender at the moment, but other sites say it used a Strat hardtail bridge. Does that mean I can use Strat bridge saddles if I want to mod it? Will it take Fender's locking tuners without drilling new holes? Pickup swaps?
     
  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    20,962
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Around
    Love the playability of the old mustangs and duosonics. Not sure of new production.
    Wish you luck.
     
  3. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,449
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    Location:
    Texas
    I once had a 90's MIM DuoSonic.
    The short scale takes some getting used to. As a primarily acoustic player, I could fret those strings out of tune easily. But I learned quickly to lighten my touch. And then found the expressiveness that a lower tension (and shorter scale) can allow. And I could play for hours.
    They are pretty simple machines, really.

    But that guitar stunk to high heavens. HORRIBLE smell. I ended up trading it on craigslist. But I'd love to have another.


    As far as seated playing is concerned, I've always found a tele to be perfect for me. I just learned to choose the right seat and be mindful of the cord and input jack.

    EDIT to say:
    I'm not much of a dusty end player - I don't remember it feeling all that cramped, but you should try one to see how it feels to you. Mine had a different style of bridge, but some of the ones I've seen take 3 barrel saddles like a tele. Take a look at the classic vibes, too. I've liked every one of those that I've picked up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,260
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    You could try the Squier HH Mustang, it's around $170 new/$110 or less used. Mod it for single coils if you want. I've seen HH, SS, HSH, P90s, Lipstick, Tele pickup swaps in those. Have fun.

    I have a travel guitar with a 22 scale length and I upsized the strings to tens as with nines I'd crush out of tune as the strings are more slinky on the shorter scale.

    Seated playing is why the Gibson LP models can weigh over ten pounds -- Les Paul pretty much always played seated so the strap weight was never a concern during his design process.

    .
     
  5. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,575
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I owned two HS Duo Sonics and loved them both. The pickups were excellent too, I even liked the coil tap sound. Neck feels good, and as guitar for sitting I suppose it's alright. I don't really have a preference for sit down playing, but seemed fine in that regard too. The bridge will take regular Strat saddles, but that wasn't anything I felt needed to be changed. Bottom line is these are solid little guitars. Necks a bit thin, which is ultimately why I ditched mine. The other was gifted to my daughter.

    Fender locking tuners should drop right in.
     
    thx712517 likes this.
  6. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    880
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Location:
    Spokane, Washington
    You might consider the Mustang instead, for reach. Look at the body notch that rests on your leg. On the duo it’s much closer to the headstock than on the Mustang, putting the reach shorter than the Mustang (too short for me).
    I got the Mustang and put Dimarzio Cruisers in and blinged the knobs and switch tip. Great guitar for seated playing.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    451
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    US
    My first electric was a 1965 Mustang. I bought it for $35 and sold it for $50 (who knew about Curt K?)) when I started saving paper route money for a Gibson 340 in a local store.
    I could never get it to sound very good... but then, I wasn't very good))
     
    ReverendRevolver likes this.
  8. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    371
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Finland
    I have the Squier Classic Vibe Duo Sonic. It's got a tele style three barrel bridge. Great sounds, comfortable to play (I play standing up though) but it does get a little cramped. The looser string tension and easier reach are the upside you get with the shorter scale. It makes you try things you wouldn't with a tele or a strat, really inspiring.
     
    zippofan likes this.
  9. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,006
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    How big are your hands?

    I play my DS more than anything right now, because it's hanging by its strap on a coat hook and easily accessible.

    20191211_101646.jpg

    The strat and mustang are on stands, but I like this more. Without plugging in, mustang is fine. I have the mustang pawn shop special, and the pickups are underwhelming and will be replaced.

    The bridge looks like a hardtail strat bridge. Ditto with mustang. Mustangs is different slightly though, and I've seriously pondered switching the Stangs for a toronado bridge, because it looks like it would fit, and my toronado is more comfortable metal than the stang.

    Strings matter; I have 9-46s on my tele and toronado and feel comfortable with the obscure 10-48 on the DS and mustang.

    Playing sitting down or sprawled on the couch, I use the DS and a right angle cable.

    The one I have comes with a mint green pickgaurd, ugly with the orange. I put on the replacement, semi translucent white, but had to carve it a bit.(I bought the wrong shape for bridge).

    The 90s reissues and older ones had 3 saddle tele esque bridges. Same as 70s musicmasters.

    Stock tuners on mine are fine, I doubt I'll change them. Pickups weren't great. Weak in the wrong way. I ordered a set of replacements from Budha pickups. I normally dont advocate ordering "custom spec" pickups from builders who know what they're doing and consistently sell specific ones, but I wanted Alnico 5s with a bit hotter wind than vintage, but not too hot, and he delivered exactly what I wanted. They don't get hotter until the end of the volume knob. But I digress.

    Bluego1 is right about the cut of the mustang at the horn. My mustang has a belly contour too. I like the solidness of the ds better. It's a really small body either way, and I'm 5'3" and skinny. My torso dont really care either way, there isn't much guitar there.

    I'd play some and go from there. I bought my mustang at a time when it was $800ish for the pawn shop, the Cobain, or the 90. I should have gotten the Cobain. The Cobain retained value (aka I cant sell and buy a Cobain reasonably), and is a more "mustang " mustang. It has the Stang tremelo and the one humbucker coil split is more practical and relevant, to be honest, than mine. Note that I'm also lamenting not having possession of my late grandfathers mustang, which was one of the most comfortable guitars I ever played.

    The current production DS and 'Stang that are in the $500 range can go for $400 used frequently. That's new vm squier range. I have just under $500 in my DS, and it has custom pickups and pickgaurd (although the gaurd is only really custom because I had to cut and file it...). Including the price of the strap, as I had the locks already, I spent cents less than $500 on the whole thing and it's my most played guitar I own this year, third favorite (out of 5) electrics I own now, behind the toronado and tele.

    The "offset series " DS and Stangs come in loads of colors, are built well, and primary difference is some body slopes and that the Stang has a metal control plate while the DS has an obnoxiously long horn on the pickgaurd the stuff mounts to. I'd reccomend them easily. I almost got the green stang, but my kids liked the idea of a creamsicle colored guitar more than a reptilian green with tort, and since it was a coin toss for me I let them vote.

    To review:

    Neck isn't very sticky feeling for a maple one, because I too hate that (my tele feels barely coated)

    Easy to play sitting or lounging on sofa, love seat, sectional, etc.

    No idea on hardware swap, doubt I'll need to.

    Pickgaurd not hard to change if you order right one.

    Pickups super easy to swap, and I am to soldering what Ray Charles is to archery.

    Pickup replacements offered by plenty of custom places and Fralin.

    I have small hands, so I cant accurately comment on spacing at the skinny frets.

    I joked that my DS and my 30lb Supro were my purchases for 4 decades from now so I dont need help carrying stuff to gigs. Plenty light and comfortable, please text different gauge strings, as normal ones may feel like spaghetti noodles.

    I hope I've helped.
     
    thx712517 and Bluego1 like this.
  10. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,937
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    West Lothian, Scotland
    I don’t own a MIM Offset Duosonic or Mustang (yet?!) but I’ve played them quite a bit. Very nice guitars IMHO. Quality-wise I did not find the switches awe-inspiring but that is easily fixed / replaced. I do not find the 24” scale a challenge at all — after all it's just like a 25.5” with a capo on the first fret — so I would not let that put you off.
    However I would say you ought to test-drive one because the bodies are small... only you can judge whether it will work for your back and shoulders.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,800
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2012
    Location:
    Montana
    My wife had a mid 90s MIM Duo-sonic. Fun to play, but I just don't care for the shorter scales for playing very long spans of time. It kinda cramps my hand. I find the tele as the most comfortable electric to play sitting down. The rounded Duo-sonic and strat seem to slip out of position easier with their contoured edges. Both were designed for playing standing up. Also, if you get into finger picking, the tele seems ideal for that too. Not sure why though.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    18,510
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Lots of guitars are good for guys with bad backs to play sitting down.
    I find the narrow body of the MM/ DS/ Mustang puts the guitar a little low for my long frame, and I find the shorter scale means the strings are awfully short for the frequencies they are tuned to, so the low string clarity suffers.
    Backs go at a similar rate to hearing, and i want clear pitches.

    As far as the front jack goes that does make a lot of sense.
    Some of my Teles have the tone knob replaced by a second jack, it's easy to add a front jack to many guitars that only have a side jack.

    I'd go to the DS if it meets several of your specific needs, but also only after playing some of them.
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    18,510
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Yeah the body is super important to playing comfort in a seated position.
    A Tele or Strat can both rest in two comfortable positions, one level and one with neck rasied at an angle, depending on where you put the waist and end of the body on the playing hand leg or between the legs.
    The little offsets really don't rest in a playing position and need to be held up by the fretting hand IME, or as you noted you end up very hunched over to get down to the neck.
    Originally these smaller guitars were designed for beginner players who are often smaller do to age.
    Fine on a strap for full size humans, but not the best design for full size players sitting down.
    A short strap can improve seated playing though.
     
    Obsessed and Telecaster88 like this.
  14. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,171
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    I was looking at the new Duo Sonic (in orange!!), but considering not spending the money and getting a Squier Mustang HH instead, and modding. Never got to play the Squier, but I tried out the DS a few times. I liked it a lot (though never played it through my own amps), and it was quite comfortable sitting down. Felt a bit toy-like standing, but I’m 6’5” with gibbon arms and hands. I disliked the colour and quality of the pickguard, knobs, and switch, but the rest of the guitar felt nice, if thin in the neck.
     
  15. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    385
    Joined:
    May 9, 2019
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    For about thirty years my back up guitar was a 66 Duo-Sonic II... the short scale isn't so much a problem for me as the skinny necks, especially since I play a lot of cowboy chords down at the nut. That's gotten worse for me as my fingers have gotten thicker in middle age.

    I don't have much experience with the modern DS -- they don't have the unique pickup switching, do they? On the vintage DS you could put both pickups in and out of phase together. Since I got Strat Fever last year I don't play my old DS much anymore. I've considered selling it, but it has too much sentimental value to me to let go of.
     
  16. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2014
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    My two are both old ones, a '58 and a '63 Musicmaster. The old ones were 22.5" scale so they really are small, similar to a Squier Mini although the body is bigger. The MiM version from the 90s is the same scale (more or less). In 1964 they redesigned the Duo Donic to what we now think of as the Mustang body shape (the Mustang appeared at the same time, and was essentially a Duo with a vibrato) and was offered in 22.5 and 24" scale lengths. There was also a well received Squier Classic Vibe Duo with a 24" scale.

    The modern one is a kind of mash up of all the previous incarnations, but it's basically the 50s body with a 24"neck on it. I've not owner one but I've played half a dozen and really liked them. It's a lovely body shape, on the small side but it doesn't feel toy like to hold, and I don't find the 24" scale are all right - it's only 3/4" less than a Gibson. The originals are pretty tiny and I tune mine a bit differently to standard pitch.

    So I don't think you can go wrong with the modern ones - they're affordable, not too specialist, not too toylike but the compact dimensions should work well if you need something smaller than a Strat or Tele.

    Here are my two:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. thx712517

    thx712517 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    104
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    That's very encouraging, as I plan on swapping saddles and knowing it take Strat hardware makes it much easier.
     
  18. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    872
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Paris, France
    I love my 2016 Fender Duo Sonic Ofset (Made in Mexico).
    Easy to play seated. The stratocaster also has a top mounted jack socket, but it is more cumbersome and less easy to play seated.

    The neck is very comfortable, not too thin or narrow. The 24inches shortscale makes it easy to play if you are not a giant, no drawback.

    The satin polyester is nice, not matte, just a very smooth kind of satin. Very good look and feel.

    I use 10s' to compensate for the short scale, 10-52s presently, but regular 10-46 are OK. Factory is 9-42, it feels a bit light.

    The sadles are actually Fender Strat saddles.

    Finish and fretwork were very good out of the factory.

    The single coil pickups are very nice if you like a vintage clear single coil tone, not harsh. They are hum cancelling in the middle position, and standard strat dimensions.

    Yes , Fender locking tuners (or Schaller F series locking tuners) are direct replacement.

    The only negative thing was that the electronics were cheap and needed some work out of the box. That's not a dealbreaker for me as I can do this kind of easy work, and usally do it anyway...
     
    thx712517 likes this.
  19. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,126
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    My bad back is the reason I took the guitar back up after many years of gigging on drums and hauling PA gear (remember them giant scoops...and hundreds of pounds of class AB amp racks?). My Classic Vibe Duosonic may very well be <uh oh> my favorite guitar.

    Three barrel top loader, saddles were upgraded to Glendale Groovy 60s, pickups to Antiquities and pots/cap/jack replacement, bone nut. It's basswood, so acoustically it's a bit nasally, but it sings and chimes and growls when plugged into a Vox AC4 with a little goose from a boost.

    I find it very easy to play with 10s, I tried 11s to approximate a longer scale but just didn't feel right for me. It's slinky without getting pulled out of tune, just like butter! It's my pick it up and play it guitar as soon as I walk into my living room.
     
  20. spellcaster

    spellcaster Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    613
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Duncan, B.C.
    I have a pair of Duosonics - a Classic Vibe and a Squier Affinity. Both are thin-bodied so weight is not an issue. The Classic Vibe came with a maple fretboard, not my favourite and heavily cleared which I disliked. I changed the neck to a 71 Musicmaster 24" rosewood which was great. The Affinity is a 22.7" scale which has obvious limitations but would make a great travel guitar. Both guitars came stock with three barrel-saddle bridges and are best upgraded to a six saddle bridge, but get some benefit from compensated saddles.

    [​IMG]
     
    thx712517 and jayyj like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.