In 1955, Fender Sales decided the company needed to add inexpensive student electric guitar models to the existing lineup, which included the Esquire, the Telecaster, the Stratocaster, and the Precision bass. These new beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short-scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic sharedthe same double-cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22-½" scale, one-piece maple necks. The Musicmaster had Telecaster-style volume and tone knobs for its neck-position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic boasted an added bridge pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959, Fender added rosewood fretboards to the maple necks, matching the change to the rest of the Fender line. Thick, single-ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option.
The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.

Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the "big boy" Fenders and Gibsons.

More information on these Fender guitars can be found in Fender: The Sound Heard ’Round the World by Richard R. Smith, and inThe Fender Bookby Tony Bacon and Paul Day.

Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ collection is tended to by
Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally
Photos and words by Tim Mullally
Dave’s collection is on display at:
Dave's Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601