Robert Stuart / Blog

1964 Duo Sonic

About that first guitar I bought myself…a 1964 Fender Duo Sonic in Olympic white (turned yellow and cracked like an alligator’s hide)…I had it in high school and jammed with a few friends (Billy Mason on drums and Mike Gailfoil on bass) but never played out. I had it with me at the University of Florida in Gainesville for my freshmen and sophomore years. Had a great band called “The Rob and Bob Bathroom Blues Band” and we played dorm floor parties – basically every weekend. Bob was from Miami and lived next door with his roommate, Frank. We’d set up in the huge dorm hall bathroom and opened the doors and cranked it up. Mostly slow blues we’d just riff off of…I used “White Punks on Dope” form a bunch of long jams. Then back to the beach and the guitar never saw the light of day for ten years. Fast forward to 1995: Christmas time. My daughter was ten months old and I’d just lost my job. Hated to do it, but I had to sell the Duo Sonic. This was before the days of eBay and Craig’s list. I had to buy an ad in the paper. At least I could order the ad on the phone and use my credit card to pay for it. I advertised the guitar for $400, firm and had very few calls. Only one real serious punter….I gave him directions and we arranged a time on a Saturday morning. He got there a little early and had his toe headed son in tow. “It’s for my son” he explained when I pointed out that the guitar was a ¾ scale. I could see the boy drool over the nitrate celluloid tortoise shell pickguard and crackle Olympic white. In 1995, old guitars were just starting to find fashion and this kid seemed ahead of his time. “So, you like the guitar?” I asked the kid. “Yes sir” he replied but with reservation that came from his dad telling him not to like it too much so he could bid me down. “His uncle on his mother’s side is a professional musician.” Dad informed me and the kid was picking away on the ancient and rusty strings which hadn’t been changed in a least ten years. “You got an amp so we can see how it sounds?” “No, sorry” “Does it play?” “It does have some crackle in the tone and volume knobs…nothing a little WD40 can’t fix…” I replied, “but it’s a closet find, as is and no guarantee. But, if you it doesn’t work and you want your money back, I’ll take it back. I’ve been getting a bunch of calls on it.” I bluffed. “$400?” “Yes” “You take $350?” “No, $400 firm….it’s a 1964 Fender…all original…a classic” And the money changed hands and I watched my little Duo Sonic get carried out by a little toe headed kid. Good thing this was a small guitar. The kid was little…but played like a pro... Many years later, I look back and can’t help wonder if that kid wasn’t a little Derek Trucks.