Sonoran SCE Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 12/21/2013 category: Acoustic Guitars
Fender: Sonoran SCE
Part of Fender's California Series, the Sonoran SCE features a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides and a cutaway body. Fender CE-301 active on-board preamp. Other features include a Fender Stratocaster headstock shape, Fender tight dreadnought body shape, white dot inlays, checkerboard rosette, soft "V" shaped neck, multiple body bindings, and a black pickguard.
 Sound: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.4
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 8.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.6 
 Users rating:
 8.9 
 Votes:
 102 
reviews (5) pictures (7) 20 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
Sonoran SCE Reviewed by: q1w2e4r4, on november 19, 2008
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Features: The Fender Sonoran, one of the latest great things to come from Fender, have reportedly been flying off the shelves since their conception - and with good reason. The Sonoran has 20 frets, scalloped bracing, a 'traditional' bridge and the typical smooth, thin and hardy Fender neck. The output is in the bottom strap knob. It has the brilliant single-cutaway acoustic/electric Fender style dreadnought body, a solid-spruce top, and, of course, the kickass Fender headstock that makes it instantly recognisable. // 10

Sound: My father came over and had a play on it - when it comes to acoustics, he plays lots of blues, where I have more of a Folk-esque tendancy. This guitar satisfied both our styles, and he has decided to order one for himself to replace his Monterey. It has a great full, strong sound, and will undoubtedly be the guitar I'll use next time I'm recording if I need an acoustic. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I like my action as low as it will go without generating any buzzing, so we're thinking of modding the bridge. But all in all, it's a Fender. It's not low-quality. It's not bad-sounding. Nothing is flawed, nothing is loose. It's perfect and flawless, as any Fender should be, and nothing on this guitar was disappointing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Short of smashing this, Townshend-style, I would suspect this guitar will still be playable when in the hands of your grandchildren. I would not be suprised if I still owned this very guitar in 20 years. I've yet to gig with it, having only owned it for less than a day, but, as I've mentioned so many times, it's a Fender, so it's not going to fall apart when you strum it. And if you through this in front of a speeding truck, rest assured this guitar will not come out worse, or your money back! // 9

Overall Impression: If this guitar was lost, I wouldn't be getting another straight away. I'd have to wait until they mail me one. But, were I in a city, I would be sprinting to my nearest music room and demanding one if it were stolen. The Sonoran suits all styles, whether you're Paul Simon, Don McLean or Gary Moore. It truly is a Fender masterpiece, and one of their finer acoustic guitars, and at an affordable price, you could do a hell of a lot worse. // 10

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overall: 8.4
Sonoran SCE Reviewed by: gonegonegone, on february 12, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Music123

Features: Made in China in 2006, part of Fender's new California series. It has an electric style, "v shape" neck with 21 jumbo frets, rosewood fretboard and a distinctive Strat headstock; 1-5/8" nut width. Laminated mahogany back, sides, and neck. Solid spruce top. It's a single cutaway dreadnought with Folk-style narrow shoulders. It has a Fender CE-301 Active On-Board Preamp; with volume, bass, mid, and treble controls. It also has cool chrome Vintage tuners, white binding on the body, unique rosewood bridge, and a checkboard pattern rosette. // 9

Sound: It makes a good, bright, full acoustic sound. I usually don't play it with amps. I only got the electronics because it was only $50 more, usually an elctro model is a lot more than one w/o electronics. So I've only used it a few time with amps, and it sounds pretty decent. It still gives a good sound, but it could be better. But if you plug it in, with the volue turned up, it'll make a horrible high pitched ringing sound, so don't do that. The 3 band EQ gives it some variety, but not a lot. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got the guitar, it was great. The action was good, the finish was clean, the tuners were shiny. But after a while all went bad. I left it at home and left for college. When I got back a few months later, it all went bad. I changed the strings and the action was all messed up. It's really low at the head end of the neck, and high at the body. (gap changes from 2mm to 8mm) I need to take it to a shop. I also noticed a small blemish on the pickguard, not a big deal, but it's annoying. And also now the tuners, which you used to be able to see yourself in, are now all cloudy. They aren't quite tarnished, but bad. I don't want to try to polish it, and rub off whatever's left of the chrome. But everything that got messed up is all cosmetic or fixable, the rest of the guitar is as good as when I got it. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar can definitely withstand live playing. It's built solid. the hardware is great, holds a tune nicely. The strap buttons are good, but there's only one at the base of the guitar. You'll need a longer strap and a way to connect it to the head if you want to play standing. I can depend on it, and have and will gig without a backup. The finish is high quality, the finish is still shiny, and hasn't dulled at all, even where my arm rubs when I play. // 9

Overall Impression: It defintely suits my style; I mainly play Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Jack Johnson, Sufjan Stevens, and other acoustic/folky stuff; Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Decemberists, etc. I've been playing for a few years, but this is the first acoustic I've ever owned. If it was stolen, I'd probably buy it again. It's a good value for the money. I really like the distinctive and Vintage look of it. The V-shaped neck is slimmer than most acoustics, so it makes playing easier. The Strat headstock and Vintage tuners definitely make some people double take. I've compared it to the Malibu SCE and Kingman SCE, both also on the California series. They all sound basically the same, but the electronics get better with each model. Overall, it's a great value for the money, a great guitar. // 9

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overall: 9
Sonoran SCE Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 04, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 500

Purchased from: Allan's Music

Features: I got this guitar a few years ago now, and the man at the store said it was a very new Fender model, now with a traditional Fender headstock and gold scratchplate. I have no idea when it was made, but it was made in China. It was a very decent price, one of the cheapest solid-tops in the store, and this is a big store. It has a natural finish on a good sized body, and very nice wood has been used. The neck is unlike that of many Acoustic guitars, almost resembling a traditional Fender electric style neck. This makes it very easy to play for someone like me who has mainly played electric guitars. It has a traditional style bridge, and is fitted with electronics, including level and a three band EQ. // 10

Sound: This guitar is suited to many different music styles. It has a quite bight sound which is suited to many different genres. I play mostly basic fingerstyle, but also Acoustic blues and some slide guitar. It handles these all equally well. I have plugged the guitar in only a few times, and it has worked very well. The graphic EQ works very well to change between a wide variety of sounds. I rarely plug Acoustic guitars in, but I have even tried using slight overdrive on it for a roots music kind of sound, and was pleasing for this as well. Overall, I'd say this is a good guitar for those who play numerous musical styles, but are on a budget. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: This is what let this guitar down. I've found other people dislike the action on this guitar, but I like it, as I generally play with very high action. With heavier strings (12-52 or more), this guitar can also do slide guitar very well. The only real problem I have had was the intonation. I know this can be changed, but I was quite disappointed when I started down-tuning the guitar to find that the intonation is very poorly set up. It might not be a problem with all Sonorans, but it couldn't be overlooked on this particular one. Apart from that, everything is just fine as it was from the factory, but the intonation is definitely worth checking out before you had over the money. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I have found this guitar to be very reliable. I have found with Fenders, especially their cheaper models, that some budget copies have given them a run for their money. Fenders, in my experience are generally of exceptional quality only when you start paying more money for them. For this guitar, that is not the case. It is incredibly well made, everything is where it should be and nothing has broken. This guitar will take whatever you can throw at it, and then some. The build of this guitar is where it excels, and it could easily beat some much more expensive guitars for its quality. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, I love this guitar. It sounds good both on its own and through an amp. I have been playing guitar now for over 8 years, and have been using this guitar for the last few, and I don't think it will be replaced soon. If it were stolen? Well, because of financial problems, I would be reluctant to buy anything more expensive, and I find it is definitely a leader within its price range. Most other guitars I compared it with were in the same price-range, and were had laminated tops. The only issue I have is the intonation, although this is easily fixed, it would be much preferred if it came set up a bit better from the factory. Overall, a very good buy. // 9

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overall: 9
Sonoran SCE Reviewed by: Jorup, on september 10, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 255

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: A solid spruce top Fender Sonoran SCE with mahogany back and sides, a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets, single cutaway and rigged with a Fishmann Isys III Preamp. The Fishmann preamp comes with a volume knob, bass, middle and treble knobs and a built-in tuner. The Sonoran has a thin, easy and smooth 41mm bone nut width neck. An acoustic guitar with the profile of an electric guitar. Classic Fender. And of course the gorgeous headstock which just makes the guitar look so much more beautiful. // 9

Sound: I play a lot of folk, blues and rock and this guitar suits my style perfectly. It's just a really versatile guitar with so many possibilities, maybe not the perfect guitar for slide guitar-playing but it works for sure. The Sonoran gives a rich and kind of bright sound and it's quite loud unplugged. If I have to be picky I have to say that I would want a little more depth and a little more warmth. It's not that noticeable but sometimes when I play more bluesish riffs and blues Chord progressions I'd like a really thick warm feel to it. I'm not saying it's flat but I tend to be a little picky. I haven't really put the preamp to the test just yet. I have played with it plugged in to a Peavey Vypyr 15 and I can't complain about the outcome. All and all though, soundwise it's a real boss. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I ordered my Sonoran from the German site Thomann.de and got it in 4-5 business days and it was ready to play right out of the box. It was set with Fender Dura-Tone Coated 80/20 Bronze strings and just needed some tuning. I took a thorough look at the guitar to see if there where any cracks, scratches or dents in the paintjob but could not find anything. Everything looked really good. The action is low and doesn't generate any fretbuzz anywhere on the neck. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The first time I picked it up out of the box I knew it was in it for the long haul. Wouldn't be surprised if I will pass this down to my children in 15 years. Even though it is one of Fenders cheaper acoustic guitars it is built to withstand your playing for a long time. It's a Fender and I trust them to give me their standards even at this price range. I haven't gigged with it yet but I am very positive that it will be my best friend on stage when the time comes. I think though I will invest in some solid strap-locks, I don't know if it's my strap that's getting old and worn but it has come of one or two times. Luckily my reflexes are insane... The finish feels really solid and nicely thick. I don't think it will come of unless I do it by hand, play like a maniac or clean it with bleach and a blowtorch. // 9

Overall Impression: I have played for about 7 years now and through my guitar "career" I have mostly played electric. But this summer I decided to invest in an acoustic guitar. I set my Price range at 300 euros and searched the web and the local music stores. I came across a lot of different brands and guitars but one day I set my foot in a store in Gothenburg and saw the Fender Sonoran Candy Apple Red and I just knew that this was the one. I have dealed and played with Fender many times and I really like their building quality and style. Yes, there are some guitars on the market in this price range that might give a better sound than the Sonoran. But none so beautiful and ergonomically perfect. At least in my opinion of course. It's really fun and easy to play with and as I mentioned before, it's versatility gives it an awesome character. I store my guitars in my room on guitar hangers and the Sonoran is really holds a significant wow-factor. If someone would steal it I would definitely buy it again. In that price range, this was my favourite choice. Are you looking for a guitar in that price range? Then I would recommend this guitar for you. But hey, everyone is different so I recommend you either way to go out in stores and try different brands and guitars. The guitar chooses you! // 9

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overall: 7
Sonoran SCE Reviewed by: nielsl54, on december 21, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 360

Features: Made in china Fender Sonoran from the California series. 20 frets, cutaway, Dreadnought body, built in tuner, and an amazing and unique look. I got mine in Lake Placid blue and I just love the colour. The headstock is the classic fender design. Maple neck, rosewood fretboard. 4 knobs: volume, bass, treble and middle. From Fender website: Fender Stratocaster Headstock Shape, Matching Painted Headstock, Fender Tight Dreadnought Body Shape, Dual Action Truss Rod, "Viking" Fender Bridge, Factory Mounted Forward Strap Button with Internal Block Reinforcement, White Dot Inlays, Checkerboard Rosette, Vintage "C" Shaped Neck, Multiple Body Bindings, Bone Nut and Saddle. // 7

Sound: I mostly play it unplugged, and use it for practicing new songs. It has a very bright clean tone, like Fenders tend to have. I put some electric guitar strings on it, for low action because I also use it for practicing the songs I want to play on my electric guitars. I have heard it with acoustic strings too, and I'm impressed with the sound considering the price. I play everything from John Mayer to Queens Of The Stone Age. The guitar itself is good for playing blues and pop/rock music but can play most acoustic stuff. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: The strings that was on it when I got it was very poor and really ruined its great sound, but I knew that a new set of strings would make it amazing. The neck is very smooth and comfortable, and gives you a lot of freedom. The tuners on mine are incredibly reliable. Only con is that the body seem a little weak because of the wood used. The guitar was set up well from where I got it, and I did not have to change anything. It seems though that the higher strings tends to die faster than the lower strings. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have played live with it a couple of times without problems. It stays in tune, and has a good tone. If you turn the volume knob all the way up, it will start to make noise but it is not necessary. The finish seems to be as good as new, and the only place where it wore of was caused by me, when I tried to change a string. I am no acoustic expert but my taste in music keeps getting wider, and the acoustic music I know can easily be played on this beautiful guitar. I heard the Fishmann system was good and for me there has been no problems if the volume knob is kept at a reasonable level. The last gig I played with it was in a bar with a stage for about 150-200 people. 5 people I didn't know came and complimented me and my band on the sound, and our playing. // 7

Overall Impression: I am really happy with this guitar, and even though I have treated it very poorly there are almost no sign of use. I have been playing 5 years and it is my first and only acoustic. I have a LTD Viper 200-Fm and a Fender Strat 97 USA. The neck is so comfortable and the guitar has great playablity for an instrument worth 360$. For some players the sound may be a little to thin and clear, but that varies from player to player. It is a great beginner acoustic. I have never been a big fan of fenders cheaper guitars, especially not the Fender Squiers who I always found uncomfortable playing. Even though this is an acoustic it allows you to play very fast and allows you to add fills and licks instead of just strumming C-Chords all day. // 7

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