John Frusciante’s 1965 Fender Duo-Sonic

This guitar was seen in some photos taken at John’s place presumably sometime in the early 2000s.

What can be concluded from the photos is that the guitar is most likely an early to mid-1960s Fender Duo-Sonic finished in white, featuring two single-coil pickups, and a stop-tail bridge.

Used to write Under the Bridge?

According to an interview that JFEffects did with Dave Lee, John’s guitar tech, this guitar was actually used by John to write Under the Bridge. As Dave explained, a kid approached the band staff, and asked for John, saying that he would like to give him his old guitar back.

When John showed up later, we kind of flippantly told him the story, and gave him the guitar. John took it. Looked at it. And quietly smiled and said “wow”. I said “Why wow?”. Then John said, “I wrote Under the Bridge on this guitar”. We never saw that kid again.”

Dave Mail 50: The amazing story of the ’65 Duo Sonic

If the story is indeed true, it’s without a doubt pretty amazing. It would mean that the Duo-Sonic somehow survived in LA from 1989 to the early 2000s and managed to end up with someone who was kind enough to just simply hand it back, and without even shaking John’s hand, or taking a photo – which one would assume would be the main goal of most people in such a scenario.

It would be pretty nice for this story to find any photos from the late 80s or early 90s, which shows John using the guitar. If you happen to come across one, please be sure to post it in the comments.


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6 months ago

John also owned/owns a CBS era Mustang in Dakota Red. Used on To Record Only Water for Ten Days a bunch while his Strats were in storage for use on tour. He also used it a bunch with the Mars Volta.

Damien Venditti
Damien Venditti
4 years ago
5 years ago

Acording to Dave Lee the Duo Sonic was used to write under the bridge