Fender Sonoran SCE Review (2019)

Quick Review:Fender Sonoran SCE is a show-off not just with its looks, but with its features. It raises the bar for steel-string electro-acoustic guitars at sub-$500. Great for beginning guitar players, but also a good backup and practice guitar for professional guitarists. Given its price and features, it’s a great buy.

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One of the best guitars in its class and price, the Fender Sonoran SCE is another great Fender guitar worthy to be reviewed. Though I played it for quite some time now, I’m still happy and satisfied with such a great purchase. And, so, every time I play with it, I can feel the urge to share with you my experience.

As much as I could, I’ll give you some in-depth review on the craftsmanship, the playability and the tonal quality of this instrument. Likewise, I’ll include the downsides of this guitar for you to be warned.

fender sonoran sce full body
photos provided by FMIC

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Pros
  • Incredibly gorgeous and has a much better sound
  • Has very good action and stays in tune so well
  • Extremely a great deal for its price with the great headstock, binding, pickup and all
  • Excellent built quality; seems to last longer

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Cons
  • Looks might not fit everyone’s preference
  • For professionals, the onboard preamp may be lacking
  • Cut-out feature produces balanced sound, but with less bass
  • Tuners look cheap plastic, yet, very easy to replace

I don’t know how Fender crafted such a great guitar with interesting features and offered at a price everyone can afford. Hence, for you to know what I’m talking about, I’ll give a thorough discussion of why this guitar is one of the best in the market.

Its construction is top-notched, using only the finest and reliable material in the market. The design and the controls onboard complete the puzzle — giving you a complete beginner and practice guitar. I’ll discuss a bit of the playability and of course, the sound it produces.

Craftsmanship and Design

Fender Sonoran SCE has a dreadnought cutaway design of the body made of a solid Spruce top with laminated mahogany back and sides. These give utmost comfort and eye-catching appearance of the guitar. The top has the scalloped X-brace system to reinforce the top material to avoid damaging the guitar.

fender sonoran sce body
photos provided by FMIC

Aside from giving an attractive guitar (Lake Placid Blue finish), the material being used is carefully selected to give the best sound quality you can get in an electro-acoustic guitar. I especially like the vintage-inspired three-ply pickguard, since it’s designed to keep the guitar pick from the gorgeous body of the guitar.

It has a glossy maple neck with slim soft “C” profile and rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. With the deep cutaway design, it’s very easy to get even the higher frets. The vintage-style Fender “Viking” bridge is made of rosewood, which is also quite a reliable one.

This comes with a nut width of 1.69-inch, which is the standard mid-width neck. I like it very much along with its scale length of 25.3-inch, an inch longer than a Stratocaster (measured from end pin to the headstock pin).

fender sonoran sce headstock
photos provided by FMIC

Like most guitars in the California Series, it has a colorful glossy finish headstock that matches the body color. However, I’m a little worried about the tuners as they seem to be made of cheap plastic. Luckily, you can easily replace them. If you are a beginner, it’s better to have a guitar tech or a luthier do it for you. It’s better than having problems for an incorrect replacement of the tuners.

For most Fender electro-acoustic guitars, you can see Fishman electronics onboard. And, I’m not surprised that the Fender Sonoran SCE comes with the Fishman Isys III pickup/preamp system. You can see this in more affordable guitars like this. But, it’s wonderful and I love it!

fender sonoran sce fishman
photos provided by FMIC

You can also see a simple control panel with volume controls, 3-band EQ and built-in digital tuner. It has an under-saddle piezo-type tone, which is a good and strong output, especially at a gig and open mics.

Playable and Comfortable Neck

To get the utmost playability and performance of your guitar, there are two things you need to consider — action and neck. If you’ve noticed, the neck is made of maple, which isn’t common to acoustic, but to electric guitars. So, if you’re looking for an acoustic guitar that plays like an electric guitar — of course, except the strings — go for a Sonoran SCE.

Have I mentioned that the neck is thin? Yes, I did mention in the previous section that it has a slim soft “C” neck and it feels easily familiar to anyone, even to those who are just beginning. Because of the bracing, you get an excellent weight-to-strength ratio of the top wood and the laminated mahogany back, so it’s lightweight and very comfortable to play.

fender sonoran sce headstock back
photos provided by FMIC

As I’ve talked about what I think about Sonoran, some people like the action to be a bit high, yet, still very easy to play. If you like the action to be that way, it’s fine. Yet, if you want a lower action, you can have a professional luthier to do it for you.

Since the fretboard is made of rosewood, you’ll definitely have good material for the fretboard. Since the fret edges are well-polished, you can do fast play and play throughout the day without any problem. The D’Addario strings are reliable and stay in tune well for quite some time. So, it’s a really good guitar for anyone at any skill level.

Sound

Acoustically, this electro-acoustic guitar sounds great. Whether you plug it into an external gear or not, you’ll get full and rich tone, which can be attributed to the Spruce top and mahogany build. Specifically, the laminated mahogany gives warm and bright sound, especially the mid-tones. While the Spruce top allows more resonance.

The cut-out body slightly reduces the bass sound, which some players may not like. But, if you’re the kind of player who wants less bass in your music, this is a great instrument for you. You’re guaranteed of a well-balanced sound, and to my ears, it’s really among the great-sounding instruments at its price.

I’ll just reiterate that the tuning pegs look cheap with a glossy look. And, although it can keep the guitar in tune for quite some time, you don’t know when it’ll break. You should change the tuning pegs upfront.

While it doesn’t have that signature sound unique to it, given the materials used, it’s a guitar with great tonality. It’s durable enough to handle hard strumming and fingerpicking without losing its poise and vibrancy.

Value for Money

A well-rounded guitar offered at a fairly low price, the Fender Sonoran SCE is a great purchase. At a price perfect for beginners, professional players can now have a backup instrument that has the potential on stage, as well.

fender sonoran sce
photos provided by FMIC

If you are performing often, it’s important to keep an eye on the tuners as they seem cheap. Additionally, if you don’t want the higher action of this guitar, you also need to have a professional guitar tech lower it for you. This is to avoid any problem while you’re playing or performing in front of the crowd.

It’s perfect for blues, rock, country, pop and so on. So, your possibility of this electro-acoustic guitar is endless. It’s time to make it yours!

Verdict

Overall, the Fender Sonoran SCE is a great purchase if you want to weigh its features against its price. You’ll get a versatile guitar, which beginners can learn from and which seasoned players can create complex chord combinations. With an ideal neck, great material for the body and the fretboard, this instrument accommodates different players and different playing styles and techniques.

However, you might want to check the tuners and the action first, if they work to your advantage. These are a few of my concerns. If you want to keep it, you’ll have a great guitar to last longer.

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