Fender Sonoran SCE

Sporting a Stratocaster headstock and a lively Lake Placid Blue finish, the Sonoran SCE is my pick for the hippest looking guitar in the Roundup. Construction throughout this cutaway dreadnought is air tight. The paint is cleanly applied with no ripples, dimples, or splotches, and the glossy polyurethane finish on the back of the mahogany neck is smooth as silk. Similarly, the Sonoran’s interior bracing is amazingly clean, with nary a sign of slop or excess glue, and the wiring for the onboard preamp is neatly bundled and safely out of the way. The nut is darn near expertly cut, and the frets, although not perfect, are very nicely done with just a tiny bit of edginess.
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The Sonoran’s neck shape is definitely more on the electric side of things, as its profile is slim and easy to get around on.

The guitar’s acoustic tone is extremely even, with a very lean low end that belies the larger body size. The overall volume is not as gushing as one would expect—especially when laying into the guitar with some heavy strumming—as the Sonoran compresses big time. The top-end is very sweet, however, and the string-to-string clarity made clustered arpeggios and dense chord voicings speak clear and clean.

Plugged in, the Sonoran was very easy to dial in, and the 3-band EQ didn’t really need drastic cuts or boosts to get a good sound. Bumping up the Bass control did help bolster the skinny low end somewhat, but it’s not a cure-all if you’re looking for the typical dreadnought thump. Still, the Sonoran’s amplified tones yielded very little piezo ugliness, even as I upped the Treble slider to pull a tad more sheen from the guitar’s slightly subdued high-end response. Not bad. Nice tones, excellent construction, and cool looking to boot.