As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 18 Winter 2021 – Women in the Music Industry
There’s a dream that most players mutually share whenever they pick up their axe; for their playing to be heard as an extension of themselves while simultaneously being appreciated for the music they create. Every note ringing out into the air like walking on warm sand, and every chord strummed like salty ocean water crashing into the shores. I wonder if that’s what the creators of the Fender Sonoran Mini Acoustic Guitar felt when designing this little instrument.
A guitar like the Sonoran Mini is one of those instruments you can really hold close to your chest, letting the sounds created by your fingertips ring out into your heart (at least that’s what I felt in these moments of contemplation). When I first held the Sonoran Mini, I couldn’t help but notice the sticker inside the soundhole that proudly states: “Designed in California.” I’ve never actually been to California, but what’s interesting is that “new guitar smell” has a hint of salt like beachy waters. I assume it’s because of how the instrument is shipped, or it could be the sheer excitement of playing an instrument from a land that seems so far away; regardless, it’s a tranquil thought that, in the moment, made me want to hop in a car and drive until I saw the West Coast. For the sake of this review, we are going to take a look into the Fender Sonoran Mini in the Natural Finish.
I immediately noticed how small the guitar is (being at a ¾ size) and thought of all the possible ways that the Sonoran Mini would sound. Typically guitars of this stature and cut sound almost “childish” in a sense where it sounds like a toy from a department store rather than a serious instrument. This happens because the size of the instrument is scaled down, but the strings typically remain the same in width, which can create a “dull” effect to the tone. This sound is all right for beginners simply because as long as the player is learning, they will understand the difference in tone later in their journey. For someone who has more experience, I humbly cannot express how different the sound you get out of the Sonoran Mini is compared to other ¾ type guitars.
For starters, the top of the body is made out of spruce, and the sides and back are made out of mahogany, topped with a satin finish. With this combination, the wood allows the sound to open up, giving a much richer tone. Not to mention, the material the guitar is made out of will expand over time, making the tone richer throughout the years. This instrument has the “X” scalloped bracing allowing for this small guitar to have more projection, more clarity, richer tone, and a nice ring of sustain.
The fretboard is walnut instead of the more sought-after Pau Ferro. I am not upset with the choice of walnut because it makes the instrument more affordable, but when I did tricks like bending and hammer-ons, the material rubbed up against the strings feeling a little rough as if I was bending my strings too much as to cause them to break. However, walnut is not as dense, making playing chords softer on the hands. The headstock is the classic Fender 6-in-line headstock, paying homage to the vintage Fender design. We must not forget the golden pickguard, adding a nice touch to the overall look of the instrument.
And when it comes to body design, the Sonoran Mini was designed so players can have more comfort when playing, especially women, which I respect. Let’s face it; guitars can be a challenge when your chest is well-endowed.
As far as recommendations, this guitar can appeal to many different players. It’s a great beginner guitar for adults and an ideal student guitar if a parent wants something nicer for their child to grow with. The projection from this guitar will instill more confidence in the rising young star. Even the pickiest minimalists who live the van lifestyle will find the small travel size appealing without sacrificing quality.
There you have it. If you want a small guitar that’s easy to travel with and sounds like a champ, the Fender Sonoran Mini is the axe for you!
For more information and full specifications, visit fender.com.