The Fender Broadcaster
Broadcast: "to transmit; to make known over a wide area."
The Fender Broadcaster was developed in 1949 by Clarence Leo Fender and George Fullerton in a shop in Fullerton, California. It was designed for simplicity in building and repairing: Leo wanted an electric instrument that would have less feedback than acoustic/electric models.
The Broadcaster was the first production solidbody guitar. The bodies of the early ones were finished in blond nitrocellulose lacquer on ash wood and a one-piece maple neck sprayed with clear lacquer. Few early necks lack truss rods or the contrasting wood stripe down the back of the neck.
The distinctive characteristics are a black single-layer phenolic pickguard and a three-way switch that selects a combination of bridge and neck pickups. The pickups were hand-wound (a.k.a. scatter winding), giving every pickup a unique sound. The bridge pickup is slanted to give vitality to the bass strings when picking near the bridge. It has flush polepieces and it is wound with 42 plain-enamel magnet wire. The bobbins were made from vulcanized fiber and .625" x .197" Alnico rod magnets. The neck pickup was wound with 43 plain-enamel and has a deeply drawn cover many players used as a substitute for an extra fret. The original wiring had a "blend pot" used with the lever switch, which gave the instrument several distinct tones. The combination bridge and pickup assembly patent was applied for on January 13, 1950, and granted on October 30, 1951. Even though Fender was given patent number 2,573,254, the unit continued to say "Fender Pat. Pend." and the serial number of the instrument for some time. The serial numbers were not sequential so it didn't mean an earlier number was an older instrument.
The round lever switch knob has a recessed top; the Volume and Tone controls have a knurl that's easy to wrap a finger around for volume swells. The three adjustable bridge saddles are made form 5/16" brass rod. The neck has 21 frets, four wood screws that attach the neck to the body, and six in-line Kluson tuning keys. The round string tree keeps the angle of the B and E strings closer to the headstock to the strings won't slip out of the nut or cause string vibrations. All the hardware screws are slotted rather than Phillips-head. The Fender Logo was a brush-script type, nicknamed the spaghetti logo, in silver with black trim.
Because of its simplicity, ruggedness, and tones, the Broadcaster (renamed the Telecaster in August of 1951) has been a favorite for country, rock, blues, rockabilly, jazz and many other styles of playing. They are great for doing pedal-steel bends like Jerry Donahue, blues like Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins, country like Albert Lee and Jimmy Bryant, and great all-around playing like Danny Gatton. — Seymour W. Duncan
For nearly 20 years, the Vintage Guitar magazine Hall of Fame has been honoring the players, innovators, and instruments that have made a difference in the history of the guitar. Who and what goes into the Hall has always been determined by the readers of VG.
Submit names and/or instruments you think deserve recognition in any or all categories — Instrument, Player, Innovator and the new VG Hall of Fame Record of the Year. CLICK HERE and let us know who and what you think should be nominated.
Submitting a nomination makes you eligible to win one of five D'Addario prize packages with a 10-pack of Compression Spring Mono Cables strings, a Compression Spring Mono Cable, a headstock chromatic tuner, a guitar rest, and a string winder!
Deadline for nominations is August 13, 2012. Check the November issue of VG or this page September 4 to see which finalists make the ballot, then place your votes!