It’s 1950 and Leo Fender has launched the legendary Broadcaster. A producing about 250 of them, Gretsch pursues a legal action against Leo Fender to end the use of the name due to a conflict with its own Broadkaster model. These original two-pickup models pre-dated the Telecaster name and are now considered the holy grail of the classic Fender model. This year, Fender celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Broadcaster in style.
70th Anniversary Broadcaster
What may at first look like a plain old ’50s style Telecaster is actually a homage to the original run of Tele when it was still sold under the Broadcaster name. This instrument was designed to be a reliable workhorse, with no frills and a very workmanlike look. Nowadays, we love the T-Style guitars and for good reason, as they sound amazing through a good amplifier, being both versatile and solid.
Fender announced this new model back during Winter NAMM 2020. This limited run is now starting to hit dealers, so you can go out and grab one. The guitar has an ash body and comes finished in what Fender is calling a vintage-style Blackguard Blonde lacquer.
There’s a meaty ‘U’-shaped one-piece maple neck with a 7.25” radius fingerboard loaded with 21 vintage-tall frets. I’m a huge fan of U-shape necks and they feature on many of the guitars I own. But I know not everyone gets on with such a chunky neck. If you can, the reward is superb tone and great stability.
The Broadcaster is sports a set of vintage voiced Custom Shop-designed ’50-’51 Blackguard pickups. Where these limited edition runs get interesting for me is that they ship with an alternative wiring setup. They come factory wired up as a standard Telecaster. However you also get an optional Broadcaster wiring kit included, so that it can be installed to replicate the pickup ‘blend’ circuit used in the 1950 originals. A nice touch and one I would appreciate, if I were to buy one.
Custom aged or not?
The Fender 70th Anniversary Broadcaster is available in two limited editions and four different ageing packages throughout 2020. The standard edition is made available with an embroidered case at $1999.99.
The Custom Shop version comes in a Faded Nocaster Blonde finish, with a two-piece select ash body that has an off-centre seam, a one-piece rift-sawn maple neck with a 1950 Broadcaster profile and hand-wound ’50-’51 Blackguard pickups with ’51 modded Nocaster wiring. These come in either NOS Time Capsule, Journeyman Relic, Relic or Heavy Relic finish options. Every one of these is finished in the original ‘flash coat’ lacquer.