My guitar collection - G&L


“A Broadcaster!”, I hear you say. “Is that not a famed Fender model from the early ‘50s?” Yes, it is. As A.R. Duchossoir relates in “The Fender Telecaster”, when Leo Fender and George Fullerton, built their first 2-pickup electric guitar intended for mass production (see US Pat. Des. 164,227, filed by Leo on April 23, 1951), they christened it Broadcaster. However, Gretsch happened to have a trademark (‘Broadkaster’) for a drum kit and took umbrage to Fender using something too close for comfort. Hence, the Fender company was forced to rename the guitar and settled on Telecaster.

Move the clock forward about 35 years to 1985. Neither Leo nor George had been associated with CBS-Fender, let alone Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), for many years. Since the start of G&L, they have been working hard to build “the best instruments Leo ever made” (to paraphrase a the 1988 ad campaign pictured below). With plant manager Lloyd Chewning, Vice-President of Marketing and Sales Dale Hyatt, a long time Leo Fender associate, developed the Broadcaster mainly to placate dealers who wanted more traditional “Leo Fender” instruments. They could name the model as such since Gretsch had let the trademark expire. This shrewdly name updated Telecaster style guitar has a soft maple body with Black finish, 2 Jumbo Magnetic Field Design (MFD) single-coil pickups, single-ply plastic black pickguard, black powder-coated Locktight (Saddle-Lock) bridge, black powder-coated control panel with Broadcaster wiring harness (3-position pickup selector, volume, and tone) underneath, and hard-rock maple neck with 7½” radius fingerboard and matching black headstock with black anodized G&L branded closed tuning machines. The only non-black item visible from the front is the maple fingerboard, making this guitar one of only 300 Broadcaster with such a board. For more information on the G&L Broadcaster, do a search and find many entries on sites like Harmony Central and Telecaster user groups. Or just check out this Rarebird page on the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website.

Incidentally, at least as of 2007, Gretsch still holds the “Broadkaster” trademark (again).


BROADCASTER w/Maple Fingerboard

The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

Neck date:

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This is a story of friends and fellow aficionados. The first person featured is Bryan Griffith, one of the best photographers I know. His beautiful compositions featuring guitars in his collection have graced many a post on the (old) GbL. The stand-out for me always has been his Broadcaster w/maple fingerboard. And in our correspondence, he never failed to mention how good that guitar sounds. I did not know what he was talking about until I got my Broadcaster w/ebony fingerboard just after Christmas 2009. And my ears opened up. Now I wanted one with a maple board too. Since Bryan did not want to sell his, the question remained where to find one.

Enter Gary Maki, a fellow collector with whom I have had several transactions now. When he sold me his ASAT ’50, he also showed me some other pieces he wanted to sell in the future. Amongst them this Broadcaster, never played, still with the original box! The “never played” went out the window when it arrived. And I could not put her down, she sounds so amazing. Undoubtedly the whole “voodoo” of playing a New Old Stock instrument has a lot to do with it. It is slightly brighter than its younger (by about 2 months) sibling. The neck date is August 7, 1985 and the hang tag lists August 14, 1985 as her birthday; the same day Leo inspected the guitar and left his signature!

The story behind this guitar



AUG 7 1985


D’Addario EXL110 Nickel Wound Regular Light (10-46)