My guitar collection - G&L


In the entry for this guitar in the Registry of the Guitars by Leo (GbL) website, the previous owner used the term “replica Broadcaster”. But what is a “replica Broadcaster” or “fake Broadcaster”? Well, it is a long story starting around 1993, just after BBE Sound, Inc. took over operations at G&L. It involves some rogue employees, a young and brash son of a higher-up, and a man nicknamed “Rhino”. Only 868 Broadcasters were produced between May 1985 and May 1986, so the model became collectible right off the bat. Since the intended production total of 1,500 was never reached, there was a large surplus of items like decals, inspection stickers, preprinted envelopes and COA cards, and especially neck plates with ‘BC’ formatted serial numbers. In the relative vacuum of the ownership transition, some saw an opportunity to make a quick buck by building replica Broadcaster and selling them through the backdoor. However, they were not all too careful and made many mistakes which enables one to suss out these replica with relative ease. Here are 19 pointers of use in determining whether a Broadcaster is original or not:

  1. 1.Most importantly, is it present in Dale Hyatt’s original sales log? If a Broadcaster’s S/N corresponds with an empty row, it should not exist. There are several forums listed in the References/Links which can be of help to get access to the relevant sales log entry. Just do not ask G&L directly because their copy is “cooked” and hence unreliable.

  2. 2.The case is supposed to be a black tolex G&G hard shell case with a black so-called monkey fur inner lining and gold piping. G&L transitioned to thermoplastic cases right after BBE Sound, Inc. took over. Rumor has it pre-BBE OHSC provider G&G still received incidental orders for “old style” cases with these very specific specs well into the BBE-era. If a seller claims a G&G case with white piping to be the OHSC for a Broadcaster, one should be on ones qui vive.

  3. 3.Inside the case one might find an envelope with a card acting as a Certificate of Authenticity. All original Broadcaster COA cards have have their serial number typed, not handwritten. The latter may be indicative of it being filled out much later.

  4. 4.Provenance provided by Ken Hyatt with S/N BC00002 states only 57 Broadcasters w/Kahler. If one happens to find one, it is legit for a rather mundane reason. Gary Kahler had closed up shop during the 1990s, right around the “replica era”. And when he restarted his enterprise, the units looked slightly different making it impossible for a replica to be exact.

  5. 5.The pickguard material on an original is bakelite, a thermoplastic turning rather dull over time quite unlike modern single-ply shiny black plastic pickguards. In addition, these later guards are thicker, .090” instead of .075” for a vintage guard, measured with a ±.002” uncertainty. When this came to the attention of the perpetrators, replicas got a “corrected” guard.

  6. 6.The finish of an original is completely nitro whereas many replicas have a polyurethane topcoat. The latter is harder and has a glassy appearance compared to nitro. Later replicas got a proper nitro finish. One can test for nitro using either paint thinner or acetone. Nitro will soften almost immediately whereas polyurethane will not be affected. Of course please do such an experiment in a “non-visible” place on the guitar, e.g. around the neck pocket. But there is an alternative approach related to the body typically being 2- or 3-piece. If the body is not allowed to cure and dry properly before going through the planer, the area around the glue interface(s) have a tendency to swell. Since a nitro finish shrinks over time, tiny ridges appear over the seam, maybe no more than a mil (.001”) high, visible under beneficial lighting conditions when holding the guitar at certain angles.

  7. 7.The bridge and control panel should be black powder-coated, not black anodized. The former has a rough surface texture, the latter is smooth. Again, some later replicas may have undergone a “correction”.

  8. 8.The countersunk output jack of an original is recessed below the body surface to a varying degree due to production involving a lot of handwork. But the bottom of the serrated jack flange and/or felt spacer should not to be flush with the body like on an ASAT (Special). This is again something easily corrected when building a replica.

  9. 9.In case of an ebony fingerboard, it should be a thin veneer glued to the maple neck, about ³⁄₁₆” thick, convex at the top, concave at the bottom, both with a 7½” radius. Compliant with production techniques used in 1993, replicas tend to have a thicker veneer with a flat bottom. Although the replica veneer later got a concave bottom, the thickness is usually incorrect and larger.

  10. 10.In the appropriate case, the fingerboard wood should be unstained ebony, not e.g. stained rosewood. The pores in the wood grain are quite different between these 2 species. Several Broadcasters w/rosewood board are listed in the GbL Registry. However, guitars with such a board were only offered from 1988 onwards while certain bass models had been available with such a board since 1983. So if you see rosewood on a Broadcaster, caveat emptor!

  11. 11.Different fretwire was used at different times. In particular, the fret height on many a replica differs from an original, with the latter being about .020” lower when comparing frets at the end of the fingerboard which are least likely to have been redressed.

  12. 12.The bullet truss rod should first be just that, a bullet truss rod, and second be in the correct location. Due to changes in the manufacturing process, a 1992 or later neck has a more gentle rounding behind the nut leading to the bullet nut being further away from it. In other words, there is more wood between nut and nut.

Whereas the points above are all about the exterior of the guitar, for the next pointers the guitar needs to be partially disassembled:

  1. 13.With the pickguard off to check for pointer 5 above, no routed channels between the pickup cavities and the control cavity should be present. These channels are standard on any and all BBE-era non-special top ASAT models except for the early John Jorgenson Signature model with a transparent guard. Also this got corrected on later replicas.

  2. 14.The pickups on an original have plain enamel (PE) coated wire whereas a replica has wire with a polysol insulation, commensurate with the production techniques during the 2 periods. PE appears a dark purple whereas polysol is golden brown. Although impossible to detect from the outside, it is a very important indicator which only got corrected late in the “age of the replicas”. And even when PE wire was used, these newer Jumbo MFD pickups have a higher DC-R value, typically 5kΩ and above, compared to those on an original with DC-R values around 4.6kΩ-4.9kΩ.

  3. 15.The CTS pots used in the wiring harness have to be from mid-1984 to mid-1985 as evidenced by their date stamps. If these do not start with “R13784##” or “R13785##”, you know it is a replica. Note that when this came to the attention of the perpetrators, the attics at G&L were raided looking for old pots in unused wiring harnesses. But many of those found have date stamps preceding 1984 since they were intended to be used on the SC/HG series of guitars.

  4. 16.All originals have a 200pF±10% ceramic disc treble bleed capacitor on the volume pot. A value of 20pF matches one used on an ASAT from the first half of 1987, not a Broadcaster!

  5. 17.The date stamp found on the neck heel is made with a different stamp machine, or worse handwritten, and hence its font and number layout are incorrect. Except for this Broadcaster w/Kahler & ebony board, none of my other Broadcasters have a date stamp in the neck pocket. Just check the date on the inspection sticker!

  6. 18.That inspection sticker found in the neck pocket is signed by Leo Fender alright, but although many times the same employee backdated the sticker, they may also have been filled out by a different person. Check out each genuine Broadcasters on this site and note that for all but one, the handwriting on the inspection sticker, which I believe to be Gene Engelhart’s, is very uniform in style, ink, and pressure used. Compare that with the sticker in the neck pocket of the Broadcaster w/Kahler & maple board filled out by Leo Crabtree. You get the idea.

  7. 19.The body wood of an original is always maple whereas replicas, especially the early ones, frequently have an alder body or even ash. When this was pointed out, maple was used on all later replicas.

Below is pictorial evidence S/N BC00075 through BC00092 are all replicas. The same is true for BC00910, which was sold on Reverb in March 2019 and moved to Australia. The inspection sticker for the latter looks like an original, again with what I think is Gene’s handwriting, but then one notices several discrepancies. There is also evidence the “fake Broadcaster” was produced well into the 2000s. Although one might argue the last one was produced as late as 2018. However, this time it was for all to see by following either the CLF Research group on Facebook and/or the reposts on the GbL site. Look in “Project fake Broadcaster” in the Posts section of the References/Links for a list of installments.



The story behind this guitar


Serial number:

Neck date:

Body date:


Now I know a little more about Broadcasters, it has been easier to suss out some replicas offered online. It was always the hope a suitable replica could be added to the collection such that any differences with an original Broadcaster can be shared in pictorial fashion. As stated above, BC00910 escaped me. So I contacted the owner of the single entry in the GbL Registry explicitly called out as a “replica Broadcaster”, S/N BC00088, a renowned collector who shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent. Even more, the first owner before the current seller is also a well known (former) collector with deep ties to the G&L universe. And since the shady origins of this guitar were only discovered after it had changed hands, not in the least due to some sleuthing by Greg Gagliano and Gabe Dellevigne, one should not assume that first owner had any prior knowledge of this fact. Indeed, this one is a tough one to suss out and has many “corrections” mentioned above applied. Hence it is unlike to be an early replica. Below in the pictures all but point 4 are addressed and it demonstrates this guitar passes many of them. Although not pointed out above, pre-BBE date stamps in the pocket and on the neck heel are hardly ever for the same day. Necks were always the constraining item in the build pipeline. So in general, with only few exceptions, a neck heel stamp will be for a later date compared to the neck pocket. The fact that the dates here are exactly the same is suspect in and by itself. That the one on the heel is handwritten makes it all even more suspect. If this were the genuine article, these dates would have made it one of the very first Broadcasters built; no other registered Broadcaster for which dates are provided precedes these. Even then, the CTS potentiometer dates do not jibe with these body and neck dates at all. The pots are from about a year later and the wiring harness matches the discrepancy mentioned in point 16 above. If one does not pay attention, it is hard to keep all the twiddly bits consistent to make the “undetectable” replica. But one should realize these replicas are still true G&L’s, i.e. it is not some outside party producing a total rip-off. The same people were involved, operating the same machines, in the same factory. And I have heard statements by people familiar with both that the production quality of a fake is better than that of an original! So although it may not represent the same market value, it is still a great ASAT to play. This “fake Broadcaster” is no exception.

The story behind this guitar



4-5-85 (written), marked ‘BRD’, ‘2’


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