The Fender Broadcaster Home

1950 Fender Broadcaster Guitar  

(details from CFH at provide.net)

Description: 1950 Fender Broadcaster (Telecaster) guitar
Collectibility Rating: A+
Production: no official (or unofficial) production numbers available.
General Comments:
The Fender Broadcaster (Telecaster or Tele) guitar is one of the most popular solidbody electric guitar ever made, and is the solidbody guitar that started it all. Early models (pre-1965, known as "pre-CBS" models, since CBS bought Fender in January 1965) are the most collectible. Originality and condition are the two most important features of a vintage Fender guitar, and Fender Broadcaster, Esquires and Telecasters (Teles) do seem to have been easily modified (due to their "bolt together" nature).

The first Fender solidbody model, the Esquire, lasted (in name only) from June 1950 to October 1950. This model name was replaced by the "Broadcaster", which lasted (in name only) from the October 1950 to January 1951. The majority of Broadcasters have body and neck dates of November 1950 and usually have a serial number of 0xxx or 00xx (the latest Broadcaster serial number i have heard of was in the 08xx range and the earliest documented is serial number 0005), but 12/50 and 01/51 Broadcasters do exist. All Broadcasters have truss rods, where many 1950 Esquires often have no truss rod.

Serial number range for the 1950 Fender Broadcaster are generally 0001 to 2000 (stamped into the bridge plate). If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Broadcaster, use the serial number and the general features of the guitar. The serial number is located on the bridge until mid-1954, when it was moved to the back metal neck plate. See the Fender Serial Number Info web page for help determining the year.

October 1950 Fender Broadcaster guitar specs:

  • Ash body 1.75" thick with Butterscotch Blond finish.
  • Maple one piece neck, all with truss rods. Sometimes the truss rod plug behind the nut on the peghead face is maple instead of walnut.
  • Peghead truss rod plug is more rounded.
  • Neck backshape feel was a large rounded "D" style neck. The fingerboard had a 7.25" fingerboard radius with small (.078" wide) frets (though a 9" radius Broadcaster has been documented).
  • Round button string tree (1st month models don't have one).
  • Silver "spaghetti" peghead Fender decal with black trim.
  • Flat pole pickup in treble position and two wire notches in the black pickup base.
  • Lead pickup has a tin (or sometimes copper) baseplate used for ground.
  • Pickup windings cover with white string (which often looks black from the wax pickup potting).
  • Knurled chrome plated brass knobs with a semi-flat top.
  • Chrome covered pickup in neck position.
  • Black vulcanized fiber (often called "bakelite") pickguard, clear coated with lacquer (though one white fiber pickguard Broadcaster is documented).
  • Four digit serial number on bridge plate, starting with "00" or "0"
  • Round Dak-a-Ware switch tip.
  • Two patent number 3-way switch CRL 1452 (2291516, 2291517).
  • Stackpole pots (manufacturer number 304).
  • Blend control pickup wiring (no tone control).
  • Often the rear string ferrels are not aligned.
  • Steel bridge saddles till November 1950, then brass with flat bottoms.
  • Body date in neck pocket.
  • All screws have slot heads (including the truss rod adjuster).
  • Many Broadcasters bodies do not have the diagonal wire route between the neck pickup and the control cavity. This route was added to allow easier drilling and mounting of the neck pickup's wire to the control cavity. Instead a long drill bit was used to drill a hole thru the truss rod adjustment channel in the neck pocket, thru the neck pickup route, down the center of the body, to the lead pickup.
  • Many Broadcasters also have a "ground hole" in the pot control cavity. The theory is this hole is drilled from the bridge plate/pickup route to the pot control cavity, but was not used (since a separate ground wire is not needed for the bridge, due to the design of the bridge pickup mounting screws and bridge pickup ground plate, and how the guitar was wired to the bridge pickup). Other stories for this hole is it's a "nail hole" (as used in 1959 and later Teles), or the hole comes from the screw-tip augar drill bit used to drill the side jack hole.
  • Brown rectangle Cornell Dubilier paper tone capacitor and brown tube paper tone caps used.
  • Kluson Deluxe tuners with "Kluson Deluxe" in a single vertical line (aka "single line"), no second hole on side of gear shell (for the tuner peg), "pat. pend" on side bottom side of gear shell.
  • Milled chrome plated brass jack cup with ribbing on sides to hold jack inside the body hole - no other attachment method used.
  • A guess is that about 200 Broadcasters were made, before changing to the "NoCaster".
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