1950 Fender

Color: Butterscotch Blond, Rating: 8.50, Sold (ID# 00291)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

The Beginning of It All... and They Got It Right First Time!

This great late 1950 Broadcaster weighs just 6.40 lbs. and has a nut width of just under 1 5/8 inches and a scale length of 25 1/2 inches. Solid ash body and one-piece fretted maple neck with 21 frets and black dot position markers. Headstock decal with "Fender" logo in silver with black outline with "BROADCASTER" in black beneath it. Single round button string tree. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons. The "D" style neck is marked at the end "TG" in pencil. There is no visible date on the end of the neck or in the neck cavity, which is quite consistent with the very first models released prior to fall 1950. Two single-coil pickups: original plain metal-cover pickup at neck with an output of 4.43k and a mid-1950s black six-polepiece pickup angled in bridgeplate with an output of 8.54k. Original five-screw black Bakelite pickguard with the usual large "ring" on the underside. Two controls (one volume, one pickup blender) plus three-way selector switch, all on metal plate adjoining pickguard. The potentiometers are dated "304 021" (Stackpole May, 1950). The three-way CRL 1452 switch with two patent numbers ("2291516" and "2291517"). Original tall chrome faint dome knobs with coarse knurled sides. The original round switch tip is branded "Daka Ware." Side-mounted jack socket with original heavy milled jack cup and a sharp inner edge. Three-saddle raised-sides bridge with brass saddles and through-body stringing. Base plate with serial number ("0866") stamped beneath "Fender Pat. Pend." The original snap-on bridge cover has the distinctive solder drop on the inner face. All the screws are single slot screws, including the truss-rod adjuster. As per the very earliest specifications, this example does not have the diagonal wire route between the neck pickup and the control cavity, and it does have a "ground hole" in the pot control cavity. The theory is that 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). The body only has a very old refinish (probably done in the 1960s). There are a few small marks on the back and edges of the guitar, and an area of wear on the top where the player's arm has rested. There is also a small piece missing from the headstock decal. There is considerable wear to the fretboard, and some moderate loss of varnish to the back of the neck, but, quite honestly, this is simply the best playing, and most comfortable neck we have ever had the pleasure of playing. One of our celebrity clients, who is a very well known aficionado of the Esquire/Broadcaster/ Nocaster/Telecaster, said exactly the same thing…

So to summarize...what we have here is an original 1950 (most probably October) Broadcaster with a neck to die for! The body has been refinished, almost certainly more than thirty years ago. This is one great guitar! It's the beginning of it all...and guess what -- they got it right first time! Housed in a later (circa 1957) Fender tweed case.

"Leo Fender was not entirely alone in his desire to create a solidbody electric guitar. But, crucially, his would be the first commercially available...Leo Fender's new solidbody was the instrument that we know now as the Fender Telecaster, effectively the world's first commercially successful solidbody electric guitar...The guitar was originally named the Fender Esquire and then the Fender Broadcaster, and it first went into production in 1950. It was a simple, effective instrument. It had a basic, single-cutaway, solid slab of ash for a body, with a screwed-on maple neck. Everything was geared to easy production. It had a slanted pickup mounted into a steel bridge-plate carrying three adjustable bridge-saddles, and the body was finished in a yellowish color known as blond. It was unadorned and like nothing else. It was ahead of its time. Production of the instrument began...during the first half of 1950. By November, despite serious cash-flow problems, the guitar had a truss-rod and two pickups, and a new name: the Fender Broadcaster. It did not prove immediately easy to sell. Prototypes taken to a music show were laughed at and disparagingly called canoe paddles or snow shovels...It was not an auspicious start for the solidbody electric guitar. However, time would reveal the Fender Broadcaster as one of the most historically significant musical instruments ever made" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of Fender, p. 10).

"The actual number of Broadcasters made remains subject to controversy, with quoted estimates ranging from 50 to 500 or more. Bearing in mind the tooling equipment and the workforce of the Fullerton factory in late 1950, it seems doubtful that more than 200 Broadcasters were actually made during the six months or so that the the model lasted. Besides, the United States had just entered into the Korean war (on June 30, 1950) and restrictions on materials like steel, copper and aluminium were gradually enforced for the production of most consumer durable goods. This may explain why, for instance, FENDER was having difficulties early on in procuring tuners from Kluson. Compared to the previous 2-pickup Esquire, the Broadcaster is characterized by a one-piece maple neck with an adjustable truss-rod. Owing to the method of installing the reinforcing rod (i.e. from the rear), the neck has a visible wood fill on the back spine (a.k.a. 'skunk stripe') and above the nut. On some of the earliest Broadcasters, however, Fender used maple -- for cosmetic purposes -- to fill in the truss-rod routings. At a distance, these guitars may look as if they were not fitted with a truss rod, like the earlier Esquire models. Otherwise, the ash-bodied Broadcaster has a small channel routed between the neck pocket and the rhythm pickup cavity to permit truss-rod adjustment" (A.R. Duchossoir, The Fender Telecaster, p. 12). According to the bridge plate numbers/neck dates: 1950-1954 section (p. 78) in Duchossoir, Broadcasters were somewhat haphazardly allocated serial numbers -- here are a few examples: "0017" (11-50); "0070" (10-50); "0683" (11-50); "0742" (12-50); "0743" (11-50); "1688" (2-51); "1899" (11-50); "2547" (11-50). There are only three Broadcasters listed with neck dates of 10-50 (serial numbers "0070," "0115," and "0298") because the majority of the first guitars did not have any dates.

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