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70 years later, the Fender Broadcaster is back

There are only believed to be about 250 examples of the original Fender Broadcaster – Fender's first solid body electric guitar with a truss rod and two pickups.

A few months after its release in 1950, Gretsch, which owned the BroadKaster trademark, took legal action and ended Fender’s use of the name. This led to the “Nocaster” period in early 1951, when Fender snipped the Broadcaster decal from the headstock of the guitars, and then to the model being renamed the Telecaster that summer.

Now, Fender has revived the original two-pickup guitar with the 70th Anniversary Broadcaster.

Features on the new model include an ash body with a Blackguard Blonde lacquer finish, “U”-shaped one-piece maple neck with a 7.25” radius fingerboard and 21 vintage-tall frets and Custom Shop-designed '50-'51 Blackguard pickups.

Aesthetic touches include a period-correct black phenolic pickguard, ‘50s Broadcaster spaghetti logo and an anniversary neck plate.

While the guitar’s controls are wired for standard Tele operation, an optional original Broadcaster wiring kit, included in the case, can be installed to replicate the "blend" circuit used in original Broadcasters.

The 70th Anniversary Broadcaster is limited to production in 2020 only, and is available with an embroidered case and a custom COA for $1,999.99.

Additionally, the Fender Custom Shop (opens in new tab) is offering a Limited Edition 70th Anniversary Broadcaster model, featuring a two-piece select ash body with an off-center 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.

The Custom Shop version is available in four aging packages: NOS Time Capsule, Journeyman Relic, Relic and Heavy Relic, all finished in the original “flash coat” lacquer.

For more information, head to Fender (opens in new tab).

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.