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After the 1950 introduction of the “Esquire” electric guitar in single- and double-pickup models, Fender Sales chief Don Randall decided that fall to give the dual-pickup version its own name. He duly dubbed it the “Broadcaster”—a revolutionary instrument with a newly developed truss rod system for easily adjustable neck stability, with a walnut “skunk stripe” to cover its installation through the back of the neck, and a walnut (or maple, sometimes) headstock plug where the rod was held in place. The guitar also featured a translucent blonde nitrocellulose finish that showcased the high-quality ash body, accented by a single-ply black phenolic pickguard. Notable early Broadcaster slingers included Bill Carson, Rex Gallion and Charlie Aldrich, and the distinctive new guitar steadily became popular with more and more professional players.
Yet despite its growing popularity, the Broadcaster was short lived—produced for only four months from October 1950 to January 1951. The reason: a trademark on the name held by the Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Corporation. The Broadcaster hence quickly acquired an unusual new name, beginning in earnest its fantastic and ongoing history as the Telecaster.
Those few original Broadcaster guitars are now the stuff of legend though, prized worldwide by players, collectors and aficionados who understand its pivotal role. For the Masterbuilt Limited 70th Anniversary Broadcaster, the Fender Custom Shop has recreated those original guitars in reverent homage to their original glory. With 70 of these guitars created in 2020, each Custom Shop master builder will put his own spin on a custom Relic finish, and each instrument will come with a 70th anniversary neck plate, original Broadcaster flier, Broadcaster telegram, special bi-fold certificate holder, and a Fat ’50s control assembly in the case.