Broadcasters, No Names and Telecasters

Tazatator, THE Word Monger
November 17, 2014

Leo Fender liked to fish. There is no questioning a number of his life and business
philosophies. The influence of the electric guitar immortalizes Leo. Others who
endeavored to be first to the market changed the world. When the Telecaster was
first introduced, it was in the thick of this.
These genius world changers included Les Paul, Adolph Rickenbacher, Paul Bigsby, Semie Mosrite, Fred Gretsch, George Fullerton and Leo Fender along with many unknown engineers, musicians and artists. Les Paul’s prototype “Log” was accepted by Gibson after 10 years. Paul Bigsby, a machinist, hand built an instrument for Merle Travis, who paid $2300.00 for the maple bodied forerunner in 1947. This instrument foreshadowed the Fender headstock and Les Paul body shape. Many sources say Rickenbacker’s “frying pan” is the first electric guitar; patented in 1934.
Fender’s first production guitar was dubbed the Broadcaster. The familiar Telecaster shape was born, as well as a sound and feel known and loved everywhere. The design was easy to service, modify and maintain. The Broadcaster was well received by musicians. Multiple music genres were now blasted with a smorgasbord of sound. In the midst, Leo gets notice from Fred Gretsch. Might have been like this:

“Hello Leo, Fred Gretsch here. Congratulations on your recent pursuits”.
“Thanks Fred. I never miss anything as much as a day on the lake. You’re doing great from what I hear. What’s on your mind?”
“It’s your Broadcaster name. We’re selling drums and they’re called “Broadkasters”.”
“Um yeah Fred, that is a problem. The guitar is also selling well. I’ll rename it. You were there first.”

The Fender “Broadcaster” was sold with or without a model name. Fender produced and sold “no names” before the “Telecaster” name was applied. When the “Telecaster” decal appeared with the Fender “spaghetti logo”, they were part of a fundamental change in musical art beyond measure. Our society is forever indebted to the genius of Leo Fender and the Telecaster.


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