A History of Broadway Guitars
Fuelled by the music reaching us from across the airwaves, via our crystal sets or old valve and transistor radios, the sound of pop or rock n'roll music played on an electric guitar, quickly captured our imagination. And like so many other youngster, caught posing with a tennis racket guitar whilst miming to Eddie Cochran or Hank B. Marvin of The Shadows, my parents soon came to realise that the purchase of an electric guitar was going to be my priority.
At some point in 1962 and like hundreds of others, I sent off for a couple of guitar mail order catalogues from Bell Musical Instruments of Surbiton in Surrey, who regularly advertised in the Sunday Express or New Musical Express. Over the following weeks, I spent hours perusing the glossy pages of seemingly unaffordable guitars, working out which one I wanted but more importantly, how I was ever going to raise the necessary money needed. I shouldn't have worried so much! The outcome was a combined early birthday and Christmas present of a Broadway Plectric 1921, a solid body one pickup electric guitar. It arrived with a Selmer 'Little Giant' 4-watt amplifier in 'mock croc skin', along with a leather guitar strap, some pitch pipe tuners and a copy of Bert Weedon's 'Play In A Day'; a perfect starter pack! My lifelong obsession with playing and collecting guitars had unknowingly begun.
And so, for nostalgic and sentimental reasons, I have set out to pay homage to this make of guitar, which helped spawn generations of other British guitarists. It also attempts to help others piece together a little bit of UK music history. The history of the Broadway guitar only extends throughout it's short production period of between 1959 and 1963 but Broadway guitars have, in recent years, become quite collectable items. Moreover, they are still comparatively affordable, if you are patient enough to wait for one to turn up in your local second hand shop or to appear on eBay!.
I hope this Broadway guitar site now provides some considerable level of detail, to help fill in the knowledge gaps about this guitar brand of the '60s and perhaps it might re-kindle some fond memories from other guitar players who 'cut their teeth' on a Broadway guitar or, like myself, are still in possession of one (or two!).
Undoubtedly, the Broadway guitar has a justified place in the British rock n'roll Hall of Fame!