A History of Broadway Guitars 

1962

 

Broadway Budget model (circa 1962)

Both without & with vibrato

A different version of the Guyatone manufactured Broadway became available in 1962. This model was not a solid mahogany model but instead, a cheaply constructed model, with a ply body, a bolt-on neck and a stenciled headstock decal that ‘cheapened’ the look of the guitar still further. The shape of the guitar had also been modified. This was most definitely a starter guitar at a budget price, once again marketed by importers and distributors, Rose Morris, using their in-house Broadway brand name.

The budget Broadway was available in both one and two pickup models, both with a 4- bolt on neck, fitted to the rear of the guitar with the usual neck plate, unlike the Plectric range. Two pickup models came with a tremolo unit fitted.

As with the earlier Plectric range, the main clue to their Guyatone origins are the fabulous, oversized, oval-ended, chrome single coil pickups; The headstock consisted of  a 6-in-a-line set of tuners, with white plastic tuning buttons and truss rod cover. The guitar’s paintwork is more red, than the Plectric range of bugundy/maroon.

The Broadway Budget model was available as a single pickup model, or two pickups (with the solo and rhythm controls found on the Plectric range.. The guitar was also available with, or without, a tremolo unit. The Guyatone  single-coil pickups,have a chrome pickup surround, the same as on the 'superior'  Plectric range.

The neck, with a rosewood fingerboard, was unbound and displayed the characteristic large 'Fender-style' headstock. There was no truss rod fitted within the neck (although a purely decorative truss rod cover was present, on the headstock) and the bridge was screwed into the body. Consequently,  there was little to help with adjustment to either the intonation, or to the guitar's playing action, other than by turning the thumb wheels which raised or lowered the bridge. By today's standards, even at the budget end of the guitar market, the Broadway Budget was just that. It was a cheap guitar with few features to help beginner guitarists to ease their way into playing, without experiencing a generally high action guitar! and sore fingers.



Thanks to Geoff Hall for the photos of the guitar he picked up at The Cats Protection League shop in Hythe in Kent for £15. The guitar, only lacking it's tremolo arm, sold for £99 on eBay and was then sold again for £210.








Guyatone LG-40 not Broadway!​

Although in pretty poor shape, the guitar (featured in the photo below) shows the plywood construction, having had it’s paint stripped and the typical Guyatone oversized pickups.

This is in fact a Guyatone LG-40, made in a similar way to the Broadway budget but eventually with slightly better appointments. The LG-40 had a bound body and neck (unlike the Broadway budget models) and also came with a different scratchplate shape and a trapeze tailpiece.

Indeed, the complexities of Guyatone's manufacture and export of guitars in the 1960s is exemplified when you come across a guitar owned by Brian Grieef, who lives in sunny Australia. Brian emailed to show me photos of his Guyatone Top Forty Twin, a rare bird from Guyatone's '60s range of available guitars in Oz. 



Brian has owned this guitar since purchasing it from new in 1960. The characteristic Guyatone pickups are present but on this model were gold plated. It has the characteristic shape of a Broadway Budget but the Top Forty Twin is, in fact, a  'souped-up' Guyatone LG-40, manufactured for the Australian market. There was also a Top Twenty Twin model available. Briam paid £20AUS for the guitar and also purchased a Broadway amplifier. The amp was very well-played over its 35 years of life but eventually ended up in the bin! To achieve more volume, Brian connected a cable from its speaker to a radiuo chassis, with a 12" speaker. The photo (below) shows Brian with his Top Forty Twin and his Broadway amp (just behind his legs) with extension cabinet.

Brian's Top Forty Twin is in lovely condition, although due to a warped neck, is totally unplayable. It's certainly worthy of inclusion here, due to its similarities to the Broadway Budget range and as a reference to other Guyatone enthusiasts. The sunburst finish is not, I believe, a common or available option in the UK and the gold plated pickups were certainly not. Many thanks to Brian for submitting this great piece of information.

 

Bell Music of Epsom offered this guitar in their available range for £20, as shown in their 1962 catalogue page. The photo was kindly provided by Ray Liffen. 

The four photos above (with palm fronds) were kindly supplied by Mark Harvey. The guitar is in very nice condition, although missing a string tree and tremolo arm.​

This series of photos was taken by Andy in Leeds, who was selling this Budget model on eBay (sold for £99 in December 2012) The tremolo arm is unusual and is probably a replacement, although we know that these Guyatone guitars show considerable variation in parts used and the arm, in this case, is similar certainly in keeping with other Guyatone models and similar MIJ guitars from the same period. Thanks to Andy for the photos of the guitar and the case, unusually covered in mock croc skin!

The two images (below) are of a very clean Broadway Budget guitar, acquired by Timothy Didymus. Timothy's guitar suffers only from the general lack of quality control exercised by the makers of these guitars and suffers from poor playability, especially further up the neck nearer to the bridge.  The guitar has a missing string tree and tremolo arm (a common problem on secondhand guitars) yt it's in pretty good condition for a 40+ year old. It appeared on eBay, obtaining a final selling amount of £71.51 in August 2012.

This guitar found it's way onto eBay in October 2011, selling for £77. Unusually it had a string tree, so often absent for Broadway budget guitars. String trees are an important part of any guitar, as removing a string tree changes the angle of the string from the nut to the tuning peg. The nut is usually cut at a specific angle for the string tree and removal can cause the guitar's intonation to go out and over time, the string will start to re-cut the nut to a new angle. Until the 'discovery' of this photo on eBay in September of 2011, the actual likenes of a Broadway string tree was not entirely known! It confirms that the string tree is  abar type, similar to those found on other Japanese guitar of the time.

The guitar on the left reached £155 on eBay in February 2013. It had a case, all original fittings but alas, no tremolo arm.



The Broadway Budget on the right had a tremolo added at some point onto a white plastic plate. The tremolo is not original. Despite not having a case and having a changed control knob, it reached £138 in March 2013.





The Broadway Budget on the left, was purchased, as a brand new guitar, in early 1966 at Timmermans muziekinstrumenten in Amsterdam, despite the model being launched in 1962. It was owned by Fred Friskes from the Netherlands. However, the guitar was destroyed by fire and the owner, for sentimental reasons, purchased a replacement in 2019!



The 'new' Broadway Budget is in excellent condition but interestingly, has a gold decal on the headstock. This is certainly not the norm and is something of a rarity.

Acknowledgements to Fred for providing the images and background story.