Since the launch of the website, a good number of people have contacted, sharing their experiences of owning a Broadway and often sending photos of their guitar. It's been interesting, to say the least and obviously the Broadway still holds very fond memories for a lot of people. If you have a Broadway, or had one and wish to share with others your memories, please feel free to make a contribution to this area. It all adds to the history of this guitar!
Broadway in Denmark
Henning Nør wrote from Copenhagen, Denmark, after discovering this website. He had been searching the internet for information on Broadway guitars and had discovered Reg Godwin' s old site just before its closure but little else. Henning has tracked down his Broadway Plectric 1927 model, which he purchased in 1961 or 1962 for 450 DKK (which is around £50). Clearly the guitar was more expensive in Denmark than here in the UK. At the time, newcomers and amateurs in Denmark seemed to mostly purchase Höfner solids but Henning was enticed by the Broadway shape, which resembled the Fender Jazzmaster which, although beyond his price range, was nonetheles his dream guitar.
"I mounted a normal jack socket, instead of the 'mini' it was fitted with. I also removed the rings around the pickups, which I thought gave it a better look. I played it for a year or so. It became a kind of love/hate relationship. I liked the guitar but became a little tired of its broad neck. However, it had a very good tremolo but the arm got tired and fell out many times. I therefore made another one and had the arm and its base threaded. That helped for a while".
Henning went onto a Burns Split Sonic and then finally got his Jazzmaster. His Broadway was stolen from a wardrobe during a gig (but not before being fitted with three more strings, Andy Thielman-like!) and that, as they say, was that!
However, this website has given Henning one additional surprise. "In my first band, where I played with three schoolmates-two guitars, bass and drums- both guitars played through the same amp, belonging to the other guy. I then played on an Egmond guitar. I have now found out that the shared little amp, which I thought was homemade, was in fact a Broadway amp!
Henning has provided a few photos of his old band- The Jokers (below , left). And that's Henning, second from left on the old Egmond. The photo (centre) shows another of himself on his Broadway Plectric 1927. The final photo (far right) shows his band, 'The Strangers', on their way to a gig in Denmark in 1963. The Broadway is safely wrapped in a foam-lined bag, made by Henning's mother! Is Mrs. Nør,perhaps, waving them goodbye from the window above?!
The Strangers (shown above) now displayed Henning's Broadway Plectric with a black scratchplate and Fender Stratocaster knobs.
However, the most amazing and probably the most unique piece of Henning's memorabilia, is a piece of 8mm film of Henning and The Strangers playing at a giant monthly event, known as The Young Aalborg. The ball attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 teenagers from Aalborg into a huge congress; The Trade Fair Hall.
The wonderful clip (below) captures Henning playing his Broadway Plectric 1927 with The Strangers and it's his lead guitar that features. And some lovely playing it is too!
Broadway into the '80s
Steve East wrote to me after discovering the website and sent some photos of himself, clutching his Broaway Plectric 1922 model. Steve was (and indeed still is) a big fan of guitarist, Andy Summers, best known for his contribution to top British band The Police (Steve's t-shirt reflects both the time and the fan!). Steve's secondhand Broadway received some add-ons, notably a Tune-O-Matic bridge and a brass tailpiece. It also went on to receive a red coat of paint and then,in 1987, a re-spray of Burgundy Mist (a '60s Fender custom colour). Still in Steve's possession, the guitar has ben relegated to the 'project for a rainy day' pile, as it requires a re-fret and most of the circuitry.
However, Steve has fond memories of his first electric guitar. He states, "In January 1982, I purchased my Broadway, along with a 5-watt Kay amplifier, for the princely sum of £25. I can still recall the excitement of strapping on an electric guitar for the first time. I was thrilled to bits owning that Broadway. Today, 67 guitars (mostly Gibson and Fender) and 29 years later, that memory is still crystal clear. However my progress as a budding guitarist was painfully slow- I couldn't play more than a handful of basic chords, until 1984 when I could afford a different and dare I say, a more playable guitar. The problem was that my Broadway was worn out- the previous owner(s) had played it to death! The fingerboard was so heavily pitted in the open chord positions that my fingers became trapeze artists. The white-buttoned, open back tuners were abysmal- the guitar just would not hold tune- and as for the electrics- they worked sometimes. Regardless of all of its foibles, I still loved it!"
Mark Harvey's Broadway collection
Mark Harvey has a really great collection of Broadway guitars; a Budget model and two Broadway Plectric 1927 models, with tremolos. One of the latter has a headstock more often associated with the Budget, being a water-decal Broadway logo and not a plastic logo. It's a late '63 model and demonstrates the wide variation of parts used in later production guitars from Guyatone who were cutting costs. Guitar bodies only were imported from the Guyatone factory and other parts were fitted in the UK, where parts were sourced from many places. Many thanks to Mark for submitting the photos and for others of his that I've used and which can be seen scattered around this website.
Old Broadway brought back to life!
So, I took the collection of bits, which used to be a guitar to a luthier, Tom Waghorn, in Bristol and asked him to make it playable again. He didn't know what it might be either. While waiting for it to be restored, I have become more interested to know more about it and have spent time Google-ing Watkins and other guitars. And thanks to your site, now I know. If I had known the model before, I might have tried to get it restored more closely back to the original spec- but as I write, the re-build is already nearly complete and within a few more weeks I will be able to revisit my youth and play my first electric guitar again- which is a very exciting prospect. I have no doubt that Tom will make it into a playable instrument- but it won't be a restoration in the traditional sense. It will have the original pickups but all-new electronics and knobs, new white scratchplate, nut, tuning machine heads and will be finished as natural wood, with an oil rubbed finish.
Alec and Tom were unaware that independent of each other they had found the guitar's true identity and that Tom had been in contact with me for a template for a Broadway scratchplate for a Plectric 1922 second generation guitar.
And some weeks later, Alec sent some photos of the finished guitar. 30+ years later, Alec's guitar is restored and Tom Waghorn's work is fabulous. The guitar looks splendid, with a beautiful natural mahogany finish and I'm assured that it "plays great".
John's Tailpiece Tale
John Adams sent the photo (above) and the following history associated with it.
" My first electric guitar was a Broadway, bought along with a 5-watt practice amp (in red leatherette) from Mill Hill Corner, in those days a secondhand shop, in Derby. I guess it was about 1965 or 1966; for the first time ever my parents went away and left me and my older sister at home alone. Having started work, I had saved a bit of money but not enough for a new guitar. So I whilst they were away, I went on a hunt for a used guitar and came home with the Broadway.
With a couple of pals, we formed a group. We bought a secondhand amp (with my money) from an electronics shop on The Spot, in Derby. I think they were called RCS. The amp was a Linear L30, I recall. Next I bought a couple of 25w 12" speakers from Potts, on Babbington Lane, Derby (still going strong and as helpful as ever) and from chipboard made up a LS cabinet, with black Fablon covering; the front being Rexene covered. Our only claim to fame being that we played at Alan Bate's brothers 21st birthday party in Allestree, Derby. Happy days! This must have been in 1967/68. The only picture I have of that guitar is attached- just black and white, I'm afraid. It includes both amps too, taken in the back garden. I no longer have the Broadway but regret disposing of it now. It would be interesting to know if the knobs and 'rear' scratchplate were original."
The 'rear' scratchplate is most certainly a handmade adornment! The tremolo unit appears to have shifted in it's original placement and is closer to the bridge, for some reason. It's possible that the 'new' extended tailpiece scratchplate served to cover the mounting screw holes left in the guitar bodywork! The knobs appear to be replacements also. The guitar is a nice Broadway P[lectric 1927 but not with the 'skinny' pickups found on later 2nd generation models, so would date the guitar from late 1962. John's recollection was of the guitar having a high action. Of course, these things weren't considered too much in those days, especially to a budding guitar hero. As John rightly points out, "You played it as it came". Many thanks to John for this interesting contribution to the website.
Tony's Tale of the '60s Scene in Harrow
Tony Hall wrote to tell of the days he was associated with the Broadway name. Still gigging but now using Fender Telecasters and amps, Tony tells the tale of how it was!
"In 1960/61, I had a band in Pinner, Middlesex called 'The Phantoms'. I played a Hofner twin pickup Colorama, with volume and tone controls through a Zenith amp (12" Goodmans speaker). The bass player also had a Colorama, played through a small Broadway amp. Around 1962, my mate Pete Beckley had a Futurama three-pickup guitar played through a twin-speakered Broadway. This was quite a powerful amp and the lugging of it around the corner, to where we practiced, was entrusted to his girlfriend! This amp had tremolo, as well as the two speakers. As I remember, they started off sounding OK on a gig but their rather poor output transformers eventually let them down.
Tony also had a Broadway guitar, a Plectric 1922 model and he has sent a few photos of it. Many thanks to Tony for this contribution and its interesting to note that the Broadway amps included a twin speaker version with tremolo. Gradually, some sort of history of the Broadway amplifier range is beginning to emerge.
Tony went on to play with a number of bands in the Harrow area, including The Bones, an R n'B outfit , Johnny Bowden's Nightshift, The VIPs, The Starfires and Rolling On. Interestingly, Tony and myself also share the same sort of background, inasmuch that I was born in nearby Wealdstone and like Tony drooled at guitars in the window of a piano shop in Wealdstone High Street, where Tony purchased his Hofner Colorama. We also frequented Harry Shoffmann's secondhand and pawn shop, just on the Harrow side of Wealdstone Bridge, which was always well stocked with guitars of the time and quite probably worth a fortune in today's market! Harry's shop was a small stone's throw from Harrow & Wealdstone's famous Railway Hotel (photo below), where The High Numbers (re-named The Who) had their early gigs at the Tuesday R&B nights, before hit singles and international fame whisked them away!
One thing's for certain. When you acquire an old Broadway, invariably there's always something that needs doing to it. Whether it needs a missing tremolo arm, a replacement machine head, a re-fret or something more drastic, you can probably rest assured that a minor, or major, restoration is just around the corner!
Rob Cloke took on more of a restoration than most of us would begin to attempt on his Broadway Plectric 2nd generation 1927 model. Rob, who is a huge Shadows fan, acquired the Broadway as Brian Rankin (who was to become Hank B. Marvin) used to play one. That was certainly news to me. Rob was confident and keen enough to get the guitar back into playing condition and so a new fret board was added (this time with the fret position markers in the conventional places and not as Guyatone have them on their Broadway models. The fretboard, once removed, showed the metal bracing running down the length of the neck.
The final finished guitar is shown (below) and whilst not authentically restored (note the red paintwork, black headstock and changed knobs), it is now fully playable again. The headstock has a reproduction plastic logo in place as a crowning adornment to Rob's restoration, which I was able to supply. After all, nobody likes a no-name guitar!
More Broadway Memories
Graham Orbell contacted and sent over a photo of himself playing his nice shiny Broadway Plectric 1922 model, which he purchased secondhand from Kitchen's of Leeds, for the princely sum of 15 guineas (that's £15 and 15 shillings in old money, or £15.30p in decimal!) Like most of us, Broadway was Graham's first electric guitar and evokes some fond memories. Since then, Graham has had 40 or 50 other guitars pass through his hands over the years. Thanks for sending this in, Graham!
I was appraoched by Tom Waghorn, a luthier in Bristol, to see if I could help with a project he had undertaken. His client had a Broadway, which by all accounts was in a pretty poor shape and he'd been asked to bring it back to a playable condition. Tom asked if I could supply him with a plastic 'repro' Broadway headstock logo and a template for a scratchplate, as a new one had to be cut. Tom had only just identified the guitar, by stumbling across this website, as he and the client were unsure of the brand and Burns, Watkins and others were considered possibilities. Then, quite independently, Alec Stansfield wrote to me and he turned out to be the guitar's owner. The guitar has quite a story attached to it.
Alec takes up the story. "I stumbled across your wonderful website whilst trying to find out about my first electric guitar, which thanks to your photographs, I can for the first time in 43 years, name as a Broadway Plectric 1922 second generation! Like you, I started with Bert Weedon's 'Play in a Day' and used to drool over the Bell Musical Instruments catalogue, which, if remember correctly, you could obtain for free by responding to an advert in the Radio Times.
My guitar has had a difficult life. I bought it from a mate at school, Paul Williams, for £11, at the age of 13 in 1969. I had been playing classical guitar for 5 years and this was the most exciting thing I had ever set eyes on. My mate had just graduated to a pre-CBS white Strat. One of the Broadway features I particularly liked was the wide and totally flat neck (more similar to a classical guitar, than any Fender or Gibson. My Plectric, initially, had all the metal parts covered in sellotape, in a desperate attempt to prevent the player from getting electric shocks. Paul must have had a seriously dodgy amp! The original scratchplate was cracked in half, so I made a black copy. No one knew what make or model the guitar was- some rumoured it was a Watkins and someone had fitted a Watkins HiLo trem arm at some point.Some rumoured it was a Wilson. Another mate of mine suggested it would look better in Dulux Yellow and the thing got the most horrendously crude covering of lumpy custard you have ever seen. It was the 1970s and we were teenagers!
The guitar sat unused for several years until my then girlfriend used Nitromors to strip off the custard yellow covering, dissolving most of the nut in the process. It then remained a collection of parts for over 30 years and folowed me, as I moved from living on narrow boats to dry land, back to boat life and eventually to Wiltshire. Throughout all that time, I had the vague idea that one day I would get the thing rebuilt and playable again, so I diligently avoided throwing out the box of (now rather rusty) parts.