Ry Cooder's iconic 1967 Fender Stratocaster is up for sale on Reverb for $150,000. With its many modifications, the Coodercaster is one of the most distinctive electric guitars in music history.
The back story on the listing comes directly from Cooder himself. He says it was his first solid-body electric, and he picked it up straight from Fender's Fullerton plant, just after Captain Beefheart signed with Buddha Records.
If Cooder and Beafheart were soon to part ways, the blue Strat he acquired for the gig remained close by his side, featuring on all of his early albums but most famously on his slide parts for the Rolling Stones' Sister Morphine.
Over the years, Cooder has truly made the instrument its own. The term Coodercaster is now a byword for a heavily modded Strat built to Cooder-esque specs. Given that he played in mostly open tunings, the top-mounted Bigsby was modified to help keep the guitar stable.
“I had a repair guy take out the wang bar springs and put a wood block in there to hold down the intonation every time I changed tunings,“ says Cooder on the listing. “Now, years later, I wouldn't have done that, but what did I know.“
The Coodercaster comes fitted with an original Bigsby 8-string steel pickup at the bridge and Guyatone pickup at the neck. These are hooked up to a control circuit that has a four-way switch and two Tele-style knobs for volume and tone.
“I started experimenting with electronics, trying for a thicker sound,“ continues Cooder. “P90s came and went. I had the bright idea to install an Oahu lap steel bridge pick up. It was the thing to do to help the bottle neck sound relax and it stopped the headaches.“
Other mods include a reverse jack cup, Gotoh-made Rotomatic-style tuners, and [Dunlop] Straploks. And the original tremolo has been replaced by a top-mounted Bigsby and solid Bigsby aluminum bridge saddle. Stock appointments include a rosewood 'board and matching painted headstock.
The guitar is in good condition, with a little wear as to be expected. But the listing comes with a warning from Cooder, however – this guitar can be tough to tame.
”That's an original Bigsby pickup in there, and yes it's somewhat microphonic, like early Bigsbys are sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to, like when you put that '53 Cad motor in the Model A, but you can learn to handle it. Or try some idea of your own.”
See Reverb for more details.