Ry Cooder’s original heavily modded “Coodercaster” Strat is up for sale for $150,000

Ry Cooder's Coodercaster is up for sale
(Image credit: George Aslaender)

Ry Cooder’s owned and played “Coodercaster”, a genuine piece of electric guitar history, has gone up for sale on Reverb.com.

According to Reverb, this Blue Strat is the original Coodercaster, which is the adopted name for an entire sub-genre of guitars built or modded to emulate the eccentricities of Cooder's personal instruments.

This Coodercaster is the one that Ry owned, modified and subsequently played for decades.

Regarding its mods, Cooder once said that when he landed his record deal with Warner Bros., “the Blue Strat was, at that time, still my only electric. I used it on all the early albums. Since I used mostly open tunings, 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. Now, years later, I wouldn't have done that, but what did I know.

“Then I started experimenting with electronics, trying for a thicker sound. P90s came and went. I had the bright idea to install an Oahu lap steel bridge pickup. It was the thing to do to help the bottle neck sound relax and it stopped the headaches.

“That's the short story. I still think the neck is one of the best I've ever played, and the Bigsby trailer brake really makes a sweet combination. That's an original Bigsby PU 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."

The Coodercaster was Ry’s only electric guitar for the early part of his career, and can be heard on various recordings and seen in live performances.

He received it in 1967 from the Fender sales showroom, where, according to the Reverb seller, it may have languished for a time beforehand: “In the spring of 1966 CBS was tweaking the specs of the Fender line and made a very few custom color Stratocaster and Precision Bass production samples with bound fingerboards and matching headstocks, features never used on production models.”

The seller goes on to state that the guitar may be the only baby blue Strat of its type ever made.

It is currently set up with an original Bigsby eight-string steel pickup at the bridge and a c. 1959 Guyatone pickup at the neck. These are wired to a four-way switch and two Tele-style knobs.

To check the rest of the one-of-a-kind features on this Coodercaster, head to Reverb. Unlike some of the incredible auctions we’ve seen lately, you won’t have to bid on this guitar. But you will need $150,000 to nab it.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.