Coodercaster Tele Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Badger06, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Badger06

    Badger06 Tele-Meister

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    Hi all,

    I recently finished this Coodercaster Tele build.

    IMG_1083.JPG

    I thought I’d share some insights and photos from the build in the hope that it might help others, as I couldn’t find much info online about how to build one of these.

    I’d been wanting a Coodercaster style guitar for a while as a fan of Ry Cooder and Blake Mills. I started off down this track a couple of years ago by picking up a Squier Classic Vibe on ebay and modding it with a goldfoil in the neck. I really liked the goldfoil but couldn't get along with the thin neck profile or the weight of the guitar, so I decided to build my own Coodercaster. This is my first full build so it’s been quite a learning process.

    Here’s the spec:
    Neck: 2017 Fender Baja Telecaster (salvaged from a partscaster scam – long story).
    Body: Guitarbuild.co.uk 3 Piece Alder Tele body '67-'73 with P90 routes in neck and bridge
    Colour: Sherwood Green (New Old Stock finish with a slight fade) painted with nitro by BravaCaster guitars.
    Pickups: Mojo Goldfoil (neck) and lapsteel (bridge) from Mojopickups.co.uk
    Wiring: Mojo Coodercaster harness from Mojopickups.co.uk
    Bridge: Chopped compensated bridge from Allparts.co.uk

    I chose Guitarbuild’s ’67-’73 body option as it doesn’t have the channel route from the neck pickup cavity to the control cavity and I wanted to go sans pickguard. After some head scratching and I figured out that P90 routes in the neck and bridge would accommodate both pickups. I was confident that the goldfoil would fit, but I wasn’t sure about the lapsteel pickup. The info on Mojo’s website details the need for a 3mm route to allow for protruding parts on the underside, but I couldn’t find any photo’s online that showed the underside of the pickup. Here are detailed shots of both pickups:

    IMG_0631.jpg

    IMG_0632.jpg

    I had the body shipped from Guitarbuild.co.uk directly to BravaCaster guitars in Spain to be painted. I was initially considering Lake Placid Blue, but settled on Sherwood Green.

    8FF025CD-061F-4DA1-8C8D-DA64F10C4653.JPG

    I started by fitting the bridge plate and the neck. I then strung the guitar and (after playing it acoustically for a while) marked out the location for the lapsteel pickup using the high and low e-strings to align the pickup/pole pieces. I then drilled pilot holes for the pickup. The screws that came with the pickup were made to fit P90’s. They were too long to screw directly into the body. The torque required was chewing up the screw head. I found it surprisingly difficult to find chrome pan head screws, so I settled for some nickel screws from the hardware store.

    At this point I started to look more closely at the pre-wired control plate from Mojo pickups. I soon realised that I had a grounding wire that needed to make contact with the bridge plate, but no way of getting it there! After a quick search on TDPRI I realised that I’d need to drill a hole from under the bridge plate to the pickup cavity. Cue sweaty palms! Thanks to the trusty advice from the forum I managed to drill it without making a mess. First, I drilled down into the body using a large drill bit, then used a smaller bit to drill to the cavity, eyeballing the angle needed. I splayed the grounding wire and placed it flat to the body so that the bridge plate would trap it when screwed down. Here’s the pics:

    IMG_1033.jpg

    IMG_1066.jpg

    The next phase was to fit the control plate and do the wiring. I spent some time on YouTube watching wiring tutorials. The lapsteel and pre-wired Coodercaster harness from Mojo pickups came with instructions and a detailed diagram. Luckily, as it was pre-wired there were only a few simple steps left to do. I managed to do a decent job and didn’t make too much of a mess!

    Finally, I screwed in the pickups and strung it with 12’s. The intonation needed a slight tweak but luckily the neck relief was fine. I’ve since wimped out and gone down to 11’s as I couldn’t get along with the stiffer tension on the 12’s.

    I’ve spent some time tweaking the pole pieces to balance the volume and tone of both pickups. The only job left to do is drill the strap button holes. I haven’t been able to put it down long enough to get around to it!

    Here's a couple of close ups:

    IMG_1070.jpg IMG_1081.jpg IMG_1082.jpg

    I hope this post helps others looking to build a Coodercaster Tele! Shout out and many thanks to Ramon Goose and Waterslide Guitars for the inspiration, and of course Brava Caster Guitars for the awesome paint job and friendly customer service!

    Cheers!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    Love Ry Cooder, green teles & all maple necks...congrats!!! How does it sound?
     
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  3. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    +1
     
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  4. Badger06

    Badger06 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! It sounds awesome - not that I'm biased or anything ;)

    I'm really happy now that I've balanced the pickups. The lap steel needed some taming as it was way louder than the goldfoil out of the box. I've lowered the pole pieces in both pickups a fair amount so that they sit below the surface of the cover.

    I've been running it through my '68 Custom Princeton Re-issue and '77 Champ. The gold foil is really nice. Warm and open sounding with that crisp bite that they're known for. I can't decide whether the middle position is out of phase or not - but I like it! I'm less familiar with the lap steel. It can be quite cutting and raspy but the sustain is something else!

    I'll see if I can put some clips on Instagram or something and share links here in the coming weeks.
     
    Shidoin likes this.
  5. JCL50

    JCL50 Tele-Meister

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    That is a guitar with style.
     
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  6. scottser

    scottser Tele-Afflicted

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    Thats some guitar. Great job dude
     
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  7. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Beautiful
     
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  8. Djentleman Dan

    Djentleman Dan Tele-Holic

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    Seriously impressive, man. I LOVE the color you chose.
     
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  9. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Let’s hear it!
     
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  10. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool, enjoy.

    I found offset Teisco-style pickups are best right under the strings. I also raise the poles up a bit, but I’m balancing with a Bakersfield Tele Bridge pickup, not the same. It is loud and proud when I get it close as possible though :)
     
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  11. Ramon Goose

    Ramon Goose TDPRI Member

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    very cool!
     
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  12. Tele2

    Tele2 TDPRI Member

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    This is a really cool share, thank you and just the kind of info I’m looking for. I have a spare Tele neck that I’ve been wanting to do a build with but haven’t figured out what I wanted. I stumbled across Waterslide guitars yesterday who seem to specialize in building Coodercasters and the idea clicked.

    Let me travel through this thread properly and get learning!
     
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  13. Tele2

    Tele2 TDPRI Member

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    This is a really cool share, thank you and just the kind of info I’m looking for. I have a spare Tele neck that I’ve been wanting to do a build with but haven’t figured out what I wanted. I stumbled across Waterslide guitars yesterday who seem to specialize in building Coodercasters and the idea clicked.

    Let me travel through this thread properly and get learning!
     
    Badger06 likes this.
  14. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Holic

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    Not in the slightest bit jealous. (Supreme ninja level sarcasm)

    I would crap myself at how pristine that guitar looks, but I'm not supposed to do that sort of thing until Im on in years... ;-p

    That is one of my projects, a coodercaster, but since i broke the valco pickup i had...gotta wait for christmas in 2086. That's when ill have money again. :)

    Very well done.
     
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  15. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's

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    I like it
    Trippin on the lap steel pickup all cool and industrial looking. does it seriously impede palm muting?
    The green is fresh.
     
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  16. Badger06

    Badger06 Tele-Meister

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    So I finally got around to sticking a short clip on Instagram. It’s recorded using my phone which doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s better than nothing .

    I’m playing through a 68 Custom Princeton daisy chained into a ‘77 Champ wet/dry with some light tape saturation from a Strymon Deco. I’ve been running my amps hot recently and dialing back the guitar volume with some pleasing results. I’m finding the Mojo pickups/wiring harness seem to be really responsive to small adjustments.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BsYWXvei4SF/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=8l8zn43rs3kt
     
  17. Badger06

    Badger06 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks ☺️ Yes, the lap steel does impede palm muting when playing with a pick. I play without a pick 90% of the time and use my fingers/thumb to mute. If you check the clip I posted you’ll see that I rest the side of my thumb flat across the E, A, and D strings and use a combination of right/left hand muting for the G, B and e strings. It takes a bit of practice to get down, but comes intuitively after a while. I’ve used this technique for years on my normal Tele too, although I’ve definitely had to brush up on it since building this guitar.
     
    2blue2 likes this.
  18. Badger06

    Badger06 Tele-Meister

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    I’ve taken your advice and raised the goldfoil pickup/poles. It definitely brings out more of that characteristic hollow yet sparkly tone. ☺️

    I also switched the goldfoil around so that both pickups are in-phase in the middle position. This has helped balance out the volume across the three positions.
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
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