BillyRadd Music

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kodakaster Take 3

My third version of the Kodakaster Film Can 3-String Canjo has taken shape. This time I used an oak neck, gold machine/tuners, gold ferules, with gold bolts for the bridge and nut. I've also installed another piezo electric pickup attached inside the can with a guitar cord jack and volume control. I keep thinking that I will become faster at making these but I learn something building each new version and try to make each new model better than the last. So, as my Dad used to say, slow and steady wins the race.

The next Kodakaster I will build (#4) will feature a sapele neck (a beautiful dark-red African hardwood similar to mahogany), gold fixtures and two new elements. Instead of the shiny silver metal 35mm film cans that I recycled from my collection for the first three Kodakasters, I will be using a gold colored, matte finished film can that I purchased on eBay for $1.90 (shipping was $8). In addition, another new variation will be the addition of a guitar-style pickup, called a Flatpup, that I found online that I think will be a perfect addition to the next variant of the Kodakaster.

Hand crafted by Elmar Zeilhofer of Vienna, Austria, these beautiful humbucker pickups are only 4mm thick so, unlike conventional humbuckers which are much thicker and would necessitate being installed through a hole cut into the top of my canjo, Flatpups can be glued to the top of my film can on the outside with the small wires entering the body of the canjo through a small hole underneath it.

As I have found out, there is a perceptive difference in the sound gathering properties between piezo and magnetic guitar pickups. Piezo pickups can sound more harsh in the mid and higher frequencies while magnetic pickups like the Flatpup Humbuckers made by Elmar Zeilhofer generally produce a more aggressive, pleasant, full spectrum sound than a piezo pickup without equalization.
So, now the waiting begins until a small package arrives from Europe with my shiny new humbucker. I can't wait to glue it onto Kodakaster #4, plug it into the closest amplifier and crank 'er up!


  1. hmmmm cant wait to play this critter~

    1. Anytime, Linda. You'd probably sound great because I think you can play anything.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Samantha. Yes, they come in all flavors, too.