BillyRadd Music

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kodakaster Duo Pup

The 6th canjo build is my latest attempt to find the best use for some old film cans that my wife and I have been moving from residence to residence since my college days in Hollywood so many years ago.
The tailpiece, the metal etched box anchoring the strings to the can on the lower left, was really made for a mandolin. The metal bolt next to it serves as a bridge for the electric guitar strings and transfers tone vibrations of the strummed strings to the can. It sounds pretty good un-amplified, but the two copper-colored Flatpup pickups really "light it up".
The metal hex bolt serves as a nut on the zebrawood neck at the headstock.The chrome-plated C.B. Gitty closed tuning machines are quite well made and relatively easy to install.

I happily just put the final touches on my new 4-string canjo build. I call it the Kodakaster Duo Pup since it's made from an old Kodak bulk film can. The copper colored rectangles on the face are called Flatpup Humbuckers which make this canjo really loud and rich sounding (without any hum like some electric guitar pickups). They are handmade in Vienna, Austria by a young man named Elmar Zeilhofer and are quite an improvement in amplifying my canjos with cheaper piezo pickups.

I think one of the most interesting aspects in the looks of this canjo is the patina of etched finger prints from 50 plus years of handling that adorn the outside edge of the front of the instrument.

The Kodacaster Duo Pup also sports a Telecaster-style selector switch to play each pickup by itself or both together with tone and volume controls to boot.

I play it with a metal, glass or ceramic slide on my left ring finger while strumming or picking with my right hand. Plugging it into an effects stomp box produces some diverse and really massive sounds.

But mostly, building these contraptions gives me a great appreciation of real luthiers and their art.

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