by Lincoln Smith
Eastwood has a new crowd favorite model - the Warren Ellis CDR. Join us in exploring the history behind the model and Eastwood’s process in reviving a genre-bending sound.
Eastwood has a habit of making tributes to funky guitar models. We all know this. But every once in a while, inspiration strikes and something altogether new comes along - most always with a vintage inspiration.
With the introduction of the Airline Lap Steel PRO last year, Eastwood began offering for the first time a string-thru lap steel pickup. You may recognize its design from Valco lap steels of the ‘50s and ‘60s. OR, you may know it from an arguably more iconic application – The bridge position pickup of Ry Cooder’s famous “Coodercaster” Strat.
Photo: Ry Cooder with his "Coodercaster" Strat
Ry Cooder was one of the first real-deal artists that gave credit to what were considered at the time, “pawn shop” guitar features. The label of “pawn shop” guitar was given mainly to American and Japanese-import catalogue guitars, such as Teisco, Guyatone, Harmony, Silvertone, and Airline.
In today’s market of course, the DeArmond, Teisco, and Guyatone gold foil pickups found in these pawn shop models are all the rage for a lo-fi tone-chasing clientele. At the time, not so much. This didn’t stop Ry Cooder from seeing their tonal magic and applying them to the Fender body of his choice.
Photo: Ry Cooder's "Coodercaster" Strat
For the original sunburst Coodercaster, Ry implemented a Guyatone gold foil neck pickup and, as previously mentioned, a Supro (Valco) Lap Steel pickup in the bridge position. He ran this instrument through multiple delay pedals and high gain to smooth out the tone of the lo-fi pickups
The result is a sound that’s as associated with Cooder’s work as Cooder is himself – melodic, mid-scooped, and clear as a bell.
Photo: Warren Ellis CDR in Sunburst
Eastwood loves the weirdos. The Frankenstein-like examples of innovation and combination over the years of guitar building. Once the string-thru pickup was manufactured, the classic Ry Cooder pickup layout was top of the to-do list … with our own twist.
Of course, as with anything Eastwood, there had to be a twist. There had to be an improvement or innovation to the product and it had to be in the Eastwood mold of excellence. The answer was the Warren Ellis line.
The Warren Ellis line of products began with the Warren Ellis Signature Tenor. The 4-stringed instrument gained popularity before the product line expanded with 4, 5, 6, and 8-stringed models ranging from bass to mandolin scales. The body shape is based on a Fender cult classic, and was the perfect match for a Ry Cooder layout.
Photo: Warren Ellis with the Warren Ellis Signature Tenor
The resulting product is the new Warren Ellis CDR – the first Warren Ellis model featuring 6-string E-E tuning with a full 25.5” scale. Of course, the Valco ‘String-Thru’ pickup is featured along with the Valco Gold Foil in the neck position.
The Warren Ellis CDR’s body is solid alder with a bolt-on, roasted maple, C-profile neck. A fixed T-style bridge adds to the model’s sustain and energy transfer from the strings, to the premium materials used for the neck and body, to the obsessively crafted Valco pickups.
We recommend playing this instrument with the overdrive of your choice to push your amp into the sweet smooth tone that Ry Cooder was known for (why not try the Valco Bloodbuzz, or Five-O?). Then again, instruments are meant for experimentation! We can't wait to hear the sounds that customers get from the new Warren Ellis CDR.
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of history with one of the first Warren Ellis CDR guitars available to consumers.