A Diddley Bo For Pipeman

Pipeman (Jason Stickler) is an old friend and band member.  He turned up at my house on his birthday brandishing a Plank of wood with a pick up screwed to it and a fat E string hanging from a nail.  “Build me a Diddley” Bo he said…… how could I refuse .. it was his birthday 🙂  This is how it looked before the build started ….

Diddley Bo at start of Project

The first thing to add was a tuner key.  This would have to be side mounted so the tune key could be used.  Luckily I had a tuner key left over from the disastrous guitar amp conversion (detailed elsewhere on the site), so a simple drill through and a couple of screws and the tuner was in place.

Tuner for Diddley Bow

Tuner for Diddley Bow (Top view)

Tuner for Diddley Bow (Top view)

Being cheap plastic, the Tuner head snapped off straight away meaning pliers were needed to tighten the string.

Next up was making the bridge.  Unfortunately the only bottles that I had (bottles are traditionally used for Diddley bow bridges) were wine bottles and a little too big, so I needed something else.  A rummage through an old box and I discovered a metal support bracket used for hanging blinds.  This would proved ideal as it was just the right height.  I hacksawed a small groove into the metal to stop the string slipping and then attached it to the plank.

Diddley bow bridge

Diddley bow bridge

One advantage of the bridge was that it was very springy, and could be pushed with your finger to add a whammy bar effect! Nice!

With the string in place and tuned to low C, I then set aboult wiring up the pickup to a guitar jack socket.  The socket Pipeman had given me wasn’t really suitable as it was an open socket and impossible to mount, so I used a socket that I had salvaged from a smashed up car boot sale stereo. I soldered the wires together, screwed the socket to the back of the board and then added some heat shrink tubing to protect the wires.

Jack socket

Jack socket

I plugged it in and everything sounded good.

The final step was to play some notes and mark the plank with relative fret positions. Optional, but makes playing a lot easier!

Fret markings

Fret markings

 

And here is the finished article, had to drink the wine first though!


 

 

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