Make Your Own Music – Diddley Bo

My husband and I both love music and musical instruments. Neither of us have mastered an instrument, but we love to play anyway. 🙂 He’s taken this a step further and has made his first Diddley Bo (or Diddly Bow).

Diddley Bo’s were a new instrument to me. They usually have one string, or sometimes two, and are most often homemade. I’ve seen them played like a guitar. A lot of times they’re laid across your lap and plucked or struck with one hand, and played like a slide guitar with the other hand. The slides are generally glass or metal. They were around in the 1800’s, and were an important instrument to more modern blues, being a precursor to that slide guitar sound that’s so much a part of the blues. Lonnie Pitchford was a notable performer. Originally, of course, they were acoustic, though now many are electrified.

Diddly Bo - Old 99
Diddly Bo – Old 99

Anyway, I wanted to show you our Diddley Bo. It’s just so cool that you can make your own musical instruments. Don’t you think so? It sort of doubles the fun! My husband’s Diddley Bo was made with two 1×2 pieces of wood glued together, a hand carved cedar bridge, an Altoids™ box, a small blue bottle, a tuning key off of a violin, and a guitar string. For decoration he has a double nine domino that gives it its name, Old 99. Oh, and there’s a peso inlaid in the side, though you can’t see that in the picture. The antique bottle in the picture, standing by the DB, is used for the slide, and the stick is to strike the string. Another neat thing is that he’s added Scrabble™ tiles across the fret board to show what the notes are. This helps a lot, because I really don’t have a feel for where the notes are!

There aren’t many, if any, rules about how to make these so if you feel inspired, give it a try. Do a quick search and you’ll find lots of DIY instructions. I’ll give you a link to a good tutorial from One String Willie.

It’s wonderful to listen to talented people play. You know the ones that really move you! Learning and playing a musical instrument yourself has a whole new set of benefits! It’s great to learn when you’re a kid, but there are great benefits to learning to play as an adult, even those over 50! Just remember to have fun! Here’s a wonderful post I found that outlines some of The Benefits of Learning An Instrument As An Adult. Among the benefits are increased brain plasticity, stress relief, and improved quality of life. There’s been a study, reported at Medical News Today, that shows that playing relieves stress even better than relaxing and reading a magazine or book. The benefits are pretty impressive.

If you don’t already know about Diddley Bo’s, I don’t want to ruin it for you by putting up something with me playing. There’s no modesty here. I really don’t have the hang of it yet. It’s so much fun though! So, I’m including a YouTube video from a man named Wade; he calls himself the Diddley Bow Man. He shows one of his homemade bow’s and plays, and boy, he can play! I love blues. Enjoy Wade’s music!

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