I thought I might get back to basics with my guitar playing, and master at least one string. After listening to seasick steve, and seeing him get an awesome sound out of a single string lap guitar (diddly bo), I thought I’d give it a go.
- piece of wood
- low e-string
- couple of nails
- some pieces of pipe
And to electrify it:
- altoids tin
- some polycarbonate rod
- copper wire
- a few rare earth magnets
- a piezoelectric transducer
- some electrical wire
- solder gear
- a chunky rocker switch
- a ¼ inch jack input
Right, first things first – this is a very simple project. It’s essentially just stretching some wire along a piece of wood and hitting it to make a noise. the problem comes with amplifying that noise. I chose the electrical route to amplify it, mainly because it was more interesting. For this one I made two different pickups to experiment with different sounds.
The first pickup is a simple piezoelectric transducer stuck to the inside of the altiods lid and then wired into one side of the switch.
The second pickup is a magnetic pickup, like you get on most electric guitars. I hollowed out a small piece of plastic (polycarbonate in this case) to the right size for a couple of small rare earth magnets, and then turned it down into a bobbin for the copper wire. Wrapping the copper wire on the bobbin is a right pain, especially when it breaks after you’ve been doing it for 20 minutes, but I found winding using a pencil to be the easiest method (using a drill was far too fast). Then it’s a case of wiring in the pickup to the switch and putting it in the altoids tin.
And how about a little bit of sound from it? excuse the awful phone recordings…
Magnetic pickup with a clean(ish) sound: diddly bo 1 – clean
Magnetic pickup with distortion: diddly bo 2 – distorted