Hey builders! I need some random thoughts for the design of an unconventional stringed instrument.

I have this friend - to say that he's one-of-a-kind doesn't do it justice. Imagine a burly, tatooed biker dude with a nose ring... who loves kittens and guns and Bible study. And has plenty of other issues :-) Yeah, that's him.

Anyway, last night, he asked if I would help him design/build a unique instrument for his own enjoyment. He'd like 3 strings, round/rounded fretboard and he'd like to play it violin-style. He has thick, stubby fingers, so larger is probably better. And he want's to play it with a bow. Doesn't have to look, sound or act like anything ever made - or it could.

My first thoughts were something like a fretted erhu. Might be interesting.

Another design inspiration came from the Stash stainless steel bass.
I'm thinking diatonic frets just so it's simple to get good noises. He has no musical background or skill. Just interested in playing around.

My only personal criteria is that I have to be able to build it with available materials and tools. Not going crazy here. But I also want it to make reasonable noises and be something he can and will actually play with. Thoughts from anyone?


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Comment by Hal Robertson on March 31, 2017 at 5:10pm

Love it! Clever use of the sliding panel. Nicely done.

Comment by Randy S. Bretz on March 31, 2017 at 5:06pm

Whiskey Box Bowed Dulci

Comment by Hal Robertson on March 26, 2017 at 11:35am

Ok Randy, that last one you posted looks really interesting. I assume the "wings" are for playing in a seated position? Also, do I see only one tuner? If so, how do you keep the 2 strings happy together? Soundpost inside? Very cool.

Comment by Randy S. Bretz on March 26, 2017 at 11:16am

Whiskey Box Bowed Dulci

Comment by Randy S. Bretz on March 26, 2017 at 11:13am

Comment by Randy S. Bretz on March 26, 2017 at 11:11am

Bowed Dulci / Cello

Comment by JL on March 20, 2017 at 11:29am

No background or skills in music, I'd suggest a vaudeville violin / phonofiddle.

one string, diatonically fretted to more than 2 octives, size it to something comfortable for him to play on his shoulder or between the knees. 

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on March 17, 2017 at 9:44am
Thick stubby fingers = small diameter neck fretboard. Hmm. Unless you make him a bowed psaltery. Got it! Get an old moto gas tank. Fit piano or zither pins to it, string it on top. No need to worry about stubby fingering, or necks. Highly unique instrument, can actually be mounted on the bike as a gas tank.

Here's what a bowed psaltery looks and sounds like:

Comment by Hal Robertson on March 16, 2017 at 9:09am

Liking the vehicle-themed ideas. Still wrapping my head around the bow and arrow thing, but it all makes me think :-)

Comment by Ron "Oily" Sprague on March 15, 2017 at 11:43pm
Motorcycle fork. Screws. Tuners. Strings. Attach same to the righ hand fork of his bike. You have made him a playable diddley bike.

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