I'm figuring this all out as I go, for I have never played a guitar or any other plucked string instrument.

1.Diddly Bow.

I mostly built this diddly bow over the weekend. I substituted an eye bolt tuner because I wanted to see how one worked. Otherwise all is the essentially the same.


I am using a string the local guitar shop sold me

D'Addario PL015 Plain Steel Ball End .015 in. (.38 mm) Single String

JJ makes it look very easy to press the string to the "fret board" ( I used a length of 7/8 inch /22 mm dowel rod, likely popular.)

I can coax out an open note easily, but pressing the string down takes a lot of effort, hurts my finger tips, and it only sounds okay when pressing down near the nut.

Is JJ using a more flexible string of some sort? 

Is that what I need, a different string of some sort? If so which type/ gauge/...

Or did I miss something in my assembly?

2. 3-String

With the diddly bow sort of done I want to go after a three string next

For this the guitar shop sold me http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID=3769&ProductId=73&productname=EJ26_Phosphor_Bronze__Custom_Light__11_52

With no experience I am confused which, if any, of these strings will get me to GBG or any other tuning. I understand that GBG the most common tuning so that's where I want to start. Please correct me if this is not square one.

One article here http://www.cigarboxnation.com/group/class101/forum/topics/confused-...

mentions a preference for the 3, 4, and 5 strings. I have not yet opened the package but I figure they will be marked as to which is which so I should be able to figure out the string names and in turn the sizes

But I am confused as to the top to bottom placements and how I can get a low and high G out of standard set of strings.

The above page gets me the general idea,but I do not how to tune up or down either.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Yes, tuning by freq would be better, and is actually much easier on a fretless. When you introduce frets, and because most standard fretted guitars are tuned to equal temperament, scientific frequency notation starts to fall apart just a teensy, but noticeable, bit. Some luthiers have attempted to get around this combined intonation / compensation problem by using individually adjustable bridges, as on many electric gits, or by slanting the bridge / saddle combo to approximate what is needed for each string, as on many acoustic gits. Other luthiers have handled this by creating fretboards with individually adjusted frets, which makes the fretboard look as if it has been invaded by drunken steel earthworms.

Using my grandfather's old call sign W5QKZ ;-)

Hello Gordon,



Thanks for your reply.

Interesting comments and observations. If you have other like comments / design details please feel free to pass them back.


Yesterday I picked up a library copy of:

Guitar making, tradition and technology : a complete reference for the design & construction of the steel-string folk guitar & the classical guitar / William R. Cumpiano

It contains many interesting discussions, including one on strings for plucked instruments and another on the physical laws of vibrating strings.

Eye Bolt Tuners

Trying to tune my three string build has raised a question about eye bolt tuner placement and vector directions of the force. I'll post some comments in less technical sense separately


Are you actively licensed under that call sign? On the air?

One item on my top 1000 projects list is reestablishing Echo Link.

Otherwise I'm a big Skype fan.


Thank you for the reference-I see that book appearing in my mail box soon. 

I am actively licensed. However, due to my proximity to an AM tower (590 feet) I cannot transmit HF without creating massive harmonics. So right now I am working with an SDR dongle and looking to get a VHF/UHF or higher freq. station on the air later this year. I want to log FM DX during meteor showers and the like until I get my VHF/etc. station up and running. 


Gordon Cooper


violin, viola, cello, bass...

FYI. I had this working in 2006. I have it installed not but have not activated if for other reasons. If you want to have a go at it send me an email or post here.



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