I spent yesterday making diddley bows with my daughter's brownie troop (ton of fun and highly recommend building with kids). We will finish up at their next meeting in two weeks. One of the things I wanted to do with them is have them make straps for them out of nylon cord sandwiched between two pieces of duct tape leaving the nylon cord sticking out each end so they can tie the straps to the diddley bows. I was going to have them tie on the tail end (they are made with a wood dowel through a CB and the dowel sticks out the end of the box for the tail) under the string so it won't slide off. For the other end of the strap I was going to either have them tie it around the dowel under the string on the neck side of the box OR under the string at the head between the nut and tuner. Is one way better than the other? What are advantages/disadvantages of either?


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This is really a matter of personal preference, IMHO...   Some people find the string out at the end gets in the way.  Personally, I like the strap across the whole length as I think it improves stability.

 I like making paracord straps, and using a double overhand knot as an adjustable loop on one end...

Thanks guys. Do you braid it or what are you doing? Also do you have a picture of the golf tee? I am trying to picture what you did.


here is another cool idea we used with the scout troop. para cord is cool but expensive and really gets away from the recycle idea .   We use hay string.   you can find em in all sorts of different colors and we had fun tieing them to a board and braiding em.  also just a little side note we found out.  tieing the strap to the end of the neck under the tuner makes the box want to slide under the right arm, and sorta buggs the kids so we changed it to tieing it to the box. we just got a bunch of screw eyes , they are cheap.  and screwed em into the box in the front right by the neck and that way the kids can slide the strap through,  then tie a knot when its adjusted. then you come by .clip the ends and heat it so it dosent fray and you are good to go.  Oh but there are some rockers who like to fray the ends and make em look like tassles , cool !!!  also the duct tape cuts their necks and is sorta uncomfortable too.  just the observations we found.  dont ask me how i know hahahaha. have fun and kudos for sharing this fun hobby with our youth

Thanks, I will look into the hay string. I was thinking the tied to the head end was an issue. I had my daughter hold one and I tried tying to check length and it kept slipping. Good to know on the duct tape, thanks. And it really is a pleasure working with the kids and their excitement. Hopefully they do better playing than I do. :).
Thanks. I figured that was what you meant but not sure I follow the drilling you mentioned. I thought you were talking about drilling a hole in the actual tee and was not following. Hand to the forehead moment...

I use the $1 store twisted poly rope.  It come in many colors and is a little over a 1/4" thick.  It looks like it is made out of the same thing they make the plastic bags out of.  I drill a hole in the head stock and in the back of the box to attach the rope with a knot.  Most of the kids like to have the DB ride low, so I keep the rope a little long so the DB is just below their waist.

Yup! Cheap poly twist or braid will wear a little and look used and is real soft--and much cheaper than the cheapest para cord.

Personally, I tie 'em up under the strings above the nut and put a loop in the other end. When I put the guitar on, I can throw the loop around the extended tailpiece. (Of course, all of mine are "stick through.")

I also still like Mike Orr's suggestion of using old neckties. If you know enough retired guys, there's an infinite supply.

thanks. hmm, i am not retired but i have a bunch of ties i will never wear again either because my job does not call for it anymore or my neck has gotten just too damn fat.  i'm going with work reasons though... ;-)

for the poly twist or braid, where can i find that?  i do not have a dollar store near me.  i usually do all my shopping on amazon...

thx both of you for the suggestion!

cool, thanks! i will have to stop the next time i pass one this week. 

Hi Mike,

Your timing is perfect. My wife teaches first grade and asked if I could come up with a project like this. I was just about to ask on the Nation if anyone had a design or idea for a cheap, easy, diddley bow. Would it be possible for you to send a few pics so I can  use your idea design as a starting point? 

My original idea was a dowel and a box, simple threaded rod for the nut and bridge, and possibly a nut/bolt combo for a tuner to save costs.

Thank you in advance for any help you can send my way.


Jeff, sure NP at all. I will post pictures of where they are currently which is nearly done and approximate costs for you. I am getting ready to take my daughter to softball practice so will take care of later tonight, I hope that would work for you. Mine is similar to what you posted. The dowel is by far the most expensive piece of the whole project.


Ok I took a few quick snaps of what they look like thus far and have some costs for you.

I purchased a bunch of boxes at a cigar shop and purchased poplar 1 inch dowels from Home Depot and did a through neck. I could have gone with poplar 1x2 instead to save a little money but much more work for my prep so went the dowel route. The cost difference would have been I think on about $0.60 per so no worth the extra prep. I used small wooden dowels that came in a pack of 50 for the bridge and a slot head screw for the nut.

The prep I did was I but the dowel to length and notched the head and stained and oiled the them. The kids did the rest with some help from me and the troop leaders when they struggled. They glued decorative papers inside the bottom of the box to see through the sound holes if they wanted. Some liked leaving the wood visible. Next week will let them do some decorating if they want.

The cost came to about $6.50 per kid.

Box $0.50
Dowel $3.50
Tuner $1.40
String $0.60
Dowel for bridge $0.05
Screw for nut $.0.06
Rivets for tail end of string (don't remember)
1/2 copper pipe for a slide $0.10 approx I think
Guitar pick $0.30
Everything else laying around

I used this link and altered to suit my project. He uses a screw rather than a tuner which would save you a good chunk of the cost but I was concerned it would be harder for the kids to keep tuned. Also he used an old tool handle for the neck, I did not have that accessible so did the dowels. The video is a good one to give you a an idea how to go about it.


I hope that helps. If you have any other questions just let me know.



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