Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Humble Uker Builds His First Instrument (Yup Me!)

You'll understand this name as you read on.

Here's the BONE BREAKIN' BLUES diddley bow sans strings.

Copper tee fitting to use as a bridge.

I have been inspired by the simplicity of the Diddley Bow. I have looked over Red Rooster's video several times. My background is in steel construction and I have my own business as a steel detailer (a.k.a. draftsman). So I drew up a sketch, studied RJCulp's piezo instructions, saved some mint tins and got to work.

I have 3 sons and one daughter. My eldest son Jason is now 29 and has been through some tough circumstances. He's had bones surgically broken in his feet when a toddler, a broken arm during his 12 year old baseball season, and a broken neck at 25 that he was fitted with a halo and bolts in his skull for a several weeks. Jason now works for Medicann. Jason as a youngster played the recorder and quickly learned to play by ear. Then he got a saxophone at 12 and was playing the Star Spangled Banner by ear within 3 weeks. Then he abruptly stopped.

So, I have dedicated my first handmade instrument to Jason. As usual, I enlisted my crafty wife Wendy in the collaboration. I sketched out the concepts, stenciled out the words, and Wendy did the real magic as usual. I had to borrow her soldering iron and glue gun to complete the project.

Yes, it's M.J., not something I advocate or use,
but Jason works for Medicann.

Side View @ Tin & Tuners

The simplest of guts, solder, and hot glue in a mint tin.

My wife and I blend our skills well, I design & construct. Wendy creates a beautiful space and adds her artistic touch. In April we will celebrate our 30th anniversary.


  1. Jeffrey, So great that you made a Michael Jackson instrument... I mean, the "other" M. J. instrument. I hadn't noticed it until you mentioned it... NOT.
    Anyway - it is wonderful to make things, huh? What sort of sounds does it produce? Songs yet? Tell us, tell us.


  2. Great stuff. Electric Bo Diddley! Very nice indeed~