Annie Cuatro

Annie will be leading a workshop where you can make and decorate your own diddley bow. The contruction takes around an hour and then Annie will give you guidance on how to play it.

The diddley bow is a single-stringed instrument, which influenced the development of the blues sound. It was traditionally considered a starter or children's instrument in the Deep South, especially in the African-American community.

The diddley bow derives from instruments used in West Africa. There, they were often played by children, one beating the string with sticks and the other changing the pitch by moving a slide up and down. The instrument was then developed as a children's toy by slaves in the United States. They were first documented in the rural South by researchers in the 1930s.

Other nicknames for this instrument include "jitterbug" or "one-string", while an ethnomusicologists would formally call it a "monochord zither".

The diddley bow is typically homemade, consisting usually of a wooden board and a single wire string stretched between two screws, and played by plucking while varying the pitch with a metal or glass slide held in the other hand. A glass bottle is usually used as the bridge, which helps amplify the sound.

These sessions will last 2-3 hours and participants can come and go as they please. Materials will be provided.

Annie’s diddley bow workshop
History of the diddley bow
Playing it

Year Contributions
2019 Diddley bow workshops