My daughter's music teacher has invited me to run a workshop with him next year to help the second grade class build and play some instruments. So that gives me the summer to figure out a plan and source the materials. :)  

This could possibly be a multiple class activity, but I'm still thinking keep it basic:

- one nylon string
- 15" scale,
- limited frets (diatonic, chromatic, or pentatonic)
- eyebolt tuners
- pre-drilled necks
- pre-drilled boxes.

And maybe...
- copper pipe fitting slides
- formica sample picks

Does this sound like the right level of approach? Does anyone else have some pearls of wisdom from running a similar workshop? Am I bringing down too simplistic, or not simple enough? Also, any pointers to simple one string melody material (other than Smoke on the Water :) would be appreciated.

Thanks!

- Jon

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How long will you have for building time?

If you want to take it really simple you could go for one-string diddley bows with a broom handle neck, cigar box body, jubilee (hose) clip nut and bolt bridge. No frets - play them with a slide! It would be straight forward enough for you to pre-drill the cigar boxes with the necessary holes and they would be cheap and easy to make.

You could then give each student a kit of parts that they assemble themselves, and possibly decorate too if they wished.

If you wanted a bit of variety you could also have some students making bass versions.

I've made a couple of diddley bows now to this design and they have a good acoustic sound to them.

I'm not really sure what your typical 8 year old would be capable of but I would guess that the simpler the better.
I'll have to talk to the teacher a bit more to find out the build time, but I really like the broom handle neck and hose clamp nut idea. That should really simplify prepping the materials and assembly.

Thanks!
Great idea! Can you share what a hose clamp nut is?
The hose clamp, also known as jubilee clip, is put around the top of the diddley bow neck where you would like the nut and tightened with the barrel (that the tightening screw goes in) on top. You then cut or grind a slot/groove on top of the barrel for the string to run along in. You can sort of see it in this picture:

I can take another picture for you if that would help. PapaSimone said:
Great idea! Can you share what a hose clamp nut is?
In my opinion, for a classroom where time is limited, and for kids with no experience, the most efficient is to use the traditional way of building a diddley bow like KM Williams have one. Here is a video of him playing and of course you can see a lot of more on its page here at the nation


That would require 1 string, 1 open gear tuner, 1 box and a broom stick for the neck, 4 hose clamp.
will need to drill 7 holes, so if you prepare the work before the classroom, the kids will only have to use a screwdriver ! Choose the size of the broom stick depending on age of the kids.

Building steps:
1. in the broom stick at top drill 1 hole for the tuner, and another hole 3cm away for the string
2. then drill a 3rd hole at the bottom
3. in the box drill 4 holes for the hose clamps
4. place the broom stick in the 2 hose clamps at top of the box
5. place a hose clamp at bottom of the broom stick and make it close to the box and point it to the sky so it will serve as a bridge
6. make a hose clamp at top of the broom stick just below the string hole and point it to the sky so it will serve as a nut
7. Mesure exact distance from bridge to nut and go to online fret software so you can have exact frets positions to mark on your neck ( see http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator and choose DULCIMER if you want a diatonic scale)
8. Mark frets positions with a pencil
9. place the tuner REVERSED so it points to the ground ; don't forget to have the little wheel at bottom too. (see detail in my photo albums here if needed, there many pictures with details)
10. place a string, something like the D or G string of a regular string guitar set ; you may need a small wash to keep string in place at bottom of guitar ; then at top of guitar the string goes after the nut into the little hole then into the tuner, that will ensure good tension on your string and no problem when tuning.

Have fun :-)
this is an interesting alternative to the hose clamps :-) by Jason Fitzgibbons
here

This worked great - I just put together a canjo tonight using a hose clamp bridge. Instead of cutting a groove in the top though, I just installed it little bit turned to the side so the dip where the screw goes into the barrel acted as a natural string guide. This picture might help explain it better -
One String Canjo
J-Hob said:
The hose clamp, also known as jubilee clip, is put around the top of the diddley bow neck where you would like the nut and tightened with the barrel (that the tightening screw goes in) on top. You then cut or grind a slot/groove on top of the barrel for the string to run along in.


You can sort of see it in this picture:


I can take another picture for you if that would help.

PapaSimone said:
Great idea! Can you share what a hose clamp nut is?

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8 year old workshop ideas

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