Tuna Hiko – The Electric Eel diddley bow



Watching some Justin Johnson videos on YouTube and then doing some more reading and surfing looking at one stringed instruments, I decided to deviate sideways from my Ukulele building and build a diddley bow.

A friend had made me a portable amp for my birthday last year. I had given my only uke with a basic piezo pickup away, so a electric diddley bow seemed like a good project.

Built from a combination of Mahogany and Merbau/Kwila, fretless and with a basic electric guitar pickup, my goal was to make it as thin as possible. If I make a Mk2 some time, I’ll wind my own single coil pickup – more compact and visually nicer.

Tuna Hiko is Maori for Electric Eel.


6 thoughts on “Tuna Hiko – The Electric Eel diddley bow

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  1. Hi Mike, just stumbled upon your site while looking for some ideas on one string guitar pickups. Loving your Tuna Hiko which bears some similarities to a one string I’ve got half built in the workshop, I’m using the same pickup surround as yours, but in black. To date I’ve made a couple of one stringers and a few “signature” Diecasters – a name I came up with for my diecast box three stringers. Can I send you some pics sometime?

    Cheers from the UK,


    1. Hi Paul, my apologies for delay in response. Would love to see your work sometime. Send a link through or catch me on my username at gmail dot com!

  2. Hi, Great writeup! I wanted to know if you had any dimensions of the wood that you used or even perhaps spacing that was used…The layout and design of this diddley bow is top notch!

    1. Hi. I don’t have any exact measurements offhand as the unit went to a new owner and I don’t currently have access to my original plans if I kept them. All said, total length you could go for the standard fender scale length. Thickness was a little over 30mm/1” and width a hair under that – but perhaps start with your components and use them as a minimum size guide. Was a fun machine. I’ll make another some time

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