I made a three string fiddle out of an old vodka bottle box. It sounds great – like a fiddle, and it’s loads of fun to play. I’m getting pretty good at chopping along to country and dance tunes. Everyone makes playing one out to be so hard.
For this project I challenged myself to resist the urge to buy parts. I could have used more appropriate tuners, but I didn’t. I could have bought a tailpiece but I used some scrap metal instead. It forced me to rethink my approach I think for the better. I’m really pleased with the final result. I carved the finger board myself from a piece of mahogany. It wasn’t too hard, though I can say it sounds fine when bowing when plucking however there are certain notes that buzz a little. I used a sound post but I did not install a bass bar. Maybe I’ll try a bass bar next time for reference. The bow is literally a bow as in the medieval style. It is made with fishing line. It works well for me but I’ve never had the luxury of a quality bow so I wouldn’t know the difference.
The box I used turned out to be very good acoustically. It’s made of solid straight grain soft wood of some kind. I used a set of tuners from a broken classical guitar rescued from a dumpster. The neck is a piece of mahogany rescued from a dumpster behind a furniture shop (where I get all my wood). The tail piece is cut from an olive oil can rescued from the trash behind a french restaurant in town (they throw a lot of them away). The bridge is carved from a thin piece of oak. The nut from a piece of maple. I closed the back up with a thin piece of oak. I finished the whole thing with raw linseed oil. I found this to be a great option for a simple and attractive no fuss finish. It also allows the wood to darken naturally which I like.