One-String Teardrop Guitar, Springtown, TX

Updated: Jan 10


This primitive one-string guitar was a labor of love for the builder, who planned out a neck-through-body design with a bent wood teardrop shape. Although its history is unknown, the patina and cracked varnish that covers the instrument gives the feel of something created at least 100 years ago.

Like so many instruments in the Cigar Box Museum collection, this one-string guitar was found at an estate sale. In this case, it was in Springtown, TX at the home of an elderly woman back in 2018. I acquired it from an antique dealer on eBay in 2021.


The guitar arrived without a string or bridge. I crafted a new wooden floating bridge and strung it up with a .022 bronze wound banjo string. The loop end of the string fit perfectly in the nail that was placed at the butt end as a string anchor.

The frets are large roofing staples which were pounded into the hand carved neck. The positioning of the frets on this 17" scale neck is incorrect for either chromatic or diatonic tuning. This is a common mistake seen in many antique cigar box guitars and DIY instruments.

The teardrop body has a top and back made from rough-cut 1/4" wood. The sides appear to be an 1/8" thick piece of wood that has been bent around the teardrop shape.