Dow’s Diddley Bows Makes One-Stringed Folk Instruments

By Amy Makechnie, for the Beacon

“Never say you can’t play diddley!” is the tagline of the new Dow’s Diddley Bows store in Hill. Specializing in tenor instruments and touting a jug band (a band employing a mix of traditional and homemade instruments), Dow’s Diddley Bows is open for business.

What exactly is a diddley bow? “A one-stringed bow,” owner Mark Dow says. The advantage to a one-stringed instrument is that anyone can learn to play rather quickly. Dow says he might be the only music store in the state that makes and sells diddley bows and sells tenor guitars, dulcimers, and mandolas, almost extinct and beautiful instruments.

“We are also a full-service music store,” Mark says. In addition to his unique instruments, he also sells keyboards, regular guitars, tuners, music, amps, and banjos. Mark also offers lessons and fixes broken instruments.

Until a few years ago, Mark “never really got into music” until he was given about 100 cigar boxes. From those boxes, he fashioned his first cigar-box guitar.

Diddley bows are hard to find these days, which gives Mark the opportunity to sell to New Hampshire blues and jazz guitarist, vocalist, and educator TJ Wheeler.

Dow’s Diddley Bows is also a certified Gold Tone dealer. Gold Tone is a world-reknowned brand of stringed instruments. The music store is located at 764 Route 3A in Hill and is open from 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, and 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturday.

Jam night is on Wednesday from 7 to 9 PM — all are welcome. “Bring your fiddles, banjos, and mandolas,” Mark says. And get ready for some diddley. For more information, visit