Unitar (Music)

Unitar (Music)

The one stringed guitar, also known as a Unitar is a somewhat less known version of the standard electric guitar. Although rare, the one-string guitar is sometimes heard, particularly in Delta blues, where improvised folk instruments were popular in the 1930s and 1940s.



Eddie "One String" Jones had some regional success with a Mississippi blues musician, Lonnie Pitchford, who played a similar homemade instrument. In a more contemporary style, Little Willie Joe, the inventor of the Unitar, had a considerable rhythm and blues instrumental hit in the 1950s with "Twitchy", recorded with the Hall Orchestra.


The homemade unitar often has been made with a piezoelectric sensor as a pickup on the unitar, requiring that an external amp be attached to operate. PVC piping is a common neck material. Like a normal electric guitar, it needs no reverberating back like an acoustic guitar needs. The plug is usually quarter inch, as the cord is easier to work with.

Alternate Designs

Many variations have been created, some of which are mentioned below.


This design has five strings around one PVC pipe. It is often considered impractical because of the fact the bumped and misplayed strings are common while turning the instrument to reach the string you want to play.

Double or triple neck

As the name suggests, this variation has more than one neck, with each neck almost always strung with a different type of string.


This variation is played with a bow, but custom strings are often needed to accommodate both the length of the PVC and the ability to be bowed.


This variation is almost never seen, but it includes using custom strings that are extremely long to achieve a wider range of sounds.

Famous one string players

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