U Tin, a slide guitarist who became a global ambassador for Burmese music while working as a plumber under a military dictatorship, died on Feb. 5 in Yangon, Myanmar. He was 87.

His daughter Daw Win Win Toe said the cause was complications of diabetes.

Mr. Tin was one of several prominent Myanmar musicians who incorporated Western instruments into a diverse canon that spanned folk tunes, classical Burmese music linked to ancient royal courts, and songs from the country’s 1950s-era cinematic golden age. In addition to guitar, he played banjo, mandolin and Burmese harp.

Mr. Tin moved to Yangon in 1947, a year before the country, then known as Burma, gained independence from Britain. He found work as a plumber and began studying music.

After a military coup in 1962 plunged Myanmar into decades of isolation and extreme poverty, Mr. Tin kept his day job and mostly steered clear of the regime’s state-sponsored traditional music and dance troupes.

But he kept playing music, and his reputation as a brilliant slide guitarist grew, thanks partly to people outside Myanmar who invited him to perform around the globe.

U Tin was born in the southwestern town of Kyaik Lat on July 8, 1931, to U Ba Aye and Daw Than Yi, both farmers. When World War II broke out, many residents of nearby Yangon, then known as Rangoon, fled to the surrounding countryside as the city came under attack by Japanese bombers.

Some of them turned up in Mr. Tin’s town, and they happened to be musicians.

“I got the chance to learn from them,” he said years later.

Mr. Tin’s main instrument was a steel resonator guitar, similar to one played in American blues and country music by performers like Jerry Douglas and Son House. He played it sitting down, with the fretboard lying over his lap.

It is unclear precisely how these guitars, which have roots in Hawaiian music, made it to Myanmar.

One influence appears to have been Tau Moe, a Samoan guitarist who had been educated in Hawaii and performed in Yangon in the late 1920s, said Kit Young, a Washington-based scholar of Burmese music and a founder of Gitameit Music Institute, a nonprofit community center and music school in Yangon.