Making a pyramid bridge

Watch Michele make a pyramid bridge for an old parlor guitar…..if you dare.

A pyramid bridge is one of the trickiest types of bridge to make (because of the pyramids).  This old no-name parlor guitar had an “ebonized” pyramid bridge on it, and the front of it broke off due to string tension and probably being a somewhat softer wood than ebony.  I made the replacement of ebony partially to avoid that problem in the future, but also because it’s traditional and just nicer.

 First step: select a blank of ebony, square it up, measure, mark, and drill the holes.

Then, using the original as a template, mark and cut out the footprint.

Next, measure and mark the thickness and the rough shape of the profile.  I do this using a dial calipers, a small ruler/straight-edge and a small square.

Some of the profile can be rough-cut on the bandsaw, beltsander and the spindle shaper, but most of the work is by hand.  A good very sharp chisel and various sanding blocks are the main tools involved.

The saddle slot is cut after the bridge is glued on because it’s precise location is necessary for good intonation.

Once the shaping is all done, then it’s sand, sand, sand.  All the scratches on all surfaces must be sanded out using progressively finer paper, all the way to 600, always with a hard block to avoid rounding edges.  Pyramid bridges typically have very defined points and lines.

Then glue it on, route the saddle slot, ream and countersink the holes, make and install a saddle, all of which I’m not going to cover in this slideshow.  But I will show you the finished product!

The actual making of the bridge took me about 2 hours.  Now you know why it’s such an expensive thing to make!


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