HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 1.

Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 1).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to read this Introduction post, Part 1, first or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense. 

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.

 

Part 1.  Introduction.

While I am merely a hobbyist when it comes to working with wood, it is something I have done my whole life. I don’t have a lot of specialized tools, but I do like precision, so I try to work out methods of doing things that work for me.

Cutting the ‘valleys’ accurately into the guitar bridge blank goes a long way in determining how well a finished bridge will look.  I’ve made probably 30-40 guitar bridges, and when I first started I was not comfortable using a drill or a small sanding drum to make these valleys. I didn’t give me enough control.

So, I made a simple jig to sand the valleys by hand, as will be explained a bit further on in this Post. I’m sure there are many other ways to make these pyramid bridges, so take from these posts what you will.  I hope someone finds it useful.

There are many styles of pyramid bridges, and it makes sense to individually craft them for a particular guitar.

Top: 20th Century Pyramid bridge Middle: Truncated Pyramid (Chicago) bridge Bottom: 19th Century Pyramid bridge

In the next 3  Posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) I’ll demonstrate how I make each of these different pyramid bridges.

But first, some general information about the tools needed and a simple homemade jig I made and use:
Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 1.”

HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 2.

Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 2).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to read the Introduction Post, Part 1, first or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense.

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.

 

Part 2.  20th Century Pyramid Style Bridge.

20th Century pyramid bridge. Original pyramid bridge on a 1920’s Oscar Schmidt all Koa Guitar.

I believe this style came into use about 1910 but I am open for correction.  I really like this style of pyramid bridge. It was used by many manufacturers including Oscar Schmidt.  By the 1930’s most manufacturers had phased out using this style (most likely to save on costs) replacing it with a simpler made bridge.

I’m starting with this style pyramid bridge because it’s probably what most people think of as a pyramid bridge.
Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 2.”

HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 3.

Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 3).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to first read the Introduction post, Part 1, or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense.

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.

 

Part 3.  Truncated Pyramid Style (or Chicago) Bridge.

Truncated pyramid bridge (Replacement ) on a c.1900 Weymann guitar.

Truncated just means ‘shortened’- by cutting off the top of the pyramid in this case. It’s also called a ‘Chicago’ style bridge because it is the bridge Lyon & Healy (one of the first guitar manufacturers based in Chicago in about 1880’s) first put on their early Washburn guitars.  Used by many manufacturers including Martin, Weymann, Regal, and Harmony up until about 1930.
Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 3.”

HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 4.

Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 4).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to first read the Introduction post, Part 1, or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense.

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.

Part 4.  19th Century Pyramid Style Bridge.

19th Century pyramid bridge. Original pyramid bridge on a c.1890’s Bay State guitar.

A  pyramid bridge from the 19th Century is characterized by the elongated pyramids on the ends.  Used on 1800’s Martin and Bay State guitars plus others.

Keep in mind that pyramid bridges can look very different from maker to maker.  You can also buy a ready-made pyramid bridge online from Stewmac.com and others, but I like to tailor-make them.  There are other sites online showing how they make a pyramid bridge, but once I’ve made the jig to cut the valleys, the bridge is relatively easy and quick to make, and the results are accurate. Because they are all hand made with minimal electric tools, it gives me more control and I have very few rejects.

This 19th Century style pyramid bridge I am making here will be a stylized version of the 19th century pyramid bridge for a beautiful c.1890’s Bay State Grand Concert guitar I have.

Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 4.”

ALL IS RIGHT IN THE GARDEN – For now!

From the age of about 25 I have always had an organic veggie garden no matter where I lived.  Which was no small feat since I moved around a lot when I was younger.  The problem was I would just get it productive and I’d end up moving.  But these last 20 years we have stayed in the one place, paying off our house on an acre and a half block.

With the help of my sons and son-in-law we have managed to landscape and build a pizza oven and elevated garden beds.

I’ve mentioned before how in this world of matter, everything changes.  Everything in this world that has a beginning has an end.  I’m amazed how much a garden changes every day.  For the moment our garden is pumping and I’d just like to share some of todays photos with you.

Continue reading “ALL IS RIGHT IN THE GARDEN – For now!”

UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP & KINDNESS – A true story

Most of us live in a series of bubbles.

First of all, we live inside this body.  We are NOT our bodies.  Each of us is a spirit soul residing in a body.  Next, we surround ourselves with family and friends; generally, we limit ourselves to just a few people.

My wife and me with 2 of our grandchildren watching the sun come up over the ocean.

Then we surround ourselves with what we believe are our possessions, our house, our car, our things. But, of course, since at the time of death we cannot take them with us, these are not really ours at all.

Continue reading “UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP & KINDNESS – A true story”

GOD ALWAYS LOVES US

My eldest son sent me this cartoon:

So sometimes the bigger they are, those with the biggest false egos, the harder they fall. And the harder they fall the happier they become because they  experience, “ I am the most  fallen, the worst. I am the most sinful person and yet God still forgives me.”  They experience how unconditional God’s love for them is.

When I experience how unconditional God’s love is for me, then I know that I have a true friend, an unconditional friend  and protector.  I feel completely secure knowing there is nothing that I can be or do that would make me such that God does not love me.  If I approach God completely naked, not in any way defending myself, or trying to hide my imperfections, then I experience how God’s love for me is perfect, and that I need no other protection, no other friend, no other source of happiness.  This realization is complete self-realization.”     Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda

Namaste  Charles/Chaitanya das

 

ANZAC DAY, MY FATHER and ‘REGIME CHANGE’ WARS

Anzac Day (25th April) is fast approaching.  In Australia and New Zealand this is the national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served in, and died in, all wars and conflicts.

It was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (thus ANZACS) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in World War I, (1914-1918).

It is a solemn day in Australia and New Zealand and rightly so.  It honours the soldiers, irrespective of the right or wrong of the different wars they’ve participated in.

Ronald Armistice Robinson (1918-1986)

My father was born on the final day of this great war of the Anzacs, 11th November 1918.  The eleventh of the eleventh 1918.  This was called Armistice day, and as such his parents named him Ronald Armistice Robinson.
Continue reading “ANZAC DAY, MY FATHER and ‘REGIME CHANGE’ WARS”

DECALCOMANIA (DECALS) – Guitar Decoration Pt. 1

(Coming soon: Guitar Decoration Pt. 2.SCREEN PRINTING & STENCILS)

The term decal is the shortened version of the word ‘decalcomania’, which is the English pronunciation of the French word décalcomanie. It entails the transferring of a printed image on paper onto ceramic, wood or any other material. The image is then varnished over to protect it from damage.

1930’s Oscar Schmidt Stella Guitar with decalcomania imitating wood and pearl inlay

OSCAR SCHMIDT and other makers using DECALCOMANIA

“With decals, inlaid marquetry can be closely imitated and various shades of wood and even pearl can be reproduced with exactness.”  In the USA, from the end of the 1890’s, this decoration was used on pianos, mandolins, guitars and zithers etc.
Music Trade Review 10 Aug 1899 p.16. Continue reading “DECALCOMANIA (DECALS) – Guitar Decoration Pt. 1”

COLLECTING & DECLUTTERING – Living & Dying

Collecting & Decluttering

I’ve always been a collector. When I was very young, I collected coins. My parents owned a corner store and I would go through the coins at the end of the days sales and pick out any foreign or unusual coins and add them to my collection.

As I got a bit older, I would buy rarer coins and collect those.  Eventually I lost interest in numismatics and my collecting had a decade or so break.  I got married and started collecting kids, six of them, each quite rare and valuable.

Continue reading “COLLECTING & DECLUTTERING – Living & Dying”