Gregory Byers – USA
“I have played many concerts with a Byers guitar.”
David Russell and David Tanenbaum have both played/recorded using a Byers guitar. Because of this his fan braced, elevated fingerboard, instruments have achieved a well deserved reputation. Greg is now also building fine lattice braced guitars that retain the traditional warmth and beauty of his fan braced guitars, with the power and focus available through this contemporary design…..
Greg Byers guitars have been played by the likes of David Russell and David Tanenbaum, and I could do no better in describing his guitars than to refer to quotes from both of these concert artists:
“They have a deep warm tone in the bass and a melodious treble. I played many concerts with a Byers guitar…They are wonderful instruments.” – David Russell
“There’s a real refinement to Byers’ instruments—wonderfully fine craftsmanship and a beautiful sense of legato. They are incredible musical instruments and they’re very, very even across the range.” – David Tanenbaum
David Russell recorded two CD’s using his Byers guitar, just listen to his “Torroba” CD to hear for yourself what he describes in his quote above.
Greg has been building for more than two decades, and was originally inspired via his exposure to Jose Romanillos in the early 80’s. He still considers Romanillos to be one of his strongest early influences, even though the guitars of these two builders are now very different. Greg notes John Gilbert as an additional early influence, and also acknowledges Thomas Humphrey’s Millenium as inspiring his own version of the elevated fingerboard design. The confluence of these influences, blended with Greg’s experimental nature, has led him towards his own creative destiny and the result has been a steady stream of guitars that warrant the kind of praise quoted above.
Speaking of his experimental nature, he has been a frequent writer and speaker in the classical guitar world. Those of you who are intonation fanatics would appreciate reading Greg’s highly analytical mathematical dissertation regarding guitar intonation that appeared in American Lutherie magazine, and that is also posted on his website. The result of this was an improved compensation system applied to both the nut and the saddle. This system is used by Greg on all his guitars.
Greg also uses a double hole in the tie block which produces the advantage of increasing the break angle of the string over the saddle, a feature that can optimize the sound of many guitars. Additionally, Greg builds in a slight dome in the back of his instruments that is intended (to) provide more strength and increase the ability of the guitar to comply with changes in humidity.
Greg has been previously known primarily for his fan braced guitars. He builds using a ‘treble bar’ to create an asymmetrical pattern that helps achieve a more even response throughout the frequency spectrum. The guitars played by Russell and Tanenbaum are fan braced instruments, for example.
Recently, however, Greg has been applying his ample experimental nature and his drive to constantly improve, towards uniquely designed lattice braced guitars. I am very excited about Greg’s commitment to this contemporary concept of the classical guitar. Greg is striving to meld the best attributes that lattice guitars have become known for, with the qualities that we have all come to love in the traditional fan braced guitar. I recently had the opportunity to offer one of these fine instruments in my shop, and I feel that he has succeeded in this goal.
Greg uses no carbon fiber on the bracing, preferring instead to use only wood, and counter-intuitively his soundboard is thicker, not thinner as with most lattice guitars. The result is a guitar that has the volume and projection expected in a lattice guitar, but with a tone that is somehow much more traditional, and highly pleasing. Combine this with the superb playability of the elevated fingerboard, near-perfect intonation, and one can only arrive at the conclusion that Greg has accomplished his goal with these guitars.
Although Greg always has a waiting list, he has agreed to provide a limited number of guitars to Classic Guitars International. I am very pleased to offer Greg’s wonderful instruments. Please contact me regarding pricing and expected delivery dates.