Featured Luthier: Gregory Byers, Willits, California
When he began making guitars, the former biology PhD attended a workshop by Jose Romanillos and then was mentored by John Gilbert. This set in motion Greg’s life long mission to blend tradition and modernity, the tension between the loved sound of the Spanish guitar and the contemporary need for loud guitars.
“To me the character and timbre of the sound must evoke the past, with sweetness and warmth, and with the alluring quality that naturally draws people to the guitar and makes our instrument unique. But the guitar also needs to have a big enough sound to satisfy the modern emphasis on loudness.
Although his guitars have many modern features, including raised fingerboards and lattice bracing, there is no synthetic material in his guitars—they are all wood. “I want my guitars to be rich yet clear, with deep basses and a strong, sustaining first string.”