We started BJ & Byrne Guitars in 2006 mostly because of an investment banking client of mine from 2004 which had developed an interesting technology which hardened soft woods such as Pine, organically. This, of course, would mean creating a sustainable hardwood resource in which to make, among other things, guitars. Brian (Brian “"BJ"” Troup), a thoroughly accomplished Luthier, was teaching me how to make acoustic guitars using this “Green” wood technology. What we found out was that the wood had some fantastic tonal qualities and looked great. The problem, however was the wood did not tool very well and made for some challenging carpentry. So we began exploring other similar wood technologies trying to capture that perfect combination of increased density, dimensional stability and workability with enhanced tonal qualities.
Finally, we came across a technology which ticked all of the boxes and then some. This ‘Green’ technology has allowed us to produce some extraordinary electric guitars that are lighter than their natural hardwood cousins but with sensational tone, resonance and sustain !
This technology increases the density of Pine by about 25%, making it as hard as woods like Maple or Mahogany as well as increasing its stability threefold..
We have also been experimenting with this Green technology on acoustic guitars and have found an even more incredible result. The first acoustic prototype was used by the late (Great) Robbin Thompson at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond, Va, at the signing in of 'Sweet Virginia Breeze' (my favorite tune) as the State's Official popular song... a great honor !
This technology organically turns soft woods, such as Pine, Red Alder, Beech and Spruce into a hard, denser wood. This technology also increases the stability of the wood threefold. Essentially, this intellectual property is able to effectively limit the amount of moisture absorbed in and expelled out of the wood to unheard of levels and conditions. Consider a guitar neck, body or in the case of an acoustic guitar, it's Sitka Spruce soundboard which was not affected by the climate. No warping, bending, expanding etc, all of which constantly tests the integrity of the guitar build and constantly throws your axe out of tune.
So now, imagine a guitar that is lighter, has tremendous tone and sustain that does not dry and crack in the winter or in any dry climate as well as being pretty much impermeable to moisture in humid environments. NOW, on top of all of that, IT'S MADE FROM PINE !!! One of the most abundant natural resources on the planet ! Prices start at $3,000.
Our Move Back to Virginia
In 2018 we moved our workshop to The Anchorage, a Colonal Virginia plantation from the 1690s and my ancestral home in Wicomico Church, Virginia. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, it is surrounded by early American history, where famous family names, like Washington, Lee, Ball, Carter and more, began making history. We are actually located in Ball's Neck (Mary Ball was Geo. Washington's mother).
Though we have and use some wonderfully aged hardwoods from our forest in which to make guitars, we are concentrating on becoming even more GREEN in our build endeavors. Since moving back to the Commonwealth, in addition to using Accoya wood technologies (which have expanded into even more wood species) we have been experimenting with our Finishes. We are using Zero VOC ("Volatile Organic Compounds") top finishes that are Ultraviolet light-cured, eliminating emmissions beyond the EPA's required levels.
BJ & Byrne Guitars:
• Use primarily hand wound pickups made in Virginia for our Va. made guitars and Bare Knuckle pickups for our guitars made in London (Hand wound in the South of England)
• Have left-handed models available
• Have seven (7) models in which to choose
• Give a life time guarantee (However, if we see you chuck one off a bridge, we may raise an eyebrow !)
• Use sustainable woods
• Come with a hard-shell case
• Will never go out of tune (well, that’s simply not true, but it’s a great sound-bite.)
• WILL CHANGE THE WAY GUITARS ARE MADE USING NEW “GREEN” TECHNOLOGIES
- Tommy Byrne