Review Published in Music Mart Magazine
Here is the review of BJH Guitars that was featured in the January edition of Music Mart magazine.
“David Etheridge finds out that seven string guitars are not the exclusive territory of metal and fusion players, with a jazz model from a new British maker.
If you want something different in an instrument, very often it’s the small makers who provide the goods. In past issues of MM I’ve come across individuals who cheerfully chart their own course when building instruments, and the results have always been impressive. This month, we’re looking at a new range of archtop jazz models, each one individually crafted to the highest standards, and with many variations to suit your needs. Oh, and just to put the icing on the cake, they also do seven string models. These are BJH guitars.
BJH is a one man company: Bryan Hill is the luthier who has recently started building guitars after a previous career in engineering. While anyone can learn to build a guitar in evening classes by following established principles and practices, it’s the refinements and variations from the norm that stand out and distinguish maker X from the others. BJH guitars are distinctive in both looks and sound; let’s take a deeper look and see why.
BJH guitars use hand picked top grade woods as the basis of their construction with a carved spruce top, and maple back and sides. The underside of the top is fitted with either parallel or cross bracing, dependent on the model, and joints on the body have kerfed linings for strength. Traditional black and white bindings are on all the edges, including the F holes. The finger rest is ebony (again with edge binding) and is curved to the shape of the hand for extra comfort, and to avoid unwanted hand noise when playing and recording. The tailpiece is also ebony, with slotted string holes for quick string changes, while each adjustable ebony bridge is individually calibrated for string intonation. The single (Kent Armstrong custom for BJH) pickup can be fixed or floating, with either a bright or mellow tone, and is controlled by a single volume control on the finger rest; a tone control is an option if needed.The carved maple neck has an ebony fingerboard with 21 frets, a bone nut and bound white edges. A 12″ radius fingerboard is standard. The single truss rod has extra stability from twin carbon fibre rods in the neck, and the scale is 25″. The headstock is a maple continuation of the neck, ebony veneered, and inlaid with mother of pearl and black/white binding. The tuners (Grover black chrome as standard, others to choice) are positioned to allow parallel string routing.
Just opening the hard case and looking at the guitar is a delight. It’s distinctive looks will cause comment from other musos whether you have the 6 or 7 string. I had the 7 string model for review. Brian’s son, ace jazz player Paul Hill tunes the (075-080″ gauge) bottom string to A, but you will find the standard B tuning works just as well, as well as standardising the fingering. This guitar is superbly made, with all the joints seamlessly executed. The backplate is superbly carved, and if you tap it gently you can hear the resonance in the body that contributes so much to its superb tone, while the top is equally well made, with voluptuous curves that, once again make for a sonically impressive instrument. It balances perfectly and is very comfortable to play; even with seven strings I found no problem playing with my bass players hands! A guitarist friend who tried one out at Music Live thought that the neck was rather substantial; no problem here, as BJH can provide any radius and width for the fingerboard as well as any favoured thickness, and the twin carbon fibre rods in the neck add substantial strength overall.The most distinctive thing about this guitar is the sound; it’s quite unique. Rich, sonorous and exquisite, and simply massive on it’s own (ideal for soloists and small group work), the acoustic sound gets even better with the single custom pickup. My review model has the mellow variety, which gives a warm and wonderful tone that sounds like no other guitars I’ve ever played. It’s this very uniqueness that sets BJH guitars above the rest.
BJH offer a startlingly good range of guitars. They look wonderful, are made to the highest specifications, are wonderfully responsive and easy to play, allied to that uniquely rich and distinctive sound. While it’s not cheap, each instrument represents the hundreds of hours lovingly put into it’s construction, and the result is a Rolls Royce of a guitar. Perhaps the greatest compliment at this year’s Music Live was the fact that other guitar makers were impressed by the range. When you’ve got the respect of your peers with such a range of instruments, you know you’ve got something really special.
6 and 7 string models.
17″ wide, 3″ deep body; carved spruce top, carved maple back and edges.
Parallel or cross bracing dependent on model.
Kerfed linings on body joints for extra strength.
Black/white binding throughout.
Ebony finger rest, tailpiece and carved bridge.
Floating or fixed custom pickup with bright or mellow tone.
Carved maple neck with twin carbon fibre rods and single truss rod, ebony fingerboard and 21 frets, bone nut and bound black/white edging. 12″ radius as standard, any radius, fingerboard width and neck thickness to order. 25″ scale length.
Maple headstock, ebony veneered, inlaid with MOP and black/white binding. Grover
Black Chrome machines as standard (others to order).
Gloss finish; any colour as required.
Kinsman hard case as standard.
A beautiful guitar, expertly and superbly made.
Gigantic sound that’s truly unique in tone.
Very responsive acoustically.
Superb warm and distinctive sound through an amp.
Excellent playability and response.
A wide range of options, finishes and setups to your own preferences.
Hard case included.
Impresses other guitar manufacturers!
A considerable price, but for your money you get a world class guitar completely different from anything else on the market.”