Byron Spain PE


I hold graduate degrees in physics and mechanical engineering and am a registered professional acoustical engineer (Texas PE#30008). As a member of the acoustics staff of the Boeing Company for more than 30 years, I conducted research on how vibration and sound affect materials, electronics, and structures. I was granted three patents relating to noise control in aircraft structures that are currently in use on most commercial aircraft and 9 other patents relating to mechanisms and dynamic controls. Boeing named me “Inventor of the Year” three times during my professional career. I was inducted into Strathmore’s Who’s Who for contributions to acoustic technology in 1996 and was awarded the Texas Crystal Bulb award in 2004 for lifetime achievement as a leader in science. I spent 40 years in the Pacific Northwest but relocated to Texas in 2002 after retiring from Boeing and now live and have a great shop near the Guadalupe River in the small community of Spring Branch.

Starting at age 14 I began building custom furniture and cabinets under the guidance of a gifted master craftsman, Frank Smith, who drilled the need for precision and a respect for quality materials and the techniques of fine finishes into my hard head. As a young adult I built custom powerboats, wood strip canoes, and kayaks as a sideline.

The leaping Orca trademark, first inlayed into my sea kayaks' hatch covers, is now proudly used on many of my custom instruments.

One day in 1962, I heard Bill Monroe's bluegrass band playing a catchy tune with a mandolin solo and decided I wanted one. I went to several music stores, checked out their mandolins and found that they had none that were left handed so I built one by copying an old junked Gibson F5 picked up from a pawn shop for $13. I have been hooked on this marvelous instrument ever since. For many years, I built the occasional mandolin as a hobby and generally gave them as gifts to friends; learning the thousands of hard lesssons required to master this demanding trade along the way. That eventually resulted in requests for custom instruments from strangers who morphed into customers and then friends. After retiring from my day job this hobby, which had turned into a passion, became a one-man business.

The magic takes place in this bastian of tranquility that is shown unusually clean.

 Though I take great pains to produce beautiful instruments, as do many other luthiers, my real accomplishment is control of their sound to a degree few can match. I would love to provide you with exactly what you desire.