Rigged: Byzantine Guitarists Brian Henderson and Chris “OJ” Ojeda

Fifteen years is quite a bit of time for a band to exist. Sure, in Byzantine’s case the members spent five of those years with the “disbanded” status effect applied, but perhaps it’s an even more impressive feat to return from a hiatus and not lose a step. That’s what Byzantine did in 2013 with a self-titled comeback record.


On April 7th the band will follow up that LP with the unfortunately-titled To Release Is to Resolve, dooming members of the press to frequent trips back to the text of press releases to make sure we didn’t accidentally swap the words around. Tune in below to soak in the first single from that new record, whichever one it is, and then get the rundown on both guitar rigs involved in the creation of those tones.

To Resolve Is to Release… damnit… To Release Is to Resolve can be preordered at Big Cartel, or you can obtain it digitally on iTunes, Amazon, and the like.

Brian Henderson (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals) of Byzantine’s Rig:

Byzantine-Brian AMP

My guitar rig is fairly simple and old school.  I haven’t gone with the modeling software like a Kemper or Axe FX as a lot of other players these days have.  My main amp that I’ve played for 15 years is a Fryette (VHT) Pittbull Hundred CLX.  I switched out the EL34’s that came with the amp to 6L6 power tubes.  The change gave it a much tighter edge and bottom end.  The head runs into a Bogner 4×12 Uberkab with crossed Vintage 30 and GT75 Celestions.

Byzantine-Brian Board

For effects I use all pedals, no rack-mounted gear.  Between my guitar and my head I only have a Boss tuner and Dunlop Crybaby wah.  All other pedals run to the tube buffered effects loop. I have an ISP Decimator noise gate, MXR Carbon Copy delay, Boss Super Chorus, and my secret weapon pedal, a BBE Sonic Stomp sonic maximizer which stays engaged at all times.  I have read the BBE’s effect is kinda like taking cotton out of your ears.  The channels on the amp are switched by a Fryette foot controller that allow me to go between clean, rhythm, lead, and a boost function for all channels.

Byzantine-Brian Guitar

I use two guitars live.  My main C tuned guitar is a Suhr Modern Pro with a fireburst finish, 24 stainless frets, Gotoh floyd rose, Pao Ferro fretboard, and the stock Suhr pickups.  This is, hands down, the best playing guitar Ive ever owned and I’ve owned a lot. I can’t say enough about the build quality on these things. My D tuned guitar is a Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 loaded with a DiMarzio Tone Zone in the bridge and an Air Norton at the neck.  They are both strung with a custom built set of DR’s, 10-54.


Chris “OJ” Ojeda (Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals) of Byzantine’s Rig:

My setup is pretty simple as well. We both still don’t mind lugging tube amps around. Old dogs, new tricks…

Byzantine-OJ Amp

I play through a Peavey Joe Satriani (JSX) signature 120W head, running 6L6 tubes as well. I used to play Mesa Boogie but switched to the JSX about 4 years ago when I heard the clean tones and warmness the amp gets. This is the reason I keep my gain around 6-7 and mids around 5. Heaviness doesn’t come with gain.

Byzantine-OJ Board

My cabinet is a Mojotone 4×12 with vintage 30’s crossed with Celestion GT75’s. My pedal chain is extremely simple. I run an MXR Carbon copy Analog delay in my effect loop. This pedal is activated during solos and clean sections. On my pedal board I run a Korg pitch black tuner and a Rocktron guitar silencer. I have a Peavey channel selector and use it to bounce between my rhythm, lead and cleans. That’s it.

Byzantine-OJ Guitar

I have recently become a Schecter endorsed artist, again. I was endorsed 10 years ago and lost it during our hiatus. I still play the 1st Schecter I ever got. It’s a left handed C-1 Stealth, gloss black with ivory binding. It has a Dimarzio Tone Zone in the neck and a PAF Joe in the bridge. I also added Grover Roto Grip locking tuners as well. My strings are a custom set of DR’s, 10-54. I am currently in the market for another Schecter as my main guitar and will have that ASAP.

And lastly for vocals, I use a Shure SM-58, a TC Helicon Create XT Vocal pedal for my choruses and clean singing and I use Heir Audio’s 3 driver custom in-ear monitoring system.


Upcoming Byzantine Tour Dates:

03/18 – Austin, TX (South By South Death) @ The Dirty Dog (w/ Norma Jean, Fallujah and more)
03/19 – Little Rock, AR @ Shooters Bar & Grill
03/20 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
03/21 – Dayton, OH @ Rockstar Pro Arena
04/04 – Huntington, WV @ The Vclub
04/17 – Beckley, WV @ Muncheez Bar & Grill
04/18 – Parkersburg, WV @ Sixpence Pub & Eatery

Written by

Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • Awesome!

  • Why are people proud of the fact they don’t use modeling gear?

leave a comment