Huss & Dalton Musical Instruments began in late summer 1995 when Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton had an idea to build the guitar that they wanted to play. While appreciating the traditional design, both had visions of a guitar that paid homage to tradition while incorporating improvements in the structural design and cosmetics of the steel-string guitar.
Jeff Huss moved from North Dakota to Virginia in 1984 to pursue an interest in bluegrass and traditional music. This interest led him to Stelling Banjo Works where, for nine years, he honed his craft of instrument building. Shortly after leaving, he began building guitars in his home shop.
Mark hails from South Central Virginia where his family has long enjoyed traditional music in the home and community. He began playing guitar at age 13 and banjo by age 18. It was at a jam session in the early '90's that he first met Jeff Huss. Mark became employed by Stelling in 1994 and began his career in instrument building. On a visit to Jeff's shop in the summer of 1995, the two began formulating ideas that led to the creation of Huss and Dalton Guitars.
In the early days a system was initiated to build guitars in a small production capacity, rather than the one-at-a-time 'free-building' style that Jeff had previously employed. Later, a move to a small shop allowed the hiring of their first employees and a gradual increase in the number of instruments produced. The business continues to grow, still utilizing hands-on 'bench style' building techniques, while also embracing modern technologies such as CNC machining and the precision that it brings to the guitar building process.
Huss & Dalton guitars feature two distinct construction styles. On all of the standard series models, they employ the use of a 25' radius built into the guitar top. This is achieved by milling an arch into the braces, and preparing the sides with the same radius to accept the soundboard. A positive by-product of the radiused soundboard design, besides its load bearing properties, is a boost in the mid-range. This helps their guitars to have a more balanced tonal quality than traditional designs. The Traditional series features the same 25' radius prepared into the braces, but the sides are left flat for a more traditional build style. This build style tends to have a more traditional tonal character, emphasizing a bit more bass.
All Huss & Dalton guitars are braced with hand split Appalachian Red Spruce, which has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than other brace woods.
All bridge plates are made of Honduran Rosewood, selected for its superior tonal properties and resistance to string ball wear.
Huss & Dalton use AAA grade top woods, which are checked individually for load bearing abilities, and are thickness sanded to achieve the best balance of strength and flexibility.
Bone nuts are used on all of their instruments and fully compensated 1/8" bone saddles are used on all of their guitar models. They then compensate the scale of every string to make the intonation as close as possible to perfect.
Their necks are quarter-sawn Honduran Mahogany, Maple, Walnut, or Spanish Cedar, and all employ the use of a steel reinforced truss rod. Each neck is carved to a sleek comfortable feel, and they can custom shape and size your neck to fit your needs.
All fingerboards are Ebony, a beautiful, dense wood that is resistant to wear. They bind every fingerboard on each guitar model. Those needing an unbound look are bound in Ebony. Binding all fingerboards means no fret-ends are seen or felt. In addition, finish tends to chip away at the fret-ends on unbound boards.
Besides technical improvements to the design of our instruments, they have made aesthetic improvements as well. Most of the improvements in their line feature solid wood bindings and are tastefully appointed with shell inlays. All of their guitars feature the use of the finest quarter-sawn woods available. All Huss & Dalton instruments are priced with a hard shell case.