Huss & Dalton guitars are based on two distinct blueprints. On all of their Standard Series models, they build a 25-foot radius into the guitar's soundboard. They create the radius by sanding an arch into the braces, and also preparing the guitar's sides with a matching radius to accept the soundboard. A positive by-product of the radiused soundboard design - other than its increased load-bearing capacity - is a boost in the mid-range, giving their guitars more perceptibly balanced tone than that of strictly traditional designs. Their Traditional Series guitars feature the same 25-foot-radiused braces, but the sides are left flat for a more traditional instrument build and tonal character, emphasising the lower frequencies a bit more.
All Huss & Dalton guitars are braced with hand-split Appalachian red spruce, which has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than other woods more commonly used for braces. The bridge plates on all their guitars are made from Honduras rosewood, selected for its superior tonal properties, durability, and resistance to string-ball wear. They use AAA-grade top woods, which are tested individually to determine their load-bearing properties, and are thickness-sanded to achieve the best balance of strength and flexibility.
Their guitars all have bone nuts installed, as well as fully compensated 1/8" bone saddles. They compensate the scale of every string to make the guitars' intonation as close to perfect as possible. Every hand-crafted guitar neck is quarter-sawn Honduras mahogany, maple, walnut, or Spanish cedar, and all are fitted with a steel-reinforced, adjustable truss rod. Each neck is hand carved for a sleek, comfortable feel and ease of play. On request, they can custom-shape and size the neck of your guitar to fit your hand and your personal requirements.
The radiused fingerboards on Huss & Dalton guitars are made of ebony, a beautiful, dense, tropical hardwood that is resistant to wear, and no fingerboard leaves the bench without binding. Boards that need to have an unbound look are bound in Ebony, which is nearly invisible against the same wood. Binding the fingerboards means that you don't see - or feel - the fret ends. Also, since finish tends to chip away from unbound boards, binding them preserves the integrity of the finish at the fingerboard's edges.
In addition to any technical improvements to the design of their instruments, they have made aesthetic improvements, as well. Most of the instruments they build feature solid wood bindings and are tastefully appointed with shell inlays. All of their guitars feature the finest quarter-sawn woods available, and are priced with a hard-shell, tweed case.
All Huss and Dalton Guitars are shipped with D'addario brand strings. Most larger body guitars ship with mediums, (EXP 17) while smaller bodies ship with lights (EXP 16). All H&D guitars can be strung with light or medium strings except the OO and OO-SP models, which are braced for light gauge or lighter only. They also usually recommend that guitars with cedar tops be strung with light gauge strings. All banjos can be strung with light or medium.
All Huss and Dalton Instruments have an adjustable truss rod. Some models adjust from the peghead, while traditional series models and slotted peg heads adjust from inside the body. They set the relief at about .011 inch as the spec setup. To measure relief, put a capo on the strings at the first fret. With your left hand, push down the 3rd string at the 12th fret position. Now slide a .011 feeler gauge under the 3rd string at the 7th fret. You should feel a slight resistance, without the feeler gauge pushing the string up at all. If the rod needs adjustment, remove the truss rod cover on Standard H&D instruments, insert the Allen wrench provided and turn clockwise to tighten, counter-clockwise to loosen the rod. You may want the neck a bit flatter than .011, and that's okay, but you will want some relief in the neck, and the neck should NEVER be back-bowed.
Upon opening these guitars, each one has light marks in the pickguard region, presumably from where they test and set the guitar up initially. Perhaps it would be good if they used a protective film on the pickguard but they are the type of marks that appear after the first few plays and are not particularly noticeable in any realistic way. However, we wanted to point this out.
Their Crossroads models are some of their favourites. They have a great respect for the old blues music coming straight out of the Delta in the early 20th century. These guitars feature the look and sound of the great old instruments favoured by the masters of the genre. They have lightened the bracing and further shortened the scale to produce the woody, thumpy tone that makes the great blues music come to life.
They think of the Crossroads guitar as a smaller DS Crossroads. The tonal balance is similar, and its volume doesn't suffer much from being caged in a smaller body. You may find that the Crossroads makes a more convenient travelling companion than its DS Crossroads big brother. The dark sunburst and unpurfled cream binding present a no-frills look, perfect for the unpretentious player who prefers to let the music attract the attention. The Crossroads is also a shade deeper in the body than the 0, 00, and 000 series, creating a guitar with perhaps a bit bassier presence. Light gauge strings can bring out the best of the lightly braced top, though the Crossroads warranty allows for mediums.
Please see the embedded video clip of the amazing Molly Tuttle playing one of her Huss & Dalton guitars to witness the calibre of some the players using these beautiful instruments.
- Length 18-7/8 inch
- Width at lower bout 14-5/16 inch
- Depth 4 inches
- 3-7/8 inch sound hole
- 24.75 scale length
- 2-5/16 inches saddle spacing
- Mahogany back and sides
- Sitka spruce top w/dark Vintage Sunburst finish
- Lighter red spruce top bracing
- Bolt-on Mahogany neck w/Matte finish
- Rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlay and straight Rosewood Bridge
- Crossroads peghead shape
- Gotoh TK-0700 tuning machines w/cream buttons (3-on-a-plate)
- 1-3/4 inch vintage taper neck
- Cream bindings with black/white/black rosette
- Ebony bridge pins and end pin
- Adjustable truss rod
- D'Addario EXP 16 (light) strings
- Tweed hard-shell case w/H&D logo
- Flat Top build style
- Fire Stripe pickguard