Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

Huss and Dalton 00 Custom

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A contemporary take on the 12-fret 00 built with beautiful sinker mahogany.

by Teja Gerken
June 26, 2017

Virginia’s Huss and Dalton Guitar Company specializes in hand-crafted steel-string guitars inspired by classic American flattop designs. The company offers an extensive line of models, and we recently had a chance to check out a custom version of its 12-fret 00, which includes contemporary and original features rather than being an exact copy of a vintage design.

The most obvious original elements of this custom 00 include a solid peghead (most vintage 00’s have a slotted headstock) and a much more contemporary neck profile. Like all Huss and Daltons, the guitar has a slightly more pronounced top radius than most flattops (which, despite their name usually have at least a slight radius). As a custom instrument, it also has some distinctive aesthetic touches, such as bloodwood binding. Standard Huss and Dalton 00s have Indian rosewood or mahogany back and sides paired with an Engelmann spruce top. But for this instrument, Huss and Dalton chose a thermo-cured (similar to torrefied) Sitka spruce top and “sinker” mahogany back and sides. Sinker mahogany is a fascinating wood that was originally cut some 200 years ago in Belize, but ended up submerged in rivers and swamps during the process of floating the logs to sawmills. Some of these log have been discovered recently and brought to the surface to be processed for use in instruments and high-end furniture (check out this in-depth video of the process!). The sinker mahogany on this custom 00 has an incredibly beautiful reddish hue with an amazing depth to its grain pattern.

The Huss and Dalton 00 Custom was an incredibly fun guitar to play. It had a super direct voice with a lightning-fast response and great midrange, and with plenty of bass and volume, it never sounded like a small guitar. It had superb definition from one string to the next, making it great for multi-voice fingerstyle material, and it also had a beautiful presence when strummed or flatpicked. Overall, Huss and Dalton has managed to fuse the best qualities of vintage 00s with some of its own ideas about design and tone, and the result is a stunning guitar that will appeal to many aficionados of fine steel-string guitars.

Specs: 12-fret 00 body. Thermo-cured Sitka spruce top. Sinker mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony bridge and fingerboard. Bloodwood binding. 24.9-inch scale. 1 3/4-inch nut width. 2⁵/₁₆-inch string spacing at the saddle. Open-gear Waverly tuners. Made in the USA. $5,253.


Category: Instruments & Gear

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