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A great mahogany dreadnought with a custom thermo-cured red spruce top.

by Teja Gerken
June 12, 2018

Founded by luthiers Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton, Virginia’s Huss and Dalton Guitar Company has been specializing in high-end steel-string guitars for more than 20 years. Now working with a small team of builders, Huss and Dalton is known for fine craftsmanship and using highest-quality materials. We recently had a chance to check out a TD-M Custom dreadnought, generously provided by Gryphon Stringed Instruments of Palo Alto, California.

The TD-M is part of Huss and Dalton’s Traditional series, which is designed to capture the tonality and vibe of vintage instruments. Standard TD-Ms are built with a Sitka spruce top, but our demo guitar had a thermo-cured red (Adirondack) spruce top, which gives the instrument a more broken-in sound and vintage look. The guitar’s mahogany back and sides had gorgeous grain and deep color, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer-looking set of mahogany. Appointments are relatively simple, in keeping with the style-18 tradition, and include basic fingerboard dots, tortoise body binding, and a multi-ring rosette. The TD-M’s bridge has a vintage-style trough saddle with open ends, and the neck is slightly wider than many vintage dreadnoughts, measuring 1²³/₃₂ inches at the nut.

Our demo TD-M was a wonderful-sounding guitar. It had a bright, punchy voice with a warm and rich tonality and huge dynamic range. While it really came to life when Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard played bluegrass rhythm and an old-time fiddle tune with a flatpick, it also offered sweet tone when I used it to gently play an Irish ballad fingerstyle.

Overall, Huss and Dalton’s TD-M should definitely be considered by guitarists looking for a contemporary take on a vintage mahogany dreadnought. With the classic simplicity of its appearance and an abundance of high-quality materials, it’s a guitar that’s all about tone, and it will undoubtedly rise to the occasion when great dreadnought sound is desired.

SPECS: Dreadnought body. Thermo-cured red spruce top. Mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony bridge and fingerboard. 25.4-inch scale. 1²³/₃₂-inch nut width. Open-gear Waverly tuners. Made in the USA. $5,263 (list) as featured. Standard TD-M starts at $$4,263. Hussanddalton.com

Category: Instruments & Gear

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