Huss and Dalton Guitars is based around the partnership between luthiers Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton, who have been building together since 1995 and who now employ a small team of builders in their Staunton, Virginia, shop. The company builds a range of instrument styles, including traditional dreadnought and OM shapes, as well as their own, more contemporary, designs. For this review, Huss and Dalton sent us their TOM-R (T for “traditional” and R for “rosewood”).
The TOM-R mirrors the traditional look, feel, and construction of the classic OM. It includes herringbone top purfling and a simple rosette pattern, with a few unique touches, such as the highly scalloped Virginia red spruce braces. The ebony bridge pins sit smoothly and evenly inside recessed holes in the bridge. The TOM-R’s bone saddle is fully compensated, with adjustments evident for every individual string. The gloss-finished mahogany neck has a somewhat pronounced V shape on the lower frets, flattening out fairly quickly in the upper registers, making the neck very comfortable. In a nod to tradition, the neck also features a carved volute where the neck meets the headstock.
Tonally, the TOM-R exhibits a warm, rich sound, with the “chocolate” flavor often attributed to Indian rosewood. We felt the tone leaned toward the darker end of the spectrum, without being boomy. In fact, the low E string, in particular, exhibited a tight, punchy bass sound. The guitar also tends toward a fundamental tone, producing a sweet sound with relatively few overtones and very little high-end shimmer. The guitar has excellent sustain and a strong initial attack that tends to dominate. Nygaard liked how the guitar responded to a heavier attack and found that the guitar had plenty of headroom, making it a good choice for flatpicking. We all felt that the TOM-R produced a versatile tone that could do just about everything well and was an excellent representation of the classic rosewood OM sound.
BODY: Solid Sitka spruce top; solid Indian rosewood back and sides
NECK: Bolt-on mahogany neck; ebony fingerboard and bridge; 25.4-inch scale; 1 3/4-inch nut width; 2 7/32-inch string spacing at saddle; nickel Waverly tuners.
PRICE: $3,300 street