Huss and Dalton Guitar Company, Inc. took root in the fertile soil of the Shenandoah Valley, late in the summer of 1995, when Jeff Huss and Mark Dalton’s friendship and mutual interests inspired them to envision eminently playable, resonant, and attractive guitars that were true to their sense of aesthetics and tone. While the luthiers appreciated traditional design, they imagined a guitar that paid homage to tradition and also incorporated improvements to the structure and cosmetics of the distinctly American steel string guitar.
Native Virginian and equine aficionado Mark Dalton grew up in the South-Central part of the state, where his family always enjoyed traditional music in the home and community. He began playing guitar at age 13 and banjo by 18. At a jam session in the early ’90’s, he met Jeff Huss. Dalton, with years of experience working with finish processes, was hired by Stelling in 1994 and began his career in instrument building.
Jeff Huss left North Dakota for Virginia, in 1984, to pursue his interest in bluegrass and traditional music. It was this interest and a Staunton law firm’s decision to purchase a computer that led him to Stelling Banjo Works where, for nine years, he honed his skills as an instrument maker. While Huss was still working for Stelling, he began building guitars in his home shop.
During a visit to Huss’s shop that fateful summer, the two began brainstorming ideas that sparked the evolution of Huss & Dalton Guitar Company.
In May 2021, Jeff Huss retires from the company after almost 26 years. Enter Brian Dickel…
Brian Dickel began working at Huss & Dalton in 2000 and continued as production manager for over 10 years. During that time, he took a leadership role in the day-to-day operations and kept the shop running smoothly. Never one to shy away from the challenges of guitar building, he quickly moved into fretting and final setups to ensure that each instrument was flawless. Ownership of Huss & Dalton was always in the conversation but around 2010 Brian’s music career with The Steel Wheels began to take off and the difficult decision was made to leave H&D to tour full time. Ten years later, as touring ceased during Covid restrictions, the opportunity to return to H&D began to take shape during the Summer of 2020. Discussions were had and decisions made and the partnership between Mark and Brian solidified in the Spring of 2021. They are excited about the continuing success of the company and the skill sets each bring to the table. It is a partnership that has been in the making for over 20 years.