Huss and Dalton Monticello
When Thomas Jefferson planted a tulip poplar on his Virginia estate, Monticello, sometime in the early 1800s, he could have scarcely imagined that it would one day be transformed into a guitar. For many years, guests at Monticello admired the robust tree, which ascended to more than 100 feet. But in 2008, having been in failing health for a decade, the tree was felled, and the wood was reserved for artistic purposes, including decorative bowls and a series of guitars by the stateâ€™s own Huss and Dalton Musical Instruments.
The Monticello Edition guitar shown here is based on Huss and Daltonâ€™s OO-SP model, which has a 14 1/8 -inch wide body, 24.9-inch scale, 12-fret neck, and slotted headstock. Where the standard OO-SP has rosewood back and sides, the Monticello Edition OO-SP has its back and sides and headstock overlay fashioned from Jeffersonâ€™s poplar. And instead of mahogany, the Monticelloâ€™s neck is made from native Virginia black walnut, as are the neck and body bindings. The instrumentâ€™s other tonewoods were harvested in that state as well; the red spruce top and bracing is from White Top Mountain and the fingerboard and bridge are from persimmon grown on country singer Ricky Van Sheltonâ€™s farm.
Just past the 14th fret, the fingerboard displays its only adornment, a wood-burned depiction of Monticello and the tulip poplar atop Jeffersonâ€™s signature, rendered in magnificently fine detail by the Tennessee-based artist Kenny Farmerâ€”a subtle indication of the guitarâ€™s special provenance.
Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar 234, May 2012
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