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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Stelling guitar?

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/06/2012:  20:20:40

Has anyone ever played a Stelling guitar? Is this pretty much a Huss and Dalton that says Stelling on it? Would it be better or worse than a more current Huss and Dalton?

I love Stelling banjos and just recently learned about Stelling guitars (the 100 that were made).

Goldstarman - Posted - 10/06/2012:  20:27:43

I got to play one at one time, All I know is that it was a killer guitar

brunomathilda - Posted - 10/06/2012:  21:04:59

I did not know Stelling made guitars.

Thank you Jen .

I have some search to do before going to sleep.

If they are anything like the banjos ,we are in trouble ,right now..

jwoods - Posted - 10/06/2012:  22:18:59

The first Stelling guitar was made in 1990, and the last in 2002.

stelling man - Posted - 10/07/2012:  04:51:38

The Stelling mandolins are super good Instruments, I've seen Three of them and they were all great, matter of fact a friend In Dayton still has one of them..



JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/07/2012:  05:14:41

I found one of the guitars....haven't pulled the trigger is 2k...they will do $1800. I've never played one though and it is far away but has a return policy.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 10/07/2012:  05:26:08

I have a friend who has a Stelling guitar and it is so easy to play -- frets easily, sounds great.  If I could afford one...... I'd buy it in a minute.

banjoman56 - Posted - 10/07/2012:  05:49:57

That sounds like a good price, if it's in good shape.

the-fish - Posted - 10/07/2012:  08:04:45

Thats the price ive seen them at. I think there was one at Zepps a while back in that range

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/07/2012:  08:38:23

I don't need a guitar, thought it would be an interesting thing to have. At some point I wouldn't mind a Martin HD-28, so this would have to be good enough to take the place of a Martin. I would be happier with $1500, at $2000 it hits me as a little much (based on not having played it). That's what it is worth to me unplayed.

wjtank - Posted - 10/07/2012:  09:04:24

Russell Moore (IIIrd Tyme Out) played a Stelling guitar at one time.

banjoman56 - Posted - 10/07/2012:  10:20:08

These guitars will almost certainly be collectible due to the limited no. and great quality of them. Stelling don't send any inferior products out from their shop. Quality is their middle name.


BTW, this guitar would make you forget about a Martin IMO.


Edited by - banjoman56 on 10/07/2012 10:22:46

BluegrassWarehouse - Posted - 10/07/2012:  13:00:43

At some point I would like to have a Stelling guitar.  I don't play guitar, but would like one because I have a Stelling banjo and mandolin.  When I was picking up my mandolin, Geoff said he wanted to make a bass, so I guess I need that as well.  I do play bass also.  If only I had lots of money!


grh2010 - Posted - 10/07/2012:  13:17:15

Is that the one in Orlando?. If it is,looks like a good one.

WildJimbo - Posted - 10/07/2012:  13:47:51

Back in the 90s I sold 4 of the Stelling guitars in my store.  Each was extraordinary and I wanted to keep each of them.  Each was a "cannon" and each wound up going to serious players.  

The workmanship is amazing - surpassing anything that Martin was doing at the time (and probably currently). 

Jeff Huss certainly had a part in that guitar, but it's not reallty just a re-badged H&D.  Better or worse than a current H&D?  Probably.  :)

WildJimbo - Posted - 10/07/2012:  14:05:50

Oh... I meant to add that each that I sold were very early versions I don't remember the serial numbers but they were all less than 20 I think.

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/07/2012:  18:06:53

Originally posted by grh2010

Is that the one in Orlando?. If it is,looks like a good one.

That's the one.

saltcreek - Posted - 10/07/2012:  19:41:58

I played one and it blew me away, easily my favorite guitar in the music store I was in but they wanted dumb money for it so I passed.

lethegoodtimesroll - Posted - 10/09/2012:  16:42:53

Stelling Guitar? Never knew they made Guitars.. and they were built for 12 years? Learn something new everyday..wonder how many were built. I've never ever seen or heard one.Must be a  rare low numbers kind of thing.

Dave1climber - Posted - 10/09/2012:  17:10:13


It sounds as if you were to buy this guitar and were unhappy with it, that you could resell it and not get hurt to badly.

Good luck and happy playing


JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/09/2012:  17:28:17

I could give it back to them for thirty days....I just spent over 4k on a Whyte Lady banjo husband could give me grief. I shouldn't have gotten the WL- it is equal to a Stelling guitar and banjo...the WL is almost useless to me. It sounds nice but you can't change the tuning (really old annoying tuners), you can't play much past the fifth fret, can't install spikes, and the skin head is very tempermental and I don't know how to even adjust head tension...ugh...I suppose it is also as mint as you can find one and I can't go order another WL. I could just get the guitar and hope I don't hear about it for too long.

Edited by - JMalmsteen on 10/09/2012 17:35:29

banjoman56 - Posted - 10/09/2012:  17:42:31

Well. you could always tell you husband that you will put the WL up for sale.

OM45GE - Posted - 10/10/2012:  04:11:56

Did you get the guitar Jen? It sounds like a great instrument. I've always been a Martin guitar guy but I love my Stelling Golden Cross.

hweinberg - Posted - 10/10/2012:  06:25:02

I have never played a modern D-style that I like any better than my 1996 Collings D1A set up from time to time by Guitar Specialist in Goldens Bridge, NY.   (Haven't found a better luthier around NYC/CT/NJ  for guitar repairs).  However, I played a Stelling a couple of times over two days with some friends and I found the playability and tone really close to my Collings -- and easily as loud.  At a price that's probably half of what you'd have to pay for the Collings, that Stelling sounds like a good buy.

RELEVANT RANT ABOUT HUMIDIFICATION FOR GUITARS.   SKIP  IF YOU ARE ON TOP OF THIS:  My only concern about the Stelling would be condition -- not dings and scratches but has it been kept at a humidity and temperature that keep all the wood where it belongs and the glue tight.  Unlike banjos, guitars are very lightly constructed to get great sound -- easy to get a loose brace or two and repairs could add materially to the cost.  On the subject of humidity for guitars, it is much more important to make sure that you have constant 40-60% humidity for guitars  I am more casual about keeping my banjos at constant humidity, and I pay the price with occasional fingerboard shrinkage and need to finish fret ends, but nothing worse so far.  If you live in a humid area, nature takes care of this for you, but for those of us who don't, you need an effective approach to humidification for your guitars.


Dave1climber - Posted - 10/10/2012:  07:35:10


I am sorry to hear that the WL hasn't worked well for you.  With that in mind I would put the WL up for sale, buy the Stelling, and keep your ear open for a banjo that has the sound that you want, with modern tuners and playability up the neck.


OM45GE - Posted - 10/10/2012:  09:16:35

Howard, you're right on about humidifying quality guitars. I've got Martins ranging from a 1920 1-28 to a 2002 OM45. After trying virtually everything out there I use the Oasis humidifiers and haven't had a problem since.

Great product.

HenrytheCat - Posted - 10/10/2012:  18:37:14

I used to have one of the Stelling guitars--RAD-125 no. 33, the one that Stelling let Charlie Sizemore use. It showed some signs of its heavy use. The Stelling guitars mostly are EIR/Sitka, 1.75" at the nut with a shallow neck profile, and snowflake inlay (also, if memory serves, a flowerpot on the peghead). The RHD model has herringbone purfling, the RAD has abalone. I do not know how these guitars compare to those that Huss and Dalton makes now that they have left Stelling because I have not played one of their comparable models (I have developed a fondness for Adirondack tops). The RAD-125 I had sounded very good and was comfortable to play. I would give it an edge over the Martin D-28's I have played, but that is a personal preference.

docdobro - Posted - 10/10/2012:  19:25:30

Stelling guitars are great guitars.  Jeff Huss built them while he was with Stelling.

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/13/2012:  04:54:01

And someone bought it...I was going to call them and order it after I got paid. Oh well!

Dave1climber - Posted - 10/13/2012:  07:48:12


Originally posted by JMalmsteen

And someone bought it...I was going to call them and order it after I got paid. Oh well!

sad   There will be something better.  big

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/13/2012:  08:05:21

Yes, and I need to stop complaining about the Whyte Laydie. It's really a beautiful sounding instrument. It has cooled down considerably and the humidity has decreased. The head is tight now and it sounds great and no longer buzzes. It's me, not the banjo- I'm clueless about adjusting head tension so in the humidity of the summer in my non air conditioned house, it did not sound nearly as good as it does now. I'm not used to tempermental instruments.

Dave1climber - Posted - 10/13/2012:  13:49:16


I am sure that some of the "skin head" people will be more than happy to give all the information on head tension that you would ever need to know.

A link:

Edited by - Dave1climber on 10/13/2012 13:49:57

howsy-bee - Posted - 10/14/2012:  04:15:13

About ten years ago an old friend who lives in Thailand commissioned me to find a good bluegrass guitar for him. With the help of a friend who is a guitar player/collector we went through dozens of guitars around Switzerland, and when we found a Stelling (an RHD-125, I think) in a store, we were both so thrilled that my friend immediately bought it for himself. It's an exceptional instrument in any way.

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/20/2012:  12:00:18

I just played a Huss and Dalton smaller body guitar- really nice. I should have bought that Stelling! There are another 99 out there and a used Huss and Dalton dread might show up.

5 String - Posted - 10/20/2012:  17:33:16

Stelling guitar spec sheet, front and back.

grh2010 - Posted - 10/20/2012:  20:38:45

The same place that had the Stelling you lost has 3 Huss and Daltons in just price dropped to the price of the Stelling......

JMalmsteen - Posted - 10/21/2012:  20:02:49

Buy it, then ask questions later...before someone else buys it...thirty day return policy over there

raharris - Posted - 10/22/2012:  06:29:53

I don't know about the new ones, but Lightnin' Hopkins was clutching a beat up old Stelling when he got off a bus in NYC 52 years ago -- I hear tell me made that box ring!

sunburst - Posted - 10/22/2012:  07:07:58

I assume that is a joke, but the Stella / Stellling mix-up is more common than many people might think.

As for the differences between Stelling guitars and H&D guitars, I'm not sure. The early Stelling guitars were built by Jeff Huss in the Stelling shop, before there were H&D guitars. Later, Jeff left the company and built Huss guitars in his own shop and contracted with Geoff to build Stelling guitars to Stelling specs. Later, Mark Dalton left Stelling and became a partner with Jeff Huss, forming Huss & Dalton. They continued to build some Stelling guitars to Stelling specs. Whatever Geoff's specs were, that would be the differrence. In other words, If Geoff specified something different from a similar H&D guitar (the TRD is probably closest), that is what the difference is, and other than neck width, inlay and trim, I don't know what the differences are.

jsb28092 - Posted - 10/23/2012:  11:25:03

Lightning Hopkins "Stella"??? Geoff was still in short pants back then.

sunburst - Posted - 10/23/2012:  11:46:21


Originally posted by jsb28092

Lightning Hopkins "Stella"??? Geoff was still in short pants back then.

Could have been last week, then! Geoff likes wearing shorts.

lethegoodtimesroll - Posted - 10/23/2012:  15:16:24

After this topic was started, I was surprised that Stelling made Guitars..I did some research looks like the Stelling and Huss and Dalton Dreds are pretty much have the same specs,including the radius fingerboard and body.

stanger - Posted - 10/26/2012:  18:51:13

In very hot and damp climates, especially when there's a lot of air conditioning going on, it is as important to keep a guitar from becoming over-saturated than it is to keep it at around 30% moisture. In areas like these, I used food dessicant packs, paper packs that are used to keep dry food products like beans dry. I used to get them from a local grocery, as they are just thrown out when the products go on the shelves.
The packs are filled with a non-edible gelatin like substance which readily absorbs moisture from the air.

I live in a climate where 17% is the average humidity. When a new guitar is introduced to this climate with some time being taken by closing it up in it's case, with the addition of a mild humidifier such as half an apple in the case, most guitars will dry out very gradually until they reach a good point of stability. Many old dry guitars out here sound as good as it gets, but they can really have trouble when taking them out of the dry climate.

I've owned many guitars old and new, and the only one I had any shrinkage problems with has a ultra-thin shellac finish with no filler in the woods. The only problem that developed was in the top, which was built with a slight arch. Over the course of about 18 years, the arch very gradually flattened out, causing the action to go too low. I began humidifing it in the case with one of those little plastic containers that have a block of kaolin (fine absorbent clay) inside, and the arch came back most of the way. But once I began humidifying it, I've had to keep it up ever since.

jrfmgb - Posted - 11/06/2012:  10:49:18

If still an active concern- Six years ago I purchased a Stelling RHD 125 SN0075, made in 1998.  I first played it at a guitar store in LaCrosse , WI and walked away-super nice, but a little too much$$.  A month later changed my mind and called the guitar store, out of luck since they had just sold it at a large TX guitar show.  A week later it appeared on a major vintage guitar/mandolin site and I purchased. 

102 of these were made under the Stelling name.  And they are very nice guitars with great sound.  I also have a 2004 Martin HD35 and the Stelling, which is modeled after the HD28 with a Tony Rice sound hole and pick guard, beats the HD35 in an A/B everytime. 

I do not regret the purchase, since it is a very limited edition model with links to H+D and G. Stelling.







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