Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stelling Guitar - Rare Acoustic Guitars by Huss & Dalton

I found a very rare acoustic guitar in a closet while cleaning out my parent's house:
Stelling Guitar Model SHD145
Serial number 66 of 101
Produced by Stelling Banjo Works of Afton, VA
Built by Huss and Dalton Guitar Company of Staunton, VA
Dated 01/05/1998

This is what I have learned...

Only 101 Stelling Guitars were made during a period from 1990-2002. They have been owned by Larry Sparks, Russell Moore (IIIrd Tyme Out), Charlie Sizemore, James King, Gary Brewer (Kentucky Ramblers), Gary Ferguson, and Leigh Gibson of the Gibson Brothers.

Geoff Stelling formed Stelling Banjo Works in 1974. He is considered among the best banjo makers there is. Jeff Huss began building instruments in 1984 as an apprentice at Stelling. He built several Huss guitars, and then built a few with the Stelling name on them for re-sale by Geoff Stelling. In 1993 he decided to leave Stelling to move into his home shop and build guitars full time. Some with his name, and some under the Stelling name. Mark Dalton became employed by Stelling in 1994. On a visit to Jeff's shop in the summer of 1995, the two began formulating ideas that led to the creation of Huss and Dalton Guitar Company, Inc. They continued to make guitars with the Stelling name on them for re-sale by Geoff Stelling until 2002.

My Dad bought Stelling Guitar #41 from Larry Sparks at a bluegrass festival and fell in love. From what I have been told, he approached Geoff about custom-building a guitar out of rare wood that he supplied, modeled after a Martin D45. The wood and several custom-touches make this a truly one-of-a-kind instrument. Dad was already in very poor health by 1998, and this guitar very likely rarely left the house. Personally, I have only vague recollections of seeing it. Since his passing in 2003, the guitar has remained untouched and I had completely forgotten it existed.

Here's a video of IIIrd Tyme Out performing "Erase All The Miles" featuring a Stelling RHD-100 (serial number 007):

Here's a video showing a Stelling RAD125

Search Internet message boards and you'll find no shortage of raves about Stelling guitars:
  • "This guitar would make you forget about a Martin." - banjoman56
  • "The workmanship is amazing - surpassing anything that Martin was doing at the time (and probably currently)." - WildJimbo
  • "Stelling guitars are great guitars." - docdobro
  • "It's an exceptional instrument in any way." - howsy-bee
  • "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." - jrfmgb
If you own a Stelling Guitar, let me know and I'll add it to this chronology:

001 - First Stelling guitar, model CHD-100 (1990). The first four were made of unstained cherry.
007 - RHD-100 (1991) Originally purchased by Russell Moore. Now owned by Ruud de Bruin from The European World of Bluegrass, The Netherlands (see comments below). Photos on Facebook
008 - First RAD-125 with abalone trim (1993) owned by Geoff Stelling.
015 - RAD-125. Owned by private collector in Middlesex, NC.
025 - RHD-125 (1996) Photos
033 - RAD-125 (1996) Once played by Charlie Sizemore.
039 - RAD-125 (1997). Original owner, Gary Brewer.
041 - RHD-125 (1997). Originally owned by Larry Sparks. Now owned by a private collector in Graham, NC.
042 - RAD-125. Original owner, James King.
050 - First SHD-125 model, made of claro walnut (1997).
051 - RHD-125 (1997). Recently for sale in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photos
052 - RHD-125 (1997). Original owner, Gary Ferguson.
066 - SHD-145 (1998) Owned by Larry Weaver of Raleigh, NC, author of this post. Photos
075 - RHD-125 (05/18/1998). Owned by JRFMGB in Hudson, WI (see comments section)
076 - RHD-125 (1998) Originally purchased by Leigh Gibson of the Gibson Brothers.
089 - First and only RHD-125S produced featuring a shaded top (1998)
097 - RHD-125 (2000) Photos
098 - SDH-145 (2000) Photos
101 - Last Stelling production guitar made (2002). Owned by Geoff Stelling.

I also found this Stelling Red Fox Series on an archived page. No idea of the year or serial numbers.

To call a Stelling guitar rare is a bit of an understatement. It is truly a piece of guitar history.

Please share your photos, comments and reviews in the comments section below. Know of a Stelling Guitar for sale? Seen a Stelling Guitar on Craigslist or eBay? Let me know and I'll be happy to spread the word.


This is a fan page for Stelling Guitar enthusiasts and has no affiliation with Geoff Stelling, Stelling Banjo Works, Ltd. of Afton, VA, Jeff Huss, or Huss & Dalton Guitar Company of Staunton, VA.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Amazing America with Sarah Palin Reviews

"Amazing America with Sarah Palin" wrapped up it's debut season on the Sportsman Channel.

In a Broadcasting and Cable interview, Marc Fein, executive VP of programming and production for the Sportsman Channel, labeled the series a success, saying it "generated big increases in viewership in its timeslot from a year ago" and "generated buzz for the network."

The show featured our very own every-man, blue collar comedian Jerry Carroll. The following is a collection of links, reviews, and YouTube clips from the show.

"I dare you to watch this show and not fall just a little bit in love with Jerry Carroll."  - Alaska Dispatch

Every major news outlet covered the shows' announcement in December 2013, including ABC, Fox News, and the Hollywood Reporter - just to name a few. Saturday Night Live then-anchor Seth Meyers even gave the show a plug of sorts on Weekend Update.

As production began, video footage of Jerry starting popping up featuring him shooting guns with country singer Craig Morgan and riding horses with pro wrestler Cowboy James Storm.

As the debuted approached, publicity picked up for Jerry with a press release and Q and A from the Sportsman Channel and an excellent article in the News and Observer, aptly titled "Farmer-funnyman from Wake County scores show with Palin".

In a surprising move, the Network choose to launch the debut episode not centered around Palin, but instead kicked it off with a segment featuring Jerry.

The reviews were positive. The Alaska Dispatch declared the show "Amazingly American, surprisingly enjoyable". Even critics pre-determined to hate the show had to admit "there's nothing much to dislike about this show".

Jerry soon found himself promoting the show heavily, including interviews with Breitbart and a long-awaited debut on the nationally-syndicated radio program, The John Boy and Billy Big Show.

After week 2's episode with Craig Morgan, The Alaska Dispatch amped up the love for Jerry, declaring "I dare you to watch this show and not fall just a little bit in love with him."

The raves continued over Jerry's firefighter training, SWAT training, and visit to the World Duck Call Championship, culminating in the paper's "Conversation with Jerry Carroll". The praise continued throughout the series, up to the season finale.

  "If you ever decide to make 'Amazing America with Jerry Carroll' -- or 'Amazing (Anything) with Jerry Carroll' -- I'm in."  - Alaska Dispatch

A decision on a second season has not been made. Although in the Broadcasting and Cable interview, Sportsman VP Fein declared "The awareness factor has been great and it’s been really good for us."

If you'd like to see a second season, let the network know. Send your tweets to @SPORTSMANchnl or contact them via their website: Amazing America on the Sportsman Channel

Additional Video Clips:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Redneck Rehab - Show on CMT with Tom Arnold

A "city slicker" in a suit is questioned about his redneck past. People demand to know: where's his Southern accent? Did he forget his country roots?

Sounds like a great idea for a TV show. So much so that CMT is debuting "Redneck Rehab" on September 15, hosted by comedian Tom Arnold.

The problem is that "Redneck Rehab" is one of my signature stand-up bits and has been since the 90's. I've performed the bit coast-to-coast from Carolines on Broadway to the Improv. It's been filmed by Comedy Central twice (a Viacom company along with CMT). Sirius XM regularly plays the bit as part of a routine entitled "Haunted Mobile Home" on Laugh USA. And redneck rehab has been on YouTube since 2006:

Redneck Rehab

Recorded December 29, 2004, BTI Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC

Here's another site that references redneck rehab from 2002, and I have many other audio and video recordings dating back at least to 1999.

An official press release about the show states: "In the series premiere, Patrick Higgs is an aspiring actor hooked on a high-end lifestyle complete with fancy cars and designer clothing.  His life wasn’t always this way, however.  Born into a nutty, dirt-loving, over-the-top redneck family, Patrick has since alienated his kin in pursuit of stardom."

Umm... yeah. That's right out of my act.

I've been ripped off before, but this one is particularly troubling. The concept for the show is lifted directly from my stand-up routine - a routine that Viacom has on videotape.

Is there anything I can do here? Any armchair lawyers care to chime in?

Redneck Rehab
REDNECK REHAB is produced by Pink Sneakers with Kimberly Belcher Cowin, John Ehrhard, Jayson Dinsmore (CMT) and Lewis Bogach (CMT) serving as executive producers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

John Felts - Stuff Christian Singles Hear

Comedian John Felts appeard on the 700 Club to discuss his viral video "Stuff Christian Singles Hear" and his budding career as a clean comedian.

The 700 Club Interactive show (7CI) is hosted by Gordon Robertson and Terry Meeuwsen. John's segment aired Tuesday, August 21 on ABC Family at 9:30 am ET.

Stuff Christian Singles Hear

A well-timed and clever comedian, John delivers funny perspectives on dating, marriage, parenting, American culture and struggling to do the right thing.
Live from the set of the 700 Club Interactive
Host Kristi Watts interviews Comedian John Felts
John contacted me last summer expressing his desire to join my roster. I was impressed by his video clip, and drove to Wilmington to watch a live performance. I've seen John several times since then and he continues to amaze me with his progress. He has a solid hour of material and his stage presence continues to improve. Not just a Christian comic, John performs clean comedy for corporate events, colleges, Chamber of Commerce banquets and comedy clubs across the U.S. Contact us to hire comedian John Felts for your next event!
John Felts