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
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 (believed to be serial number 016):
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
- First Stelling guitar, model CHD-100 (1990). The first four were made of unstained cherry.
- CHD-100 (6/01/16). The first Stelling guitar sold to the public. Robert Hannah, ordered and purchased this guitar in 1990. Now owned by his son Russell Hannah in Ringgold GA.
- 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
- First RAD-125 with abalone trim (1993) owned by Geoff Stelling.
- RAD-125. Resides in Sussex County, Delaware with original owner (10/31/1994).
- RAD-125. Owned by private collector in Middlesex, NC.
- RAD-125. Owned by Dave Monroe (see comments).
- RHD-125 (1996) Photos. Recently sold by David's Gear Bazaar in Beverly Hills, CA.
- RHD-125 (1996) Photos
- RAD-125 (1996) Once played by Charlie Sizemore.
- RAD-125 (1997). Original owner, Gary Brewer.
- RHD-125 (1997). Originally owned by Larry Sparks. Now owned by a private collector in Graham, NC.
- RAD-125. Original owner, James King.
- First SHD-125 model, made of claro walnut (1997).
- RHD-125 (1997). Recently for sale in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Photos
- RHD-125 (1997). Original owner, Gary Ferguson.
- SHD-145 (1998) Owned by Larry Weaver of Raleigh, NC, author of this post. Photos
- RHD-125 (05/18/1998). Owned by JRFMGB in Hudson, WI (see comments section)
- RHD-125 (1998) Originally purchased by Leigh Gibson of the Gibson Brothers.
- First and only RHD-125S produced featuring a shaded top (1998)
- RHD-125 (2000) Photos
- SDH-145 (2000) Photos
- 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.