Review of Stapleton Guitars® NORA™ Dreadnought

This is a testimonial to acknowledge the skill, dedication and friendly service of Roman, luthier at Stapleton Guitars. I want to acknowledge how he embraced a brand-new guitar model “Dreadnought” and faithfully delivered a beautiful homage to the D28.

Review of NORA™ Dreadnought, alaskan yellow cedar soundboard, rosewood body, black walnut neck.

The project end-to-end was handled directly by the luthier and I was able to make decisions in real-time. I was able to ask all of my questions, and requests, and they were received and integrated into the design-build.

And what a ringing bell of a voice Roman has achieved! The bass booms, and the mid- and upper registers ring out in harmonic unison – staggering resonance.

Visually stunning! 

  • The finesse of the back striping and the detail of the sound hole.
  • The neck detailing: The striping is again very subtle and detailed, and then the inlay of the fretboard, and the micro-binding/beading which surrounds the fretboard is a very beautiful, subtle, and inspired contrast.
  • The neck matches the body binding which gives the instrument a real continuity. 

Like the "tree-trunk", the body, seamlessly connected to the "branch-like" neck, with the fret-board inlay matching the bridge to provide the sense of continuity across the sound hole".

  • The matt-finish with the gloss finish - the fretboard inlay, bridge and "dark, tear-drop" pickguard (matt-finish) texturally contrast and serve to accentuate the "glowing shine" of the Yellow Alaskan Cedar face.
  • The sound-hole pāua shell (kai-moana) inlay and kiwi-strap (silver fern) will forever echo the origins "whakapapa" of this living-treasure.

You have revitalised the wood to ensure that the tree's life force will be shared and forever resonate into the future.
In summary:

  • The co-creation and commitment to service
  • Adaptability to integrate new design elements e.g. expression system, band logo
  • The precision of the tuners, and hardware (nut, bridge, pins)
  • Responsiveness across the tonal range.
  • The body-arch.
  • The balance when either sitting or standing.
  • People just stare in awe of the volume and glowing face (not mine!).

Delivered on time and on budget, securely packed and wonderfully presented in a quality hard-shell case, many thanks Roman.

Stan Bellgard, Auckland, New Zealand

The guitar specification