Knutsen/Anderson Harp Guitar

hgp15.jpg (18501 bytes)

hgp15head.jpg (18672 bytes)

hgp15endpin.jpg (12334 bytes)

hgp15back.jpg (14784 bytes)

This fascinating instrument was the first one positively known to be built by Knutsen's subcontractor, Otto Anderson (see Otto Anderson). We know that from the lucky circumstance that this guitar was passed down from Otto to his daughter Ellen, and then to her daughter, Jeanette Detlor. We also have Ellen's copious notes which give us some of the instrument's history. It has never been out of the family, and it is incredible condition!
It is a child-size instrument, originally built by Otto for his eldest child, Oscar. Eventually, Otto built a larger instrument for Oscar, and this one was given to the youngest child, Ellen.
If the provenance had not been known on this instrument, it would certainly have been identified as a Knutsen. While it has some interesting characteristics, all might have been accepted as Knutsen's - as other Knutsen instruments share many of these features. 
The small size is a first for this style of Knutsen guitar, though Knutsen made many child (or "parlor") size harp guitars in his mid-Seattle period.
The fanciful, carved bridge is very similar to HGP13 & 7. I have to wonder if this type of bridge is specific to Anderson's instruments! The double scallop at the end of the fingerboard is the only occurrence on a Knutsen so far - except for HGP11 - the moon-and-heart soundhole guitar!
The burl maple veneer on the headstock (not very visible in the photo) is unique for a Knutsen of this period, but was fairly common on Otto's furniture, according to the Detlors.
Tom Noe examined the instrument and discovered a suspected dovetailed heel block, sanded braces, and general overall fine workmanship. The only other guitar with these features is HGP1 (the famous #4 "prototype" in the Noe/Most book). We now strongly suspect that HGP1 was also built by Anderson, and that he was clearly a better craftsman than Chris!

Click on a picture to enlarge
(images copyright Jeanette Detlor and Kerry Char)

hgp15soundhole.jpg (30688 bytes)

hgp15armtip.jpg (22765 bytes)

hgp15heel.jpg (17853 bytes)

hgp15sizetest.jpg (42435 bytes)  Size comparison of HGP1 on the left, and this guitar on the right.

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number

HGP15

                 Category

Port Townsend Harp Guitars

                 Body Style

"1896 patent"

                 Current or last known owner

Jeanette Detlor

                 Year (approx)

1895-1897

                 Label

none

                 Courses / Strings

6 strings

                 Frets

straight

                 Scale length 19-3/4"
                 Neck Joint heel, dove-tailed

Woods

Top

spruce

Back & Sides

mahogany

Neck

mahogany

Fingerboard

unknown

Bridge

unknown

Headstock veneer none

Binding, trim

Top

none

Back

none

Fingerboard

unknown

Headstock(s)

none

Soundhole 3 rings (1 herringbone)

                 Inlay

fancy pearl fret markers, inlay in headstock

                 Pickguard

none

                 Comments

 

 

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