Knutsen Harp Guitar

Here is another recently discovered 11-course "1898 Patent-style" instrument with the original wood nut. Note how this one is tapered wider at the top where the strings lie. The bass assembly also terminates early, putting the 4th tuner directly on the headstock. And another carved bridge - though the shape is most similar to HGP7, the carving relief is very similar to the Anderson-built HGP15. The label appears on other guitars, but here "..ed Sept 15, 1896" is crossed out, with "applied for" handwritten over it. 
The owner, John Roberts, writes, 
"From the small amount of fret wear, I'm guessing it was not played for very long. When I acquired it the bridge was broken in two with one half hanging loose on the inside of the body. My guess is that it was never strung up since the bridge broke and that is why it is relatively intact. I have an instrument repair friend who put the bridge back together and put in some non-original bridge pins. He also repaired a couple cracks. Other than that it is all original. I have it strung with steel strings just for presentation purpose. If you look closely at the picture of the fingerboard you can see it has a seam 3/8" from each side- it was made from three pieces. Possibly the builder had a leftover piece of rosewood that wasn't wide enough so he glued a narrow strip on each side. A cabinet maker using up some scraps? The neck is made out of a light colored softwood like spruce or even Alaska yellow cedar, which would have been quite available in this area. I've read that Martin was using some kind of light colored cedar around this period. This neck is two piece, laminated. One half is real straight, vertical grained. The other half is vertical but has a real nasty twist in the grain where the wood was too close to a knot (see picture). Since the neck is quite thin and not made with the stiffest of woods it seems like a good luthier would not have used a piece of wood with such an obvious weak spot. Maybe a cabinet maker would. Mind you, I'm not being critical, just an over-zealous detective!"

hgp17.jpg (19120 bytes)

hgp17back.jpg (19400 bytes) hgp17fb.jpg (27755 bytes) hgp17neck.jpg (12131 bytes) hgp17headback.jpg (41740 bytes)

hgp17nut.jpg (34162 bytes)

hgp17head.jpg (44581 bytes) hgp17bridge.jpg (18463 bytes)

Click on a  picture to enlarge
(images copyright John Roberts)

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number



Port Townsend Harp Guitars

                 Body Style

"1898 patent"

                 Current or last known owner

John Roberts

              Year (approx)



"MANUFACTURED BY C. KNUTSEN, PORT TOWNSEND, WASH. PATENT ("-ed Sept 16, 1896" crossed out) applied for" written over.

                 Label Code PT3 (modified PT2)

                 Courses / Strings

11 course: 6 strings on neck, 5 bass



                 Scale length 25-1/2"
                 Neck Joint heel




Back & Sides



Alaska yellow cedar?


Brazilian rosewood



Headstock veneer rosewood? or stained oak?

Binding, trim









Soundhole 3 rings (1 herringbone)


fancy pearl fret markers on first fret, remainder are dots






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