Knutsen Harp Guitar    

This was the first Knutsen instrument I ever saw for sale - and it's still my favorite. 
Ironically, I never really appreciated until just lately exactly how nice it is.
It's one of only about five that have a bound bass headstock like the Dyers, and one of only six Knutsen Symphony guitars featuring the special shape of the bass arm/headstock division inlay. This was seen later (upside down) on the Dyer instruments.
The glowing back and sides have stymied every luthier and expert out there.  We started with a vote of padouk, then Sapele mahogany.  The latest vote (by guitar and furniture builder Jack Sanders, 2006) is satinwood. 
Best of all are the inlaid double stripes of yellow and green wood which border the entire length of the sides - a feature borrowed from his carpenter uncles, perhaps?
Of course, he then crudely cuts those slanted tuner slots - what is with that?
I never minded the look of the added tailpiece, which may have even helped stabilize the top for all these years.
This guitar plays and sounds wonderful.  And like a vintage guitar - loud, rich, balanced, and more open than my incredible old Martin 0-21.
And I am not just being prejudiced!  Every guitarist who comes to the Museum picks this as their favorite, well above the Dyer.

hgt1.jpg (34229 bytes) hgt1arm.jpg (46364 bytes) hgt1frontleft.jpg (34996 bytes) hgt1head.jpg (46178 bytes) hgt1frontright.jpg (32797 bytes) hgt1side.jpg (21419 bytes) hgt1back.jpg (28366 bytes)

Click on a picture to enlarge
(images copyright Gregg Miner)

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number

HGT1

                 Category

Tacoma Harp Guitars (Port Townsend built)

                 Body Style

"Symphony"

                 Current or last known owner

Gregg Miner

              Year (approx)

1898-1900

                 Label

(very faded) CHRIS KNUTSEN
SOLE PATENTEE OF THE
SYMPHONY HARP GUITAR
WITH 11 STRINGS.
THE 5 EXTRA BASS STRINGS BEING TUNED TO D,C,B,A AND G, ONE OCTAVE LOWER THAN REGULAR PITCH.
This HARP GUITAR
is the deepest tone instrument made.

                 Label Code PT8

                 Courses / Strings

11 course: 6 strings on neck, 5 bass

                 Frets

straight

                 Scale length 25-1/2"
                 Neck Joint no heel, but slight bulge

Woods

Top

spruce

Back & Sides

satinwood

Neck

walnut

Fingerboard

ebony

Bridge

black painted?

Headstock veneer walnut?

Binding, trim

Top

ivoroid / multi-colored wood purfling / red or green wood

Back

white / black / white celluloid

Fingerboard

ivoroid

Headstock(s)

bass: ivoroid

Soundhole 3 rings of multi-colored wood purfling

                 Inlay

fancy pearl fret markers

                 Pickguard

none

                 Comments

Body width: 15-1/2". Metal tailpiece brace not original

 

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