Knutsen Harp Guitar  

Here is an early "Evolving Symphony" with the bass headstock just beginning to change (see Knutsen Harp Guitar Evolution). Again, the biggest clue is the bridge, which unfortunately, is not original. The first bridge photo shows the shape of this new bridge - in the second, one can just make out the indentation evidence of a former bridge. Strange or "fake" as it looks,  I believe the original bridge was in fact very similar. Note the 3rd photo, of HGT21, a suspected "Evolving Symphony" guitar - they're not all that different in outline (nor is the indentation in photo 2). For additional perspective, look at the many strange forms of Knutsen's Hawaiian guitar bridges (at the bottom of the Hawaiian page).
Besides the obvious added pickguard, Greg Nunley, who inspected the instrument adds:
"The neck and the back of the bass headstock has a very dark stain applied. It appears that the finish is original 
on top and back. In the photo with the mirror, you can see that the top was used on another harp guitar or had a set of braces applied and then removed during construction. There is a pattern of old glue left and several gouges where the first braces were removed. Perhaps Mr. Knutsen was experimenting, then thought better? The glue pattern looks as though it was meant for gut strings. The current bracing looks like a steel string pattern." 
Interesting observation. My bet would be a repairman popped the back off at some point and got creative - perhaps replacing Knutsen's well-known weak bracing with a new bracing pattern. The top is certainly original, as it has the typical Knutsen purfling and binding (see bass headstock, and note also the set of five filled holes in the lower right corner where someone probably tried to group the bass strings closer together via added guideposts!).
11/7/04: New photos added after the guitar was fully restored by Greg Nunley (two outer right and left images).

hgt36front.jpg (44834 bytes) hgt36side.jpg (61400 bytes) hgt36head.jpg (38912 bytes) hgt36bridge3.jpg (34687 bytes) hgt36head2.jpg (62455 bytes) hgt36back2.jpg (46375 bytes)

Click on a picture to enlarge
(images copyright Greg Nunley, Mainstreet Musician Supply)

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number

HGT36

                 Category

Tacoma Harp Guitars

                 Body Style

"Evolving Symphony"

                 Current or last known owner

Jason Telford

              Year (approx)

1902-1904

                 Label

none

                 Courses / Strings

11 course: 6 strings on neck, 5 bass

                 Frets

slanted
                 Scale length 24-15/16"
                 Neck Joint no heel

Woods

Top

spruce

Back & Sides

oak

Neck

unknown

Fingerboard

rosewood?

Bridge

unknown
Headstock veneer unknown

Binding, trim

Top

multi-colored wood

Back

none

Fingerboard

none

Headstock(s)

none
Soundhole 3 rings (1 multi-colored)

                 Inlay

dot fret markers

                 Pickguard

added

                 Comments

 

 

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