Knutsen Harp Hawaiian Guitar    

Unbelievably, this instrument - nearly identical to the previous instrument (HHW22), including the label - has had the treble strings removed, with an almost identical patch!
In fact, both of the inlaid pieces (actually, inserted like puzzle-pieces into open holes in the spruce top) on opposite sides of the fretboard are exactly the same as those on HW22.  So they must be "decorative inserts," as strange as they appear. 
I assumed the right one was replaced as on HHW22 also - to abandon the treble string tuners, and just fill with a solid piece.
However, this one has an additional mystery.  There are four holes along the length of the treble side of the neck, just below the nut.  Clearly, someone had attempted to attach something here in order to string and tune the four trebles again!  Or could they be holes from sort of original Knutsen attachment - with the solid top inlay thus also original?  It doesn't seem like it would work with simple zither pin tuners - they wouldn't clear the corner.  And if some sort of extension(s) (like for the sub-basses) were attached, these strings would have been quite long.
Nevertheless, this might not have been the first time that Knutsen possibly utilizied some unknown outside-the-body treble attachment - HHW16 has a similar mystery.  In fact, on that one, there IS no patch where tuners could have even theoretically gone.
I lean toward the scenario that both instruments (this and HHW22) had similar treble arrangements (to tuners in the top) and then had similar alterations.  If done by Knutsen himself, they would have had to have been quick, as he would pass away very soon after these were built.  I suspect he would have also done something to hide the holes in the bridge as well (as he did on HHW18).  This will undoubtedly remain another Knutsen Knundrum...

Click on  a picture to enlarge
(image copyright Dennis Lake)

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number

HHW23

                 Category

Hollow Neck Hawaiian Guitars

                 Body Style

"'Weissenborn-shaped' Harp Hawaiian"

                 Current or last known owner

Dennis Lake

                 Year (approx)

1920-1927

                 Label

McDuff Street with harp-uke

                 Label Code LA11

                 Courses / Strings

12 > 8 course: 6 strings on neck, 2 bass, originally 4 treble

                 Frets

inlaid wood

                 Scale length unknown
                 Neck Joint taper begins around the 1st fret

Woods

Top

spruce/koa?

Back & Sides

koa?

Neck/Head

fir?

Fingerboard

koa?

Bridge

mahogany

Headstock veneer

unknown

Binding, trim

Top

rope

Back

rope

Fingerboard

two inlaid wood stripes

Headstock(s)

none

Soundhole

rope

                 Inlay

dot fret markers

                 Pickguard

koa?

Dimensions Upper Bout  
Lower Bout  
Body at endpin  

                 Comments

 

 

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