Knutsen Harp Ukulele    

hu15side.jpg (36129 bytes)

This is a nice find! 
The earliest known harp uke so far  - it has a Harp Guitar Factory label which clearly dates the instrument to 1913 or 1914. It has "Patent aplod (sic)" handwritten on the label, most likely a precursor to the printed "Patent Applied For" labels (see HU11 & HU12). These latter then gave way to the "New Hawaiian Family" labels with the falsely-advertised "C. Knutsen's Patents" included (at least, no one's been able to track down these "patents").
Note the fancy multi-colored rope binding on the body and neck.
It has a slightly different shape, with the bass arm further away from the neck. The neck and bridge are quite offset - Researcher Ben Elder, who inspected the instrument, thought this was from a bad repair job. Assuming this true, I adjusted the neck and bridge in Photoshop to what may have been closer to the original configuration (note that the neck still does not connect to the arm - unlike all later harp ukuleles).
More intriguing is the single bass string on the harp arm! The bridge seems to indicate that this was added later (and I believe this is most likely the case) - BUT ... the tuning peg in the arm certainly makes sense for a Knutsen design - as would just slapping on a standard uke bridge (and remember, this is an early, possibly experimental, instrument). We may never know for certain!

hu15restored.jpg (28065 bytes)
(left: current restored condition, right: possible original condition)

hu15arm.jpg (19693 bytes) hu15back.jpg (14667 bytes)

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

Knutsen Archives Inventory Number

HU15

                 Category

Harp Ukuleles

                 Body Style

"Early"

                 Current or last known owner

unknown

                 Year (approx)

1913-1914

                 Label

Harp Guitar Factory, with hand written "Patent aplod"

                 Label Code SE7 (partial, with additional handwriting)

                 Courses / Strings

5 courses: 4 strings on neck, 1 bass

                 Scale length

unknown

Woods

Top

koa

Back & Sides

koa

Neck

?

Fingerboard

?

Bridge

?

Headstock veneer

unknown

Binding, trim

Top

multi-colored rope

Back

none

Fingerboard

multi-colored rope

Headstock(s)

none

Soundhole

rope, wood

                 Inlay

none

                 Pickguard

none

                 Comments

 

 

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All Site Contents Copyright  Gregg Miner, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,2006. All Rights Reserved.

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