Well, Knutsen would of course be Johan Christian Kammen (Chris), the inventor of our American hollow-arm harp guitar and pre-Weissenborn “Weissenborn” builder (it’s OK – steel guitar geeks will get it).
Knutson, on the other hand, is some young upstart hoping to cash in on the “family” resemblance.
Don’t worry, I’m just teasing our luthier friend, and he’s not even related.
Nevertheless, John Knutson, of California, does have a “Knutsen knection.” And yes! He even pronounces his name the same way – with a hard “K’noot-sen.”
A long-time archtop and mandolin builder, he has restored a Knutsen harp guitar and a couple Weissenborns and has a relationship with Weissenborn master David Lindley (a random but representative pair of whose trademark pants are seen in this photo on John’s site).
Note the bridge of his recent lap steel in that picture, and here:
John tells me “Since Chris is my namesake, I thought it behooved me to produce such an instrument.” He’s referring to both the shape – an electric version of the well-known Knutsen acoustic Hawaiian guitar (and later made “mainstream” by Los Angeles neighbor Hermann Weissenborn down the street) – and the bridge, his homage to one of Knutsen’s bridge shapes, the “banana” bridge.
If he really wanted to confuse things, he’d go into harp guitar and Knutsen/Weissenborn steel guitar building full time.
John – it’s not too late, and after all, it is your name…