A Plethora of New Knutsen Steels (Harp and/or Otherwise)

Back to some eye candy!

I tend to get crabby if there’s not a new Knutsen instrument discovery in too long of a period.  But right now, as Droopy would say, “I’m happy.”

It’s interesting – no new harp guitars, harp mandos or ukes for quite awhile.  But I’ve collected (Archive-wise, not personally) several Hawaiian guitars (steels) in just the last few weeks, which is pretty unusual.  I’ve yet to get these up on the site; in fact, I can’t assign them Inventory numbers, as there are still a dozen new steels in my files that come before these.  As I said, this blog is supposed to help me do better in real time, then keep up, then catch up.  Yeah, right.

So here’s the very latest Knutsens – all steel or convertible-to-steel guitars – that have come to light:

Neil Russell (Celtic Cross Instruments) owns several Knuts, but these two are recent finds, new to the Archives.  Above is a rare “Spanish guitar”of  koa – but like all his instruments, Knutsen intends for this to be convertible to a slide guitar, with a scooped heel and adjustable bracket.

Below is a new hollowneck with a nice mahogany back.

Two new Knutsens have showed up on eBay just recently.  The above – a harp steel missing its arm – sold very low (though it needs lots o’ work; note the “teaching aid” fretboard someone did).  I hope the new owner finds us and sends better photos, especially after restoration (sadly, about 80% of ebay instruments never re-appear for our files, nor can one contact the winning bidders anymore, for the few that were actually receptive).  Below is a great UTP (“Upper Treble Point”) style convertible (for the uninitiated, that means this is both a steel guitar and a normal harp guitar, with practical emphasis on the former).  The unusual back reminds me of another I’ll show at the end – some crazy 1-piece slab o’ wood, likely mahogany.  This one’s been sitting (and will continue to) as it’s top dollar, and those cracks are extremely tricky to fix.  In fact, if someone out there has done this sort of thing and made it look good, I’ll be happy to hire you for a couple fun jobs I have here…

Above is that new teardrop discovery I showed a poor photo of a few weeks ago.  This one is has a very “round” shape as opposed to the normal “squashed” look of the other known specimens.  Here are new photos, after full restoration.  As my new museum-quality restorer did the work, and I took the photos, you can obviously guess where this prize instrument landed.  It turned out pretty decent, and sounds very cool (it’s 5” deep!).

And above are new photos of HW21 that I just took.  This has been on the site for awhile, with only 1 tantalizing front shot.  It made the rounds and is currently for sale by friend, L.A. multi-instrumentalist/ film composer John O’Kennedy.  Someone re-repaired a small piece in the top (pretty well) and it’s got a lousy spray refin on top and back, but strip and re-do it well, and this is a great Knutsen.  Sounds great, has a pickup in it, and has killer wood on top and back.  The outrageous flame with sapwood center on the top is pretty darn gorgeous, as is the wild 1-piece back with that “animal mane” stripe down the center.  Like the teardrop above, we absolutely cannot tell what these woods are.  One is always tempted to think koa, but we think these are all unusual cuts of assorted unusual mahogany (looking again like Knutsen cut up old furniture).  John will be trading it for another guitar after this weekend – I sure wish it could’ve stayed “in the family.”

I also received photos from Ian McLatchie in B.C. who’s had a nice HHW harp steel for 15 years that we’ve never archived.  Crap – I see I didn’t download his pics in time so have to ask for those again (sorry, Ian)!  Another music store employee sent a photo of a somewhat beat up Knutsen steel from a “guy walking into the store” (thanks, Aaron Ransdell!).  Man, I have a lot of these to get at!

Anyway, like I always say – with Knutsens like these, who needs Weissenborns?

  1. Brad Hoyt Says:

    After seeing Neil Russell’s Knutsen ‘Spanish guitar’, I’m curiouus, how many 6 string guitars do you think Knutsen built? I think this might be the first Knutsen 6 string I’ve seen.

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