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1910 C. Knutsen ‘Harp’ Ukulele

 
 

Every ukulele collector’s dream. An extremely rare “Harp” ukulele handcrafted by Chris Knutsen sometime between 1910 – 1914. Only 35 of these instruments are known to have been built and 29 of them are known to exist to date. Mr. Gregg Miner has dedicated years of research to tracking the whereabouts of each of these pieces and cataloging the unique attributes of each piece. Click here for details.

By the early 1900s C. Knutsen was recognized as a craftsman of fine ‘harp guitars’. The basic construction instrument was a hollow arm that extended out from the sound chamber of the body. This design lended itself to alternate tones for the guitar due to the added cubic square feet inside of the instrument. In many cases additional strings extending from the arm of the instrument to a secondary bridge at the lower bout of the body was also added to offer greater tonal diversity.

In the case of the ‘harp ukulele’, however, the arm of the ukulele seemed to be more of a novelty attachment rather than a functional component to the instrument. It was a construction method and aesthetic that was never seen on the landscape of ukulele construction at the time and remains to be a novelty piece, even today. Handcrafted entirely of Hawaiian Koa wood, the face, back and sides are a beautiful golden hue of Koa with gorgeous top rope binding. Position markers solely on positions 5 and 7 are offered for quick reference. This remains to be a feature that was also consistent with the earliest ukuleles  to have been made by Manuel Nunes – one of three builders attributed to inventing the ukulele in the late 1800s.

The tones of the instrument are quite unique. Bright with a shallow body sound. The added arm and weightiness of the tuners (not original) add to a slightly off-balance feel when cradling it against your body. Some restoration work has been done to the instrument in order to maintain it’s functionality as a playing ukulele. Considering that the instrument is roughly 100 years in age, it is in overall wonderful condition.

Price: NOT FOR SALE

 

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