Michael Dunn 2003
All photos copyright John Bushouse
Here's something I'd love to see in person. The first tenor harp uke Michael Dunn ever built, custom ordered by long-time Knutsen fan John Bushouse (whose name Michael wrote on the label).
Looking back through John's emails, I see I completely forgot that I had a small hand in the creation of this "first tenor" - helping Michael and John brainstorm on various features (he almost went with two subs...). It's sorta like family!
I want to mention the obvious right away - it has been well-loved and well-played. Meaning, there are several small scratches and scuffs on the top. These should be easily inspectable in the photos. As always, certain lighting angles may show them more or less.
So if you're fine with a broken-in uke - which we can presume has a broken-in sound, then this is an inexpensive entry into the magical Dunn world. Michael just said he has now made the world 28 harp ukes richer - he's creeping on a Knutsen himself! Mostly soprano and a couple concert size instruments, he built one more tenor a couple years later but that's it.
Typical Dunn creative use of woods here: cedar top with pernambuco back and sides. A pacific yew neck, with lacewood for the arm headstock. Both heads capped with nice ebony sapwood. Top rope binding in ebony and boxwood, and an ebony cap on the bridge.
The tenor scale is 17", with body scaled up accordingly - this could eat Knutsen's original little sopranos for breakfast.
It includes the original quality custom plush case by a retired Canadian maker.
I can't comment on tone, as this will ship direct from John in the Midwest. But 28 Dunn harp uke owners can't be wrong! Full 48-hour approval still applies (if you don't love it, I simply return funds held at HGM, less shipping), and naturally, John would love to see his baby go to an appreciative home.
I'm not sure what something like this would run these days, but we tried to price it at about half value, simply due to the playing wear.
OK, now I'm tempting myself.
-Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
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