c.1901/1902 Knutsen 18-course, "petite" Symphony Harp Guitar

An all-original Knutsen Symphony harp guitar with super-trebles!  These almost never come on the market.  And this one is ready to go!  Plays great and sounds very lovely, according to Kerry Char, who has thoroughly gone over the instrument in preparation for its sale.

While it does not have the bound bass headstock of some of the earlier Symphony specimens, this is still one of the fanciest ever - with bound ivoroid back, fancy fingerboard inlays, gorgeous multi-colored rope-like marquetry binding - and one of only three known with this same fancy binding around the entire fingerboard!

If it looks a little unusual, it is.  The scale length is 23-1/4" as opposed to the standard 25+, and while the arm is normal-sized, the body is only 13-5/8" wide.  You can see that the 18-string bridge spans nearly the entire top, and the soundhole is uniquely offset.  It may be the only Knutsen made of cherry.

The label (Knutsen Archives code TA3) and features (geared tuners, headstock and bridge shape) enable us to date this instrument fairly precisely to 1901/1902.  It is Inventory #HGT26 in the Archives.

THE GOOD:  All the above, plus it has been thoroughly checked out by harp guitar and Knutsen restoration expert Kerry Char, who says, "This is one of the best original pieces I have come across.  It is in super condition and it plays great.  The action is 3/32" at the 12th fret.  It is also highly decorated for a Knutsen."

THE BAD:  At some point, someone had done a poor bridge repair and let the excess glue run down the face of the guitar and dry.  Because it was hide glue Kerry was able to remove most of it but there is still some residue that is visible.  Kerry then French polished over the area and re-glued the bridge.  You can see this in the final photos below.

A rectangular hard foam keyboard case is included.

This is the model of harp guitar that inspired the Sullivan-Elliott 20-string concert harp guitar, made famous by John Doan and now widely copied.  Here's your chance to own and play the real thing!


  • 5 sub-bass strings, 6 neck, 7 super-treble
  • Cedar top and neck
  • Stained cherry back and sides
  • Walnut fretboard and bridge
  • Multi-colored wood purfling around top, soundhole and fingerboard, ivoiroid back binding
  • Fancy fret markers
  • 13-5/8" wide body
  • 23-1/4" scale
  • Original Label
  • Hard foam keyboard case
  • Price: $5,980  Sold (cash or check discount price $5,800).  On consignment.  Email to place a hold or obtain payment terms and conditions.

Click images for full-size, high resolution files.

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