With notable string-bending monsters like Larry Mitchell, Eric Steckel, and Steve Stevens singing the praises of Knaggs Guitars, Peter Wolf and Joe Knaggs are obviously doing something incredibly right.
Beyond surrounding themselves with a team of skilled builders, their mission includes naming non-signature models after rivers using their Native American names.
Weighing in at a lean 5.2 pounds, the Knaggs Chena Old Violin is a single-cut hollowbody with a carved spruce top, mahogany body with f-shaped sound holes, mahogany neck with 24.75″ scale, a 12″-radius rosewood fretboard with 22 frets, and dot inlays. Other touches include a bone nut, nickel-coated Kluson tuners, tune-o-matic-style bridge, and its master Volume with separate Tone controls produce excellent sonic variations through the nickel-covered Bare Knuckle The Mule humbuckers. Knaggs calls its color Old Violin Relic.
Plugged into a fleet of combos and a crowded pedalboard, the Old Violin’s pleasing aesthetics and superb playability teamed with sounds reminiscent of an airy, open-sounding ES-330. Its hollowness, choice of woods, and pickups will enhance most playing styles – very suitable as a blues-rock machine or wailing on the jam-band circuit. It’s also great for jazz, where pristine chord melodies and sultry single-note lines demand substance and articulation. The Mules add equal parts growl, punch, warmth, and presence, and can handle the demands of plug-in-and-go clean pickers or overdrive kings; and those single-note overtones with overdrive – oh lordy!
From Charlie Christian to Jimmy Herring, this guitar handles all the best stuff, including unbeatable tuning stability, feedback-free play, and ridiculously cool looks.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.