Michael Dunn 2008
All photos copyright Gregg Miner & Michael Dunn
Michael Dunn has long been one of my favorite builders. While his specialty is Maccaferri-style guitars, constructed with all possible combinations of woods, he has also made archtops, Weissenborn-style Hawaiian guitars and also lots of Knutsen-inspired instruments. Of the latter, one of his favorites (he has built many dozens) is the little hollow arm harp ukulele. (For the uninitiated, they are called "harp ukes" as they emulate the Knutsen harp guitars, even though they have no extra strings)
Best of all is when Michael designs and builds the instruments that Knutsen never made himself (but we wish he would have!). Harp tenor guitars, Harp multi-string lap steels, and harp ukes in all sizes - including this concert size instrument (all of Knutsen's were sopranos).
I've been vicariously enjoying each instrument Michael has built over the years, and have been asking him for a harp ukulele to offer since I opened Harp Guitar Music. He finally had an extra, and I grabbed it. Rumor has it that Michael may be retiring before too long...hopefully this isn't his last harp uke.
Another Dunn "trademark" is that each instrument is completely unique, and Michael relishes finding different woods to incorporate into his creations. The headstock veneers on this one are a case in point - so exotic that Michael has no idea himself what it is! (He tells me that "the headplates are made from an unidentified wood...possibly from Borneo. It is not Cocobolo.") The rest of the instrument is all koa with modern rope binding, and a walnut neck.
Price has been reduced on this instrument from $1250 to $1100 due to minor scratching and marks within the French polish finish (as you can see from the photos, all but impossible to see unless light hits it in just the right way).
Sorry, no case - but you're going to want it displayed on the wall anyway, right?!
-Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"
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