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Hand Made Guitars by Luthier Dan Koentopp

February 2018 Chicagoan

This Chicagoan was built side by side with #0817059. It rarely happens that two clients want the same guitar specifications and also up together on my build list. Having two similar guitars built next to each other gave me the opportunity to observe the beautiful subtleties of design. I tried to make these guitars as similar as I could, while consciously altering only a few things from one to the other. I did this because it was a golden opportunity to observe something that normally happens over a longer period of time. With this opportunity I focused on creating similar archings, similar bracings and graduations, so that I could, to some extent, try to filter out a lot of the variables. Maybe in five years, I can get both guitars back and make another comparison; that would be a cool experience!

Of course, there are the basic differences that we can say create an instrument’s voice like x-bracing, scale length, and other specs that determine an overall quality of sound, but with this experience I was trying to be open to the tiny subtleties; the things that help make an instrument unique in its own voice. For instance, listening to how two different pieces of spruce from the same stock, aged the same amount of time, can sound unique. Side by side these instruments were definitely related but they each have their own personalities about them. One of the biggest difference that I tested and observed was the difference in neck set and string angles. On this guitar, I set the neck a little lower. It gave the guitar a little more “crunch” in its tone, and maybe a little darker of a voice due to the slight decrease in tension on the top.

Even with the attempt at building these guitars as closely structured as possible, the biggest variable of them all comes out- the human hand. It is impossible to deny the magic and unique touch of the human hand.

Here are some specifications and details about this guitar:


2018 Chicagoan (SN0817057)

Parallel braced
3″ Side Depth
Romanian spruce top
Romanian flame maple back and sides
Flame maple neck with bone nut width of 1.75″, C Shape profile
String spacing at bridge – 2.125″
Ebony Fingerboard with scale length 25″
Ebony headstock face veneer
Ebony veneer on rear of headstock
Ebony heal cap
Flame maple body binding with violin style purfling, and maple bound fingerboard
Medium jumbo frets
Unardorned Fingerboard
Rear headstock inlay of Sailboat and Spinnaker
Waverly tuners, ebony buttons
Hand cut compensated, ebony adjustable bridge
Kent Armstrong Floating Jazz Humbucker, controls- Volume on top, stealth tone
Hand carved ebony fittings
Nitro Finish (reb/brown)
Custom fit Hoffee Carbon fiber case (black exterior/green interior)





057 Front and Back


Chicagoan adorned with flame maple bindings throughout


Spruce Front detail with Ebony accents


Beautiful flamed back of Romanian (Carpathian) Maple


Ebony Adjustable bridge with floating pickup, finger-rest, and tailpiece


Top Flight



Intensely flamed maple neck with personal rear headstock inlay


Back with violin style purfling around edge


Closeup of bridge, pickup, and maple bindings



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