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Hand Made Guitars by Luthier Dan Koentopp

George Petit’s “The Red Rocket” Chicagoan

This guitar exemplifies what happens when love, trust, heart, patience, and respect are the ground-stones of a project. This is what I strive for in every guitar. The pictures just don’t capture its energy so I hope you all get to experience it in person one day. Im so thrilled that it’s out in the world with its co-creator George Petit. George and I shared many common interests in both sound and in aesthetic vibe. We nearly spent 6 years in communication talking about what makes us melt in the world of archtop guitars. Every detail about this guitar was talked about, thought about, and dreamed about. I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s out in the world now making music and filling hearts and minds with inspiration.


Here is a little insight from George himself upon receiving the guitar and bringing it back home to Vermont:

“…Donna and I just went to our neighbor’s for an unplanned dinner and was asked to bring the new guitar over for a look – and did. Had a few glasses of rosé…and thought that if I played I would not be really WITH the guitar…the wine…

WRONG. Played acoustically for a good 30 minutes for our hosts. Standards.

I must say that this is the finest and most perfect instrument FOR ME that exists – and I mean no offense to all the other instruments and builders that have generously worked with me over the decades, for every instrument that I am lucky to play does what IT does so well. I am super fortunate to have allies, a family in the industry, and access to so many voices…but this Koentopp guitar is a collaboration in design and function and it is more…MORE…than I was hoping for or could have imagined for a hand made, hand carved archtop. I’ve played them all from D’Aqs and D’Ang’s…to so many modern builders…but this one is made for me – for what I hear and the sound I chase. And it was conceived to do that from the get. It will not play rock loudly on my groovy gigs, but probably could…and it will play country happily, but that’s no surprise from what is after all an acoustic guitar – but it is not really THAT thing and was not designed to be. It is a masterpiece in subtlety and construction – there is so much SOUL in this thing…it feels like I’ve been playing WITH it for my entire life. How lucky am I ??

I will write up the whole story behind this, as I was asked to do so by two magazines now. But not tonight. We just got home and I am actually going to pour another glass and play more.

Thank you, Danny. You, sir, are a Master. Believe me. And thank you Ron for translating acoustic energy to electric energy WITHOUT a hair of coloration or fog…plugged in, my guitar sounds…exactly the same – only louder.

NOW, NOW…I finally get to hear what I’ve been reaching for.”



#060 “The Red Rocket” Chicagoan Specifications

•17″ Lower Bout, 13″ Upper Bout, 21 3/4″ Body length, and a 2 5/8″ Depth
•Cutaway, X-braced
•Romanian spruce top
• “Bee’s Wing-Flamed” figured Honduran Mahogany back and sides
•Flamed Mahogany, two piece neck with bone nut width of 1.72″ , Deep soft V profile
•Neck thickness taper .8375″ at 1st fret – .85″ at 10th fret
•String spacing at bridge – 2.1875″
•Palisander Rosewood (Dalbergia baronii, Madagascar) Fingerboard with scale length of 25.25″
•Palisander Rosewood veneer on front and rear of headstock
•Palisander Rosewood heal cap
•Flame maple body binding with violin style purfling, and flame maple bound fingerboard
•Elliptical Side position markers in Rosewood
•Medium jumbo frets
•Unadorned Fingerboard
•Straight Fingerboard extension at 19th fret
•Waverly tuners with Ebony buttons
•Hand cut compensated, Palisander adjustable bridge
•Headstock bound in Flame maple
•DK logo in Maple and Atomic inlay in Maple and Mahogany
•Magnetic “Push-Access” Rocket Truss Rod Cover with Maple jet fumes falling into fingerboard
•Buck Rogers Rocket Inlay on rear of Headstock in Rosewood and Mahogany
•Carved Palisander tailpiece with atom symbol, swoop cut out, and inlaid ground
•Custom Ron Ellis pickup set in a Palisander Rosewood ring
•Volume and Tone knobs (500k CTS) hand turned Rosewood knobs with carved point
•.022k Oil-in-paper Russian capacitor
•Spirit Varnish Finish over “Barn-Vermont Red”
•Rubbed finish on neck




Front and Back view of The Red Rocket



Ready for flight



Beautiful figured Mahogany with contrasting maple bindings



Romanian Spruce top under a spirit varnish



Custom turned Rosewood knobs with subtle carved points reflect the overall aesthetic of the instrument



This guitar features a thinner 2 5/8″ body depth at the rim



This tailpiece was a blast to design and make, you’ll probably be seeing more of it!



This tailpiece was a blast to design and make, you’ll probably be seeing more of it!



The Rocket truss rod cover echoes a space age, art deco design. Maple dots exhaust into the fingerboard; a very subtle design.





















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