Guitarist John Knowles discusses guitars, amps, and working closely with master luthier, Kirk Sand.
John Knowles: Kirk Sand and I, go back, I would say it’s a little over 40 years. I met him through George Dolphin – a guy he grew up with in Illinois repairing guitars. Kirk and I met at one of the NAMM shows when George was exhibited. So I’ve known him that long and he’s watching me play – and I’ve watched him go from repairs to building. So we are very aware of each other. And he’s a player. I think a builder who was a player, he hasn’t an edge.
John and I have been working with John since the 1970s. He has made a huge contribution to my guitar building career. John and I share a passion for the fingerstyle nylon string guitar. We have been in constant communication on the art of amplifying the nylon strings. – Kirk Sand
John continues: Just down to one guitar now… Yeah. And it’s the one Kirk Sand made for me. It is based very closely on a Kono classical of mine that he had repaired and then adjusted. He’d seen me play that guitar for a long time. I said, “make me one like this”. So we took measurements and materials and then you edit a cutaway and change the neck profile a little bit. And now it has a pickup in it. The pickup is Richard Barbera. The preamp is Lloyd Baggs. Right now I’m playing it through a Henriksen amp – I’ve just got a small one but I like the big one too. But here around the house, I think it’s nice to have the small one – so I’ve got a Bud. I’ve got his 14 too.