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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Tier 3 Chena Model by Knaggs Guitars,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $3,600.00 USD with case + shipping

Knaggs Guitars is a manufacturer of handcrafted, custom boutique electric guitars by master luthier Joe Knaggs based out of  Greensboro, MD. 

This Tier 3 Chena model has a mahogany body with a "Tier 3" curly maple top that flows into a 24.75" set mahogany "59" profile neck dressed in a rosewood fingerboard featuring 24 frets separated by dot inlay markers ending with a bone nut.

Knaggs one piece bridge/tailpiece and open back machine heads, (2) volume (1) tone knob and 3-way selector switch.

Matching set of  humbucker with (3) 500k CTS pots. 


Amp used:
Roland GA-112

Selector position 1: Just Neck 
A full warm balanced semi-hollow body sound with excellent single note clarity. 

Selector position 2: Middle
An even balance between the neck and bridge with a boost in the mids . 

Selector position 3:  Just Bridge 
A very full 15" hollow-body sound bridge with added sustain without the feedback. 

Action, Fit & Finish: 
The guitar was spotless and in perfect condition. The intonation was dead on and the action was low without any buzz.

Reliability & Durability: 
The guitar seems to be well made. It is solid through and through. There was no hum or crackles from the electronics all knobs and hardware installed snug and proper.

This is the second Knaggs guitar I have reviewed, and just like the first one I was impressed. I was only able to play her for a few minutes at the Bee 3 Vintage Guitar Show in Philly last week -- but that's all I really needed to understand her. To start, she has a feature that I feel is a must in a semi-hollow body guitar. The center block ends with the bridge, leaving the bottom quarter of the guitar hollow. This feature gives the bridge pickup some of the characteristics of a full hollow-body while eliminating up to 90% of unwanted squeal and pickup feedback. When I want that semi-hollow sound for a track or for live play -- this is the sound I look for. Now there is nothing wrong with having the block run to the bottom of the body -- but to me that is an over-chambered guitar and it will have different characteristics.

Over all her feel was like a combination of a Gibson's "59" neck with a Gretsch body and a wider Ibanez Artcore sloped shoulder with a PRS style cutaway. She was well balanced and easy to play -- I was able to fly up-and-down all 22 frets without any hesitation. To me this guitar screams jazz and blues more than the average guitar in its category and would make a great addition to anyone's collection.

What I would change: 
I would like to see a 25 1/2 scale 24 fret version without f-holes -- but that is just me wishing,  and she is perfect the way she is for a 22 fret player.

My advice:
I have the same advice as I did in my last Knaggs review. If you are a PRS, Gibson  or any (2) PAF humbucker semi-hollow body player -- just put your guitar down and go play a Knaggs.

Knaggs Guitars
213 Church Street

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Posted 6/2013
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