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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Knaggs Keya T2 Forest Green #147... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $4,400 USD with case + shipping

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

This Knaggs Keya T2 #147 has a set mahogany 24.75" scale neck with a 12" radius rosewood dance-floor featuring 24 frets separated by Knaggs morningstar inlays topped with a bone nut that meets a mahogany body capped in "Forest Green" quilted maple.

Goldtone Knaggs one piece bridge/tailpiece, goldtone Gotoh open back 3/3 machine heads, (1) volume (1) tone knob and a goldtone 3-way selector switch with black toggle.

Matching set of Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers with (2) 500k CTS pots on a 3-way selector


Amp used:
Selector position 1: Just Neck 
A warm harmonically rich full vintage throaty PAF that cuts through the mix. Great for all styles of play. 

Selector position 2: Middle
An even balance between the neck and bridge with a slight bump in the highs, a very usable middle. 

Selector position 3:  Just Bridge 
An early dirty PAF with rich creamy harmonics and a silky smooth bottom. 

Knaggs Keya T2 Forest Green #147

Action, Fit & Finish: 
The finish is an amazing translucent forest green on an AAAA quilted maple top. The action was low without any fret buzz and the intonation was dead on. 

Reliability & Durability: 
This guitar is well made -- it is solid through and through. There was no hum or crackles from the electronics and all knobs and hardware were installed snug and proper.  

In recent years, it has become common to see an American luthier producing a quality product giving us guitar players many new options, but it is uncommon to see that same quality of product brought to market on a semi-mass scale without the luthier losing their integrity and/or quality of build. Hell, look at Fender and Gibson. You could not pay me enough to play a modern LP or Strat that was farted out of a robots ass in Indonesia -- but give me one that was made pre-1980 here in the states and I'm happy ... same concept.

Joe and his team at Knaggs Guitars are making a quality product with human interaction just like the other small luthier out there, just on a bigger scale. They have done this so well that in just four years the Knaggs team has been able to capture a good percentage of the market share with Gibson, PRS and Ibanez players including Larry MitchellSteve Stevens and Doug Rappoport -- just to name a few. I'm my opinion; in another four year Knaggs will be one of the guitars that people will use to compare other guitars to while describing them such as "Knaggs like, like a Knaggs or Knaggsish" -- like we do with Fender and Gibson today, making Knaggs a permanent staple in the industry. To be able to successfully compete with companies that have been around for as long as the industry itself takes more than just a great product -- it takes a dedicated team of talented people with determination that are willing to risk it all on a product that they believe in. With great risk comes great reward, and our reward for paying $4,400 USD for this Knaggs Keya T2, is playing it. 

Back in December of 2012, I had the chance to play the Knaggs Keya #38 at the GTR Store when it was still in Edison NJ, and since then I have been a fan of Joe's work. There are very few words that can describe this guitars playability, as playing a Knaggs is quite the experience. If PRS and Gibson are the Lamborghini and Ferrari of the guitar world, Knaggs would be the Maybach -- they are like no other. With what seems like never ending sustain and layers of tone in a perfectly balanced instrument, you can feel every note in your gut as the sound transfers from the guitars body to yours. Her tone is what I would classify as refined power -- you have it when you need it, but you do not need to use it all if it is not warranted at the moment without the fear of tonal loss. Besides being a workhorse, she is beautiful in every way from her curves to her finish -- elegant but not delicate and is of heirloom quality. To me, this is the direction I would have predicted PRS would have gone with their private stock collection if Joe did not leave them to pursue his vision of Knaggs Guitars. So to sum up this review, I like this guitar... a lot, and I encourage all guitar players to play one just for the experience even if you can not afford to own one. 

If you like to play the guitar in this review, please email me -HERE - 

What I would change: 
Not a damn thing. 

My advice:
With a cult like following of over 106,000 on social media and artists such as Larry MitchellSteve Stevens and Doug Rappoport as endorsed players in just four years -- I should not have to say any more, but I will state the obvious. Put down your Gibson, PRS and Ibanez and go play a Knaggs. They are the new industry standard in American made excellence. 

Knaggs Guitars
213 Church Street
Greensboro, MD 21639

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Posted 07/2014
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