Former PRS Designer Joe Knaggs to Launch Joseph S. Knaggs Guitars
July 24, 2009
Peter Wolf and Joe Knaggs
Joseph S. Knaggs Guitars is a new company, but you may recognize the brand’s namesake and his designs. For the past 25 years, and most recently as their Director of R&D and Private Stock, Joe has been successfully designing, creating and building beautiful, award-winning instruments for PRS Guitars. His creativity in designing and building great instruments has established Joe as one of the most respected designers and builders of high-end acoustic and electric guitars, basses and mandolins. Knaggs is the man behind the Mira—the pickguarded set-neck axe that marked a creative expansion point for PRS with its fusion of classic PRS and retro design appointments. He also designed the Starla, another envelope-pushing PRS that explored new ground while paying tribute to a vibey, historic area of the guitar spectrum. Joe Knaggs recently left PRS Guitars to venture out on his own and start JSK Guitars.
“I’m grateful for the 25 years that I worked at PRS and appreciate everything from Paul and everybody else involved,” Knaggs told Premier Guitar.
As evidence of the long, ongoing friendship between Knaggs and Smith, the guitar-playing public can expect to see some of Knaggs’ Chesapeake designs, which first appeared within the PRS Private Stock Department, carried over into Knaggs’ new company. In addition to what he says will be called the Chesapeake line, Knaggs is excited to spread his wings and articulate his own design vision of stringed instruments.
“When I designed for PRS, I designed for PRS. I always thought about what Paul would want to see in a guitar,” Knaggs said. “Now I’m going to be thinking about what I want to see in a guitar and what the public wants. I’m going to make guitars of the highest possible quality. I’ll be working on that for the next several months, doing whatever it takes to make sure I’m completely happy with the instruments and getting feedback from others. I want to make sure that when someone sees a JSK guitar, a Joseph S. Knaggs guitar, that they love what they see and that I love what I see. That’s my goal right now.”
Knaggs isn’t the first star designer to branch out on his own, but he may be the first to do so the way he’s doing it—he is concentrating solely on designing and making instruments, while an industry heavyweight establishes the business side of things for him. That luthier’s dream is being made possible via Peter Wolf and his new company, Brandwolf Consulting, LLC. Wolf is a former Director of Sales and Marketing at PRS and has been in the music industry for 35 years. Peter owned and operated retail and distribution companies in Europe before working for PRS and has been instrumental in establishing many US brands in Central Europe. Under his direction, effective distribution channels for PRS Guitars in 69 countries have been created and cultivated. Wolf is regarded as an expert strategist within the musical instruments manufacturing industry. He will be setting up the platform and marketing engine for Joseph S. Knaggs guitars while Knaggs is focusing on designing and creating great instruments for today’s players.
“I have the utmost respect for Paul and for what we have created together; it’s been a great part of my life and it will always be that,” Wolf told us. “Now I look forward to working with other talented individuals and companies and helping them to make their dreams and goals come true”.
“Peter and I have a great relationship,” Knaggs adds. “Peter is the type of guy who thinks outside the box, and with my particular business, I need somebody who can propel this into different avenues that perhaps people aren’t thinking of yet.”
Knaggs and Wolf say they’re looking forward to the challenge ahead of them. The first guitars with the Joseph S. Knaggs logo on the headstock will be revealed soon.
For more information:
jskguitars.com (currently under construction)