Koontz Custom

This memorable archtop model features the unique combination of traditional features and modern flair that characterized guitars made in the 1970s and 1980s by Sam Koontz of Linden, NJ.

Koontz built his first guitar in 1959 and worked in the 1960s for Framus and Martin before being hired to design and produce guitars for Standel (best known as an amplifier maker) and Harptone. When those two companies faded in the early 1970s, he concentrated on making custom guitars under his own brand name.

The scrolled upper bass bout on this custom example from circa 1977 has been a signature feature of Gibson’s “F-style” mandolins going back to Orville Gibson’s designs in the late 1800s, but Gibson only used it on one guitar model (the Style O Artist). The scroll motif is repeated in the pickguard design. The ornamental headstock cutout, a familar feature from the Koontz-designed Harptone flat-tops of the 1970s, was inspired by the “broken scroll pediment” of legendary archtop maker John D’Angelico.