I was browsing through the Sailing to Philadelphia tour book (2001) recently when I noticed an odd thing about the MK-1 in a Pensa ad there. The ad shows a picture of Mark’s famous MK1 guitar that was taken in 1992 during the On Every Street tour. As we all know the guitar was built by John Suhr who also designed most of its features. And we know that there was some dispute between Rudy Pensa and John Suhr regarding legal rights to build guitars like this after John Suhr left Rudy’s Music Stop in 1990. In short, Pensa claimed to have the right to build an exact replica exclusively (more on this in a planned future blog post).
You might have noticed that in the Guitar Stories documentary (on Sky Arts TV last year) about Mark’s guitars, the guitar was labelled as “Pensa MK1” (instead of “Pensa Suhr MK1”), with no word about Suhr at all.
The ad from the tour book shows Mark’s guitar even with a “photoshopped” head, saying Pensa Custom instead of Pensa Suhr. Never noticed this before. At the bottom you will find an enlarged detail picture of the head as it looks in reality.
Let us know what you think about it. Remember, the comment function on my site does not require registration.
I think it is just another commercial thing. Personally I think that it’s not fair to John Suhr. He designed and build the guitar and I think he should get credit for it. If you look online it’s the Pensa name that remains. Too bad.
This behavior of Rudy Pensa is bothering me, indeed. John Suhr built this fantastic one-of-a-kind MK-1 by himself. Period.
I own a 2010 Suhr Custom Carved Top (MK-1 spec’d) which is a such a PERFECT instrument. It is a piece of art, really.
When I asked Rudy to build me a Pensa Custom in 2006 he never respond. I decided to go for a Suhr Custom which is the far better choice in my opinion! Better quality for less money, too…
Rudy Pensa is a businessman, not a guitar builder. Why lead potential clients to a competitor? Go on YouTube and search for interviews and visits to the Suhr Guitars factory and the Pensa workshop. See the difference for yourself. And the story about Mark and Rudy designing the MK1 on a napkin? According to John Suhr, he had already started working on the guitar when Rudy decided he wanted to give it as present to Mark. Mark and Rudy probably only discussed various options and configurations, but they didn’t design it from scratch. Pensa guitars are far too expensive for what you get. But people are willing to pay because of the name, the legend and the association with Mark Knopfler.
Any one who really knows can see that the design was John’s, and he’s continued with that design to this day, as many people have said and many more know, Rudy run’s a shop and has traded on his association with Mark for years, it’s no real wonder the ad was photoshopped, and the version with 3 single pups is another one Rudy gave to Mark and the wording of the ad is very clever and all true 😉
John Suhr doesn’t need to worry though he’s selling well and people who really know, know that to get a perfect replica of the MK1 you go to John Suhr for it!
…and there is this documentary where Mark visits Rudy Pensa and they are all jolly over the MK1 and the current Pensa’s Rudy sells…its a disgrace to see that Mark is willing to go along with the Pensa lie. Why ??? Shame on you both!!!
I have a Pensa Suhr MK from 1990 wich is an axact copy of Mark’s. I also have a Pensa Custom. I must honoustly say, although i agree on the comments above according to Rudy’s behaviour, the quality of the Pensa Suhr is way better than Suhr nowadays.
Sorry, i mean the quality of the Pensa Custom. The neck is just way better than any Suhr i ever held. The PS is also amazing by the way…