Rudy Pensa, proprietor of the legendary NYC-based Rudy's Music, collaborated with his then-employee, John Suhr, on a line of guitars back in the mid-80s. Around the same time, the pair teamed up with Mark Knopfler to create the Pensa MK model. This was the model that Mark would use on Dire Strait's huge 'Brothers in Arms' tour between 1985-86. And thus, Pensa guitar's status in the guitar world was solidified...

Created around the time that neon colored, "pointy" shred guitars were all the rage, the MK model is decidedly up-scale and sophisticated in comparison. The caramel colored nitro lacquer makes the quilted maple top pop, while the gold hardware and cream colored pickup covers on the Fralin single coils add a touch of elegance.

In hand, the short-scale (24.6") MK II's neck feels a lot like a vintage Strat - close to an early 60s Strat neck in terms of carve and depth - and the fretwork is stellar. The shorter scale makes things feel a touch more compact, which could be desirable for folks seeking comfort - you simply don't have to reach as far for those lower frets which gives the guitar an easy-to-play feel.

The real star here, in our opinion, is the overall feel. This is an incredibly alive feeling, agile, and lightweight instrument with a loud, resonant acoustic voice. Single notes have a great snap to them, and chords sound balanced across the EQ spectrum. Plugged in, the MK II delivers Strat-like tones, albeit much fatter and Gibson-like than your average Strat - but that's to be expected with the maple/mahogany construction and short scale. Don't expect 100% Strat tones though, that's not exactly what the MK II Classic is striving for. Versatility, the ability to cop both Gibson and Fender tones, seems to be the goal here - one that is easily achieved, we might add. 

Condition: Near mint. It doesn't look like this guitar got a ton of play (and is a single-owner instrument).

Given its pedigree, you know this 2016 MK II Classic is going to be a cool guitar. As mentioned, it's incredibly alive and resonant, and while immaculately made, has a lot of soul. Again, no big surprises here given the three folks involved in creating this model, right? These guys know guitars. Definitely worth checking out! Priced with hardshell case. 


  • Caramel Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Lightweight solid mahogany body
  • Quilted maple top
  • Standard "C" neck carve
  • East Indian rosewood fretboard 
  • 22 Frets, 6015
  • Hipshot Hardtail bridge
  • 24.6" scale length
  • 1 11/16" nut width 
  • Hipshot Classic closed tuners
  • Fralin "Custom" pickups
  • 5-way, Master Volume, Master Tone w/push-pull to switch to Neck + Bridge 
  • 6lbs 11oz
  • SN 0646/093016

Go back