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GIBSON | ELECTRIC ACOUSTIC | BARNEY KESSEL

Gibson Barney Kessel

Gibson artist-series electric acoustic guitar

The 1960s saw Gibson produce several full-bodied artist archtop models. The Byrdland had been around since 1955, with the Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Trini Lopez and Johnny Smith all debuting in 1961. These were all finely constructed jazz guitars, with price tags to match.

Barney Kessel had already had signature guitars produced by Kay in the 1950s, though he was not particularly enamoured by them. The Gibson models were certainly a step up with respect to quality.

Gibson Barney Kessel

A fine example of the Gibson Barney Kessel Custom

Gibson Barney Kessel Custom and Barney Kessel Regular

The Gibson Barney Kessel came in two variations, the mahogany-necked Regular and the maple-necked Custom, both available from 1961 until 1973. The Custom was a deluxe instrument; ornate 'bow-tie' inlays, inlaid 'note' headstock design and gold plating throughout, whilst the regular had nickel (later chrome) hardware and split-parallelogram inlays. Naturally the Custom was placed at a significantly higher price point than the Regular, $560 and $395 respectively (1/9/61 Gibson price list). Both models were were produced at Gibson's legendary Kalamazoo plant, in Michigan, USA.

1970 Gibson electric acoustic catalog

The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson electric acoustics catalog

BARNEY KESSEL-C - Artist Model Designed for the musician who requires beauty and ultimate performance. A special magnetic field in the bridge pickup emphasizes the treble frequencies and produces unusual tones throughout the entire range.

FEATURES: Carved spruce top. Carved maple back, slim, fast, low -action neck joins body at 15th fret. Five-piece curly maple neck, adjustable truss rod, rosewood fingerboard with "bow-tie" pearl inlays. Gold-plated adjustable Tune-O-Matic bridge. Twin humbucking pickups. Separate tone and volume control. Three-position toggle switch. Gold-plated metal parts. 17" wide, 21" long, 3" deep; 25 ½ " scale, 20 frets.

BK-C - Custom Model - Cherry Sunburst finish
BK-R - Regular Model - Cherry Sunburst finish - Mahogany neck with pearl inlaid peghead, rosewood fingerboard with rectangular pearl inlays, rosewood bridge, chrome-plated metal parts.
607 - Faultless plush-lined case

T Bone Walker on the cover of his 1969 album, "Everyday I Have the Blues"

Another famous user, other than Barney Kessel himself, was bluesman T Bone Walker who posed with his Barney Kessel Regular on the cover of his 1969 album, "Everyday I Have the Blues"

1117 Regular models, and 740 Customs were produced in the twelve years of production, most in the mid 1960s. Sales in the early seventies account for a tiny proportion of the total.

Both Regular and Custom models were included in Gibson price lists until the end of 1971, and were discontinued, along with the Trini Lopez shortly afterwards. The last Barney Kessel guitars left the Gibson plant in 1973.

The table below compares prices (in October 1966) of the Barney Kessel models with other archtops, and representative thinlines and solid-bodies.

Artist acoustics
Johnny Smith D$1025
S-400CES$1000
L-5CES$875
Trini Lopez Deluxe$695
Barney Kessel Custom$675
Tal Farlow$650
Barney Kessel Regular$525
ES-175D$450
ES-125DC$275
Thinline acoustics
Byrdland$775
ES-335TD$365
ES-125TC$265
Solid bodies
SG Custom$455
Firebird VII$379.50
Melody Maker$149.50

Gibson Barney Kessel catalog appearances

A Gibson guitar designed by the great jazz guitarist himself, with musical capability to match his tremendous technique, and vital inventive playing. It offers the purest tone over the entire range, with a special magnetic field in the bridge pickup to emphasize the highs

Original Gibson Barney Kessel advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1962 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gibson advertisements

Gibson Barney Kessel Custom - Barney Kessel Guitar

Gibson Barney Kessel Custom - Barney Kessel Guitar (1962)
This early sixties advert for the new Barney Kessel guitars shows Barney playing the Barney Kessel Custom. That is the maple-necked version of this guitar. The Barney Kessel Regular has a neck made...
[more]

Gibson Barney Kessel Custom - Three of a Kind

Gibson Barney Kessel Custom - Three of a Kind (1965)
Advert for three Gibson Artist Acoustics; each being played by the jazz musician that gave it its name. Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow and Barney Kessel

Each of these famous guitarists served as...
[more]

Gibson Barney Kessel - Gibson, the workingman

Gibson Barney Kessel - Gibson, the workingman's guitar (Barney Kessel) (1967)
Gibson advert featuring Gibson artist Barney Kessel, playing his signature model, the Barney Kessel Regular

Barney Kessel and Gibson at work for Contemporary records
[more]

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1961-1974 Gibson Barney Kessel Tailpiece Badge Plaque

1961-1974 Gibson Barney Kessel Tailpiece Badge Plaque

Point Roberts, Washington, 982**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$85

1 Barney Kessel Tailpiece badge!
Hard to find Barney kessel tailpiece badge logo.
I have painstakingly recreated some Gibson Barney Kessel tailpiece plaques. Correct for any Gibson Barney Kessel guitar made between 1961-1974.
Very hard to get a badge for these guitars as they are usually missing.
These repros are pretty much an exact copy. Same dimensions, Same font, Same everything. Hard to get as the tooling they used to use is not used in modern times so other repros out there ... more
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Gibson Barney Kessel Regular 1964 with original case and custom Cedar Creek

Gibson Barney Kessel Regular 1964 with original case and custom Cedar Creek

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$6500

History. In 1960 Barney Kessel was a popular guitar player and the Gibson Guitar Company pursued him; wanting to put his name on a jazz guitar signature model.
The Barney Kessel artist model was released in 1961 and was produced until 1974. The guitar was available in two versions: a regular model and a Custom model. This one is a Great player and comes with a heavy-duty custom-made Cedar Creek case and the original case it came in. The pickups are Seymore Duncans 57's from 2004. There is ... more
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1965 Gibson Barney Kessel Custom Electric Guitar Archtop

1965 Gibson Barney Kessel Custom Electric Guitar Archtop

London, UNITED KINGDOM

£5799


Here for sale is a beautiful Gibson Barney Kessel Custom from 1965. It's body is in excellent shape, and the sunburst finish has remained vibrant over the years with very little signs of play wear. The electronics are present and correct, with an incredible sounding pair of Patent No. pickups providing plenty of warmth and clarity. The original Kluson tuners, bridge and all other hardware are as they should be, including the original trapeze tailpiece with Barney Kessel wooden insert
Has... more
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Gibson Barney Kessel von 1969, ähnlich L5, Super 400

Gibson Barney Kessel von 1969, ähnlich L5, Super 400

Bonn, 53***, GERMANY

€5199

Gibson Barney Kessel von 1969
Seriennummer 542335
Diese sehr geliebte und deshalb auch viel gespielte Gitarre hat diverse kleine Gebrauchsspuren (siehe Fotos)
Alle Teile (bis auf den Saitenhalter) sind original , bzw. sind im Original vorhanden. Ausgetauscht wurden die Tuner (original Tuner gleichen Designs vorhanden) und die Stegauflage (original Stegauflage aus Holz ebenfalls noch vorhanden)
Der Saitenhalter ist nicht original, dieser scheint von einer Gibson ES 175 zu sein. ... more
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70s UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL CASE - fits GIBSON

70's UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL CASE - fits GIBSON

COLOGNE, GERMANY

€159

70's UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL CASE - fits GIBSON :
* flat top
* latches are rusty
* tolex has wear & is loose in some places
* missing a bunch of the golden trim
* check ALL pics
... more
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70er UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL HÜLLE - passt GIBSON

70er UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL HÜLLE - passt GIBSON

COLOGNE, GERMANY

£159

70's UNIVOX BARNEY KESSEL CASE - fits GIBSON :
* flat top
* latches are rusty
* tolex has wear & is loose in some places
* missing a bunch of the golden trim
* check ALL pics
... more
eBay logo

Find more Gibson Barney Kessel for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.

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1971 'Pick Epiphone' Catalog

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1981 'Gibson Specials' Pre-Owners Manual

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1961 Hohner Zambesi

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1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

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Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

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1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.