Shaftesbury was the house brand for UK musical instrument distributor Rose Morris. The first Shaftesbury guitars appeared in Summer 1968, just under a year after Rose Morris opened their London, Shaftesbury Avenue store (hence the name). Model 3264 was added to the range either late in 1968, or in 1969 - in addition to the three Rickenbacker-inspired guitars, models 3261, 3262 and 3263. The guitar was a close copy of the Gibson Barney Kessel Custom. A fine full body (3") electric acoustic with double Florentine cutaways and gold plated hardware.
Full body jazz guitars, like the Gibson Barney Kessel have always been exceptionally expensive, and with only niche adoption, tended to sell in very small numbers. The 3264 was the most expensive guitar in the new Shaftesbury range - the price sheet accompanying this brochure (circa 1968/69) listed it (with plush case) at £89 19s 0d. This was a lot of money back then. However, by comparison, Selmer were listing the Barney Kessel Custom (July 1968) at a whopping 450gns. with a case at an extra £18 10s 0d. (i.e. £491 in total). The Gibson was over five times more expensive.
Whilst the Shaftesbury was a good guitar, the Gibson was exceptional.
From the 1968 Shaftesbury catalog
An outstanding semi-acoustic instrument – built to an exacting specification embodying all the refinements of a Virtuoso Guitar. Deep, full-size body with double Florentine cutaway, finished in high gloss red sunburst with white purfling around body, tone holes and neck. Two adjustable magnetic pick-ups of revolutionary design, each with separate pole pieces - give outstanding tonal quality. Each pick-up has separate volume and tone controls; a pick-up selector switch and overall volume balance control are also provided. Fully adjustable metal bridge, mounted on rosewood base and fitted with individual string adjustment saddles. Fast action rosewood neck incorporating metal truss rod to insure perfect alignment at all times. Special, fully enclosed and finely-geared machine heads are fitted; these and all other metal fittings are finished in bright gold lacquer.
The Shaftesbury 3264 was included in three catalogues between 1969 and 1971