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1963 Gibson Barney Kessel Regular
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Serial #: 76519, orange oval label
Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16" Neck depth: .80/.97, 1st/10th frets
Materials: Solid Honduras mahogany neck; solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard; arched spruce top; arched tiger flame maple back and sides; pearloid fingerboard inlays; triple bound body, bound neck; original nut.
Hardware: 100% original nickel hardware includes twin Gibson Patent Sticker humbucking pickups and electronics; beveled 5-ply pickguard; 3 way control switch, gold reflector cap knobs, Kluson Deluxe tuners, ABR-1 Tuneomatic bridge, Barney Kessel engraved nameplate tailpiece.
Notes: Guitar legend Barney Kessel began his career as an acolyte of his fellow Oklahoman Charlie Christian. With a career that spanned from the bands of Artie Shaw and Charlie Barnet, to the combos of Charlie Parker and Oscar Peterson, Kessel's resume spanned the most formative years of the contemporary jazz guitar. After a short-lived endorsement deal with Kay, Kessel became a Gibson artist, and his namesake model made its debut in 1961, and remained available until 1973.
A 17" long scale twin pickup jazz box in the tradition of the ES-350, the Gibson Barney Kessel was the firm's first full-depth double cutaway archtop, a design intended to facilitate access to the uppermost frets. This rare spruce top model is the earliest version of the model, and has the long neck heel, both features discontinued by 1964. Also replaced that year was the solid Honduras mahogany neck, which makes these earliest Kessels the lightest examples of the model, this one weighing in at just 6lb 15oz.
Never produced in large numbers, this handsome guitar is one of just 153 Regulars built in its model year. A California guitar, she's been meticulously maintained in 100% original condition, without pick, thumb or fingerboard wear, and only light scatted checking in the gleaming cherry sunburst finish. All nickel hardware includes early Patent Sticker humbucking pickups, Kluson Deluxe tuners, 5 ply beveled pickguard and bracket, gold reflector cap knobs, ABR-1 Tuneomatic bridge, and the signature BK nameplate tailpiece. Even the full set of shielding cans for each of the four control pots are intact and unopened.
Both pickups show original Pat. # decals in place and original unopened covers, and are beautifully matched with smooth, powerful output. Best of all, the neck has a supremely elegant light D profile, with the desirable 1 11/16" fingerboard width, which was narrowed considerably on the model by 1965. Fine original medium jumbo frets remain in place, with smooth low action over a fresh high-precision setup.
The tone is 60's at its finest: fat, warm and sweet, with excellent clarity and balance across the range. All ensconced in the original black Gibson hardshell case, every bit as sweet as the guitar itself. A superb player, a distinctive looker, and the earliest, most desirable version of this iconic model. One only: call now.
Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel flatwound strings. The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with light neck relief. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.