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1964 Gibson Barney Kessel Regular, Spruce Top

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Serial #: 176786, orange oval label

Body size at lower bout: 17". Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut Width: 1 11/16"

Materials: Solid Honduras mahogany neck; solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard; arched laminate spruce top; arched laminate flame maple back and sides; split-block fingerboard inlay; triple bound body, bound neck.

Hardware: All original nickel hardware includes twin Gibson Pat. Sticker humbucking pickups and electronics; beveled 5-ply pickguard; 3 way control switch, gold reflector cap knobs, Kluson Deluxe tuners, ABR-1 compensated Tunematic bridge with Brazilian rosewood base, 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.

A 17" long scale twin pickup jazz box in the tradition of the ES-350, the Barney Kessel was Gibson's first full-depth double cutaway archtop, a design intended to facilitate access to the uppermost frets. From a player's standpoint, this guitar is most desirable version of the model, seen only in 1963 and '64. Known as the 'Regular' model, it's one of the last built with the arched spruce top and full 1 11/16th nut, and one of the first with the small heel and neck joint at the 17th fret, in contrast to the earlier versions with the 14 fret body. By the following year, the neck had been slimmed to 1 9/16" and the top changed to arched maple.

Produced in very small numbers, this remarkable guitar is one of just 141 Kessel Regulars built in its model year. This exceptionally handsome intrument has been carefully maintained for over half a century, and is remarkably free of pick, buckle, thumb, or fingerboard wear. All original electronics include twin Pat. sticker humbucking pickups, pots, caps, and a full set of unopened shielding cans for each of the four controls. The body shows deep flame maple in the back, and a lovely bookmatched arched spruce soundboard. The original Kluson Deluxe tuners are in great shape, as is the original 5 ply beveled pickguard and bracket, the original gold reflector cap knobs, and the original ABR-1 adjustable compensated Tuneomatic bridge.

(Gibson's color stains were particularly sensitive to UV light in this era, so the cherry finish that once graced the top has tanned out to a rich warm amber blonde over the decades. The 'tan line' from an older Bigsby tailpiece, now replaced by the original trapeze, is still faintly visible under the strings, though no extra mounting holes are visible.) Best of all, the neck has a very comfortable light D profile, with the full 1 11/16" fingerboard width, and the original medium jumbo frets are still high and undented on the handsome solid ebony fingerboard. The tone is classic 60's: fat, warm and sweet, with excellent clarity and balance across the range. One very rare bird: call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge nickel roundwound strings (.012-.054). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.

Case: Original black deluxe hardshell case with grey plush lining.









































































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