Below: Beginning in 1965 (possibly late ’64), the neck heel was shortened. Greater neck
stability may have been achieved with this new design, however, at a cost of some of the
vintage vibe. As the 60’s wore on, the shade of red became a brilliant fire-engine red.
Below: A 1966 Regular model with the shortened neck heel. The Regular model came with a
mahogany neck while the Custom model had a maple neck. It can be argued that the mahogany
neck has an effect on the tone, possibly making it warmer or darker. Orville Gibson thought the neck
construction had a great effect on the overall tone, and even made many early 1900's guitars with a
hollow chamber in the neck to produce greater acoustic properties.
Home-Barbering: Most guitars will have had a strap button added at some point, in any number of
weird locations and angles, by well-meaning 'home barbers'. This 1963 Regular -with long neck heel-
has had a strap pin added on the heel. I like to use theaged white 1960’s Les Paul Junior strap buttons
(shown) to keep the look as vintage as possible. This photo shows the correct location for a
strap pin: on the flat of the heel, a location which does not interfere with playing. I have several BK's to
which I ADDED strap pins in this location, eventhough they made it through life sans strap button! I feel
this does not hurt the value of the instrument and makes it more playable.....I had no regrets about doing so.
Below: What’s wrong with this picture!? This 1964 BK had a microscopic “2” on the back of
the headstock, indicating a ‘factory second’. Was it because it has BK Custom Bow-Ties on
the fretboard but a BK Regular keystone on the headstock? Is it a Custom or Regular model?
Unfortunately the neck lift in the high frets meant this one-of-a-kind example would be sold as a
project and did not make the collection.
Below: The Bow-Tie fretboard markers are found on the Barney Kessel Custom model,
in conjunction with the "Big Note" headstock....at least that is the factory norm! In earlier
years, the bow tie inlays were also used on some Gibson banjo models.