The Gibson Barney Kessel Pages  (Part 3)                                            HOME
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  The back of the mint '61 Barney Kessel Regular....modest birdseye and no
   strap  button added!


  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 Barney Kessel tailpiece badge, found on both Regular and Custom models.
The style of this badge was later copied on the Trini Lopez model, but is otherwise only found on the BKs.


 Below:  The Bow-Tie fretboard markers are found on the Barney Kessel Custom model,

in conjunction with the "Big Note" least that is the factory norm! In earlier

years, the bow tie inlays were also used on some Gibson banjo models.

 BELOW:  The wide-bevel truss rod cover appeared on both Regular and Custom models
 through 1964, with "Custom" lettering. The '63 Custom shown below came with
 factory 'waffle'back' tuners. However, Grover PAT PEND tuners have been seen (factory
installed) on '61 and '66 Custom models.
LEFT:  more factory insanity which is the opposite of the above pic!
This '65 model shows "Regular model" pararllelogram fretboard inlays yet has the "Custom model" headstock (Big-Note) inlay!  Again, we become it a Regular or Custom model?! It is unknown whether this model had gold or nickel hardware; however, good detectives obsessed with the minutia of this model will deduce that this was a "Regular" model.  The f-holes seem to have red paint rather than is therefore likely it had chrome hardware and would have been considered a "Regular" model.
The factory specs for a Regular model include nickel hardware (chrome after '65), parallelogram inlays on the neck, and the small 'flower pot' keystone inlay on the headstock. F-holes have red paint on their edges.
By contrast, factory specs for
the more ornate Custom model include gold hardware, bound f-holes, bow-tie inlays on the neck, and the Big-Note on the headstock.
The model to the left is typical of '65, with a moderately flamey ply-maple top and crimson-red sunburst.