Vintage 1963 Gibson Barney Kessel Custom Sunburst with OHSC
Truetone Music has been selected to take in a special collection of instruments from a very special long-time customer and friend of ours. A collector of only unique, rare, vintage and high-end guitars & amps, he amassed a serious collection of these years. For the first time, these pieces are available on the market.
Guitar great Barney Kessel first entered the scene under the tutelage of fellow Oklahoman Charlie Christian. Throughout his storied career, Kessel played alongside Artie Shaw, Charlie Barnet, Charlie Parker, and Oscar Peterson, thus cementing his legacy in the history of jazz guitar. Kessel's endorsement by Gibson began in 1961, resulting in the release of his namesake model.
This 17" long scale, twin pickup guitar is reminiscent of the ES-350. The Gibson Barney Kessel was the company's first full-depth archtop with a double-cutaway design to facilitate upper fret access. This deluxe version is equipped with all gold hardware, a solid Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, an arched spruce top, and a signature bowtie and eighth-note inlay. Limited production made the Barney Kessel Custom, of which only 43 were made in its model year, an exceptionally rare item.
This primo example of one is an amazing player - smooth, silky and resonant, it provides the feel and sound that jazz players love. The twin Patent number humbuckers sound amazing - rich, full and well balanced. It's exactly what you'd expected and is classic 60's jazz: fat, warm and sweet, with excellent clarity. We've had a few of these in here over the years, and this is definitely the best sounding one that we've come across. It's also super comfortable - the neck has an easy to play light D profile. This one is quite light too - just 6.7 lbs.
This Barney Kessel Custom was refinished at some point in its life - at first glance we didn't think so, but upon further inspection we determined that it had been. It surely was done very, very well. Thankfully it was done in the same sunburst color, so it looks right. Everything, including the pickups, is original, other than the tuners (they were replaced by chrome Grovers). The original hardshell case is included as well.
The guitar has been vetted by our top vintage expert and luthier, and has been setup to play perfectly. For anyone that's in the market for a Barney Kessel Custom and wants a piece of Gibson history, this is a serious find.
- Serial # 62334
- Weight: 6.7 lbs
- Body size at lower bout: 17"
- Scale length: 25 1/2"
- Nut Width: 1 11/16"
- Body: Arched Flame Maple
- Top: Arched Spruce
- Neck: Flame Maple
- Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood
- Fretboard Inlays: Bowtie Mother of Pearl
- Headstock Inlay: Eight-note
- Bound body, neck and soundholes
- Hardware: Gold (chrome tuners)
- Pickups: Patent No. sticker
- Beveled 5-ply pickguard
- 3 way control switch
- Gold reflector cap knobs
- Grover tuners (replaced)
- Compensated Tune--o-matic bridge with Brazilian Rosewood base
- Engraved tailpiece
- Original case