GIBSON Barney Kessel Custom

  • Gibson Barney Kessel Custom (1970)


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  • electric guitars

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Dates of manufacture: 

1961 to 1973

The Barney Kessel Custom was made between 1961 and 1973.  It was like the regular Barney Kessel model except it had bow-tie inlays, a musical note peghead inlay and gold hardware. Around 740 were made in total.

According to Gibson the Barney Kessel Custom was "designed for the musician who requires beauty and ultimate performance. A special magnetic field in the bridge pickup emphasizes the treble frequencies and produces unusual tones throughout the entire range."

The  Barney Kessel Custom model featured a carved spruce top, carved maple back, slim fast low-action neck joins the body at the 15th fret. It had a five-piece curly maple neck with adjustable truss rod. rosewood fingerboard with "bow-tie" pearl inlays. Hardware was gold-plated including the adjustable tune-o-matic bridge. The twin humbucking pickups, Separate tone and volume control. Three-position toggle switch. Gold- plated metal parts. Dimensions were 17" wide, 21" long, 3" deep: 25.5"’ scale. It had 20 frets. Finish was cherry sunburst.

The Gibson Johnny A model of recent years has a very similar design and is essentially a downsized Barney Kessel.

Specifications (24)


Body back materialmaple body back
Body shape featuresarchtop, double cutaway
Body sides materialmaple body sides
Body stylearchtop
Body top materialmaple body top
Hollow bodysemi-hollow body
Pickguard shaperaised pickguard
Soundhole2 f-holes


Bridgeadjustable rosewood bridge
Hardware colorgold hardware
Tailpiecetrapeze tailpiece, wood tailpiece


Fingerboard position markersbowtie fingerboard position markers


Finish colorsred finish
Finish effectssunburst finish
Made inUSA
Number of strings6 strings


Neck materialmahogany neck
Number of frets22 fret
Peghead (headstock)musical note headstock
Tuner layoutthree-each-side


Pickup selector controls3-way selector switch
Tone controls2 tone controls
Volume controls2 volume controls


Pickups configuration2 humbucker pickups

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