Kay Barney Kessel Pro – U.S.A. – 1957


Electric Hollow Body Single cutaway guitar


Maple plywood and spruce body, maple neck

Rosewood fretboard

One or two Gold K single-coil pickups


From the 1930s, Kay built inexpensive guitars that were sold in department stores. However, he also made some really excellent instruments. The Art Deco-style Kelvinator-headstock showed a different side of Kay, even though it was bizarrely named after a refrigerator brand.
The archtops that had the name of jazz guitarist Barney Kessel were among the finest Kay instruments and had Kessel’s signature on the acrylic pickguard.
The body had a arched top and back, but it was made of plywood. The model was available in a sunburst or blonde finish and featured one or two Kay pickups, also known as ‘Kleenex boxes’. Costing $170, the Barney Kessel Pro was the smallest model in the line, followed by the Artist and the Jazz Special.

Last updated on 12 May 2020
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