Guitar of the Week 23/3/19

Ventura V-1400 Barney Kessel Vintage

1960s Ventura V-1400 'Barney Kessel'

An American jazz guitarist born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Barney Kessel was a noted "first call" guitarist for studio, film, and television recording sessions. His musical reputation endures as a member of the famous group of session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. The number of recordings that bear his name, both as a sideman and a leader, is staggering.

Through the 50s his name appeared on various Kay models, but his stage and studio mainstay was a Gibson ES-350 with a Charlie Christian pickup. At the height of his popularity in 1960 he was approached by Gibson to create the Barney Kessel Model in Standard and Custom variants. While he often indicated a lack of interest at having his own signature model, Gibson's previous pairings with prominent musicians for signature models had proved successful.

The Barney Kessel series ran from 1961 to 1974, and it's unique double cutaway design has proven divisive. Off the collector radar for many years with early examples sporting PAFs falling victim to part salvaging, the model now boasts a following in its own right.

The V-1400 is an excellent vintage Japanese recreation, contemporary to the originals. This model was made by the Japanese brand Ventura in the 1960s and features a very easy to play slim C profile neck with a 1 9/16" (3.97mm) nut width with a full 17" body finished in cherry sunburst. In the case of this example, the original bridge has been swapped out for a more modern and useable tune-o-matic (the original is included in the case), as the original gold machine heads have also been replaced by vintage styled chrome Kluson Deluxe machines. 
Included is a period correct (possibly original) hardcase. Overall the guitar is in very good condition, plays beautifully and features a diverse array of excellent tones at your fingertips, from the more jazzy neck pickup to bitey rock tones in the bridge position.

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