This is a vintage 1959 Airline 7240 “Barney Kessel Pro/Tuxedo” hollowbody electric guitar by Kay. This particular example is in very good, mostly original condition, though the original pickguard is missing. This is a fantastic player’s example of a very cool Kay. It is fairly clean, and while it is structurally perfect with no cracks, no breaks, and no repairs, it doesn’t quite make the collector’s grade. This rare model was advertised as “Wards(‘) Best Hollow Body Cutaway Guitar,” its incredible aesthetic served as the inspiration for Eastwood’s Airline Tuxedo Barney Kessel Pro reissue. This is a seriously sexy instrument, but its curves, contours, and covetable appearance were in no way intended to distract from performance: this guitar feels great, it plays incredibly easily, and it sounds fantastic.
Serial Number: L611-
Weight: 5 lbs. 14 oz.
This ’59 Airline 7240, Barney Kessel Pro, features: a hollowbody archtop design, a bound laminated maple top, a bound laminated maple back and maple sides, the original high-gloss ebony black finish, (2) single coil Barney Kessel “Kleenex Box” pickups, white plastic veneered headstock with dual lighting bolts, a 1-piece maple neck, a bound ebony fingerboard with block inlays, Grover Butter-Bean open back tuning machines, rosewood adjustable bridge, the original hard shell case, the original instrument cable, and the often misplaced original neck adjustment tool.
With surprisingly low action, an incredibly straight fingerboard, and beautifully intact medium-sized original frets, this guitar is so comfortable that you will find yourself getting lost into hour-long noodling sessions without realizing it. It’s one of those guitars. The neck pickup is magical, and produces a swampy dark tone that is the envy of all other cool Kay classic. The bridge pickup is equally as musical, and very pleasant.