Shaftesbury BK maintenance

I’m currently repairing / restoring my Shaftesbury Barney Kessel guitar (model 3264) and I thought I’d post some before, during and after pictures of the work on this blog.

The guitar was originally bought on the 18th of July 1972 from a store in Leeds for £86 (I have the original receipt) and is almost all still entirely original – it’s only the bridge that I’m dubious about. It is also lacking the original serial number ‘badge’ that used to sit at the back of the headstock – like most of these models.

It was built in Japan probably at the Hoshino factory alongside similar Antoria, Greco and Ibanez guitars.

I’ll return and update this post over the next few weeks / months but first a picture of my first electric guitar which caused all of this fascination with the Shaftesbury and Gibson Barney Kessel guitars in general. A short time before I bought my first BK (I’ve owned 4 over the years) with paper round money, I saw one hanging in the window of Gamlin’s music store in Cardiff, Wales and i know that Welsh comedian Stan Stennet owned a Gibson original.


Photograph of my original Shaftesbury Barney Kessel copy guitar.
Photograph of my original Shaftesbury Barney Kessel copy guitar.

A scan from an early Ibanez catalogue:

12523 ibanez

A Shaftesbury BK that I have owned previously:


PRE Work:

Picture of a Shaftesbury Barney Kessel copy guitar.
My current Shaftesbury Barney Kessel copy guitar prior to undergoing work. I have the original scratch plate ready to fit.


Headstock of the Shaftesbury guitar prior to cleaning.
Photograph showing damage around the Shaftesbury neck pickup.
Photograph of the mess that accumulated around the Shaftesbury guitar bridge. The saddles look original but not the wood of the bridge.
The back of the Shaftesbury neck pickup.
The neck block seen through the Shaftesbury neck pickup cavity and the damage around the neck pickup hole.


During work:

Photograph of quite the most gorgeous neck / headstock join. The overfill pool is visible on the right and the start of the cutting back on the left. The blob is the substance used to glue the serial plate onto the headstock, it will be gone in time.


After work:

Photograph of the neck pickup cavity after filling, painting and cutting back. I couldn’t get a red that matched the original red in the sunburst finish.
Photograph of the headstock after polishing – the greasy fingerprints aren’t in the finish but left when I re-installed the tuners.
A quick cloth wipe later…
Photograph of the back of the Shaftesbury BK headstock. The wings have been made secure though you can still see the crease where they were attached during construction.



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