Back Catalog Memories: 1960’s Airline Barney Kessel Swingmaster Guitar

Here are a pair of Airline Barney Kessel models from the 1960’s. It was also known as the Swingmaster, and could be found under the Kay brand and the Old Kraftsmen brand.

Vintage 1960's Airline Barney Kessel Model Swingmaster Electric Guitar (Deluxe)

Vintage 1960’s Airline Barney Kessel Model Swingmaster Electric Guitar (Deluxe)

The natural color was unique to the Airline brand. All were outfitted with the “Kleenex Box” pickups. It was available in 2 or 3 pickups models, with or without the Bigsby style tremolo and a wooden, floating bridge. Bolt-on neck with a flamed maple bound body on top and bottom. Each pickup had its own volume and tone controls and there was a flipper switch for pickup selection.

Will Eastwood make a replica of this for its Airline line of guitars in the future? Pretty sure the answer is yes!


  1. says

    I’m not sure about the floating wooden bridge, but you just have to love the rest… especially the Kleenex Box pickups. The controls, translucent pickguard, the trem unit… to cool!

  2. Beaker says

    Will you make it? Please! But a floating bridge with a trem? Surely you will see your way around that.

  3. says

    Very cool. I’d love to try a Kay with the kleenex-box p/u’s; I’ve got a very well-loved ’62 Speed Demon, and while I do love it’s weirdo pickup, it does require a pretty radical re-dialing of my amp every time I switch over (mostly it’s in open D or G).
    On another note, you can look forward to a review of the Sidejack Baritone Deluxe on my blog, probably by Thursday this week. Hint: it’s positive!

  4. Richard Ostrow says

    Hi Mike,

    You can put me on the “buy list” for the Vintage 1960′s Airline Barney Kessel Model Swingmaster Electric Guitar (Deluxe)!

    Will you have then in lefty models? And what’s the pricetag on this baby?


    Richard Ostrow

    ps received the Nashville 12. Love this guitar…

  5. Amptech says

    I have never seen a K-592 with Kleenex pickups called a Swingmaster before. The K673 and K672 Swingmaster guitars were single rounded cutaway arch tops with block markers. I recommend ’50’s COOL KAY Guitars by Jay Scott and the scans of catalogs at King of Kays website.

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