A 21st Century Update of the 1958 Explorer
Gibson's competitors had long accused the company of being conservative. In 1958, the company answered with what had to be the least conservative guitar designs in history - at least up until that point. Gibson introduced three "futuristic" guitar models that year, the Flying V, the Explorer and the Moderne. The first two went into limited production and while there have long been rumors of a production version of the Moderne, most doubt it went beyond the prototype stage. But Gibson certainly showed the critics that it was capable of and quite willing to break the conservative mold with these instruments, which actually owe an awful lot to late '50s automobile design. While there weren't many Explorers sold in 1958, the guitar has been reincarnated a few times in the last four decades, most notably in 1976, which is the design used to create today's Explorer. Love it or hate it, the original "lightning bolt" look of the original Explorer was clearly well ahead of its time.Gibson Explorer at a Glance:
- Mahogany body with Classic White finish
- Rounded mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard and pearloid dots
- Two hot humbucking pickups with no covers
It's New, But Looks Vintage
Today's Explorer - based on the 1976 Gibson Explorer - will always look like a vintage guitar. That's because it's so strongly associated with those original 1958 designs. If anything, Gibson made minor tweaks to what was already a pretty perfect guitar. Go ahead and strap one on. It's like climbing in a time machine. Eric Clapton discovered the joys of the mid-1970s Explorer just in time for the release of his album, "EC Was Here." Today's Explorer is almost a carbon copy of that guitar. This one has a Classic White finish over a mahogany body and chrome hardware.
Special "Rounded" Neck Profile
Some Gibsons had huge mahogany necks, but by 1960 the company made a number of modifications until those early '60s necks became among the fastest available. The special rounded neck profile of the Explorer is one favored by many of today's top players. You can move up and down the neck at blazing speeds, but the ebony fingerboard still has that warm, classic Gibson feel, allowing easy access to the upper frets so you can really dig into your solos. It also sounds great when grabbing big fat power chords. The pearloid dots complete the vintage look.
Two Smoking Hot Humbuckers
Historically, Gibson has long been associated with the dark, punchy tone of the humbucking pickup with its fat low end and crunchy, complex midrange. The V-factor X carries on that tradition with two scorching hot humbuckers with ceramic magnets (a 496R in the neck position and a 500T in the bridge position). Some players (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page to name a few) felt that by removing the covers, humbuckers were louder and had more top end. The Explorer comes standard with coverless pickups.
- Color: Classic White
- Body: Mahogany
- Neck: Mahogany with special rounded profile
- Fingerboard: Ebony with pearloid dot inlays
- Number of frets: 22
- Pickups: Two Humbucking pickups (496R and 500T) with ceramic magnets
- Controls: Two volume, one tone with three-way pickup selector switch
- Machine heads: Mini Grovers
- Hardware: Chrome plated
- Hardshell case included: Black reptile pattern
Gibson: Don't Mess with a Good Thing
Gibson guitars have been around for well over a century. When guitarists are looking for an outstanding combination of superb tone and playability along with great looks and gorgeous finishes, the choice for most of those 100 plus years has been Gibson. From their amazing collection of fine acoustics to the electric guitars that literally rewrote music history, Gibson guitars have been on almost every chart-topping album from artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Cream and Led Zeppelin. These "first call" instruments also cross an enormous array of diverse styles, from folk and country to blues and hard rock. With that resume, it's not surprising that so many of Gibson's best-selling instruments have changed little over the decades. Because there's just no sense in messing with a good thing!