i just recieved this guitar in the mail about a week ago and i must say that i was blown away. it took me a while to figure out what i really wanted when i was looking around for a new guitar, but i did know i wanted an explorer. the 1958 goth caught my eye and i really wanted it except i wasnt sure if it was just cool looking or if its looks matched its quality. after talking to experts all over and reading tons of reviews i decided to just go for it. this guitar is honestly one of the best you will get for the money. sweetwater set it up beautifully for me so when i got it i really didnt have to do any sort of set up. i really like the way it feels and plays. very smooth and fast. the black satin feels great on the neck. it allows very comfortable sliding up and down the fretboard without unwanted friction like some other finishes have. the pickups, however, were not the greatest. they were OK but didnt really handle high levels of distortion and volume (especially with drop-tuning). so within 2 days i replaced the bridge pickup with a seymour duncan sh-6 distortion and now it has a very clear tone to it. lots of crunch and works well with drop tuning. crisp. the weight is nice, too. not too heavy and bulky feeling, but not too light and cheap feeling. i like it a lot. the neck its sort of heavy and may fall to the side if you let go, but that doesnt bother me at all. the sustain is quite good as well...good for those long notes. and harmonics come very easily. the goth has a more "metally" tone to it. deep and full sounding with distortion. its great. and cleans sound really good, too. the explorer feels like more than the price i paid. if i didnt already know the price i would think it was more. it plays great, sounds great, and is a great price. i recommend this to anyone who wants an explorer and doesnt want to spend $1200 or so on the gibson. i really dont think that theres a huge different between the two. just make sure it has a good setup and replace the pickups and i assure that youll be very happy with this purchase.