Funny guitar, the Gibson Explorer. Not funny as in “ha ha””, but funny “peculiar”. When it launched in 1957/'58 - alongside its equally radical brethren, Flying V - it was almost more about form than function. After all, these were both guitars no...
In this video, The Edge talks about buying his Gibson Explorer guitar brand new when he was in New York at age 17 (he had originally intended to buy a Les Paul). It was the first guitar he purchased with the intention of playing it as part of a band on stage in front of an audience. At first he admits to it feeling kind of strange playing it with his band mates, and that at the time nobody else was playing with Explorers, making The Edge and U2 rather unique. He goes on to describe how a crack occurred on the back of the headstock in the mid-1980s when he threw the guitar behind him in order to help some members of the audience. At 2:38, Edge demonstrates some of the parts of the U2 song [“Beautiful Day”](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co6WMzDOh1o) on the Explorer. He recalls during the recording of “Beautiful Day”, a certain lead part did not feel right on his other guitars, so he brought out and used the Gibson Explorer through his Vox amp. From a [gibson.com interview from 2010](http://www2.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/u2-0722.aspx): "Gibson Explorers are still his signature instrument. The Edge prefers the Gibson Limited Edition Explorer built in 1976. He owns several, including the one he used on Boy, which is now retired from the stage."more
"The infamous fur guitars. So we have two rigs: A and B. The A rig... has the Gretsch Bo Diddley. The B rig Gibson guitar is a Gibson Explorer. This is a standard issue, and it's actually it's a John Bolin-made guitar, made to Gretsch's specs. It's your typical fur-covered guitar - everyone has one," says Billy Gibbons's guitar tech in reference to the Gibson Explorer Electric Guitar.more
This guitar was used as one of James’ main guitars for the album St.Anger released in 2003, both in studio and for the tour. It was most likely brand new. The guitar features matte black finish and tarnish metal pickguard. Rest of the specs were transferred over from his earlier guitars, including EMG pickups and Tune-o-Matic bridge.more
"I have a historic Les Paul Standard and a refinished Explorer. Right now on tour, I have three Les Pauls and an Explorer, and then Gibson just sent me a black American Explorer that I’ve been playing at the Staples Center in Vegas, which I really love. I grew up playing Gibson and fell in love with the shape, and that’s what feels most natural to me and looks the best and sounds the best."more
Taken from Tommy Thayer's [official website](http://www.tommythayer.com/about/tommys-gear/), he discusses a little about his Gibson Explorer, "Inspired by the fantastic silver sparkle finish Gibson Les Paul I have, I thought it would be cool to do an Explorer the same way. I've been playing this guitar during our encores as a change of pace from my workhorse Les Pauls".more
In this live performance of "Animals", Ryan is seen playing a Gibson Explorer starting at :28s. Jason Shadrick writes in this [article](http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Rig_Rundown_Nickelbacks_Chad_Kroeger_Ryan_Peake) from *Premier Guitar* "Ryan Peake’s guitar boat is stocked with several Gibson Explorers and Flying Vs. Along with his tech, Kris Dawson, Peake gives each one a custom finish that typically involves blowtorches, chisels, and other tools of destruction. All his guitars sport EMG pickups ([EMG 81](http://equipboard.com/items/emg-81-active-pickup) in the bridge and EMG 85 in the neck) and are strung with various gauges of Ernie Ball strings".more
Rick Nielsen talks about his multiple 1958 Explorers, "I bought the cleaner of the two Explorers in the late Seventies for $4,000 from George Gruhn, who you’ve all had the pleasure to meet in this issue. That may seem like the deal of the century, considering that, recently, one of a dozen Explorers Gibson built in 1963 from leftover Fifties bodies and necks sold at auction for $611,000. But at the time I bought this Explorer, Sixties Strats were worth only about $750, and Bursts were going for $2,000. Under the circumstances, that was a hell of a lot of money to spend on a single guitar. In 1990, I brought the Explorer to the Dallas Guitar Show, where I was performing at a party with Cliff Williams of AC/DC and Joe Walsh. I had my son, Miles, who was 14 at the time, carry the guitar onto the show floor, and a guy offered us $75,000 cash for it, right there on the spot. For whatever reason, even though I could have used the money and had brought the guitar there to sell it, I thought about it and said no. I’m glad I didn’t do it. As for the more beat-up Explorer (which is my favorite of the two, because it just looks like it should sound better), I bought it in 1981 from Larry Briggs at Strings West in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It looks the way that I got it, complete with all the dings and doweled holes on the top where a different bridge was installed. The guitar also has a neck-joint repair that you can see at the heel or if you look into the neck pickup cavity. I think Larry was asking around seven grand for the guitar, and we did a retail-to-retail trade where I gave him a couple of Stratocasters and a Firebird or two and $650. You can see me writing the check in this snapshot, a little piece of Rick Nielsen history that Larry was kind enough to dig out of his archives."more
Q : You're talking about an Epiphone acoustic, with the ornamentation ? NEIL : Yes, it's one of the cheapest. It's probably lying on the floor in my bedroom right now. It looks like it's in good shape but the action's really bad and the neck isn't too good. And it's always going out of tune. But I like it. Most of the songs on American Dream were written on it. I think I also wrote Fuckin' Up on it, too. But I also have very nice guitars, great for recording and composing. I have quite a few Martins, Gretschs -- particularly White Falcons, old Explorers, Flying V s. Larry Cragg has more than I do. You should talk to him about my guitars and amps. My amps are something else.more
From metal-rules.com, interview of Trey Azagthoth by Lord of the Wasteland *What guitars did use on this album?* *I used my B.C. Rich Ironburn, Gibson Explorer for the rhythms and six-strings.[sic] I used 2 different Ibanez Universes for the seven-strings. For solos, I used my B.C. Rich Ironburn, my orange Ibanez Stratocaster and a few other guitars, but it was mainly those 2 guitars for soloing.[sic]*more
Vic played this guitar in Vans Warped Tour and still plays it. Its pickups are Seymour Duncan that were in it when he found it and he added stripes to it together with his guitar tech as a tribute to Van Halen. “I found this in a pawn shop with my guitar tech Johnny [Meyer]. We just saw it sitting in the corner and we were like, ‘Woah, what is that?’ I picked it up and it just felt like it was bouncing back at me whenever I played it and it really had a lot of resonance. It just felt right." Vic said in an [interview for total guitar](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BohFCEjA8xY), later adding: “So I bought it that day for $800, pretty cheap, and then took it home and we put it on the bench. We made sure everything was working right and then I just took some electric tape at Johnny’s house and this was the first design I did on it. It came out kinda cool so it’s just been on there ever since.”more
From about 2009 onwards, Matty used a Gibson Explorer as his main guitar, which phased out his old black Gibson SG. From Panty Raid and Get Nice up to Call Your Friends (2010 - 2013-14) he would use it interchangeably with his FGN Les Paul copy. He rarely uses it currently due to his affiliation with EVH.more
> "We did four rhythm tracks on everything. On one side we had a Les Paul gold top with P-90s that went through an Orange amp, and also a white [Gibson] Explorer from, like, ’82 or something like that—that typical James Hetfield sort of guitar—that went through an old Marshall rack amp from the early Nineties. And then on the other side it was a mid-Seventies Les Paul Black Beauty 20th Anniversary through one of those old Laneys that Tony Iommi used and an early Eighties [Gibson] Flying V that went through another Orange. Then I had a Seventies Strat for a lot of the leads, and I think I did overdubs mostly with the Explorer. So it was quite simple."more
Funny guitar, the Gibson Explorer. Not funny as in “ha ha””, but funny “peculiar”. When it launched in 1957/'58 - alongside its equally radical brethren, Flying V - it was almost more about form than function. After all, these were both guitars no-one expected Gibson, masters of elegantly-crafted “archtop” guitars, to even consider building.
But the rad lines of the Gibson Explorer did not emerge without context. The so-called “Googie architecture” movement of the '40s was highly influential, not only in U.S. building design but in automobiles, furniture and more, and emphasized sharp and bold angles, often created from massive slabs of material.
In 1957, Gibson’s President and design team-leader Ted McCarty had an eye on the ‘50s tail-fins on the Googie-influenced automobiles by Cadillac and Chrysler when he designed the Explorer, Flying V and initially-shelved Moderne. And thus, the Modernist series of Gibsons was born. (Interestingly, “Googie architecture”s fore-running movement was known as Art Moderne.)
Gibson Explorer patent illustration ZZ Top's Billy F Gibbons has famously described the V and Explorer as “rock'n'roll meets The Jetsons” (the cartoon was itself Googie-influenced), and justifiably so. And the Explorer was arguably the most “space race” of all these Gibsons.
Initially, the Explorer had an inverted “V” 3-a-side split headstock, but when it was changed to the 6-a-side “hockey stick”, it became the Explorer.
In terms of function, the Explorer was always relatively simple. Two humbuckers, a Tune-o-matic bridge and simple 3-way selector and volume/volume/tone controls. Anyway, enough of the history of aesthetics!
I own the 2008 issue of this Explorer. I got this guitar because it was on my "Bucket List" of guitars to collect. When I first pulled it out of the case it felt a little awkward due to the shape. Once I put it on and started playing it was so much fun. I got used to the shape much quicker than I thought I would. It definitely was easier to play than my Flying V. Sounded great and was light enough that I didn't notice that I had been playing for almost two hours.
I became interested in studying metal music when I listen to the songs sung by a band from Germany, scorpions. guitar sound, fast and heavy, distorted, and an amazing guitar solo. then I was interested in listening to the songs of other heavy metal band, Metallica. and rhythm are very fast, and I began to want to buy this guitar is, sound and appearance. This guitar is played by Matthias Jabs (Scorpions), and James Hetfield (Metallica). whether there was a relationship I do not know. body and neck are made of mahogany, and hardware are original, there is no variation. then I replace PAF pickups in this guitar with EMG pickups. really great. I want this guitar as "my inspiration guitar" to cover heavy metal songs. I really like this guitar.
I recently bought this guitar used (August 2015) and it arrived in excellent condition. I couldn't believe it was a seven year old guitar. It was a little weird taking the guitar and and experiencing the balance due to the radical shape, but once I put it on it was so much fun to play. I played for a straight two hour with it.
This was my first OWN guitar , after months of playing and practicing on my dad's guitars he bought me the guitar I dreamt of , a Gibson explorer. (Gibson explorer 2009 model) And it still brings me joy to this day 8 years later.
Over these 8 years I've played a few different music genre's going from trash metal to rock n roll down to blues and it sounds amazing in all 3 genre's. You could be playing some old school metallica and switch to buddy holly moments later on and with some tweeking on the amp it gives you the exact sound you're looking for.
It's a mahogany body carrying standard 500T and 496R gibson pickups. The only downside for me on this guitar is the weight, If you're playing at home or are sitting down It's no problem however standing on a stage for 2 to 3 hours could be a horror show for someone with a bad back.
If you don't mind the weight it's an excellent guitar for it's price, pre-owned and a little cheaper especially.
I was always a fan of metal music and I still play metal to this day. I think if I had this guitar it would be a rite of passage and if I ever wanted to play in a band this would be my go-to guitar.