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Which Gibson Explorer?


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I'm sure this question has been asked a millions times, but here it is anyway!

I'm really interesting in getting an Explorer but I'm not sure which ones to aim for so I have some questions. 

Are the recent/latest ones any good?
Is $1,500AUD reasonable for a used Explorer?
What are the ones with the smaller bodies like? I've been told to stay away from them.

Any help would be much appreciated.

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Thanks for the replies guys.

I have no particular reason at all to be concerned about the new ones, I just hear some weird things from people sometimes.

I'm in Australia and have been keeping a close eye on Reverb.

Apparently the Explorer pros and I think possibly the recent ones have smaller bodies.

Edited by Force
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If you are a Strat/Tele/Les Paul player an Explorer will seem all neck, like a Firebird.  I would take mine out and usually use it for only one set.  Something about the body size and point at which it joins makes the neck seem about 4 feet long.  Not a guitar I could play without looking for very long at all, so back to Tele or Strat I'd go.

They have made somewhat shrunken versions, I remember one in the 80's that was a tad smaller all around.  I don't know if that helped with the over neckedness of it or not.

Good luck.  Great guitars and a hoot to play.  For a while.  For me.


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Explorers are an interesting investment. Gibson stopped making them a few times, opening the doors for massive coping by other manufacturers. They seem to hold their value no matter what label is on them, the Gibsons do seem to increase at a steady rate. It is an Iconic Design, I think I gaze at mine more than I play it, the Wild Goose is just so mesmerizing to me, it is truly a work of art. Playing it on stage is interesting, having to be aware of where both ends are. I built mine from a US kit so I could configure it the way I wanted, the kit was exactly patterned after a 58. Anyway it is an an absolute joy to play..V7DbvdR.jpg

Edited by mihcmac
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8 hours ago, Force said:

Apparently the Explorer pros and I think possibly the recent ones have smaller bodies.


Yes; you are correct in saying the Explorer Pro's were something like 10% smaller all round in terms of body-size. Not sure that the recent offerings were smaller, though.

As far as which to go for only you can decide. A regular full-size body would be a sensible choice for many reasons - including re-sale if the honeymoon period wears off quickly; the smaller instruments are far less sought-after so re-sale might not be quite so easy as for a full-bodied instrument.

After that it comes down to whether you like the 'classic' '58-style look (natural honeyed-yellow body, covered p'ups, white p'guard, gold/chrome hardware) or the more commonly found iteration (dark-red mahogany/black/other finish body, uncovered double-black p'ups, white or black p'guard, chrome hardware).

The most recent examples are like these;



I know which general style I'd choose. I'd suggest the first thing for you do is to decide which general style you'd prefer and go from there. Good luck in the hunt!



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i love explorers, like buying any new guitar i would recommend playing it before you buy it to make sure you like it and feel comfortable with it. Maybe you have played explorers before and you already know you are comfty with it

i have a 2018 explorer i love, it does have Torrefied granadillo on the fretboard, i think that is different from other years models (think they had rosewood),but it doesnt feel bad, i was just pointing out the difference

as for price im not sure how much about your country's marketplace...but i do remember around the time i bought mine that GC made a clearance and put them on sale for 1499 USD




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On 9/4/2019 at 2:09 PM, Force said:

I most likely won't be able to play one before I buy as I can't even find one for sale where I live. I live  in a very small city. 

I bought my 2016 Flying V online without having played it and love it!

Living on an island I buy a lot of my guitars off of the net, the few local stores that are here don't have that great of a selection, unless you want a Strat. So eBay has a 90% success rate with me, which I think is pretty good. 

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