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Gibson Explorer 2021 quality findings


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Hello, first time writer to this forum and reason is that I need to share my recent findings of Gibson "quality". Need to say that I have been always big Gibson fan.
This same topic has been written many times over the years and there was some hope on better quality when new CEO started to run Gibson, but here is what I have to say about it.
I received my shipment yesterday from very well known big European Gibson distributor brand new Gibson Explorer Antique Natural factory date 10/29/21.
Started with checking the case, all good no marks of any scratches or dents. Open the case started to check how guitar is build and if there is any issues.
Well, I have purchased over the years few Gibsons but mainly directly from the shop where I can play, see and feel if the quality matches to price I'm paying for the guitar.
Now this time it looks that quality control has failed pretty badly. 

- on the neck lower side wall multiple lacquer chips and scratches on the way towards the body. Those lacquer damages can be felt on hand when playing the guitar. 
- on the fret board there is at least one fret that has kind a cavity on rosewood just side of the fret wire.
- there is dents and scratches on fretboard at least in three places clearly visible
- frets were not polished that well.
- when I played the guitar straight out of case, the fretboard, frets and strings are so dirty that my fingers gets stained.
- G string was side of the saddle slot on bridge, I needed to tune down and move the string to correct position of the saddle slot.
- fretboard was very dry, could imagine that some sort of oil is used in factory for the fretboard

In general this explorer was sounding good, looking awesome, just as I was expecting explorer to be and setup and all other parts was ok. But I cannot understand why this was passed from quality check with these obvious issues on it. Also I cannot understand why this distributor is not checking these guitars before sending to customers. I know that they did not check this before ship out since the cardboard box did still have factory seal tape intact on both ends.
Most likely guitar goes back to distributor, need to wait their response to these findings.

I think Gibson is not having too good quality control and by saying that quality issues are behind, I don't think so. These findings are obvious lack of quality control.
Sorry to say but I believe this lack of basic quality control starts again hurt the Gibson brand and shatters the credibility of the quality guitar maker.


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It seems like these obvious defects are showing up on the guitars sent to Europe.

Correct me if I'm wrong but we're not seeing stuff this bad in the US.

I have a 2019 or 2020 Explorer and the only thing wrong with it is the owner is funny looking.  

Well, the fretboard was dry but that only took a few minutes to fix.

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Lesspaw: thanks for pointing out also string clearance on back of the bridge. And I found out that this guitars setup straight from Gibson factory on Low and High E string was hitting on bridge . I needed to lift tailpiece quite a much to get piece of paper between string and bridge on those strings.  On Low E  I measured 20mm (0,787") and high E 18mm (0.708") on top of screw to body when strings did not any more hit the back of bridge. See photo.

I guess on guitars like Firebird and Explorer the body angle is more on tailpiece area than example on Les Paul so the tailpiece need to be much higher. Another way to overcome that is to make strings wrap around the tailpiece to get more height towards bridge. Then you can slam that tailpiece against the body.





Edited by Jarppi
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I have to agree with Steve Ford on this.  Seems we see a lot more of this type of stuff on guitars purchases in Europe than those we get in USA.  Draw your own conclusions.

As far as the strings hitting the back of the bridge it really isn't that important.  Gibson specs will say to raise the tailpiece so the strings don't touch the back of the bridge, but I played a Les Paul for over 25 years with the tailpiece all the way down on the body and the strings hitting the back of the bridge and it sounded fine.  The important string vibration is between the nut and the saddle.  What happens below the saddle doesn't affect the tone of the guitar.

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