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Gibson Explorer Designer Series


dertrommler

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Hello,

 

I have an 84' Gibson Explorer which I believe is the Designer Series which are supposedly rare with the custom factory paint jobs. The one I have is the American flag stars and stripes model. I've seen the British flag Designer Series Explorers go for $3000-$3300. Can someone tell me the "type XX" model I have and what the current value is? How many of these were made?

 

Thanks ...

 

Here is a pic of the guitar:

 

l_33f2b3d5f16c44f194a609f88eb9ac22.jpg

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The serial # doesn't have any extra numbers just the 8xxx45yy for the 1984 year and the xxx for the day of the year it was made and the 5yy which I've read means that this # in the 500's says it was built in Nashville, TN. It has the Gibson tremelo bridge system.

 

Here are some more pics:

 

l_0922e9e828cb4d8b9561821dba0dd056.jpg

 

l_a55735cb10144150a2474f2f3b7e527a.jpg

 

l_ff96f2f5921146018a1ec974063d29ef.jpg

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I just got these back from Gibson when I called custmer service a couple of months ago about one Explorer I just got. This is what they sent me after I bugged them. They first told me they don't go back that far. They did confirm they were made out of Alder instead of Mahogany.

gibsonad1984.jpg

Graphics.jpg

I've got style 20 and the pickups are Tim Shaws Firtyfingers don't really know what they are worth (any of the Styles)

but yours looks real kool.

What are you just looking to turn around and sell it?

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Nice 84! - Maybe you guys can help me to better identify where my Explorer fits in.

 

serial 8 - - - 4 5 - - (Nashville 1984)

triangular control layout

no pickguard

switch below the trem

control access from rear plate

 

and especially, this unique (I think) feature:

face-routed "Gibson" trem, linked to a moving roller bridge

 

controls2.jpg

 

I tried surfing thru terms like Gibson-brand Kahler, oem explorer tremolo, and just cannot seem to find another.

So, what do you think it is?

 

The original pups were ripped out long ago, and a single active EMG is at the bridge. It shreds like yo-mama, that's for certain.

 

logo.jpg

Looks like it's been thru a rock&roll war!

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Also the above ads I post that Gibson emailed me are for 1984 only.

 

Your Explorer has the 3 triangular control layout unlike my 84 thats like the 76 model

 

with 3 inline. So yours is a little different and maybe a little rarer' date='[/quote']

 

 

These are still great guitars regardless of the control layout (most Explorer players perfer the inline pattern). None came with an ebony board which is a bummer

 

My favorite is the black one in the ad you posted. I have seen them on eBay from time to time and going for $1200 or less

 

As for the trem, I bet it was put on at a later date

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Nice 84! - Maybe you guys can help me to better identify where my Explorer fits in.

 

serial 8 - - - 4 5 - - (Nashville 1984)

triangular control layout

no pickguard

switch below the trem

control access from rear plate

 

and especially' date=' this unique (I think) feature:

face-routed "Gibson" trem, linked to a moving roller bridge

 

[img']http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo3/IrishMail/Gibson%201984%20Explorer/controls2.jpg[/img]

 

I tried surfing thru terms like Gibson-brand Kahler, oem explorer tremolo, and just cannot seem to find another.

So, what do you think it is?

 

The original pups were ripped out long ago, and a single active EMG is at the bridge. It shreds like yo-mama, that's for certain.

 

logo.jpg

Looks like it's been thru a rock&roll war!

You might wana change the EMG's for better type of pickup for a gibson. [blink]

Any body shots?

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Nice 84! - Maybe you guys can help me to better identify where my Explorer fits in.

 

serial 8 - - - 4 5 - - (Nashville 1984)

triangular control layout

no pickguard

switch below the trem

control access from rear plate

 

and especially' date=' this unique (I think) feature:

face-routed "Gibson" trem, linked to a moving roller bridge

 

[img']http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo3/IrishMail/Gibson%201984%20Explorer/controls2.jpg[/img]

 

I tried surfing thru terms like Gibson-brand Kahler, oem explorer tremolo, and just cannot seem to find another.

So, what do you think it is?

 

The original pups were ripped out long ago, and a single active EMG is at the bridge. It shreds like yo-mama, that's for certain.

 

logo.jpg

Looks like it's been thru a rock&roll war!

I think it's the Schaller floating bridge trem.

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I think it's the Schaller floating bridge trem.

 

I thought the Gibson/Schaller's had fine tuners??? They look the same as the JT-590/OFR

 

As for the pictured trem, I have not seen another like it. Not sure what it's original application was but it looks like an early version Stetsbar made for Gibson, possibly for an SG???

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I thought the Gibson/Schaller's had fine tuners??? They look the same as the JT-590/OFR

 

As for the pictured trem' date=' I have not seen another like it. Not sure what it's original application was but it looks like an early version Stetsbar made for Gibson, possibly for an SG???

 

 

 

[/quote']

Explorers came with either Schaller or Kahler trems in the early-mid '80's.

This is my '85 Explorer w/ Kahler. It has the triangular knob layout. Not that I think that makes it rare.

 

explorercs.jpg

 

Don't Stetsbars normally look like this? I mean, aren't they known for no need to drill holes in thr guitar or?

 

FlyingV04wSTETSBAR.jpg

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  • 7 months later...
Explorers came with either Schaller or Kahler trems in the early-mid '80's.

This is my '85 Explorer w/ Kahler. It has the triangular knob layout. Not that I think that makes it rare.

 

 

 

Actually' date=' yours is quite rare [wink But that's not because it has the triangular knob layout. Almost every Explorer from the years 1983-1989 has that layout. But almost every single one of them which has a Kahler, has its trem mounted on studs, like the new Shred X series.

 

Feature-Bridge.jpg

 

But yours has it mounted flat on the body. That's actually all I can see from the picture. But I can make some wild guesses.

 

For example, I bet you have two pieces of black plexiglass stuck under your bridge :) There's no other way to raise a flat mount Kahler, so that it can work with the neck angle of a Gibson.

 

48tHOA735364-02.jpg

 

 

Also, I bet you don't have the alder body/maple neck combination on your guitar. Normally a '83 Series Explorer(made between 1983-1989) would have a alder body and a maple neck(aka 80's metalhead combo :) ) And a few still have the all mahogany body and neck. I think yours have a mahogany body and a maple neck, interesting combination isn't it? Just remove the neck pickup and check.

 

l0UpFr504330-02.jpg

dsc09098.th.jpg

 

Am I right?

 

 

I can also bet your serial number is something close to 81565xxx, 156 indicating it's made the day of build. I'd give yours +-5 days within the beginning of June 1985.

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I never really cared for the look of the designer series axes personally

 

 

I agree, looked like cheap pimpin' pin stripe crap!

I got a killer deal on it and had plans to refinish it in custom color but ended up just selling it off.

It played and sounded great tho.

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Actually' date=' yours is quite rare [angry But that's not because it has the triangular knob layout. Almost every Explorer from the years 1983-1989 has that layout. But almost every single one of them which has a Kahler, has its trem mounted on studs, like the new Shred X series.

 

Feature-Bridge.jpg

 

But yours has it mounted flat on the body. That's actually all I can see from the picture. But I can make some wild guesses.

 

For example, I bet you have two pieces of black plexiglass stuck under your bridge :- There's no other way to raise a flat mount Kahler, so that it can work with the neck angle of a Gibson.

 

48tHOA735364-02.jpg

 

 

Also, I bet you don't have the alder body/maple neck combination on your guitar. Normally a '83 Series Explorer(made between 1983-1989) would have a alder body and a maple neck(aka 80's metalhead combo :-# ) And a few still have the all mahogany body and neck. I think yours have a mahogany body and a maple neck, interesting combination isn't it? Just remove the neck pickup and check.

 

l0UpFr504330-02.jpg

b]5xxx, 156 indicating it

 

Here's my Dirty Finger babes.

 

This one has serial 81225xxx. That's the closest I can get to your serial. Heavy guitar. Most definitely alder/maple.

IMG_0799.jpg

IMG_0434.jpg

 

Unfortunately I've got the serial on my Explorer wrong. It's 82656xxx. However, decided to check out the body wood.

IMG_0791.jpg

And 2 plexi pieces under the trem on this one too.

IMG_0798.jpg

That looks like mahogany to me. Now I better understand why it's so light compared to its size.

 

Thanx a lot for the info.

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Now that's interesting, I'm suprised. Because I've been doing a lot of research on these flat-mount-kahler Explorers, and I found only 4 of them. Three of them are dated to June '85, and the fourth one is yours. They all share:

 

1) Flat moung Kahler with some Plexi underneath.

2) Mahogany body

3) Maple neck

4) A slightly bigger hardcase with a different design than usual(the neck sits parallel to the sides, thus making the case a bit bigger than usual)

5) Built in June '85

 

These are much rarer than the usual '83 series Explorers, I've done a lot of research and only came up with 4 of them in the past two years. One is metallic green and was sold on eBay. One is Metallic Red and it was sold in a shop Mexico. One is Mint Green and I own that one(In Turkey).

 

I've contacted Gibson and they couldn't tell me much. They said that these guitars are probably one-off specials or custom orders, but there are no detailed records.

 

 

Now, how does your guitar play? That's the most important question of them all because these are made to be played. Mine is one of the very best guitars I've ever seen, and sound quite unique thanks to the maple/mahogany/ebony combination. Much better than anything came from the Gibson USA recently, and better than most 80's LPs so far.

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Now that's interesting' date=' I'm suprised. Because I've been doing a lot of research on these flat-mount-kahler Explorers, and I found only 4 of them. Three of them are dated to June '85, and the fourth one is yours. They all share:

 

1) Flat moung Kahler with some Plexi underneath.

2) Mahogany body

3) Maple neck

4) A slightly bigger hardcase with a different design than usual(the neck sits parallel to the sides, thus making the case a bit bigger than usual)

5) Built in June '85

 

These are much rarer than the usual '83 series Explorers, I've done a lot of research and only came up with 4 of them in the past two years. One is metallic green and was sold on eBay. One is Metallic Red and it was sold in a shop Mexico. One is Mint Green and I own that one(In Turkey).

 

I've contacted Gibson and they couldn't tell me much. They said that these guitars are probably one-off specials or custom orders, but there are no detailed records.

 

 

Now, how does your guitar play? That's the most important question of them all because these are made to be played. Mine is one of the very best guitars I've ever seen, and sound quite unique thanks to the maple/mahogany/ebony combination. Much better than anything came from the Gibson USA recently, and better than most 80's LPs so far.[/quote']

It plays fine. Love the fire engine red colour. Use it for Dirty Fingers in E. The Flying V for D. I find this Explorer a bit thinner soundwise compared to the V.

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  • 3 months later...

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