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Just bought GOTW #43 "Free Bird" Explorer!


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Hi guys, having seen pics of GuitarJunkie's lovely GOTW#43 I was inspired to try and track down one of the remaining 399! I figure that since my covers band plays Freebird every time we gig, I may as well do it in style.


It was quite tough finding one, but a new one turned up in Holland and I pulled the trigger, on the basis that the VAT was already paid and shipping would be more or less instant.


Well, the UPS van came and this is what I got!





Like GJ I thought the black speed knobs looked very un-retro, so I replaced them with gold top hats to get that 50's vibe. Plus I added an amber switch knob. I've resisted the temptation to put an Historic TRC on. Especially when I saw the price!


Here's some shots taken today on the first sunny day in a week!





The bad news first:


The guitar was set up very badly, with the truss rod over tight (no neck relief) and the bridge set up high to compensate. The strings buzzed on the open chord frets.


Good news:


Its taken a week of fettling but its now playing like a dream. There's a small amount of relief and the action is very low. No buzzing. The neck is thin (more towards the 61SG but not quite so thin) and feels lovely and wide. I never used to describe necks as 'fast' but this one allows some very fast runs and makes me think I'm better than I really am!


The Classic '57s are superb, smooth with lots of note separation and a lovely vintage tone. The harmonics are good and I reckon the ebony board helps there. The trans-amber finish is well applied and the fretting is spot on. So is the nut.


As the bridge has come down, the string tension is quite low. Because there is no stop bar, you cannot increase it without changing string gauge. Still, I like it slinky! Unlike a Strat the trem does not dip as you bend so bends don't take forever to reach pitch.


My only slight concern is that there is just enough play between the studs and the posts, and the posts and the Nashville bridge for the bridge to move slightly back and forth with tremelo play. This doesn't seem to affect tuning. I still have to gig it to see if it really matters. If it does, I'll slip a little Alu foil in and it'll be rock steady.


So far, I'm really enjoying it. It looks cool, sounds great and balances really well on the strap. Can't ask for more. I intend to gig it forever or at least until it looks like Allen Collins'!


Wad'ya think?

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Awesome. Can you tell me how many piece body they are and how much it weighs? Also I had the same problem with my 84 explorer when I first got it. Tons of buzz. Seems gibson is setting up the necks very str8 these days.


Its a 3 piece body and seems pretty light to me. My scales aren't working so I can only be subjective. Seems like a nice lightweight mahogany.


I laughed when I saw the factory QC check list in the case. I guess I wouldn't have bought it if it had been hanging in my local shop, but then again they would have set it up properly. Be warned that if you buy an unplayed USA Gibson, you might have to spend some time setting it up. Still, I'm happy with it now.

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Congratulations and welcome to the club. I'm always happy to "spread the love". Now we'll have to track down the other 398 owners (actually, there are already a couple others on here).


By the way, what are the first 5 digits of your serial number? I'm curious to see what dates these were made on. This goes for anyone else who owns one.

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By the way' date=' what are the first 5 digits of your serial number? I'm curious to see what dates these were made on. This goes for anyone else who owns one.[/quote']




Congrats' date=' really nice guitar! I was about to pull the trigger on this very same one, but I guess you beat me to it.[/quote']


Sorry man :^o

Hope you get sorted. There's one in Italy and one in Japan for sale. The Japanese one might work out equivalent in price if you import it and pay the taxes, maybe even cheaper.

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Congrats. It's a super fun guitar. Mine doesn't come out much lately as I changed one of my wk 4 (i think it's wk 4) burst exp pros out to a 57, 57+ set and nickel plating is a lot more durable than gold plating when it comes to my hand sweating on the pup covers :D


03097, what's yours, junkie?

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