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I Accidentally bought a 1984 Korina Explorer


rundstrom

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I picked it up as a project for me to work on in my own time. I bought it from a highly reputable dealer. They said it was an 84 mahogany explorer body. Everything had been removed: tuners, pickups, hardware, pots, wiring, etc. Only the pick guard and the body remain with original paint, the black had faded and was very worn and tattered. The worst of it was that the previous owner, not the seller, had routed space for a kahler tremolo, with the locking nut. I called Gibson gave them the serial # and it checked out. They could not verify the type of wood used though.

 

I took it to my luthier who said that it was obviously not Mahogany. He said that it looked like Limba wood (Korina). We could see the exposed wood on the routed section behind where the bridge would go. He had a wood expert and two other luthiers that he worked with verify to him that it was in fact Limba (Korina). Limba is the technical name for Korina. The seller told me that he had not looked to closely at it. Since he has a lot of inventory, he said that he had one of his employees process the sale. He said that I ended up with a more valuable guitar than what I paid ($400) and some change.

 

My question to anyone would be:

 

What should I do with it? Should I restore it, filling and covering the routed area, and repaint? Then I would repaint it and have a decent 84 Korina Explorer?

 

Is it worth the trouble to do a full restoration with vintage parts and such?

 

Thanks

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A couple items of note here.

 

During the early 80's Gibson did make a run of Korina V's and Explorer's. They seem to now be called "Heritage" series guitars, although I DO NOT remember that designation being used at the time. Although not to true spec, they were indeed the closet copies of the original issue V's and Explorers that Gibson had made to date.

 

But....... just to screw up what could have been a really cool run of "reissues", in their infinite wisdom Gibson decided to paint some of them, and fit some of them with "Gibson" branded Kahler style tremolos.

 

My point being that the paint job and Kahler could indeed have been original.

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A couple items of note here.

 

During the early 80's Gibson did make a run of Korina V's and Explorer's. They seem to now be called "Heritage" series guitars, although I DO NOT remember that designation being used at the time. Although not to true spec, they were indeed the closet copies of the original issue V's and Explorers that Gibson had made to date.

 

But....... just to screw up what could have been a really cool run of "reissues", in their infinite wisdom Gibson decided to paint some of them, and fit some of them with "Gibson" branded Kahler style tremolos.

 

My point being that the paint job and Kahler could indeed have been original.

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A couple items of note here.

 

During the early 80's Gibson did make a run of Korina V's and Explorer's. They seem to now be called "Heritage" series guitars, although I DO NOT remember that designation being used at the time. Although not to true spec, they were indeed the closet copies of the original issue V's and Explorers that Gibson had made to date.

 

But....... just to screw up what could have been a really cool run of "reissues", in their infinite wisdom Gibson decided to paint some of them, and fit some of them with "Gibson" branded Kahler style tremolos.

 

My point being that the paint job and Kahler could indeed have been original.

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thanks Larry,

 

I was not aware of that info on the paint and Gibson installed Kahler. By the sloppy job on the route, and by sloppy I mean it looks horrific, like it was done with a small ice cream scooper. Or some circular object. Maybe it was originally done by gibson and a previous owner modified it from there while they were smoking cocaine.

 

Would it be a bad idea to have the paint stripped and redone? covering the route ?

 

Your opinion means a lot, I really would like to have the paint redone at the very minimum..

 

Thanks

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I think the route you were going (hehe) when you bought it is the way to go. I would not attempt to restore it to "origonal".

 

For one thing, when you repair or fill in routes for trems replacing wood, it may LOOK perfect when it is first done, but they do not age very well, and in a few years or so the seams where the wood was replaced will show. There really is no way to avoid it or do it in such a way that it won't.

 

As for restoring the VALUE of it by returning it to origonal condition, it doesn't work that way. Wether or not you put in another Kahler or fill the wood and do a stop-tail, it will still be a V that has been routed for a Kahler, and will always be valued as such. You can't modify something to make it origonal again if your hope is to restore some of the monetary value.

 

You might seek out origonal parts for it, but be aware that depending on what you have to pay for them, you might not get your money back out of it using them for this guitar.

 

As for what the guitar IS, it will always be cool and worth having. If you prefer a stop-tail, it would make sense to have it "fixed", but if you like Kahlers, that is a good situation to have as well. A Kahler IS period correct for that guitar, and in a sense, even if it isn't a factory job or origonal, it is an 80's thing for guys to hack out their guitars for them.

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A couple items of note here.

 

During the early 80's Gibson did make a run of Korina V's and Explorer's. They seem to now be called "Heritage" series guitars, although I DO NOT remember that designation being used at the time. Although not to true spec, they were indeed the closet copies of the original issue V's and Explorers that Gibson had made to date.

 

I remember a few dealer things that referred to them as Heritage Series. It was late though in that period, and I think they were doing it to poke at the group that was about to become Heritage guitars, at least, some rep or other told us that.

 

But....... just to screw up what could have been a really cool run of "reissues", in their infinite wisdom Gibson decided to paint some of them, and fit some of them with "Gibson" branded Kahler style tremolos.

My point being that the paint job and Kahler could indeed have been original.

 

Yup. Early versions Kahler Flyers and paint on Korina, I do remember them well. Played a few, wouldn'ta mattered how good they were, I wouldn't own a guitar with that bridge on it for anything back then, still wouldn't I guess.

 

To the original poster, you'll just have an Explorer with a long story. In my experience, the longer the story the less other people are interested in it, starts to sound like a sales pitch no matter what you do. Fix it up and have fun with it. Good Luck!

 

rct

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  • 2 weeks later...

For reference I bought a mid 80's explorer with a factory Kahler shown here with its terribly painted PG

 

IMG_0551.jpg

IMG_0549.jpg

IMG_0550.jpg

 

Then looking at it I took out the Kahler and put a TOM into the factory posts, everything fit perfect minus having a huge route under the tailpiece

 

newexplorer3.jpg

newexplorer4.jpg

newexplorer.jpg

newexplorer2.jpg

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That is very cool, we can see what it looks like with the Kahler and without. That definitely looks like Mahogany. Does the Kahler bridge sound different? Maybe I should keep the route exposed like you, I don't think it is much of an eye sore at all. Plus you have the option of changing your mind, and have a story to tell.

 

I will update this with pics, when I have the chance..

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  • 8 months later...

I've considered removing the Kahler from mine..........I couldn't stand the hole, but I figure a piece of pick guard material and some careful cutting could lead to a nice little cover.

 

NHTom

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  • 3 months later...

I'm in the same situation as Rundstrom. I bought a Gibson Explorer 1984 off eBay recently. Mahogany body, thought it was light and might be something else but my luthier said it was. It had the same routed section for a kahler bridge. I've had that filled in now. Bought a gotoh bridge and tail piece for it but it has different threads on the posts so neither will screw in. Can anyone point me in the right direction in terms of what bridge and tail piece to buy?

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I'm in the same situation as Rundstrom. I bought a Gibson Explorer 1984 off eBay recently. Mahogany body, thought it was light and might be something else but my luthier said it was. It had the same routed section for a kahler bridge. I've had that filled in now. Bought a gotoh bridge and tail piece for it but it has different threads on the posts so neither will screw in. Can anyone point me in the right direction in terms of what bridge and tail piece to buy?

Looking to post #9 in this topic, fireinside should know. He wrote there that he screwed both TOM bridge and tailpiece into the factory threads, so the parts he used should match.

 

By the way, for what reason you bought Gotoh parts? IMHO, current original Gibson parts should work for a 1980s Explorer. I think there are several manufacturers beside Gibson who offer matching parts such as Schaller, TonePros or ABM.

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Thanks for the quick response, I read on another forum that there wasn't a great deal of difference between gotoh and tone pros so I went with the cheaper option. I'm pretty sure they are the factory bushings on there. Any suggestions on which one to buy as there are so many variations.

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