Gibson  Explorer


Explorer.jpg (25621 bytes) I had always wanted to own an Explorer. I had owned a Flying V back in the late 70's, actually that V was my first Gibson ever. But I had always thought due to its angled shape, the Explorer would be a great guitar to play sitting down (the V is virtually impossible to play while seated).

This 1983 Explorer is somewhat unusual because it is undocumented so far. At least, Gruhn/Carter's Guide to Vintage Guitars does not list it. In 1983, only two types of Explorers were officially available: the Heritage Explorer made of Korina, and the Explorer '83 made of regular mahogany. The latter typically comes with the pots in triangular configuration, and as you can see from the picture, mine has the pots in a straight line.

I consulted Walter Carter on this anomaly, who responded by saying that there was a limited and undocumented run of Explorers in this setup, made up from left-over Korina bodies, but without the Heritage Explorer type features. Usually these bodies would have some flaw, or they would not be nicely grained, so they would wind up in non-translucent finishes such as this ebony model. So, Walter suggested that unless proven wrong, I should refer to it as a Korina-bodied limited run 1983 Explorer.

The second opinion came from Gruhn. I purchased an appraisal from Gruhn's which said that this guitar actually has an ash body, again an undocumented run, but not Korina, and therefore not as valuable. So, go figure...