Explorer Gothic Review

manufacturer: Gibson date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Gibson: Explorer Gothic
Flat-black gothic finish, black chrome hardware, ebony fretboard, and a moon-and-star inlay at the 12th fret.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.7
 Features: 9.4
 Overall rating:
 8.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.2 
 Users rating:
 8.4 
 Votes:
 54 
reviews (7) pictures (2) 21 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
4 of 7 people found this review helpful

Features: - Made in USA. - 22 FRETS - 2 volume controls 1 tone, 3 way pickup selector - Twin humbuckers - 496R ceramic magnet humbucker - 500T ceramic magnet humbucker - Passive electronics - Mahogany neck - Ebony fingerboard // 10

Sound: If your playing metal or hard rock this guitar is for you. I use a Peavy Rage 158 Practice amp with this guitar. And a Korg AX1500G effects pedal. This config works well with this guitar. Very loud as in powerful. No sound from pickups when plugged in. No buzzing, very well built. Heavy Sound but not as good with clean sounds unless you have an effects pedal or it just couldbe my amplifier its not a professional amp. Very powerful screams and when tunned to drop C very heavy sound. Excellent for Metallica. Loveing the fact it sounds so heavy and evil. Don't like that the clean sounds arent as good. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Very good, I had to do nothing to it. The pickups were just right great sound from both of them. Only thing that was bad I thought from the Explorer was the finish. I didn't realise that the finish has to be treated correctly to avoid the finish from being damaged. The finish has to be cleaned everytime you play. Good thing is Gibson inlcude a little leaflet to let you know that the finish needs to be looked after. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Yes this guitar will withstand live playing. I've gigged with it a few times and it sounds great everytime. The hardware will definantly last. DUe to it being black it not only looks cool but is very rugged. The finish is good to look at but I think I would look after it all the time and never neglect it because I wouldn't trust it to be that thick on the body. ALthough it looks nice I don't think it is that strong. The strap buttons arent all that really and you would need to put strap locks on because the guitar can just fall off the straps easily when standing up. Yes I would. On a previous gig I did have a backup guitar just incase strings broke but I knew that the guitar was reliable enough. ANd for the money that it was it should be reliable. // 8

Overall Impression: I play mainly Metal Music with this guitar and this guitar is well suited to it. I have been playing 6 years nearly. I own a Squier Fat Stratocaster Custom and Korg AX1500G, Danelectro Milkshake Chorus Pedal, Peavey Rage 158 Amplification. Not much more I would have asked but I think I would have tried out the ESP version of the Explorer before buying due to the price being cheaper. If this guitar was stolen I would be lost without it. I love this guitar it has style and great sound. I would have to get another one but they are limited editions and are no longer being made. I love 9/10 things of it. the 1/10 I hate about the guitar is the clean sounds arent as good as i expected from a Gibson. My favourite Feature on the guitar is the heavy sustain it has. Great guitar for metallica fans! I wish it had a diamond plate as a scratch plate instead of the shiney black one. Thats all though. Only that this guitar kicks serious ass! // 10

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overall: 7.4
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Used - Private Seller

Features: Mine was made in January of 2000 in Nashville, TN (going by the serial number). It has an ebony fretboard with 22 frets. I believe mahogany is the wood primarily used in the body of this guitar, but being that I bought it from a private seller and Gibson doesn't keep information on it's older guitars available online, I can't say for sure. Mine has EMG pickups installed, and based on the research I've done this almost certainly had to be an after-market installation. Gibson did release a Gothic II line of Explorers that came from the factory with EMGs, but those guitars have distinguishing characteristics that help you to tell them apart from the first Gothic line (for instance, there's a crescent moon and star inlay on the 12th fret on this guitar, and the Gothic II line did not have any inlays). The bridge pickup on my particular guitar is definitely an 81 based on the sound, but I honestly couldn't tell you if the neck pickup is a 60 or an 85, I have a difficult time telling the difference sonically, and EMG doesn't exactly make it easy to tell them apart just by looking. It has all the other Standard hardware features (2 volume pots and 1 tone pot, TOM bridge, etc). The original hardshell case that came with the guitar was included, complete with the fruity Pink cloth on the inside... wow the case is ugly, but it gets the job done. I give it an 8 for features because the tuners are definitely lacking, and I'll likely replace them soon. They're Grovers (and I don't normally have a problem with Grovers), but whether it's through abuse or simply being old, they're definitely showing some wear and tear. The EMGs that came with mine saved this from getting a 6 or 7 in the features department. The hardware loadout on most Gibsons I've seen is pretty plain, but that's not what I got the guitar for in the first place so it doesn't really bother me. // 8

Sound: I pretty much play the less extreme forms of metal and some bluesier type stuff, so Metallica (surprise, surprise), Megadeth, Alice In Chains, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, and bands of that nature would be the sort of sound I'm normally sticking to. I'm playing this through a Line 6 Toneport with all the model packs (playing through POD Farm) and a nice set of computer speakers most of the time, and haven't had much of a chance to play through a real amp lately. I also play my LTD EC-1000 and EX-400 through this setup on a regular basis and am using them for comparison purposes when talking about this guitar. I expected to hear some improvement over my regular heavy tone in comparison to my other two guitars when I got this Explorer, but I wasn't expecting anything too drastic... but god, I was so wrong. When it comes to heavy sounds, this Explorer absolutely tore my other two main guitars to shreds. When my friend asked me what it sounded like when I first got it, all I could think to say was, "The end of the world"... I mean it was like every power chord was the voice of god and every palm mute was like hearing the gallop of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I was absolutely blown away. Keep in mind that the EC-1000 and EX-400 have EMGs in them as well, and I've always been very pleased with the heavy sounds I could get out of them... but this Explorer just makes them sound downright tame. It's that damn heavy. My Explorer isn't even in the best of shape (hence the cheap used price), and I haven't had the chance to really fix it up yet either, so I'm more than pleased with the sound. It is definitely lacking in the cleans department, that's for sure. It can put out a decent clean tone that would get you through gigs just fine, but it definitely can't touch my EC-1000 (and not even the EX-400 for that matter). I didn't buy this guitar for great clean tone though, I bought it to stomp ass, and it does that damn well. It's also worth noting that it can scream and howl when playing leads right up there with my other two guitars. It isn't noticeably better than the others, but they sound pretty damn good in the first place, so no complaints there. Again, I bought this guitar to get a nice heavy tone, and it went far beyond my expectations. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I really can't speak to what the condition of the guitar was coming from the factory. This guitar was purchased from an owner that appeared to be neglecting it a great deal and clearly didn't have a clue what he had his hands on. The action was just ridiculously out of whack, the volume pots are noisy when used (particularly the neck pot), the pickup selector is noisy and mushy, and the tuners are in pretty lousy shape... heck, the guy didn't even know that the guitar had a battery in it for the pickups. This guitar is supposed to have a matte finish as far as I know, but the finish on this one is glossy. Based on the residue left in all the small nooks and crannies of the guitar, I'd say someone actually waxed the damn thing and made the finish look glossy (and they did a bad job at it). From what I understand, the finish will turn glossy over time just from rubbing against it anyway, so that's something to be aware of. I've heard that a specific kind of steel wool used very gently on the finish can restore the matte appearance, but have not researched that to thoroughly yet. Also, the fretboard/neck binding area is pretty sloppy, and I don't think that's due to abuse from previous owners either, it plays just fine, but you can see what appears to be hardened glue and just sloppy looking spots on the side of the fretboard. Based on what I've read in other places, this isn't uncommon for this particular guitar (sounds like Gibson rushed some of them). Again, this hasn't made the guitar any less playable for me though. The neck is very comfortable, and while I've played faster necks, it doesn't slow you down at all. My rating here will reflect that of my own guitar, and not how I'd assume it was fresh from the factory. // 6

Reliability & Durability: The guitar itself is built like a tank, it's clear that it took some pretty serious abuse from it's previous owners and it still feels rock solid and sounds great. The hardware definitely needs some work as I said before, but I'd count on it as my main guitar for gigging purposes (though I'd always have a backup). It still had the stock Gibson strap buttons on it, and they suck ass. I installed strap locks and everything great there now. The guitar's incredibly comfortable to wear (in my opinion), especially with one of the strap buttons located at the neck joint rather than in the traditional position. I'll mention this here also, as I feel that it pertains to Live playing. Many Explorer copies (including my own EX-400) and cheaper Explorers (Epiphones) have issues with being very neck heavy, and they tend to "nose dive" which forces you to basically hold the guitar up by the neck when you're playing (something that could be very irritating and fatiguing Live). This guitar is perfectly balanced. It has absolutely no problems with being neck heavy, and when I have it strapped on I can lift both hands above my head and it will stay perfectly horizontal without even hinting at diving. If you were concerned about that with this guitar, don't be. I haven't had the guitar long enough personally to attest to it's reliability, but based on everything I noted above, I'd be confident in giving it at least an 8... higher if it lasts me long into the future, which I'm confident it will. // 8

Overall Impression: If this guitar were lost or stolen, I would probably have to start hurting people. The sound I can get out of this thing, and how comfortable it is to play have made it my favorite guitar... a spot that's been dominated by my EC-1000 for quite some time now (and my EX-400 before that). I've been playing guitar exclusively for a few years now, and I've been drumming and interested in guitars for a good 20 years. In all that time I was always skeptical as to whether the steep price tag of a Gibson was really worth it, and if there was REALLY a difference between a Gibson and another guitar with identical features that costs a great deal less. I'm here to tell you, that just based on my purchase of this beat up used Explorer, the difference is real... and it's major. This guitar makes my other guitars (that I paid more for) just sound downright amateurish in the area where this guitar is meant to Shine (heavy sound). It may share the same fretboard wood, body wood, pickups, and various other things as my EC-1000 and/or EX-400, but there's some kind of x factor that clearly makes it superior... and the only thing I can figure is that it must be build quality. To all you doubters out there, Gibson's the real deal (this is coming from a past and current ESP fanboy, I still love em) and it's not just hype. If you're looking for a guitar with a bonecrushing heavy sound and you're stuck between this guitar and anything except another Explorer (Gibson, or pre-lawsuit ESP... none of those other knockoffs), trust me, buy this guitar now. You will not be disappointed. // 5

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overall: 10
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1300

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound: I'm using a Line 6 PODXT and a Boss Metal Zone and it has a very good sound with this guitar. I play metal. Specially goth and trash and it has a very good sound with the pickups 496R and 500T. It can scream or growl, never losing it's rich combination of enhanced lows and crystal clear highs. It hasn't a great clean sound but if you read the name of this guitar and you look that it's a limited edition of a heavy guitar, you are not waiting to hear a guitar to play jazz or blues. This guitar was made to be aggressive. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything it's great only when I buy it it has a dirty sound when you don't touch it, but I fixed it easily, the quality of the wood it's perfect, it feels very delicious when you play it. The fretboard feels very good and the pickup selector are not noisy. It has a very good quality of the materials. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have playing with this guitar around 3 years and in all this time I don't have any problems, this guitar works great live, all the buttons are solid, the pickup don't give me problems with the sound, the hardware has a good quality, it's all you can expect for a limited model of Gibson. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal and this is a great match for my guitar, I have been playing around 3 years, if it were stolen or lost or something like that if I could I really buy it again but it was a limited edition, so I hope it never happened. It has a great color. Other people don't like it because it's not so colorful, but it's a gothic model and that's a serious color that make this guitar looks Magnanimous. This guitar it's my queen. I couldn't have chosen a better guitar. // 10

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overall: 9.6
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: pantallica95, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Features: Mine is a 2000 and I belive it is USA made. It has a "hybrid" neck but really it's thin until the very upper frets. Ebony fretboard, mahogany neck and body. Very comfortable neck. It (of course) has black everywhere. The body is matte black and all of the hardware is black (other than the finish this is exactly the same as a regular Explorer) mind you I'm not sure if it is black chrome or nickel but I think nickel. Body shape is a little unwieldly but you get used to it. It is a slighly heavier guitar the body shape allows good access to upper frets on the higher strings. Also, if you like to do the dive-bomb thing by pushing on the neck shame on you and it is difficult to do on this guitar because it doesnt't have an upper horn. The bridge is Tune-O-Matic with a stop talpiece. The pickups are passive Gibson humbuckers so they are excelent. The treble is very hot, and the neck pickup has nice clean tones. Two volumes and one master tone. Mini grover tuners that work like a charm. // 9

Sound: This guitars tone is suited to all forms of rock, but the shape is metal! The mahogony body gives an excelent metal tone. I use this guitar with a whammy IV, a generic wah, and a Boss MT-2 metal zone to a Marshall MG250DFX. It gives easy pinch harmonics and the natural harmnics are easy to get. I can get my guitar to sound anywhere from until it sleeps and nothing else matters clean to testament, early Metallica, and pantera crunch to randy rhoads/judas priest high gain tones using my amps distortion and the metal zone. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I did not get my explrer from the factory so I'll talk about the setup when I got it. With 10-46 strings there was absolutely no fret buzz! it was amazing! the action is low enough but I'm no expert. I put 10-52s on and the neck did not warp at all. But there was a little bit of buzz. Only one flaw and it's almost 9 years old. The switch would snap back to the middle or treble position if I tried to use the neck pickup but I just replaced the Switch and viola! // 9

Reliability & Durability: I don't gig but the hardware is very durable. I put strap locks on after it fell of of the strap but that was the straps fault. I would gig without a backup if I gigged. The finish is durable, thick, only on spot where you can see the wood but that was my fault. The only wear is the sweat stains just turn the finish shiny. So if you don't like the flat black, you know what to do. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal/thrash and this is the perfect guitar for the job. I have been playing for 2 1/2 years but most people think I'm advanced for my experience. I have one other electric and it is a Washburn WI14 which I don't play because of the horrid buzz. If it were stolen I would hunt him down, beat him with it, and then fix it. The only thing I wish it had wuz two tones. I love everything about this guitar. // 10

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overall: 10
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Private seller

Features: - Made in America in 2001. - 22 frets Thin neck. - Mahogany body (at least two pices but probably three judging by the size) - Mahogany neck with an ebony board. - Satin black finish. - Tune-O-Matic bridge. - Passive Humbuckers. - One volume one tone one coil-tap switch (I rewired it myself) - Two Humbuckers (Crunchlab Bridge Liquifire Neck) - Locking Sperzel tuners. - Original Hardshell Case. // 10

Sound: I play several styles of music including Jazz, Metal, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Country (kinda), but mostly Progressive in general. This guitar is well suited for most of those styles (except Country). The neck is fast for fast playing and i have had 3 different gages strings in 4 different tunings and have only adjusted the neck once (when I put 10-56 on it and tuned to C# std). I play it through a Line 6 Vetta II and if you know anything about the Vetta you know it is well suited for ALL styles. When I bought it the neck pickup didn't work so i put a Seymour Duncan Jazz Bridge and Neck Pickup set in it. It was amazing but I wanted more gain. I got a Crunchlab for the Bridge and a Liquifire for the neck (I am not the biggest Petrucci fan but I had played on a JP6 and could only imagine those pickups on a big slab of solid mahogany). It turned out to be the best pickup choice I could have made. It is definitely a Metal or Heavy Rock guitar but with the coil-tap on the neck it works well for Jazz/Metal fusion. All in All pretty much a one trick pony but I love how well it does the trick. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When I got the guitar there were no strings on it.I strung it and set it up myself and have had no problem with it since. As I said the neck pickup did not work so I went through a Seymour Duncan Jazz set and ended up with a Crunchlab and Liquifire set that is amazing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have played the shit out of this guitar and not had any problem or even broken a string. I changed the hardware for cosmetic reasons (chrome looks awesome on it) but I had no issues with the original hardware. When I got it it already had Schaller straplocks. I relied on it for the first 3 gigs I played with my last band with no backup. The satin finish will eventually wear off to the way that I play. I have no intention of selling it ever so I can't wait till the finish shows my playing habits. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing for 13 years. I am a gear-head and a "professional" musician... I know my sh-t. If this guitar were stolen I would hunt it down and beat the hell out of whoever stole it. I love the shape. I love the tone of solid pieces of mahogany. // 10

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overall: 9.6
Explorer Gothic Reviewed by: xXStevenXx4ever, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1500

Purchased from: Custom

Features: Model: Standard Explorer THIS IS THE BODY Scale: 25-1/2 in. Orientation: Right Handed Wood: Core-Black Korina. Front Laminate: Flame Maple Control Cavity: Rear Rout Pickup Rout: Mini Humbucker (Neck)- None(MIDDLE-Humbucker(Bridge) Control Rout: Volume,Tone,Toggle Bridge Type: Tremolo Bridge Rout: Floyd with Angled Pocket Jack Rout: 1/2" (12.70mm) Side Jack Hole Neck Pocket: Strat Shape Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt Binding Top: White Binding Binding Bottom: Black Binding Stud install: Use Inserts From Bridge on Order Battery Box: Double Battery Box Top Finish: purple Dye Back Finish: Black Gloss 24 Fret Reposition: Yes NOW TIME FOR THE NECK SPECIFICATIONS Style: Jackson Construction: Conversion Angled 24 3/4" Scale: 24-3/4 in. Conversion Neck Wood: Shaft Wood: Flame Maple- Fingerboard: Indian Rosewood DARK Orientation: Right Handed Nut Width: 1 5/8" Back Shape 59 roundback Radius: Straight 12.5" # of Frets: 22 Fret Size: 6100 tuner Ream: Schaller (25/64", 11/32") Inlays: Pearloid Stars Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTeh Black TUSQ XL Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt Finish: Clear Satin Nitro Binding: Pearloid // 10

Sound: The Sound Is perfect, it has the Best Dirty Tuning I have ever played. I use a Lime 6 Spider LV Amp, and with this Guitar it sounds Great. It is not Noisy. I can make alot of Different sounds with this guitar. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It was Set-up JUST fine. The Pickups were well Adjusted, I didn't have to do anything to it. It didn't come with any Flaws, it was Perfect. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This Guitar will withstand Playing Live. The hardware seems like it'll last at least 4 years. The Strap Buttoms are Solid. I can Depend on it. I don't need a backup. Like I said before, It's FINE. // 10

Overall Impression: I Play Metal, This was a PERFECT Match. I've been playing Metal for 3 Years. And I don't have much Gear. I didn't Ask anything. It was Stolen/lost, I would Make another one. Because like I said, This was a Custom Guitar. I love the Floyd Rose and the way you can play Solos on this guitar. // 10

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