#1
I have been wanting a gibson explorer for a long time. I have played the new ones (76 reissue I believe) and love the tone and feel. The other day I walked into my local pawn shop and saw an unusual explorer hanging on the wall. It was a 1985 Gibson Explorer XPL Custom Shop. Apparently, they were gibson's attempt at jumping on the metal bandwagon in the 80's with sharper edges, a trem, and a slight cutaway on the bottom to fit a shredders leg. I love metal so it would be a good choice, but because it is older it will need some work. The pickup rings are broken, the truss rod cover is missing, and I don't know if there are any other issues that would need attention. It also has a kahler tremolo, which I've heard are nice, but I'd like to be able to change tunings quickly on it so I would either want to set up the trem so it wasn't in use or get another bridge. I could get a pretty good deal on it, around 800 or so. Its definately rare and hard to come by, but would I be better served by just buying a newer used explorer? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

Oh Btw, are there any other problems I should look for in a vintage guitar? I have never bought one before and I have no idea about warning signs to look for. Sorry for all the questions, but yall are the best so hopefully you can help me out! Thanks again! -Matt
#2
i would definitely say get it if you liked it, its a cool ass guitar and it stands out a bit more considering its shape, but that said, i like the 76 model better
2008 M.I.A. HSS Strat
Marshall JCM 900 50w Dual Reverb
Last edited by LPstudioWRz28 at Dec 10, 2009,
#3
Definitely, get it! Cool as hell, and if it's custom shop, at $800 it's a damn steal. There might be some work, but if the neck is all right, there shouldn't be anything that's beyond repairing.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#4
Ok thanks guys, I wasn't sure about the value of a custom shop vs. other guitars, but I assumed that was a pretty good deal. The neck seems to be in pretty good shape. I talked to one of the guys that works there and he said that he'd set it up so I could play it next time I come in. That said, is there a way to make a kahler trem essentially just a regular bridge so that it'd be easier to adjust tunings quickly? Thanks again for the replies!
#5
I'm not sure about the Kahler, but essentially I'd think that the general principles that work the trem can't be that different from any other floating tremolo, so fixing a stopper of some kind will probably be fully possible.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#6
ok sounds good. I've heard of people just taking the locking part off and removing the bar, but would that solve the problem, or do you have to stop it somehow?
#7
Oh Btw, are there any other problems I should look for in a vintage guitar? I have never bought one before and I have no idea about warning signs to look for.


check the electronics: pups, pots, switch, soldering issues, etc. if the guys wants to make a sale, then he should allow you to open the control cavities and check everything inside.
#8
i would'nt know man ive never owned/experienced a guitar with a kahler trem
2008 M.I.A. HSS Strat
Marshall JCM 900 50w Dual Reverb
#9
There is no difference on what to look for when buying a vintage guitar than you would with any used guitar. Look for cracks at the neck joint, check the head stock for any signs of repair and check to see if it's all original or not and then of course condition a C10 guitar will be worth more than a C5. C10 being like new, C1 just junk. After market parts will bring the cost down on a used guitar especially vintage ones. Play it and see if you like it first I find most guitars I try in pawn shops are usually never set up right especially ones equipped with Floyds, Kahlers or other trems and do not play all that great so take that into consideration. Check the Kahler for excessive wear the good thing about Kahler like Floyds parts are fairly easy to find. I am pretty sure the Kahler can be locked it should have a set screw you tighten that makes it like a fixed bridge. Trim rings can be bought for a couple bucks each the truss rod cover would probably be tough to find I think they had their own type marked XPL but if you just want to have a TR cover any Explorer one should fit. Small parts like that I never consider in the price because they are easy to get but I will use it to drive the price down. I never take in the fact a guitar is marked custom shop to me it means nothing but a way to mark up the cost of the guitar.

How long has it been at the pawn shop? The longer they have had it the easier it might be to negotiate the price if he's selling it for $800.00 he probably gave the original owner $400 to $500. I would offer less than the $800 and see if he bites. The worse is he can say no. I have known pawn shops to hold on to guitars for years before they sell and when they usually do sell it's not for the asking price. Be careful of places that use Ebay as a price guide! Guitars can sell one day for 1000s and the same model the next week can sell for half that. These guys always try and find the higher priced ones. See if you can find adds for new Explorers that are selling for less so if they say it sold on Ebay for XXX dollars you can say well I can get a new one here for less.


John
Last edited by johnro6659 at Dec 10, 2009,
#10
I'd definitely get it. Replacing pickup rings and truss rod covers costs a few dollars, it's not a big deal. As long as the rest of the guitar is in good working order, it's a snap.
Ibanez PGM301
Ibanez GRG170DX
Fender Telecaster MiJ - 1986
Swing T-Through

Ibanez TS9DX
Sovtek Small Stone - c.1985
EHX Big Muff
Kimbara Wah - c.1974
Boss GE-7

Orange Rocker 30 Combo

http://www.myspace.com/paythelay
#11
Thanks to everyone who has posted, I appreciate the advice. I am going to go back as soon as the guy has it playable and give it a really hard look. I will probably bring a friend of mine who has more experience with vintage equipment so that I make sure everything is as it should be. I should have mentioned, the sticker price on it is 1050, but my dad is good friends with the owner and I've known him for a while, so he'll cut the price for me and give me the best deal possible. I'll probably be trading a guitar in on it and just add money to make it equal value. The one i'll be trading is an ESP LTD EC-400. I'm pretty sure its a discontiued model and color, so I'm not sure what a good trade in value would be. If anyone knows that would also be a help. Thanks again!
#13
Yeah thats it. The one in question is a cream color, with some more wear and tear, but its the same model and everything.
#14
Removing the bar would make the kahler essentially a fixed bridge unless you pushed down on the saddles on purpose. However, changing tunings would still require adjustment using a hex wrench.
1992 Ibanez S540 sol
1988? Kramer Pacer Mutt