#1
I have been a fan of James Hetfield for many years and have always been inspired by the legendary guitars he uses, the explorer shape in particular. I am in the market for a new guitar and want to buy an explorer shaped guitar. I am however on a tight budget and don't want spend over £600. A guitar which a guy in my band uses is a ESP ltd FX-401sm and I think it is amazing. however these particular guitars have been out of production for several years now and are increasingly difficult to find. ESP however do make a very similar model called the EX360 which comes in black or white and is very similar spec wise which is an option I am considering. An alternative option I have looked is the Epiphone 1984 EX which is still a very stellar guitar but I prefer the more sharp shape of the ESP. A snakbyte or original Gibson explorer is simply out of the question due to the price. Does anyone have any recommendations on what to get or have experience with these particular guitars?

when I buy a guitar I look at 3 things
#1 playability
#2 Sound
#3 Looks
#4
I see LTD Explorers (not the pointy ones they do now, the old real deal explorer shapes) from time to time for $300 to $400 US on Ebay. Search for EXP-200 for those. My EXP-300 was an ebay find and I love it.
There's also the Dave Mustaine Zero from Dean, but the good ones may be out of your price range. There's a sub $300 model, but i wouldn't recommend it.
Or do what I did for my first one and get yourself a kit somewhere.
Otherwise, you should be able to find Gibsons all day like TOODEEP says.
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals
#6
I agree, for that kind of money, you could easily get a used Gibson Explorer. I bought mine (1989, '76 reissue) for $650 (dollars, not pounds), but that was 15 years ago. I actually went into the store to buy a Telecaster (I was a big fan of The Clash), but I was so blown away by the Explorer, that I walked out with it, instead. The pickups are pretty high-output, the fretboard is nice and wide, and you can't beat Grover tuners.

I have played an Epiphone Korina Explorer and, while it was set up really nicely, it didn't really impress me. I also remember the pickguard being slightly misshapen. I've played a few Jackson Kellys and I felt pretty similarly about those. I have no experience with ESPs / LTDs, but I don't dislike them, I just haven't ever played one.

If you're sold on an ESP, great, go for it. Honestly, though, I don't know why anyone would buy a new guitar, because you get so much more for your money on the second-hand market. I guess someone has to buy new guitars, though, right? I'd say, unless you have some sort of aversion to used guitars, pick up a used Gibson.
#7
Ibanez Destroyer. Best Explorer shape guitar I ever owned.
My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety.
#8
Get a black gibson and you could re-create "Rusty"
Attachments:
a421a5d058b3a86ef5a9f363f6afe348o.jpg
Harmony: Stratocaster
Alvarez: F-200
Schecter: Omen 6
Fender: BXR-60
Dean: Metalman Z Bass (Betty)
Egnator: Tweaker 15
Pearl: Maximum
ESP/LTD: EXP-300
Custom: Harley Quinn Bass
Custom: TK-421 Explorer
A steadily growing supply of pedals