1958 Korina Explorer review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (61 votes)
Epiphone: 1958 Korina Explorer

Price paid: A$ 600

Purchased from: Derringers Music

Sound — 9
Sound wise its pretty darn good! Nice sustain, although the pickups sound a little muddy. Easy to replace though. Nice tone on middle pickup setting, nice mellow sound for neck pickup, but the bridge is a little too much in the lower end. Needs to be more bright. But still, there nice pickups. My style of music includes a lot of different genres, and this guitar does a good job. Its best at rock though. Think of artists like his holiness Dave Grohl, Nirvana, Airbourne etc. Good for grunge / hard rock. Its not a full on screaming metal monster, but it isn't a quivering heap either. It packs a punch. Couple this with a good sound rig and you will be blowing eardrums all night. I personally am thinking of getting new pickups, but I would say the sound for the stock pickups are pretty darn good.

Overall Impression — 9
Die hard Gibson maniacs will ask, "are you high? Why get an Epiphone when you could save up for a Gibson?" A valid question, but in my opinion, its an extra 1000 dollars for the brand name and a few hardware differences. I got the Epiphone fully expecting the hardware to be mediocre (in actual fact it was quite good). My plan was, and still is to replace the pickups, the machine heads, the pots and all the electronics. And at the end of the day, I would have paid more for a Gibson Explorer than I would have buying this Epiphone and modifying it to suit my needs. Its a fantastic rig, and would be exceptionally depressed if it was stolen. Its a ridiculous shaped guitar made out of wood from the "not too f***ing sure" stockpile, all in all creating one of the coolest looking guitars I have ever seen.

Reliability & Durability — 7
It has failed me on-stage before. I was playing "The Pretender" at a gig and did a biga-s jump just before things started to get really intense. But upon contacting the ground, my strap literally tore the strap button out of the guitar. I was beside myself. But lucky for me I had a spare axe. All that was needed was a bigger bolt to hold the strap button in. Not sure if that is a manufacturing flaw, but still, I recommend caution when jumping with this guitar. It tends to go out of tune a little. This is either my grovers or strings that haven't been stretched properly. If this is an issue, get new machine heads. Better ones. Other than those issues, it is wicked fun to play live! It looks bada-s on stage and suits the wild rock n roll scene well!

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I checked everything in the store before I got it. It was well set up! Although the intonation is just the tiniest bit out now, thanks to the Tune-o-matic bridge that's easy to fix. Everything felt solid and well adjusted. No flaws I could see.

Features — 8
Lets start by saying this guitar is definitely NOT from 1958. If there was a 58 Explorer on sale for 600 dollars, the dealer would have to be off their meds. Anyway, this is a Gibson copy, hence the name Epiphone. A name many cringe to hear. Not sure why, because this is a great guitar. It has: - 22 frets w. a rosewood neck - Mahogany D profile neck - Tune-o-matic bridge - Two humbucking pickups - Volume knob for both pickups and one tone knob - This guitar is the Phantom Axe. Apparently its made from Korina wood. I hear a lot about how its only a bit of Korina with some mystery wood in the middle. But what I gather is that its expensive to get one, large bit of Korina, but cheap to get several little bits and chuck it all together to make one. Apparently using smaller pieces is better because Korina is unstable. Honestly, after doing a bit of research I have no idea weather the body is cheaper B grade Korina, not made of Korina at all, mainly Mahogany or 1234234534 different types of wood. It could be bloody Aussie red gum for all I know. But lets just trust Epiphone and say there is Korina in there. - Grover machine heads, although the Epiphone website says there something else. What did i say before? Trust Epiphone?? - Three way selector switch - An enormous guitar case. It literally doesn't fit in the boot of some of my mates cars. Oh, and it doesn't shut properly sometimes. Feature wise, this guitar is good. Just the essentials. Good stuff Epiphone.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Gotta make a quick correction to my shitty review The sound is shit. Fuck those pickups off and get some new ones.
    I have this guitar. I bought it as a project guitar since the pickups (which are pretty much useless in the middle position of the three way switch, they sound that bad) were a known issue. I was able to get it new for 10% off the usual $499 street price from a well known online instrument retailer and then I took it to my local guitar store, had the pups replaced by a pair of Super Distortions and I also had the cheapo Korean electronics upgraded. The tech also made a minor adjustment to the action gratis. Now it sounds pretty damned sweet in a Gary Rossington kind of way. The wood isn't quite as resonant as that on my faded cherry Flying V, but the difference also isn't worth twice what Gibson demands for its version of the Explorer body. The color of the body is actually more like a honey or reddish brown color. It looks great, but it is nowhere near the gold type shade you see in online photos. There were also minor blemishes in the wood on the sides of the instruments that the finish couldn't conceal. This wasn't an issue I cared about, but YMMV. As for the gold hardware shedding, that is a known issue with it, no matter how expensive your axe is, which is why people who opt for it are idiots. Yeah, it looks great initially, but you're better off bang for your buck-wise with nickel. Anyway, it cost about $280, including labor, to upgrade the guitar, so at $730 or thereabouts into it, I have a gigworthy Explorer at half the price of the Gibson, which has known workmanship issues of its own, even at $1499. I use it mostly for classic rock, but I have seen videos of people playing stock models of it doing Metallica tunes, so doing metal on it can be done as long as you're not that demanding tonewise. If you change the pups out for some Tone Zones or EMG's you might have something. But really, if you want to do that, I think you'd be better off buying an LTD EX360 and save some cash since EMGs come stock on it. I have this model, too).