1984 Explorer Reissue review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.8 (43 votes)
Epiphone: 1984 Explorer Reissue
0

Price paid: $ 599

Purchased from: SamAsh

Sound — 9
This guitar was clearly made to appeal to metal heads, it looks exactly like an ESP mx that james hetfield of metallica used in the late 80's aka the EET FUK guitar that can be seen in the Seattle 1989 performance, I'm using a Line 6 spider 3 150w amp and it sounds beastly, I do plan on swapping the pickups out for a 60 81 setup with 2 volume controls for preference but out of the box this guitar sounds great, action was a bit high but that's easily fixed the guitars variety in sound is surprising it can handle pretty much everything I could dish out I usually play metallica (hence my choice of this guitar) and it hasn't let me down.

Overall Impression — 10
I play metal pretty much all the time, I do like to play clean stuff sometimes and this guitar handles it perfectly, the guitars pickups are the biggest clue that it was built for metal, I've been playing for approx 2 years, I still own my Epiphone Les Paul Custom alpine white, which with a few changes for preference has become a very good guitar for my style, only thing wrong with this guitar is how theres no information anywhere about it, I've scoured the internet and the Epiphone site, and couldn't find any specs details etc about it, so I wish Epiphone would at least acknowledge this guitars existence because it deserves it, if stolen they wouldn't live to see another day, I ordered from samash in america, I live in the uk I highly recommend using them as I received 2 days after ordering, I did compare with a Gibson Explorer but this won me over with the face that its limited edition, doesn't have a pointless pickguard and came in white.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can say this guitar would definitely withstand live playing, its clearly built to last, the hardware is solid and appears to be locking (as in if you take all the strings out the tail piece doesn't fall off nor does the bridge 'jiggle' the strap buttons are actually locking which was a surprise for me, as on my Les Paul Custom it came with some awful strap buttons that werent dependable regardless of what strap you used, I'd definitely go gigging with this guitar, its got the looks, sound and reliability that I look for in guitars the finish is even all over, I would say that with vare the finish would last.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was as I said a bit high, still playable but not what I was used to, the pickups were well adjusted on the back of the headstock was a sticker (I don't know if its true) stating that it was setup in the usa I do trust this as this guitar also features a limited edition Epiphone custom shop logo painted on the back of the headstock, so its clearly gotten some attention, no visible flaws that I could see, only 1 thing was if you look VERY closely there's some slight imperfections on the last side fret markers I mean you have to be looking for it to see it, other than that no flaws at all.

Features — 10
Made in 2009 in china 22 frets thick neck like a les pauls, I believe its mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard (very dark looks ebony) alpine white finish gotoh t.o.m bridge grover tuners non locking epiphones own brand straplocks all black hardware, EMG 81 85 set included battery compartment body style? Explorer more like an ESP mx 220 control setup is also just like it.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    L2112Lif
    I stopped reading this review when I realized that there were periods ONLY at the end of sections. Do you realize that, for most people, periods serve as 'checkpoints' for what they've already read? That might be why they're still around... On the actual review... It doesn't come with locking strap buttons. 'Locking' is actually for attaching something to the guitar, i.e - Strap locks lock the strap to the body, not the buttons to the body, locking tuners keep the strings in place, locking trem clamps down on the strings. What you've described is standard equipment constructed right, not locking hardware. 'Limited Edition' and 'limited run' guitars actually end up being worth less for resale than their regular run counterparts, simply because their numbers are restricted right out of the box. I would much rather want a 60's Paul before I'd want the oldest LE or performer's take on the 60's; Their number wasn't intentionally restricted to foster resale, so I don't know why that factors into your review. James Hetfield played a guitar based off the original McCarty design of this guitar, not visa versa. Not much more to be said. And, finally... You never give any specifications on the guitar. Just because Epiphone doesn't list them (And they probably do, but here's the specs on the SamAsh website - http://www.samash.com/p/1984%20Explorer%... %20Guitar%20Assorted%20Colors_1208758) Doesn't mean they don't exist. Looking at this list, it doesn't have locking hardware, just a simple stop-tail, and the tuners don't look like they're locking from the photo.
    Diven
    I own this guitar, and while the review is horrible, the guitar is very nice. Though I am a fan of Metallica, I didn't buy the guitar for that reason. I was looking for an explorer that was as close to a Gibson as I could get without have to pay $1000 plus. Compared to standard Epiphone explorers this one played the most like its Gibson counterpart. Being a custom shop guitar it did get some extra attention and it shows. The classic EMG 81/85 combo sounds great for your heavy rock/metal riffing. Something that should also be noted is the natural bass in its tone that is good for your fat powerchords and chugging riffs, but it also adds a little something extra to the cleans as well. Bottom line is its a great guitar for its price, though I would advise you do buy strap locks for it as its shape will cause it to slip out without one.
    Im_Broken
    RyanMetalMatthe wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'. Saying that Het's "guitar looked like this" would imply that the Epiphone came first, which it didn't. It looks like an ESP EXP. Also, as excited as I am to finally own my dream guitar, I think it's stupid that ESP can't use the EXP shape anymore, but Epiphone can use it, knob/switch layout and all. It'd make sense if it really was the '84 Explorer... but I'm still happy as hell that it's not.
    you're retarded. gibson made this design in the late 50's, as well as the corvus, and futura. esp stole the gibson design.
    Linkerman
    Horrible, horrible review. Punctuation is your friend. Learn to use it properly, and your writing may become readable.
    RyanMetalMatthe
    EpiExplorer wrote: You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'.
    Saying that Het's "guitar looked like this" would imply that the Epiphone came first, which it didn't. It looks like an ESP EXP. Also, as excited as I am to finally own my dream guitar, I think it's stupid that ESP can't use the EXP shape anymore, but Epiphone can use it, knob/switch layout and all. It'd make sense if it really was the '84 Explorer... but I'm still happy as hell that it's not.
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Petar 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" ---> WTF??? Pickguards aren't pointless (and you can remove them) and even the best limited edition Epi will NEVER sound as good as real Gibson does.
    I don't understand why guys born after 1990 always want to act like they've already been playing for a lifetime and that really know what they're talking about.
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Petar wrote: RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" ---> WTF??? Pickguards aren't pointless (and you can remove them) and even the best limited edition Epi will NEVER sound as good as real Gibson does. I don't understand why guys born after 1990 always want to act like they've already been playing for a lifetime and that really know what they're talking about. I don't understand what does age have to do with experience. I've been playing since I was eight (that's ten years now) and I still think that just because a guitar is "limited edition" or doesn't have a pickguard doesn't make it better than the guitar it's trying to copy. Sure, while saving a hundred bucks or having a guitar like your idol does sound like a good idea to me, I'd take normal american strat over "limited edition" squire any day of the year. Your profile says you have a Gibson Explorer, so you most likely have more experience than I do (I've only played one a couple of times). Then again, Fender - Squier relationship isn't exactly the same as Gibson - Epiphone. Anyways, you are only two years older than "those guys born after 1990" so shut up. Playing experience counts, not age.
    From a metalhead's point of view, not having the pickguard is all it takes for it to be better. But anyway, I don't see why people always want to knock this guitar when hardly anyone's played it yet. I've checked a lot of message boards though various sites and there's always a lot of people bitching about it being Epiphone and not Gibson. I've had 4 $1,000+ Gibsons. They're not all that. I have $4-700 LTDs that are just as good - even better in some aspects. With Gibson, you're not paying for quality, you're paying for the name. Truth be told, I hate Gibson because they make boring old man guitars and they've never been supportive of the metal community. The only reason why I own their Explorers is because ESP can't make the EXP anymore. But back to the age thing. You may have been playing for 10 years, but you're only 18 so you were a child for most of those years. I just don't think it's right to judge guitars you haven't owned/played and say they'll never be as good as something else that you haven't owned/played as if you have 30+ years of experience with guitars. I wasn't meaning to come off as the "big, bad adult" just because I'm a few years older than you.
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Petar wrote: RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar wrote: RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" .... .... Playing experience counts, not age. From a metalhead's point of view, not having the pickguard is all it takes for it to be better. But anyway, I don't see why people always want to knock this guitar when hardly anyone's played it yet. I've checked a lot of message boards though various sites and there's always a lot of people bitching about it being Epiphone and not Gibson. I've had 4 $1,000+ Gibsons. They're not all that. I have $4-700 LTDs that are just as good - even better in some aspects. With Gibson, you're not paying for quality, you're paying for the name. Truth be told, I hate Gibson because they make boring old man guitars and they've never been supportive of the metal community. The only reason why I own their Explorers is because ESP can't make the EXP anymore. But back to the age thing. You may have been playing for 10 years, but you're only 18 so you were a child for most of those years. I just don't think it's right to judge guitars you haven't owned/played and say they'll never be as good as something else that you haven't owned/played as if you have 30+ years of experience with guitars. I wasn't meaning to come off as the "big, bad adult" just because I'm a few years older than you. Fair enough. I admit, perhaps I've been too harsh and Epiphone-Gibson gap isn't that big (or worth the extra thousand dollars). I've never played this 1984 Explorer reissue (or directly compared this Epi with its Gibson counterpart) so saying that "Epi will never be as good as Gibson" was really out of hand. What I was trying to say in my original post is that I've found the reasons for choosing Epi over Gibson... interesting, at least. To me, tone is the most important part of guitar; and what makes me judge a guitar in first place. If I'd have to choose between a Gibson or Epi (and could afford the Gibson), I'd choose by tone first, playability next and looks last. And the way the reviewer told it, it looked like he based his decision solely on pickguard, "limited edition" tag and white color; he didn't mention sound he wanted with active pups, or saving 1000$ at all. I find that weird, IMO tone is much more important than any pickguard (at least if you aren't planning on modding from the very beginning). I respect your experience, you seem to know what you are talking about. Also, I may be many things but I'm not your typical metalhead, at least as far as playing is concerned. Still, I'm not as inexperienced as you probably think I am (yea, I haven't been playing 30+ years but that isn't necessary to know what you want from a guitar). And after trying out few Gibsons and few Epiphones (not this particular one, but few LP's and three SG's) I prefer Gibson than Epiphone by tone and playability, I don't have any grudge against them. Anyways, I think I get what you are talking about, I hope you'll see what I'm talking about too .
    I get what you're saying and I thank you for being cool about it. And I totally agree about wanting a high-end model instead of a limited edition low-end, but unfortunately, no one else makes this guitar right now and probably won't for a long, long time... I guess I'm at a point where looks DO matter to me. I already have the tone, feel, etc. that I want, but I just hate the way Explorers look with pickguards. I've always wanted one like Hetfield and I think it sucks that I had to spend an additional $500+ on an already $1,400 guitar to get it close to what I wanted. That's what makes me bitter towards Gibson. Why can't they just make the Explorer that everyone wants?!
    EpiExplorer
    You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'.
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Im_Broken wrote: RyanMetalMatthe wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'. Saying that Het's "guitar looked like this" would imply that the Epiphone came first, which it didn't. It looks like an ESP EXP. Also, as excited as I am to finally own my dream guitar, I think it's stupid that ESP can't use the EXP shape anymore, but Epiphone can use it, knob/switch layout and all. It'd make sense if it really was the '84 Explorer... but I'm still happy as hell that it's not. you're retarded. gibson made this design in the late 50's, as well as the corvus, and futura. esp stole the gibson design.
    Gibson didn't have the two knob/ no pickguard design. That's what I meant.
    jammage132
    jammage132 wrote: DUDE, don't complain that you have high action out of the box!! you want high action out of the box... Why? because it means that when you get it setup, you have more options (so of your weird, you can keep it high). I love Epi's, and would recommend the sg-310, it's a beautiful peice of kit that'll make you look badass!!
    the bracketed bit i for some reason forgot to finish
    Petar
    RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" ---> WTF??? Pickguards aren't pointless (and you can remove them) and even the best limited edition Epi will NEVER sound as good as real Gibson does. I don't understand why guys born after 1990 always want to act like they've already been playing for a lifetime and that really know what they're talking about.
    I don't understand what does age have to do with experience. I've been playing since I was eight (that's ten years now) and I still think that just because a guitar is "limited edition" or doesn't have a pickguard doesn't make it better than the guitar it's trying to copy. Sure, while saving a hundred bucks or having a guitar like your idol does sound like a good idea to me, I'd take normal american strat over "limited edition" squire any day of the year. Your profile says you have a Gibson Explorer, so you most likely have more experience than I do (I've only played one a couple of times). Then again, Fender - Squier relationship isn't exactly the same as Gibson - Epiphone. Anyways, you are only two years older than "those guys born after 1990" so shut up. Playing experience counts, not age.
    Flashdaddy
    No one is being paid here; yet, it has devolved to people impugning his diction and syntax as opposed to honest discussion about the guitar. A: No one is being paid here.B: No one is impressed by the pseudo-english teacher treatment that a few chose to waste our time with. I am interested in this axe, and hope to get an honest review.Please no more pseudo-professors. Everyone understood the gist of his post/ I know that I had no problems...
    Petar
    RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar wrote: RyanMetalMatthe wrote: Petar 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" .... .... Playing experience counts, not age. From a metalhead's point of view, not having the pickguard is all it takes for it to be better. But anyway, I don't see why people always want to knock this guitar when hardly anyone's played it yet. I've checked a lot of message boards though various sites and there's always a lot of people bitching about it being Epiphone and not Gibson. I've had 4 $1,000+ Gibsons. They're not all that. I have $4-700 LTDs that are just as good - even better in some aspects. With Gibson, you're not paying for quality, you're paying for the name. Truth be told, I hate Gibson because they make boring old man guitars and they've never been supportive of the metal community. The only reason why I own their Explorers is because ESP can't make the EXP anymore. But back to the age thing. You may have been playing for 10 years, but you're only 18 so you were a child for most of those years. I just don't think it's right to judge guitars you haven't owned/played and say they'll never be as good as something else that you haven't owned/played as if you have 30+ years of experience with guitars. I wasn't meaning to come off as the "big, bad adult" just because I'm a few years older than you.
    Fair enough. I admit, perhaps I've been too harsh and Epiphone-Gibson gap isn't that big (or worth the extra thousand dollars). I've never played this 1984 Explorer reissue (or directly compared this Epi with its Gibson counterpart) so saying that "Epi will never be as good as Gibson" was really out of hand. What I was trying to say in my original post is that I've found the reasons for choosing Epi over Gibson... interesting, at least. To me, tone is the most important part of guitar; and what makes me judge a guitar in first place. If I'd have to choose between a Gibson or Epi (and could afford the Gibson), I'd choose by tone first, playability next and looks last. And the way the reviewer told it, it looked like he based his decision solely on pickguard, "limited edition" tag and white color; he didn't mention sound he wanted with active pups, or saving 1000$ at all. I find that weird, IMO tone is much more important than any pickguard (at least if you aren't planning on modding from the very beginning). I respect your experience, you seem to know what you are talking about. Also, I may be many things but I'm not your typical metalhead, at least as far as playing is concerned. Still, I'm not as inexperienced as you probably think I am (yea, I haven't been playing 30+ years but that isn't necessary to know what you want from a guitar). And after trying out few Gibsons and few Epiphones (not this particular one, but few LP's and three SG's) I prefer Gibson than Epiphone by tone and playability, I don't have any grudge against them. Anyways, I think I get what you are talking about, I hope you'll see what I'm talking about too .
    Im_Broken
    Diven wrote: I own this guitar, and while the review is horrible, the guitar is very nice. Though I am a fan of Metallica, I didn't buy the guitar for that reason. I was looking for an explorer that was as close to a Gibson as I could get without have to pay $1000 plus. Compared to standard Epiphone explorers this one played the most like its Gibson counterpart. Being a custom shop guitar it did get some extra attention and it shows. The classic EMG 81/85 combo sounds great for your heavy rock/metal riffing. Something that should also be noted is the natural bass in its tone that is good for your fat powerchords and chugging riffs, but it also adds a little something extra to the cleans as well. Bottom line is its a great guitar for its price, though I would advise you do buy strap locks for it as its shape will cause it to slip out without one.
    this guy just wrote a better review..
    jammage132
    DUDE, don't complain that you have high action out of the box!! you want high action out of the box... Why? because it means that when you get it setup, you have more options (so of your weird. I love Epi's, and would recommend the sg-310, it's a beautiful peice of kit that'll make you look badass!!
    EpiExplorer
    Diven wrote: I own this guitar, and while the review is horrible, the guitar is very nice. Though I am a fan of Metallica, I didn't buy the guitar for that reason. I was looking for an explorer that was as close to a Gibson as I could get without have to pay $1000 plus. Compared to standard Epiphone explorers this one played the most like its Gibson counterpart. Being a custom shop guitar it did get some extra attention and it shows. The classic EMG 81/85 combo sounds great for your heavy rock/metal riffing. Something that should also be noted is the natural bass in its tone that is good for your fat powerchords and chugging riffs, but it also adds a little something extra to the cleans as well. Bottom line is its a great guitar for its price, though I would advise you do buy strap locks for it as its shape will cause it to slip out without one.
    Everything this guy said: Seconded.
    Gary.Blizzard
    I have the 58' Goth Epi Explorer. Put a Gibson in the neck and a Seymour Duncan in the bridge. Thing is nice. Was nice. Then the neck broke off. And all the electronics were stripped out. It's back together now, but the volume knobs don't work... not that great with the electronics, too small. But the guitar is nice. I love it. The neck is sexy. It even feels sexy.
    SOADbeast
    Should of used the $600 bucks to invest in a better amp before this!
    agreed
    RyanMetalMatthe
    Petar wrote: I did compare with a Gibson Explorer but this won me over with the face that its limited edition, doesn't have a pointless pickguard and came in white. WHAT? 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" ---> WTF??? Pickguards aren't pointless (and you can remove them) and even the best limited edition Epi will NEVER sound as good as real Gibson does. EpiExplorer wrote: Diven wrote: I own this guitar, and while the review is horrible, the guitar is very nice. Though I am a fan of Metallica, I didn't buy the guitar for that reason. I was looking for an explorer that was as close to a Gibson as I could get without have to pay $1000 plus. Compared to standard Epiphone explorers this one played the most like its Gibson counterpart. Being a custom shop guitar it did get some extra attention and it shows. The classic EMG 81/85 combo sounds great for your heavy rock/metal riffing. Something that should also be noted is the natural bass in its tone that is good for your fat powerchords and chugging riffs, but it also adds a little something extra to the cleans as well. Bottom line is its a great guitar for its price, though I would advise you do buy strap locks for it as its shape will cause it to slip out without one. Everything this guy said: Seconded. Thirded; these guys sound like they know what are they talking about.
    A pickguard on an Explorer is ****in' retarded. Don't you realize that it can't be removed?
    Petar
    I did compare with a Gibson Explorer but this won me over with the face that its limited edition, doesn't have a pointless pickguard and came in white.
    WHAT? 1000$ saved -> OK reason EMG pups -> OK reason wanting a James-Hetfield-copy guitar -> OK reason (I guess) But "pointless pickugard" and "limited edition" ---> WTF??? Pickguards aren't pointless (and you can remove them) and even the best limited edition Epi will NEVER sound as good as real Gibson does.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Diven wrote: I own this guitar, and while the review is horrible, the guitar is very nice. Though I am a fan of Metallica, I didn't buy the guitar for that reason. I was looking for an explorer that was as close to a Gibson as I could get without have to pay $1000 plus. Compared to standard Epiphone explorers this one played the most like its Gibson counterpart. Being a custom shop guitar it did get some extra attention and it shows. The classic EMG 81/85 combo sounds great for your heavy rock/metal riffing. Something that should also be noted is the natural bass in its tone that is good for your fat powerchords and chugging riffs, but it also adds a little something extra to the cleans as well. Bottom line is its a great guitar for its price, though I would advise you do buy strap locks for it as its shape will cause it to slip out without one. Everything this guy said: Seconded.
    Thirded; these guys sound like they know what are they talking about.
    EpiExplorer
    Echoplex wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'. As soon as I saw this review, I wondered: "What crazy antics will Epi be up to in this one?"
    I honestly feel disgraced by this review, even though I sold my explorer a while ago.. e.e Ya got ta have soooooul damnit.
    kodadak
    review the BCRich Deluxe Jr V. Its wierd that such a nice guitar isnt reviewed here
    for you and the guy who wrote this review, a "cool" body shape or paint job doesn't mean the guitar is good, just because a band uses a certain guitar doesn't mean you will sound or play like them. In short, those guys don't sound good because of their equipment, they sound good because they practice and make their equipment sound good.
    Echoplex
    EpiExplorer wrote: You aren't very specific either. And saying 'it looks like James Hetfields guitar' is totally wrong, should be 'James Hetfield Guitar looks like this because its based off this model'.
    As soon as I saw this review, I wondered: "What crazy antics will Epi be up to in this one?"
    bustapr
    I wonder how so many people got theyre hands on Spider 3 amps. Anyway the guitar looks beastly. Still dont think Id buy as Im saving for a Deluxe Jr V. Can someone please, please, please, review the BCRich Deluxe Jr V. Its wierd that such a nice guitar isnt reviewed here.
    Engel22
    I agree, it all just wanders over different parts of the guitar before you finish discussing and rating the first part.
    klespaul
    I found this guitar on musicstore, I didn't think i would find it, and I thought it didn't exist... what do you think of this guitar?? Is worth?