1984 Explorer Reissue review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 1
  • Reliability & Durability: 5
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 1
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 4.2 Poor
  • Users' score: 6.8 (43 votes)
Epiphone: 1984 Explorer Reissue

Price paid: € 444

Purchased from: misc

Sound — 7
For a cheap Chinese guitar this Epiphone sounds surprisingly resonant and lifely, probably due to the large body. This is a fairly full and heavy sounding guitar. And with the right humbuckers and tube-amp you might even get a decent tone out of this guitar. Getting rid of the active EMG might even have this guitar qualify for a broad range of different styles as EMG pickups are tone-wise very limited and rather flat and lifeless sounding. SO with high-end dynamic pickups the Epiphone EX 84 might sound really nice and full.

Overall Impression — 1
I am really disappointed in the quality and craftsmanship of these guitars. I understand that it's a cheap made in china guitar. However I have seen Chinese B.C. Rich guitars that were half the price that looked far more solid. It says "Epiphone Customshop" on the back of this guitar and quite frankly that must be some kind of joke, as the quality you get is piss poor. Based on this experience I will never again purchase a Qingdao Epiphone guitar in my life. Sorry to be so negative but even at this low to mid price range there are much better options for Asian guitars!

Reliability & Durability — 5
The guitar itself looks like it can withstand a lot of abuse and plenty of rough gigs. The flimsy bridge and stop bar tail piece will surely not. I would suggest to exchange the bridge and tail piece for quality Gotoh M8 metric parts. There was some kind of Epiphone in-house security strap locks system in the box that doesn't really give a solid impression though. Again that is something that can easily be swapped for quality aftermarket parts such as Schaller, Dunlop or other manufacturers offer.

Action, Fit & Finish — 1
All 3 Epiphone EX 84 guitars I had over the course of 3 weeks came with fret buzz right out of the box. There is no way to get rid of the fret buzz with the standard nut and standard cheapo hardware. You might have more luck by replacing the nut and bridge with quality Gotoh parts. I haven't tested this. The fret work/dressing on this guitar is really exceptionally poor. Some of the frets were too short. The finish had lots of issues all over with all 3 guitars. There were cracks in the finish. One guitar looked like it has been chipped and then painted over. There were little black spots under the poly finish at some places. One guitar didn't have the fret board glued on properly. 2 of them had the machine heads installed on very poorly. In short craftsmanship on all 3 guitars were a slap in the face.

Features — 7
I had 3 Epiphone EX 84 Alpine White recently. They all were made in December 2012 at the Epiphone Qingdao Factory in China. This guitar comes with active EMG 81/85 Humbuckers. The EX 84 guitar is said to be mahogany neck and body, and I believe its asian mahogany/nato. The guitar looks pretty classy and resembles a Gibson 84 Explorer. Though the original Gibson 84 has an alder body and chrome hardware instead. This is the only way to obtain a 84 Explorer since Gibson USA doesn't offer this quite popular model at the moment.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I gotta say, I didn't really find a single review of this guitar helpful on here. Everyone is just talking about the EMGs or comparing Gibson to Epiphone. I read in one post some guy saying Gibson makes boring old man guitars that aren't good for metal. Don't see how this is relevant, aside from being completely false. How does the guitar play? What's the fretting like? In my experience Epiphone's fret work is GARBAGE. It's the entire reason I'm looking up reviews. Not one person on here has strayed from "ZOMG IT COMES WITH EMG'S!" which I don't care about because I'd slap in some Gibson pickups anyway. 57+ in the bridge, Burstbucker II in the neck, maybe? Anyways, stop bashing each other. None of you have written a single decent review.
    I like my Epiphone 1984 Explorer ok, but to my ears the EMGs sound better on my Pro-X Warlock, not sure why. The wood feels less dense n the Epi than the wood on my actual 1985 Gibson Explorer, to be expected tho. I would like to see Epiphone put out some premium models that have Gibson USA pickups in them, burstbuckers would be cool in an Explorer. It seems odd that its mostly Les Pauls that get USA pickups, the other Epi solids miss out.
    The guitar itself looks good and has a decent spec but as soon as I picked it up to play it I was not interested. I don't like guitars with fat necks and I just couldn't get comfy playing it.
    Whatever the Gibson-fanboys say about Epiphone, they did a GREAT job with this affordable Epiphone Explorer 1984. I don't give shit about a brand name or where/when it's built, all I care about is that I love how the guitar (not the production line, but that unique piece of wood) looks, feels, plays and sounds, that's all that matters. If that means the guitar will be expensive, so be it, if I can get it for a few hundred bucks, like this one, that's even better! Problem is that a lot of people are complaining on the sound or playability, in 90% of these cases is that because it's not properly set-up, and admittedly when this guitar comes out of the box it has some issues. Please don't be stupid and don't pay anyone to turn some screws; with 2 hands, a tuner, a simple toolbox and youtube you can get this guitar into perfect intonation and a shreddable neck. PROS: * the EMG pickups make it sound really kickass! * the shape and no-nonsense 80's finnish * the hardware is SOLID * fixed bridge, no whammy-bar bullshit, resulting in easy restringing/intonating and longlasting tuning CONS: * it's greatest minor is that it's neck-heavy, so a wide leather strap is a must What I would've done different: * use a bone nut instead of plastic * 2 extra frets would be nice * I'd wish they'd get rid of the tone knob, you're only losing output if you play with anything but the maximum tone (this counts for all guitars)
    +oh yeah it comes without a case, so you might get one of these as well. :
    For what you get it's ridiculously good. Cheap gats always need a frett dress etc so factor it in. Everyone whinging about neck dive, I got a wide strap. Problem solved. Or go pay 7k for an MX250. Yeah thought so.
    Hi guys first time posting here, I got one of this second hand, quite cheap, while the shape of the neck feels very nice "chunky" i agree the fret work is not the best mine needs leveling finish is good indeed , 2 of the tuners are not working properly, (but as just said they are used) I am more of a fan than really capable of playing em, but love playing at home , it is needed to have a confy strap to play this thing otherwise is not enjoyable, it slips all in all I dont regret the puchase I think is worth the US 300 bucks I have paid .