1984 Explorer Reissue Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 05/15/2013 category: Electric Guitars
Epiphone: 1984 Explorer Reissue
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), Gotoh t.o.m. bridge, Grover tuners, non locking Epiphones own brand straplocks, all black hardware.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 7.4
 Reliability & Durability: 8.6
 Action, Fit & Finish: 6.6
 Features: 9.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (5) pictures (2) 41 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
1984 Explorer Reissue Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 30, 2010
1 of 8 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599

Purchased from: SamAsh

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.4
1984 Explorer Reissue Reviewed by: agerginov, on march 14, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 700

Purchased from: Guitar center

Features: So this guitar is made in the late 2011 in the Gibson custom shop under the brand of Epiphone in USA. The guitar is composed of neck trough mahogany body the same as the body of the 1984 Explorer guitar with Ebony Fat 22fret neck. It is painted in white color and consists of Tune-O-Matic bridge (black color) with active pick ups which are EMG 85/81 9v modification with non-locking Grover tuners. // 10

Sound: This guitar is the perfect instrument for me and suits me perfectly as it is the instrument one of my favorite guitar players own. My stile is hard rock, metal and more. The used amps are a Randall rgh150w valve dynamic head with 4x12 cabinet loaded with 2x12 Vintage 30s and 2x12 rockets. The pick ups are dead silent and have the ability to reproduce the full Spectrum of the sound. The 85 situated on neck position gives that warm and fat clean while giving room for more exotic solos or rhythmic parts, has prefect mids and lows, sorta lacks in the high pitched area but still is better than many of the pick ups on the market. The 81 in the bridge position and is high gain high pitched pick ups, has the same spectrum as the 85 but with more saturated highs. From blues to trash and dead this guitar with that hardware can reproduce anything. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: There were just small miss hap with the paint on the back of the neck but everything else was solid, the pick ups were perfect, so that meant I didn't have to move them up and down, just to add some finishing lines on the final position in which they are now. For the other things the guitar was taken to the local guitar maker a luthier, who checked the guitar for any cosmetic or hardware damage or miss done factory things. Overall it came really shiny and I would say it was really nice to see that peace of instrument in my home. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar can withstand everything you are able to trow at it, it is made for live playing and I've played twice with it on stage. The hardware especially the EMGs are killer and the strap holders are epic, because they are locking. I would definitely say that the guitar is dependent on and can be used without back up instrument. The coat is pretty fat and will last long before it starts to wear out. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been a fan of J. Hetfield so that guitar is a match to my style and playing techinque. I've been playing for 6 years now but I cannot say that I am good, I still need lessons and all that stuff. The guitar is one of a kind, and hopefully for me it wont be stolen but if something like this is to happen then there are two back up guitars which I don't play because of this now but the one is a black Explorer with Snake inlays and a Ken Lawrence replica. The main disadvantage is that the EMGs actually make most of the sound so comparing guitars with the same wood and pick ups is like comparing only hardware. Definitely I wish it had the James Hetfield Signature on the top of the neck and the Papa Het drawing on the body. // 8

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overall: 8.4
1984 Explorer Reissue Reviewed by: kurtfletcher, on july 05, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 429

Purchased from: Nevada Music

Features: I Think my guitar was made in 2011 in China. I went for the ebony version rather than the alpine. The guitar features features all black hardware, a rosewood neck, an EMG 81 in the Bridge and an 85 in the neck position. The guitar comes without a scratchplate unlike other explorers and has a master volume, master tone and a 3 way switch. It comes woth grover locking tuners and a stop tail bridge. I have been looking for an Explorer for a long time. I was going to buy an black Epiphone Explorer and change the pickups to EMG's and to change the pickguard from a white pickguard to a black one. As soon as I saw this guitar I found it has all of the specs I wanted without having to replace parts on a brand new guitar. // 10

Sound: Initially, I didn't like the sound of the EMG's. I found them too thin sounding, but after adjusting some of the settings I was able to achieve a rich and full sound. I play alot of Metallica hence buying the guitar, but also it has a great variety and sounds great clean, although I am not very keen on the neck pickup on a clean setting as it is very bassy. The guitar is well suited for any style be it; blues, classic rock, metal or jazz. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar has been a nightmare. The guitar was well set up in the factory however, the aweful Bridge saddles kept snapping the strings, right on the bridge. I went through several sets of D'Addario strings and in the end, had to fork out 26.00 for a set of graphite Bridge saddles which cured the problem immediately. Secondly the Epiphone "schaller" type straplocks which the guitar comes with are also rubbish. They fell apart in my hands within the first day. The finish on the guitar however was flawless, my only problem with it is as anyone knows; black guitars scratch very easily and attract alot of dust and finger marks. This does not bother me too much as I have owned black guitars in the past. // 7

Reliability & Durability: The guitar seems solid. I have gigged with it before and it seems to easily withstand live playing. Now that I have replaced the harware, I also feel that this could withstand life on the road. The finish seems pretty good however it seems to acquire alot of surface scratching all ovewr the guitar. This is not too noticable however and doesnt't really bother me. // 8

Overall Impression: This is a very versatile guitar that can serve any kind of player. It sounds great for any style you want to play. I thought the price was fair, however I was disappointed that I had to go out and buy brand new hardware to replace the dodgy mass produced rubbish that this guitar came with. I'm not really bothered about where it was made and I really love this guitar. If something were to happen with this guitar I would definately buy another explorer, maybe not this one though. Instead I would probably go for a Gibson 1984 Explorer Reissue. // 8

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overall: 9.4
1984 Explorer Reissue Reviewed by: A.Pedro, on march 19, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 500

Purchased from: Thomann

Features: My guitar was made in China, in 2011. It has a mahogany body with a super high gloss black finish, and a mahogany set-neck, with a 22 fret rosewood fretboard (it's really dark, almost like ebony). It also features a Tune-O-Matic bridge, with a stopbar, and non-locking Grover tuners (all black hardware). The pickups are both active EMG's. A 81 in the bridge position, and 85 in the neck position, with a 3 way switch, master tone and master volume controls. The guitar came in with Epiphone's own brand strap locks, two hex keys, a manual/care guide, and a sticker. // 10

Sound: This is where the awesomeness kicks in. I play mostly metal and hard rock, and this guitar fits me like a glove. It feels fast, aggressive, and dangerous, and the EMG's give it that extra punch and compression, which makes it perfect for playing metal. The pickups are super silent, and sound awesome through my Line 6 Spider IV 75. The 85 is perfect for warm and fat clean tones, so it's perfect for mids ands lows, and the 81, which is a high gain pickup, sounds just as awesome as the 85, but with more saturated highs, so it's perfect for soloing (if you're willing to do that using this guitar). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory setup was a bit high, but still playable. The pickups were perfectly adjusted, so there is no need to move them up and down. However, they messed up with the frets. Most of the frets didn't even touh the fretboard in the sides, in a way that the high E string would get stuck under the fret wire. Because of their terrible job, I had to spend another 120 in a luthier to refret the guitar. Also, the volume knob was a little crooked, but I managed to fix it. Other than that, it's perfectly fine. The paint is flawless, the neck was perfectly straight, the hardware was perfect too, but now about 4 months after I got it, some of the paint in the bridge saddles is starting to come off, because I use a lot of palm muting. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definitely withstand a live gig. I still have a backup guitar, but I could play it without the need for a backup. The hardware looks like it is going to last. Except for the paint in the bridge saddles. The strap buttons are solid, and after almost 5 months of playing they never got loose. However, some of the black paint is starting to chip off, because of the locking strap buttons. The finish looks like it will last forever, and is shiny as hell. It attracts a lot of scratches, dust, and fingerprints, but if you get a cloth and a bunch of carnauba wax you can polish it all off. // 10

Overall Impression: I play mostly metal, and this guitar is obviously a perfect match. I have been playing it for about 4, almost 5 months, and it is still as awesome as the day I took it out of the box. Other than this guitar, I own a Squier Stratocaster, which was my first guitar. If someone stole it, I would first beat the sh*t out of him, and if I couldn't find the guy, I would definitely buy a new one. I simply love the way it is balanced, and how it feels dangerous and fast when playing. Oh, by the way, it is a bit neck-heavy, and it weighs about 5 kg. If I could change something, I would put a EMG 60 in the neck position instead of the 85. // 10

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overall: 4.2
1984 Explorer Reissue Reviewed by: xxx128, on may 15, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 444

Purchased from: misc

Features: 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

Sound: 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. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 1

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 5

Overall Impression: 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! // 1

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