Features — 9
USA made Explorer body style. It has a mahogany, non-chambered body and mahogany set neck (thin '60s profile) with an Ebony fingerboard (although the newer ones spec Richlite fingerboards). The pickups are a Burstbucker 1 in the neck and the slightly hotter Burstbucker 2 in the bridge, controlled by two volume and one tone knob. No coil tapping from the factory. The switch is a typical Gibson three way. The bridge is a tune-o-matic with a stopbar tailpiece. The tuners are mini Grover. The paint is a very nice silverburst to black on the edges. Cream color binding is used on the entire body and neck. The guitar came with a Gibson USA hard case.
Sound — 9
The Burstbucker pickups are medium output humbuckers. This makes them very versatile. They sound great with everything from slight overdrive to all out metal distortion. The great thing is, no matter what you're playing through, the note clarity is very crisp and clean. It's nice to be able to pick through distorted chords and actually be able to hear the notes without getting muddy. Pinch harmonics are elso a breeze. I was pleasantly surprised at the clean sound as well. Even without backing off the volume, the cleans are very clean when running through low gain settings. The only thing you won't be able to get is single coil tones, due to no coil splitting from the factory. I play it through a Vox AC30 with a pedalboard in front. Wampler Triple Wreck distortion and Fulltone OCD dirt. I also have an ADA MP-1 based rack running through a Laney 4x12 cab.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Make no mistake, this is a top quality, American made Gibson. I could honestly not find one single flaw with this beauty. The finish on the body is like glass, and underneath, you can see the texture and detail of the wood grain through the paint. The neck fit in the pocket is perfect, almost seamless. The fretwork is as smooth as can be. You won't be catching your fingers or hands on any edges running up and down the board. The action is nice and low with no string buzz and the intonation was spot on.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't gigged this guitar or put it through any rigorous paces, so I can't testify firsthand as to it's durability. I kind of baby it because it's the nicest guitar I own. I mainly just play it in my home and use it in jam sessions with friends on weekends, so it gets used, just not in a bar or gig setting at the moment. What I can say is, this is a Gibson guitar. It feels rock solid, and Explorers have a long history in live metal, punk, and hard rock. I can't imagine there would be any specific concerns about this particular model.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression of the Dethklok Thunderhorse Explorer is incredible. This is a jack of all trades rock guitar that sports awesome looks to boot. This is one of those guitars that almost plays itself. I have a Jackson DKMG, '87 Charvel 1A, Gibson Les Paul Studio w/ebony board, and a Fender Telecaster. The Dethklok Explorer plays smoother and with less effort than any of the other guitars. I'm giving the guitar a 10 because it met and exceeded my every expectation of it, and I had very high expectations. Get one now!