Sound — 10
- I purchased this guitar to play hard rock and metal, and it will do that while unplugged and still in the case. Just looking at it you know it means business, playing it only solidifies this fact. - I use a Fender Mustang III 100W its loud, muddy, distorted and brutal...I love it! - It has a wide variety of sounds depending on how you have the volume/tone on the guitar setup and the effects. Definitely a multipurpose tool, combined with the Mustang III you have a really deadly combo for any style or sound. I am going to rate this section a 10, I know it is a perfect rating but I honestly can not find an issue with the sound out of this guitar. It may not be for everyone though as it does lean more to the hard rock/metal genre but it will definitely play any style.
Overall Impression — 10
- I mostly play metal and hard rock, this guitar suits that like a Custom fit leather glove. The accessibility of the fretboard makes playing the most shredding solos an easy task. - I have been playing on and off as a hobbyist since 2000 and have just recently started getting more serious messing around with home recording and stuff. - I wish I had of asked for a guitar stand to display it on! I was really happy to get a hard case with it, but around the house that big bulky case can get in the way. - If someone stole my Explorer I would hunt them down, remove there face with a piece of glass and wear it as a mask. I would definitely replace it should anything bad ever happen. - I was looking at both Gibson and Epiphone Explorer's, I was originally leaning towards the Epiphone because of the price point, but Long and McQuade has April as Gibson month so it made a dream a reality. - The only things I could ever wish this guitar had would be EMG 81/85 PuP (which I will have done anyways) and a Floyd Rose would be nice to make it the ultimate weapon. I am rating this section a 10 as the only downsides are just things that I could dream of having to round out my own personal desire for a badass guitar. Hands down I do not regret buying this guitar nor will I ever get rid of it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
- I think this guitar lives to be played live - Last! Ha I bet you this guitar will outlive me, and if it does I will be buried with it. - I would replace the strap buttons with some fancy locking ones just to be safe, nothing sucks more then having a guitar take a fall because the strap fell off. - I would almost gamble my eternal soul on this guitar I trust it that much, would I go out without a back up though...no! That's just crazy anything can happen. Once again better safe then sorry. I will give this section a 9 because I would highly recommend getting locking strap nuts.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
- Its a Gibson! The action came perfect from the factory, it only needed a tune out of the box to get going. - I was surprised at the finish of the guitar; however I thought I was getting a floor model until a new one was ordered in but I was surprised when I walked into the store and it was new still in the cardboard box. My only issue with the finish on the guitar is how easy it shows finger prints. I had to add a microfiber cloth to my guitar case to constantly wipe it down. Hands down giving this a 10, absolutely nothing wrong with it and if I do find something I will be greatly surprised. It stays in tune great even when tuned down to C, plays extremely fast and looks bad ass to boot.
Features — 9
- Made in the USA, Nashville TN. to be exact, the Gibson hard shell case is made in Canada, I think its even lined with baby beaver pelts because it so soft and smooth. - Standard 22 frets, 24.75" scale, rosewood fret board. - Solid Mahogany body, I think a Mahogany neck as well some of the reissues have used Hog, Maple and even Korina. - The finish is your Standard ebony nitrocellulose lacquer shined to a mirror finish. The coating is even and seems like it would be very tough. The bonus is that its not applied thick enough to hide the grain of the wood. - Tune-O-Matic bridge - Standard Gibson Pickups 496R neck and 500T bridge - Individual volume knobs per PuP and a Master Tone knob, PuP selection done via a 3 way switch. - Mini Grover Tuners - Gibson Hard Shell Case Overall I can not complain with this instrument out of the package, it played extremely well out of the box, no setup was required just needed to be tuned. I would like to see individual tone controls for both PuP's as I like the ability to have full tone control, but the guitar will mostly see hard rock and metal so it really wont effect it at all. The neck is AMAZINGLY fast to play, I think the fastest I have played yet. I am gunna rate this section a 9 as I wouldn't change anything but the extra tone knob.