Gibson Explorer Golden Axe - Bill Kelliher

Discussion in 'Guitar Reviews' started by Andromalia, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Dec 24, 2009
    Paris, France
    So, I just got this yesterday and played it quite extensively. Sorry for no home pics, my battery charger is actually dead and a cell phone pic won't really help.

    The production photo is pretty accurate color-wise, this is what you will get.

    Weird thing as an introduction. When I opened the case, I got a lungful of...caramel smell. the box inside actually smells like this. No clue if Gibson uses whatever chemical or where it comes from. I actually find it pleasant but was surprised at this.

    Features: 4
    All you expect from an explorer is there, minus the dedicated tone/vol for each pickup. You have one shared wolume and a shared tone. In exchange you get a push/pull split for each pickup.
    22 frets, mahogany body and neck, etc etc standard explorer fare otherwise.

    Sound: 5

    Can be summed up as "whoa". The Lace pickups are just exeptional and not at all limited to hipster sludge. You can (and should :D ) play tight death metal with it. For reference I tested it with the way outdated Mark Day preset on the Axe II and it sounds brutal. In E standard.
    The pickups are fairly high output but still manage to do good cleans, *and* you can split them. Pretty versatile, guess you could even try Jazz with the neck.

    Action, fit & finish: 4
    Let's get straight: no QC issue at all with the guitar. The 4 is because the finish is awfully easy to get dirty, and as I sweated a bit when playing, I had to wipe it pretty often. We *are* in july over here. I'd avise to get a rag to wipe it and leave it in the case, that guitar is not one who can go by with weeks of use without cleaning. Especially since the neck becomes sticky as a lot of painted ones do over time.

    The neck profile is what I'd call a "typically Gibson but thinner". Not Ibanez Thin©, but still thinner than a gibson 60es neck.
    Setup at delivery was all over the place but as I ordered online and it stayed a few days in a warehouse I don't fault Gibson on that and it was fixable easily.
    The only downside is the nut, if you intend to play in drop A with a bridge cable for a low string, it might not fit. But it's fine for "regular' strings.

    The color and golden hardware give it a classic vibe that will allow you yo not look like an alien if you play something else than metal with it. it's plain classy. The headstock is also matching the body, which is a rarity for explorers. (I actually can't think of any except fro the jokingly related "black body with matching headstock")

    Reliability and CS: no clue. Owned this for two days now.

    Overall rating: 5

    That guitar is priced 1350€ new, that is an incredible deal for a Gibson with all the bells and whistles (bound frets etc) that sounds this good. I'm really happy to have pulled the trigger on that one, as it is only a 400 piece worldwide release. And I'm not even a Mastodon fan.
  2. altyguitar

    altyguitar Regular

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    May 25, 2013
    Good review, thanks for posting. I am a Mastodon fan and would seriously like to get my hands on one of these.
  3. Jakke

    Jakke Pretty wisdomous

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    Oct 1, 2010
    In a van... DOWN' BY THE RIVER!
    Gibson sprays their cases with vanilla, something they started to to with their acoustics simply because the glue smells very unpleasant. They now do this with all of their guitars.

    The Gibson rep I asked about this classified the Gibson smell because of this as "woodshop combined with Polish whorehouse".
  4. Abbath78

    Abbath78 Regular

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    Nov 9, 2012
    Port Alberni, B.C
    Nice review, now I REALLY want one:hbang:
  5. Lava Joe

    Lava Joe Regular

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    Jan 2, 2011
    That is a sweet looking axe. Always wanted to try an explorer out on stage, but I won't drop the $$$ just to demo it out extensively lol.

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