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1976 Gibson Explorer Limited Edition Vintage Guitar Natural w/ '50s Neck Carve, Case


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Up for sale, a 1976 Gibson Limited Edition Explorer in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a vintage Ibanez Destroyer hardshell case. One of a small number of '50-style Explorers produced in the latter half of the '70s, this first-year Limited Edition reissue has a notably chunky "baseball bat" C-shaped neck profile carve only seen on the earliest examples of this model.

With mahogany body and neck construction and gold-plated hardware throughout, this Gibson has a couple key modifications from stock made decades ago including a Mighty Mite double cream humbucker in the bridge position metering at 12.3k ohms (complete with coil tap mini toggle) and a solid brass Stars Guitars bridge, ensuring exquisite sustain and articulation. The original "Tarback" humbucker is present in the neck position, and this pickup has a different magnet structure and fewer winds than a T Top. Coupled with the black epoxy that gives the humbucker its name and ensures great feedback rejection by suppressing microphonics, the Tarback has loads of clarity and a sweet, woody cut. The Mighty Mite bridge position is more midrange forward, and both pickups balance well in terms of perceived output. Coil-tapping the bridge pickup offers more spank, yet still with plenty of body and snarl. This Explorer weighs 8lbs 14oz, benefitting from a professional setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action, and accurate intonation.

The one-piece mahogany neck has a substantial 1958-spec neck profile carve with tons of shoulder and heft, measuring .930” deep at the 1st fret and 1.060” at the 12th. The slab rosewood fretboard has been refretted with jumbo fretwire, and these frets are wide and flat with only faint wear on the crowns of frets 1-3. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The nut measures a full 1 11/16” in width. On the headstock, the original Gibson Deluxe gold strip tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with clean gold plating. The back of the headstock has its stickered Limited Edition badge with 00-prefix serial number. This badge was only used on roughly half of the Explorers offered in the original '76 run.

All of the electronics work as they should, with a three-way pickup selector, individual Volume controls for each pickup, a Master Tone control, and an added two-way mini-toggle to coil tap the Mighty Mite humbucker. The original CTS pots date to '76. Hardware includes the original gold-plated stopbar and studs, paired with a vintage solid brass Stars Guitars tune-o-matic bridge. Original plastics comprise the clean one-ply white pickguard and the trio of gold speed knobs.

This is a particularly well-kept example, with cosmetic wear on the Natural nitro lacquer gloss finish limited to light buckle wear at the bass-side waist on the back, and a few additional minor marks and light finish scratches, largely relegated to the back and body perimeter. There are also a couple small dings on top behind the bridge, and faint cloudiness in the lacquer on the inside edge of the cutaway and adjacent to the forward strap button. The gloss finish on the neck profile is nigh flawless.

A vintage black tolex hardshell case with a green plush form-fit interior is included. Highly valuable in its own right, this is the exact same vintage case seen paired with Ibanez's Destroyer model used by EVH in the '70s.