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1978 Greco EX800HR Explorer Vintage Guitar Flame Maple Top w/ ESP Pickups & Case, Japan Fujigen


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Up for sale, a 1978 Greco Explorer EX800HR in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Clearly taking its design cues from Gibson’s Explorer FMT (Flame Maple Top, also known as the E/2 Explorer), this Greco features a bound flame maple top on a mahogany body, set mahogany neck with long tenon joint, and a rosewood fretboard.

At 8lbs 10oz, this EX800HR has plenty of natural sustain and midrange warmth, faithfully captured by the upgraded pair of ESP-made “Jack Johnes” humbuckers. These rare pickups, made in the ‘70s for ESP and their subsidiary Navigator, feature hex pole pieces and are visually evocative of a DiMarzio Super Distortion, yet with slightly less output. The pickups are big and bold-sounding, with lots of harmonic complexity and detailed highs. The bridge pickup is authoritative and barking with a crisp note attack, metering at 10k ohms, while the neck pickup has a girthier tone while remaining clear with thick, cutting lows, metering at 9.75k ohms. This EX800HR has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The mahogany set neck has a long tenon for optimal sustain, sporting a slender C-shaped profile carve with modest shoulders and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .795” deep at the 1st fret and .910” at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard is a notably dark cut, retaining the original medium jumbo fretwire which has been leveled and crowned and shows no wear. The fretboard also exhibits light finger wear into the rosewood from frets 1-10, and the guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The original bone nut measures a full 1 11/16” in width. The headstock features a Gibson-esque Greco logo, and the original set of Greco-branded tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch. On the back of the headstock, the J78-prefix serial dates to October, ‘78.

All of the electronics function as intended, with the ESP Jack Johnes humbuckers governed by the original harness, with a three-way pickup selector switch, independent Volume knobs and a Master Tone control. The bridge and tailpiece have bright chrome plating, and plastics comprise the original trio of gold bonnet knobs, switch tip, and cream pickup surrounds.

The gloss Cherry Sunburst finish is framed on top by ambered binding, highlighting subtle flame figuring in the two-piece maple top. Cosmetic wear includes a number of minor dings on the body as a whole, largely concentrated along the lower bout perimeter and body points, as well as behind the bridge on top. There is also some very limited buckle worming on the back. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss, with just a couple shallow marks behind frets 14-15 that have no impact on playability.

The original black tolex hardshell case with form-fit green crushed velvet interior is included.