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1983 Gibson Explorer Vintage Guitar Ebony, 50s-Style Controls w/ Dirty Fingers & Case


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Up for sale, a 1983 Gibson Explorer in perfect working order, complete with a molded hardshell case. While most Explorers from the '80s reflect Gibson's redesign of the model (changed switch and knob layout, no pickguard, etc), this model is a rare iteration retaining '50s aesthetics including 3-in-line knobs, a multi-ply pickguard and pickup selector located on the treble-side body point. Finished in Ebony nitro lacquer, this Explorer comes from one of Gibson’s most celebrated eras, loaded with the original pair of “Dirty Fingers” humbuckers.

The solid alder body and maple neck deliver more top end than a mahogany-bodied Explorer, and the balanced tonal platform is ideal for the aggressive Dirty Fingers pickups. The pickups have incredible power, punch, and attack, designed specifically for high gain situations with smooth compression and thick, churning drive. This guitar weighs 8lbs 15oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut, gaining quite a bit of roundness and heft as you travel up the fingerboard, measuring .795” deep at the 1st fret and .965” at the 12th. The slab rosewood fretboard sports pearloid dot inlay and retains the original medium jumbo fretwire which has Gibson’s wide/flat fret dress of the era, also benefitting from a light level and crown and showing no wear. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The stock nut measures a full 1 11/16” in width. The headstock retains the clean chrome-plated Gibson-branded and Schaller-made tuners which turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

All of the electronics are stock, with untouched solder joints, CTS pots, and Dirty Fingers humbuckers. Both humbuckers have clean ink stamps on the baseplates dating to September, 1983. The chrome-plated Tune-o-matic bridge and nickel-plated stopbar are both notably clean. Plastics comprise a trio of black bonnet knobs and the three-ply black pickguard, which has some requisite scuffing along the strum path.

The gloss Ebony finish has vertical finish checking across both the body and headstock, and there is a very cleanly repaired split across the bass side of the neck joint just beyond the heel, with two repaired cracks central to the back. Cosmetic wear includes a number of minor nicks and chips along the lower bout perimeter, and an area of buckle worming on the back at the waist. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss, with just a few tiny marks along the profile length that have no impact on playability.

A molded SKB hardshell case is included.