Up for sale, a 1989 Orville by Gibson Explorer in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original form-fit gigbag. Made exclusively for the Japanese market and exceedingly rare, this Orville is an official Gibson licensed guitar and a result of a partnership between Gibson USA and their Japanese distributor Yamano Gakki. Named after Gibson's founder, Orville Gibson, the "Orville by Gibson" guitars were branded as such because they were the highest tier instruments made under the Orville banner, boasting USA Gibson pickups. Made in the Terada factory in Japan, this Explorer benefits from the incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship of Japanese manufacture, and the finer points of a golden era Explorer are faithfully recreated, with solid korina body construction, a one-piece korina neck with long tenon, gold hardware, and the original pair of USA-made GIbson "circuit board" Bill Lawrence humbuckers.
This Gibson delivers the natural warmth and detail of korina, with body construction and cosmetics consistent with the most highly coveted iteration of the Explorer from the late '50s. The original Bill Lawrence designed Super Humbuckers, known colloquially as Gibson's "circuit board" pickups, are a medium output design that handles gain extremely well. The guitar delivers an articulate array of tones that can be bright and growly or thick and punchy with the flip of a switch. This Explorer weighs 8lbs 14oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.
The korina neck has a modestly slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut, with a hair more shoulder and roundness as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .830" deep at the 1st fret and .930" at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard retains the original medium jumbo fretwire which has its full factory height and shows virtually no wear, playing cleanly in every register. The scale length measures 24 3/4", and the nut is 1 11/16" in width. The headstock features gold Gotoh tuning machines and an inked serial number with G-prefix, consistent with Terada factory production.
The guitar does exhibit two small partial splits adjacent to the headstock, both perfectly structurally sound and smooth to the touch, with some clear finish fills that have less opacity than the surrounding stock finish. One repair extends diagonally from the bass side of the nut about 1”, and an even smaller inverse V-shaped repair is present on the treble side of the joint.
All of the electronics function as intended, with untouched solder joints on the Bill Lawrence humbuckers and full-size Japanese pots that date to June of 1989. The gold hardware has plenty of shine with only light surface patina, and plastic parts include a trio of gold speed knobs and the white three-ply pickguard which shows some requisite pick scuffing. The original gloss finish is exceptionally clean, with wear limited to just a few minor dings and faint finish scratches on the body as a whole.
The original Orville by Gibson-branded black faux leather gigbag is included.