Guitar Review: Gibson Explorer 7-String


This weeks review features the Gibson Explorer 7-String, an updated version of the classic Explorer!

The Gibson Explorer was introduced in 1958 and continues to lend its unique tone to all guitarists alike. This legendary guitar was an aggressive style change compared to what was available at the time. Now, with the added low B-string the player can explore new heights of tone and tuning, to open up new ideas without having to fuss with d-tuning a 6-string guitar.

The most defined feature of the Gibson Explorer is the mahogany body which allowed players a lighter weight guitar while not compromising the tone and sustain. The neck on the updated Explorer gets the best of both worlds in that it’s a hybrid between the 50”s rounded contoured neck and the 60”s slim tapered neck. The neck is made of mahogany fitted with a Corian nut (1.69” width) and mini Grover chrome tuners. The rosewood fretboard is fitted with 22 medium frets with no inlays. The hybrid neck is 24 ¾” scale neck with an adjustable truss rod that is both smooth and grippy.

The 7-string Explorer is fitted with EMG pickups for crushing tone and sustain. The neck pickup is the EMG 707 active humbucker. The EMG 707 Features an alnico V loaded wide aperture coils that beef up that low B tone and at the same time provide a more responsive super tight overall sound. Whether you are ringing out jazzy chords or playing palm muted death chugs, even with the amp set to “11”, these pickups will articulate every note, harmonic and squeal you hit. The bridge pickup is the EMG 81-7, this is a high output pickup designed especially for the 7-string lead guitarist. There’s a razor sharp attack, and incredible sustain for brilliant soloing and power rhythms. The Explorer is fitted with two volume knobs, one for the neck and one for the bridge, as well as one tone knob connected to a 3-way toggle switch. The black speed knobs have a smooth and fast spin to them for fast on the fly tone and volume changes.

My overall opinion of this newly designed Gibson classic is just that, it’s an instant classic. The set up of this guitar will change the way people look at 7-strings. In my experience with 6-string players, we tend to be a bit snobbish towards the 7-string guitar. Such claims are often made that the tone gets too muddy and the clarity is diminished from the newly designed pickup and so fourth. I can tell you with complete assurance that the “EMG pickups muddy after tones” are out of the picture. I had some time to play with this guitar for about 3 hours and I tried to find faults with the tone of the guitar. To my surprise there was zero drowned-out tone unleashed from the low B-string or the E, A and D strings with the particular amp I was using, so I decided to test the guitar with other amp models. I found with under powered amps there was a slight muddy tone to the guitar, amps with 30 watts or less tended to fade the clarity out a bit while 40 watt + amps were right as rain. Keep in mind all the amps I use were not cheap amps just different power set ups.

To sum it up, I loved everything about this guitar. The body was light and balanced, the neck was fast and smooth and the tone was everything I could want in an all around guitar. Great tone fair price just under $1,700 and that classic look that draws more and more attention with every passing note. The updated Gibson Explorer is definitely a force to be reckoned with. My only issue with this guitar is that I would like to see a 24 fret model. Till next week, keep shredding and thanks for reading.

Subscribe to SMG Podcasts!
Download the latest show
from iTunes >>>