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1983 Explorer

This is a 1983 Gibson Explorer belonging to Troy J.

Troy has had this guitar for 18 years. It was originally Antique White, and it had been repainted bright white. The original Dirty Fingers pickups were fouled, the electronics had seen better days, and there were several parts missing, so the guitar rocked a closet for many years.

I stripped the multiple coats of paint down to the bare wood. The guitar had a clean alder body, so he decided to go with a natural tung oil finish. The black plastic headstock laminate was worn and rough, so I removed that and retopped it with a burled ash veneer to give it some character and offset the plain alder body.

The body then received the High Performance Les Paul (HPLP) treatment, which consisted of:
-Reprofiling the neck shape for high speed and playability
-Removing the bulky neck heel and smoothing out the transition from neck to body
-Sculpting the rear of the cutaway for greater access to the high frets
-Rounding over or beveling of all rear body edges for comfort
-The body was then sanded to 2000 grit, and finished in 3 coats of tung oil

All of the electronics were replaced with equal or better quality components. The control cavity was fully copper-shielded. I installed high-output 4-wire humbuckers to replace the missing originals, and set them up for coil-splitting. The volume control was replaced with a push-push to tap the coils. The output jack, 3-way switch, pots and wires were replaced with new.

The chrome hardware was somewhat worn, so the unserviceable parts were replaced.

A new pickguard was fashioned from walnut and aluminum, as was the rear control cavity cover. I chose the walnut, as well as the ash for the headstock, to contrast the body and visually reduce the overall size of the guitar, as the large flat surface of the top would look much bulkier when natural-finished.

The guitar was then assembled and set up for low action and durability. The guitar was finally fitted with an Earvana nut (not shown) for perfect intonation.


After a few years, Troy decided to sell the guitar, and gave it back to me to sell for him. It was purchased by Rocky Athas, the guitarist for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.
















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