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Gibson Tribal Explorer
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Gibson Tribal Explorer

V/XPL/FB Shaped Guitar from Gibson belonging to the Explorer series.

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tjon901 tjon901

« Would be cooler without the tribal stuff »

Published on 10/18/11 at 08:22
This Gibson Explorer is part of the 2009 run of limited edition guitars. Gibson came up with a new gimmick guitar every month for this series and in my opinion the Tribal Explorer and V were the best guitars to come out of that run. The Flying V and Explorer were way ahead of their time when they were first introduced in the late 50s but in the 80s they came into their own. This guitar emulates the style of the time with its finish and hardware. This Explorer has a mahogany body and neck like most Gibsons. The set neck has an Ebony fretboard with 22 frets. Up top you get no locking nut or even locking tuners which normally would be fine but since you have a Floating tremolo its just a sign of lazyness. The Kahler model on this guitar isnt even a good one its just a top mount model that goes into the tune-o-matic posts. You get two standard Gibson pickups on this guitar. The 496R in the neck and the 500T in the bridge. The controls are simple with a master tone and master volume with a 3 way toggle. You get silly black graphics on the white finish of this guitar. Kind of looks like a tribal tattoo mixed with the Van Halen logo.

UTILIZATION

Without the tremolo system this would just be a normal Explorer, but the tremolo system makes it worst. It makes the guitar worse because it does not have a locking nut to keep it in tune. It has locking tuners which are nice but with a tremolo you need a locking mechanism at the nut because tremolo use will cause binding and snagging at the nut. This guy comes with the 50 baseball bat neck which does not lend itself to fast playing unless you have huge hands. The ebony fretboard is nice. The model I tested out was a bit dry but some linseed oil fixed that up.

SOUNDS

The pickups in this guitar are nothing special. They are Gibson pickups that they put in just about every guitar that they think needs a modernish sound. You get the good mahogany base which is key to the sound on any Gibson. The 496R is kind of bright for the neck position but 80s tone is all about brightness. It can really cut through. The bridge pickup 500t is nice and crunchy. It has decent output and nice string clarity on every string. The Gibson pickups are alright but with the style of guitar this is some hotter or active pickups would have been better. A set of EMG pickups would have gone well with this guitar. White Explorer with EMG's is a classic metal look and it would have the classic metal sound.

OVERALL OPINION

This guitar is another one where Gibson was close to getting it right. They have Explorers that come with locking nuts so I dont know why they couldnt have put one on this guitar. They have Explorers with Floyd Rose tremolos that come with locking nuts. Why bother putting a Kahler on this guitar without a locking nut. Why didnt they just paint the Floyd Rose guitar white with the tribal stuff. That would have been a better guitar overall. People like Floyds more than Khalers anyway. If you are looking for a white Explorer than get a white Explorer. If you are looking for an Explorer with a tremolo than get one with a Floyd Rose and locking nut.
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