1982 Gibson Korina Explorer Heritage Series PROTOTYPE! + OHSC

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At A Glance:
Model: Explorer
Year: 1982
Finish: Natural
Modifications: None
Repairs: None
Weight (kg): 3.56

Case: Correct Brown Tolex
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Neck wood: Korina
Body wood: Korina
Tuners: Correct Gold Plated Gibson
Pickups: 2 x Correct Gold Plated Tim Shaw Humbuckers
Hardware: Correct Gold Plated
Neck Profile: Medium C
Pots: 3 x Correct 500k CTS

    It is hard to find the original korina Heritage Explorer - out of the early 80's korina trio (Explorer, V and Moderne) the Explorer is the more difficult one to find. It is also difficult to find one with zero issues and untouched, finally the rarest thing of the lot is this particular one is the prototype of the range and is stamped by the factory as such..!

    First patented in June 1957 with a prototype making an appearance at that years NAMM show, the Explorer had a rocky inception. Originally released by Gibson alongside the Flying V in mid-1958 in a bid by the company to shake things up under continued pressure from Fender, the angular Korina design proved  too much for the guitar buying public. 22 were built between 1958 and 1959 making it an incredibly rare instrument. 

    What proved too much for the 50s proved spot on for the 70s where Gibson, spurred on by other manufacturers releasing Explorer inspired designs, re-issued the guitar in 1976 with the Limited Edition retaining the 50s spec neck profile (made famous by some guy called David Howell Evans…)

    The Heritage series was Gibson’s homage to the first run, utilizing Korina in the construction for the first time with the three models being built in small quantities between 1982 and 1984.

    This example is stamped as a prototype making it quite a rare prospect and an early example of the work produced by the Gibson Custom shop. It has thankfully escaped any changes or any real serious wear. The three piece korina body is in great shape and has very few marks. The grain of the wood is well showcased and has been well matched.

    As with the body, the neck has retained its gloriously glossy finish and again shows no signs of wear. The fretboard looks good with some life left in the frets. The headstock, constructed in three pieces, has a few very minor marks along the edge but again still retains its gloss finish. Similarly, the plastics are well preserved.

    The gold hardware has tarnished a little but that is to be expected. 

    The guitar comes with its correct black tolex, purple lined hardshell case.

    Sat down or stood up the guitar does feel comfortable to play, more so than its brother the Flying V, the chunky C profit neck is a handful but not to the point of being too much. Tone wise its more SG than Les Paul though inevitably it has its own sound . The Patent Number humbuckers sound great with no hint of any woolliness and a great bite in the bridge position.

    Own a bit of Gibson custom shop history or simply add an Explorer to the collection. Whatever it is, grab this one before it gets away…

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