Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Epiphone Explorer GT

Well, this guitar is Epiphone's take on Gibson's Explorer. Enjoy!

Features: Made Indonesia, 2010 - these have just been released.
22 jumbo frets - rosewood f/b, bolt-on neck
Worn black matt finish.
Reduced size Explorer shape (but still full scale length) with V style headstock.
Tune-o-matic bridge; Epi neck & bridge humbuckers
1 x vol, 1 x tone (with built-in Shadow killswitch); 3-way switch. Stock Epi sealed tuners. Came with a cable & that's it! I'd give it a 5 (neither here nor there) but the inclusion of the awesome killswith on a sub-£140 guitar = 9. A licensed Floyd would be nice, but there isn't enough depth to the body to fit one...or maybe there is...anyone up for it? // 9

Sound: Pickups are pretty good, acutally. A bit 'soulless' and noisy on high gain as you would expect from a stock guitar at this price - sound very good distorted, and more than passable clean. Vol and tone are fairly useable to get a range of tones. Would be improved with better pups of course. The bridge can be pretty quacky, and the neck warm and bluesy, actually - you could use this for a great variety of styles, but rock and METAL will sneak in your back door and abuse it while you aren't looking...beware! Playing through myAshton BlueTongue 50 tube amp with a range of pedals - Danelectro Cool Cat metal II,Fuzz and Transparent overdrive; Korg Pitchblack; Crybaby upfront (not in that order!) and delay/chorus/MXR 6-band EQ in FX loop. Sounds great for the price! // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Needed tuning out of the box; came with factory 10-46's which aren't too bad (and at least they're not shitty 9's which I HATE). Truss rod needed a half turn to reduce a little bow, and bridge needed lowering a shade as action was high - now plays sweet with a medium-low action, very little fret buzz - I've heard bad things aboutEpiphone, this is my first, and I have to say it's actually very well made and finished. No dodgy frets, finish is spotless, everything works. The killswith is activated by pressing down on the tone pot - GREAT FUN and works as well as a 'normal' killswith, in fact a bit easier to use as you just have to tap it - this feature is pretty unique and makes this guitar a great choice for beginners/intermediate/advanced (although more experienced players will possibly think it feels 'cheap' - the body is really light, but that makes it really comfy for long playing sessions and jumpin aroond on stage!!). // 7

Reliability & Durability: Seems like it would withstand gigging, and seems like it will last - but time will tell on the killswitch (which is the obvious choice to wear out first). If it did go it would more than likely be as a consequence of use and so I wouldn't knock it down for that - I'm sure that such a Switch must be made to withstand constant use/abuse anyway...we'll see. Finish is great. I'll give it an 8 but consider I don't yet know! // 8

Impression: I play rock/blues/metal/thrash - anything. It suits all those styles apart from light rock & jazzy stuff really well (although it could do them at a push). Sounds great distorted; killswitch is top fun. My only reservation is that due to the reduced size it doesn't feel like a 'proper' Explorer - although I think this will turn out to be an advantage in the long run. I've had loads of guitars from Squiers to PRS and have been playing 25 years, occasional gigs but mostly home/bedroom. For the price this is a great guitar and it even feels like it should cost much more. Free delivery from Anderton's music - next day when ordered online - get in there while they last! It's great for me, and I'm sure it'll be thrashing away in my room for some time to come... I'm pretty chuffed with it. I'll give it an 8 to avoid offending the gearsnobs out there who rubbish any high review not for equipment that costs enough to require the sale of body parts to buy it...although for value etc., I'd give it a 10. // 8


  1. Nice review, looks pretty cool!

  2. pretty cool guitar! i would love that

  3. Great review, sounds like a worhtwhile guitar. You gotta love those gearsnobs too right?..haha

  4. I think I've seen Buckethead using a killswitch!

  5. Very sick guitar. If I was famous I wouldn't be embarrassed to shred on it.

  6. Koool guitar if only I knew how to play