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My list of known original '58 through '63 korina Explorer serial numbers

MisterMiniMite

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Jul 12, 2003
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There are probably more than a couple of replica builders and secretive dealer types who might resent this list being put out in the open, but I'm all about having this type of stuff out there. Here are what I believe are original '58 through '63 korina Explorers:

(1) 8-2142
(2) 8-3873
(3) 8-3876
(4) 8-4541
(5) 8-4542
(6) 8-4543
(7) 8-4545
(8) 8-4548
(9) 8-4549
(10) 8-4559
(11) 9-1715

So, that's eleven, and to the best of my knowledge and ablilty, they're genuine. Anyone care to join in and add to the list?

Just a couple of observations: one of the obvious group ranges seems to be 8-4541 through 8-4559. Assuming there is an Explorer for each number in that sequential range (and that's perhaps a stretch of an assumption), that would be 19 in that range. I wonder if that's where the often quoted "only 19 made" comes from? Also, to my knowledge, and from what I have observed, this particular range seems to be a group that didn't ship until the early '60s (i.e. the ones with nickel hardware, reflector knobs, maestro vibrola, 6-on-a-strip tuners, etc.).

By contrast, the range suggested by the two known examples above in the 8-3873/3876 area seems to correspond to the ones with the typical '58 features (gold hardware, gold bonnet/tophat knobs, ABR-1 and tailpiece, individual gold Klusons, etc.). I'm just not sure where the upper and lower exampes of this particular range might be - perhaps there are several examples either sequentially above or below those two examples...

Anyway, if anyone else wants to come out of hiding about these serial numbers, I'd appreciate not being the only one out here flapping in the wind :)
 

keef

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Jan 27, 2002
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Cool - I hope that others having access to serial number information of 50s / 60s Explorers will add numbers to the list.

BTW - do you have the two Rick Nielsen guitars on your list? I have the numbers somewhere. Who else has one...I guess there is a fair share of fakes around.....add names if you know any.

Slash (refin with Bigsby)
Rick Derringer
The auctioned Clapton guitar, and his sawed off explorer
Rick Nielsen (in his book there is also a third explorer with a split headstock pictured)
Did Allen Collins ever own an original - he DID have a '76..
There's one in the Billy Gibbons book, owned by a friend of his IIRC
Robb Lawrence may add some more..
 

shuie

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Clapton's was a '76 wasnt it? I think Collins guitar was a '63.

I would think that anyone doing anything unscrupulous with these guitars would love for this list to made public. I would expect to read about several of the previously uncirculated guitars being 'found' under beds if there were an official list.
 

MisterMiniMite

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Here's some known details on some of them:

(1) 8-2142 - Rick Derringer split-headstock
(2) 8-3873 - owned by the late Mike Parker
(3) 8-3876 - Clapton's sawed-off
(4) 8-4541 - Clapton's other one, sold at auction
(5) 8-4542
(6) 8-4543 - previously owned by a LPF member
(7) 8-4545
(8) 8-4548 - recently sold for $611,000 at auction
(9) 8-4549
(10) 8-4559 - saw pics of it taken at a guitar show (Philly?)
(11) 9-1715 - owned by a late friend of a LPF member
 

DANELECTRO

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Feb 24, 2003
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Entwistle had one. Here's a photo from 1982 GP.

58Explorer-Entwistled.jpg


58Explorer-Entwistlec.jpg


Can you imagine people were paying up to 15-20 times the original cost of these? They must have been crazy.
:couch
 

MisterMiniMite

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Clapton's was a '76 wasnt it? I think Collins guitar was a '63.

I would think that anyone doing anything unscrupulous with these guitars would love for this list to made public. I would expect to read about several of the previously uncirculated guitars being 'found' under beds if there were an official list.

shuie - I thought about that, but I figure it cuts both ways. If we can get a reasonably reliable list together, then maybe it might (hopefully) make the fakes built to date stick out in some way, based on this serial number info. But, you're right - going forward, it obviously potentially gives fraudsters some more reliable information that they can use to "fill in the blanks" in a more realistic way.
 

MisterMiniMite

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A couple of other things - I read/heard that some of the early '60s Explorers might actually have impressed, rather than inked on, serial numbers. Presumably these impressed-serial-number Explorers, if they do exist, would follow the serial number format for early '60s SGs, etc...

Also, I figure that 9-1715 has got to be, sequentially speaking, one of the last inked Explorer serial numbers, if not *the* last. As John Catto has pointed out on a number of occasions in previous posts, it looks like the last inked-serial-number Flying V (at least the last one shipped) might have been 9-1704, shipped on 7/18/62. Just judging from the very close serial numbers, I'm guessing that this particular Explorer and this particular V might have had some sort of similar history at the Gibson factory, at least up to the point when they were stamped, presumably sometime in '59... so maybe there's something to this 9-17xx range...

As far as the earliest ink-stamped Explorers, the Derringer split-headstock 8-2142 probably represents one of the few earliest examples, since I've read/heard there were only maybe five or so of these early split-headstock examples built before the change to the hockey-stick headstock...
 

Cody

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Jul 23, 2002
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According to "Guitars Of The Stars", Rick Nielsen's Explorers are:

* 8-4549

* 8-1008

* 8-2118 split headstock

It seems that MisterMiniMite already has 8-4549 listed... is it the same guitar? This one does have gold hardware, tulip tuners, heavy wear and at least one Bigsby removal.
Wing tip missing from PG, and a little piece removed by the bridge, likely to accommodate a Bigsby.

8-1008 is cleaner, but also has gold HW, tulips, some filled holes around the tailpiece.
Wing tip missing from PG.

8-2118... I don't want to doubt, but DAMN, it's clean. Gold HW, uncracked guard, white switch tip, 3x3 tulips, somewhat light fingerboard with swirl, Skylark type logo - might be gold.

I don't have the ability to scan... anybody else have the book?
 

MisterMiniMite

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According to "Guitars Of The Stars", Rick Nielsen's Explorers are:

* 8-4549

* 8-1008

* 8-2118 split headstock

It seems that MisterMiniMite already has 8-4549 listed... is it the same guitar? This one does have gold hardware, tulip tuners, heavy wear and at least one Bigsby removal.
Wing tip missing from PG, and a little piece removed by the bridge, likely to accommodate a Bigsby.

8-1008 is cleaner, but also has gold HW, tulips, some filled holes around the tailpiece.
Wing tip missing from PG.

8-2118... I don't want to doubt, but DAMN, it's clean. Gold HW, uncracked guard, white switch tip, 3x3 tulips, somewhat light fingerboard with swirl, Skylark type logo - might be gold.

I don't have the ability to scan... anybody else have the book?

Cody - yes, regarding 8-4549, I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same guitar.

One other factor that might complicate things, particularly in the 8-4541 through 8-4559 range (if I am right about those ones originally having the early '60s features), is that, apparently, especially during the '70s and '80s, guys would switch out the original early '60s parts and replace them with the '58 spec gold parts, since, at that time, the original Explorers with the '58 spec gold parts would go for more money than the early '60s spec ones. Of course, nowadays, both versions appear to be reasonably equally valued.

As you probably know, one reliable way to spot an early '60s spec Explorer, regardless of what hardware has since been installed, is to look for the three holes from the screws of the original maestro vibrola (yes, as used on the early '60s Melody Maker, SG Jr., SG Special, and Firebird III). Apparently, believe it or not, as absurd as it seems now, in '62-'63, the maestro vibrola feature was one way that Gibson aimed to make the Explorer more marketable than the previous ABR-1-and-tailpiece '58 spec version.
 

Cody

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On 8-4549, if indeed it started out with early '60s parts, Rick seems to have gone the extra mile, as it has the brown '50s case (as does 8-1008).
 

MisterMiniMite

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Cool - my theory about the 8-454x through 8-455x correlation to the early '60s spec could defintely be incorrect, just something I seemed to observe.

In fact, from my list, I must admit that I know little to nothing about 8-4559, except that I saw a few pictures of it which appeared to be taken at a guitar show, which looks like it might have been Philly. Anyone else know anything about this one?

So... perhaps, tentatively, we now have 13 of 'em here. That's a decent chunk, even if you use the higher end of the estimate of original Explorers shipped (highest number I have seen for this is 38). I figure we're somewhere around one-third of the way there, at least :)
 

rhubarbred

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If I was going to make a copy of the Mona Lisa and try to pass it off as genuine, the last thing I would want is an informed public.....
 

59gibson

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I took that pic at the 2005 Fall Philly show. It's a 63 Explorer with nickel parts, pat# pups and removed maestro tailpiece.:dude:
 
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MisterMiniMite

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Incorporates some additions - the list now includes 21 serial numbers believed, at this point, to be genuine:

8-1008
8-1431
8-2118
8-2142
8-2153
8-3549
8-3850
8-3873
8-3876
8-4096
8-4536
8-4539
8-4541
8-4542
8-4543
8-4545
8-4548
8-4549
8-4559
8-4567
9-1715
 

MisterMiniMite

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I also just noticed that burstserial.com lists 8-1008 as a known goldtop, so Rick Nielsen's Explorer 8-1008 seems to have an evil twin of the mahogany-and-maple, single-cutaway variety...

Also, is this one a hockey-stick headstock? If so, would it make sense that a hockey-stick headstock would come sequentially before the split-headstock? Maybe I'm just overanalyzing...
 
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jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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John Entwistle's Explorer was 8-4451.
Per the Bass Culture - The Collection of JE book.
Great pic in there of his trio...58 Explorer, Flying V and Les Paul...
even just when he wrote the notes for it (summer before he dies, I belive,)
the going price for the 3 was $250,000.
IMagine what that exact s-some would bring together if sold today?
a mil? 1.5? :wow
 

MisterMiniMite

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Cool - we seem to be up to 22. Why do I get the feeling that we might reach over 38 when all is said and done?

8-1008
8-1431
8-2118
8-2142
8-2153
8-3549
8-3850
8-3873
8-3876
8-4096
8-4451
8-4536
8-4539
8-4541
8-4542
8-4543
8-4545
8-4548
8-4549
8-4559
8-4567
9-1715
 

j45

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To anyone that may have good photos of original Explorers... PLEASE POST THEM!!

:photos:photos:photos
 
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