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

jimijam33

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Here are pictures that I took of Mike Parker & his 1958 Gibson Explorer (3 Amigos Guitar Show - August, 2000, OC Fair, Costa Mesa).
(all pic's ©2000 SK - Do not use without permission).

Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 1.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 2.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 3.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 4.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 5.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 6.jpg
Mike Parkers 58 Explorer 7.jpg
As you can see in this bottom pic there are black "Stingers" painted at the base on each side of the neck joint.

According to Mike Parker, this Explorer was once owned by Don Preston, guitarist for Leon Russell. It was filmed in Concert For Bangladesh when Leon took the stage (as a guest performer). This guitar can also be viewed in other Leon Russell videos from that time period.




Mike is no longer with us but he was a genuinely nice guy to be with (and allowing me to take these pictures). He also allowed me to trace out the body and the peg head on drafting paper.....
 
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seafood

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really great!!!! thanks!!!!! quite a rare opportunity to see all the angles of a true vintage and very rare Gibson......cool.!!!!!!
 

SKYNYRD FRYND

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Amazing Explorer thanks for sharing! Besides the neck tenon “stingers” I also noticed the pickguard seemed to be cut higher from the bridge pickup, exposing some wood, than other 1958 Explorers I’ve seen pictured. Unless that may have been shrinkage, but I’m not sure. I’m not the most knowledgeable about Explorers so maybe someone here may have a better answer or has seen something like this before..?

Edit:
Also the neck pickup doesn’t look “centered” with the fretboard. For reference look at picture 6.
 
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bursty

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Just stumbled across this amazing thread; thanks to all that have contributed here!!

I have never held an original Explorer in my grubby mitts and many years ago I was under the impression that Explorers had a 1 piece body.
I eventually discovered there are Explorers with 2 piece bodies; some were said to be joined in a general area near the larger E string.
Anyone with actual knowledge on the subject know of the ratio of 1 piece body Explorers versus 2 piece body Explorers?
 

SKYNYRD FRYND

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Just stumbled across this amazing thread; thanks to all that have contributed here!!

I have never held an original Explorer in my grubby mitts and many years ago I was under the impression that Explorers had a 1 piece body.
I eventually discovered there are Explorers with 2 piece bodies; some were said to be joined in a general area near the larger E string.
Anyone with actual knowledge on the subject know of the ratio of 1 piece body Explorers versus 2 piece body Explorers?
With as many fakes as there are authentic 1958 Gibson Explorers, it’d be hard to have an accurate number without the daybook, I’d think. Although we do have a good list thus far, thanks to the people in this thread sharing and combining information.

As far as the two-piece body construction, I’ve seen pictures of a few that were two-pieces. Although they were considered fake or “fishy” Explorers. I believe some were and others weren’t, depending on the lumber Gibson had in stock.

For Example: Allen Collins 58-63 Explorer is an odd one, and my most favorite Explorer. The body, from pictures I have seen, could be a two-piece body. But with the theory of the original 1958 Explorers and the finished/assembled 60’s Explorers being a one piece, a two piece body was out of the question. If that makes sense.

Edit:
Also I believe Allen Collins’ Explorer body was joined at the High E string versus the Low E string. If it is indeed a two-piece body. The Explorers you have seen may have been constructed differently.
 

Joe Desperado

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I have not seen a confirmed original explorer with two piece body. I have not seen the Collins explorer first hand, but that would odd. I will have to review pics to see what I can see. I have had the pleasure to measure a few original explorers (and a few that probably were not). All the ones with the correct tool marks had one piece bodies.
 

Joe Desperado

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Here are a few more pictures that I took August, 2000 of Mike Parker & his 1958 Gibson Explorer (all pic's ©2000 SK - Do not use without permission).

View attachment 18324
View attachment 18325
View attachment 18326
View attachment 18327
View attachment 18328
View attachment 18329
View attachment 18330
As you can see in this bottom pic there are black "Stingers" painted at the base on each side of the neck joint.

Mike is no longer with us but he was a genuinely nice guy to be with (and allowing me to take these pictures). He also allowed me to trace out the body and the peg head on drafting paper.....
This is an absolute treasure. Thank you so much for sharing these additional pictures. Only one had been floating around for years. But to see the additional photos is amazing.
 

bursty

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Dec 25, 2012
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Here are a few more pictures that I took August, 2000 of Mike Parker & his 1958 Gibson Explorer (all pic's ©2000 SK - Do not use without permission).

View attachment 18324
View attachment 18325
View attachment 18326
View attachment 18327
View attachment 18328
View attachment 18329
View attachment 18330
As you can see in this bottom pic there are black "Stingers" painted at the base on each side of the neck joint.

Mike is no longer with us but he was a genuinely nice guy to be with (and allowing me to take these pictures). He also allowed me to trace out the body and the peg head on drafting paper.....

Thanks for sharing those.!!
By observing three of these photos one can determine the body looks to be 1 single slab of lumber.
The body also looks to be perfectly flat sawn in comparison to the center line of the instrument, where the neck is attached.
The annual ring structure in the body demonstrates an identical slope angle on either side of the neck/body interface.
That is some fantastic luthiery that went into the production of that instrument; I bet it sounds better than a Stradivarius!!!
 
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bursty

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I am curious to know if any previous publication based on original Gibson Explorers offered any info on neck thickness specs, info similar to the info in the BOTB publication?

It would be very interesting to see actual neck thickness measurements for original Explorers; including the NOS examples from 1963.
 

Luke Gibson

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I am curious to know if any previous publication based on original Gibson Explorers offered any info on neck thickness specs, info similar to the info in the BOTB publication?

It would be very interesting to see actual neck thickness measurements for original Explorers; including the NOS examples from 1963.
I am not aware of any.
 

bursty

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Dec 25, 2012
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I know some folk believe that Elderly is a legit and trusted seller of vintage freted dingus but I will just throw this one out here; is this a legitimate Gibson Explorer?
Only asking because of the 2 piece body .......
 

Luke Gibson

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Many have stated that they think it is not genuine. Answer this question: has it sold yet?
 
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Joe Desperado

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No, it is not real. Many construction details that are not correct including a two piece body. Good to see you doing your research, but you will not find a two piece body explorer made by Gibson in 1958-63. If you find a two piece body with all the correct tool marks and construction details, find the guy who made it and shake his hand on the great level of details...other than the two piece body.
 

Brown Recluse

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Here is a quote that Matte Henderson made on The Gear Page in 2014:

"finally? (as i was reminded by the foremost builder of "58 spec explorers on the planet) the only lam that one might ever see on a true "58 explorer is on the upper fin."

Here is a link to the thread where you can see the context in which he made the above statement:


Matte doesn't name Mike Stevens as the source of the information, however, Matte has been associated with Mike and his guitars for quite some time, and many would regard Mike as one person who is intimately familiar with original Explorers.
 

AlienVintage

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This thread has done more for original korina Explorer research and documentation than all prior written vintage guitar books and articles combined.
 

K_L

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Thank you @jimijam33 for sharing such fantastic pictures of the original `58 Explorer that Don Preston played at the 'Concert for Bangladesh' in Aug 1971.
 

bursty

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@Brown Recluse

thanks for throwing that bone out there; I will have to admit when I read that whole thing about headstock lams and the only lam one might find is on the upper fin, I was a bit thrown off. It took me a few to figure out that Matte was using the term lam/lams when referring to a join aka joint.

That whole lam terminology thing got me thinking of the round laminated fingerboard like a '64 Strat has; I was thinking, when did the Explorers get a round lam 'board? 😂
 

Joe Desperado

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Here is a quote that Matte Henderson made on The Gear Page in 2014:

"finally? (as i was reminded by the foremost builder of "58 spec explorers on the planet) the only lam that one might ever see on a true "58 explorer is on the upper fin."

Here is a link to the thread where you can see the context in which he made the above statement:


Matte doesn't name Mike Stevens as the source of the information, however, Matte has been associated with Mike and his guitars for quite some time, and many would regard Mike as one person who is intimately familiar with original Explorers.
I have not personally seen a 58 with anything other than a 1 piece body (that includes the horn). I have handled several of these now, and have studied hundreds of photographs (of documented originals with pedigree) in great detail with other Explorer Aficionados and we all came to the same conclusion. Only 1 pc bodies were used in 1958.

The challenge with this (and other rare guitars that are being replicated) is that when someone that is considered most knowledgeable makes as statement (whether collaborated or not) it becomes gospel because no one can dispute it. If a world-renown replica builder can only get 16" wide boards and requires to glue a 2" piece on the tip to make it work, all he has to state is he has seen originals this way and now it becomes truth and his 16" 2pc bodies can become acceptable (and even confused as original).
 

Brown Recluse

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I have not personally seen a 58 with anything other than a 1 piece body (that includes the horn). I have handled several of these now, and have studied hundreds of photographs (of documented originals with pedigree) in great detail with other Explorer Aficionados and we all came to the same conclusion. Only 1 pc bodies were used in 1958.

The challenge with this (and other rare guitars that are being replicated) is that when someone that is considered most knowledgeable makes as statement (whether collaborated or not) it becomes gospel because no one can dispute it. If a world-renown replica builder can only get 16" wide boards and requires to glue a 2" piece on the tip to make it work, all he has to state is he has seen originals this way and now it becomes truth and his 16" 2pc bodies can become acceptable (and even confused as original).
Hopefully, nobody would take as gospel a 3rd hand quote that isn't directly attributable to anyone in particular. It has been quite some time since Mike Stevens offered his Korina 'V' and Explorer style guitars. The last time that I saw them listed, the Explorer style one was described as using a one piece body.

Your comment about the 2" piece to make things work made me think more about the Max Explorer I have that fits that description. I bought the carcass years before the thread on the The Gear Page existed, but it is why I remembered the quote from Matte. Now, I'm wondering if it might have been Max that Matte was referring to, rather than Mike Stevens. That would certainly fit better with the idea of making a 2 piece body an acceptable replica of an original example.
 
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