Gibson Explorer "Korina" 1958-1960

Reverb Estimated Used Price Range

  • $500,000$1,000,000

The Explorer and its counterpart the Flying V were first built by Gibson as ultra-modern design concepts the late-'50s . A third guitar known as the Moderne was designed concurrently but never made it out of the prototype stage. Original Flying Vs and Explorers from this era were produced in extremely limited numbers using Korina as the body wood, and intact examples rank as the most valuable production guitars on the vintage market.  

The Explorer was initially designed in 1957 and with fewer than 50 total guitars shipping from the factory in 1958 and 1959.  Several more examples were completed using parts from these years and shipped as late as 1963, though the specifics of these details remain subject to debate within the vintage Gibson collector community. 

Original explorers made out of Korina wood come to market very infrequently and pricing is extremely case-by-case depending on provenance and originality (hence the wide range on this guide). 

Design Elements: Two PAF humbuckers, tune-o-matic bridge, stopbar tailpiece

Wood Composition: Korina body 

Notable Explorer Players: The Edge, Rick Nielsen