The Gibson Explorer is a type of electric guitar that made its debut in 1958. The Explorer offered a radical, "futuristic" body design, much like its sibling, the Flying V. The Explorer was the final development of a prototype design which years later Gibson marketed under the name Futura.
The Explorer's initial run was unsuccessful, and the model was discontinued in 1959. In 1976, Gibson began reissuing the Explorer after other guitar companies had success selling similar designs. The Explorer became especially popular among the hard rock and heavy metal musicians of the 1970s and 1980s.
Gibson produced very few Explorers during the 1958 run of the original Korina wood model. Because production records are unclear, it is not known exactly how many were made, but the original run total has been estimated at less than 50.
After the first few guitars, the Explorer had a long drooping headstock with the tuners placed in a straight line on one side (referred sometimes as "banana" and "hockey-stick"). This design has been popularized by Grover Jackson, founder of Jackson Guitars and other electric guitar makers such as Kramer and Hamer 20 years later. However, the very earliest...