NGD. Bought a mystery! Explorer natural mahogany solid 2 piece guitar. Vintage 70s 80s. No name

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by GreenMagicMan, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Very excited, just bought this beauty.

    I did not even realize what I had until later.

    I did not notice it was definitely a solid wood guitar. Or that it was 2 piece only and the grain goes front thru side to back.

    I also didn’t measure the scale length until later. I had guessed briefly on hindsight it was 25.5″ but it turns out it’s 24.75″ just like a Gibson / Epiphone!

    Someone made a very very good copy here. The guitars rings and rings. It sustains much better than my MIK 2004 Epiphone ’58 Explorer goth.

    It’s also very very light. It has a beefy thick neck, but not too thick. Slim Taper D or maybe thicker.

    It’s been heavily modified. I know the bridge and stop bar tail piece are not originals, these are black. It has black speed knobs which I am sure are not originals.

    When I finally got to see this beauty (been trying to buy it since August but seller wouldn’t sell it), I thought the finish was much better than I was expecting for an old guitar. I also thought those might be Dimarzio Super Distortions in cream and was quite excited! It was only later I realized they are not Super Distortions due to the poles, but they may be Dimarzio or ’57 or ’59 PAF style humbuckers in cream color. I’m quite intrigued. Seller said bridge pickup works but no sound from neck pickup so I will do a full investigation next.

    I believe the headstock was black on the front and was sanded off to the wood tone underneath. It might be that it’s an original 1976 Gibson Explorer (!) but I think it’s a small chance it is. I only thought that slim hope is alive as it’s a true 24.75″ scale length, and solid wood body.

    The headstock has an extremely unusual seam in it, and I’ve only seen a very different dimensioned one like that on cheap Harmony guitars and 1976 Gibsons are much closer to this pattern. That said, I believe this to be a middle to late 70s or early 80s at latest Fernandes Burny Explorer like the FEX-80 or REX-80. The old ones have the closest woodgrain pattern seam there on the headstock. I’ve always wanted one of those, and read they are fantastic guitars – which is why I was so excited to finally be able to schedule a viewing of this little gem of a guitar.

    I’m near certain the body is mahogany and not Korina. The fretboard is likely rosewood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  2. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    omigosh! I just plugged this mystery mahogany Explorer in.

    I was afraid to – didn’t know if it was going to be a huge letdown. The sound: it’s gorgeous. I think on this home stereo no less and not even a guitar amp it may have catapulted to my favorite of all time.

    The sound is articulate (not muddy) and has super beef to it if you chug on the low E string…. oh my gosh tone heaven. The tone control has huge adjustment. The damn thing sounds like into my spanking tele territory. It’s got a tele spank sparkle to it – on a frickin’ Gibson scale 24.75”! What??!

    The neck is thick. Real thick. I just measured the 12th fret as 1″. The 1st fret / nut area is about 7/8″ thick.

    I pulled the cover from the controls on the back. There isn’t any real big identifiers. I’d say they are CTS pots. 500K.

    The two volume controls say “86 500K 0416” on them. No other info stamped.

    The tone control simply says “EP0” the rest is covered with solder.

    The original ad showed the pickguard off. The pickguard is not the original either. There are different hole patterns behind this one. You can notice this pickguard is 'tall' compared to Gibson - the Gibson / Epis end shorter between the pickups - they do not go the entire way up flush with highest edge of pickups. Very close inspection here makes it look like this pickguard was cut down in a few spots to fit. Again, this body seems to be just a bit smaller than a '1958' full size Gibson so maybe that's why??
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  3. Slap Axe

    Slap Axe Tele-Meister

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    Uhhhhh, can a brother get a photo?
     
  4. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    Apparently this did not happen, as there are no pics.

    Nothing to see here folks.
     
  5. Shayo

    Shayo TDPRI Member

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    You forgot the most important thing.... Where are the pictures??

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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  6. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Sorry people, was trying to upload them. I'll take some better ones today in the daylight as well.
     
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  7. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    It’s the rare Bigfoot/Sasquatch model.

    I’ve heard about it but never seen it.
     
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  8. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very nice. Hngd, not sure about the brand though.
     
  9. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    That obvious disparity in wood color of the pieces on the headstock makes me wonder if it wasn't stripped and refinished. Many manufacturers might not do that unless they knew it was going to be covered in paint.
     
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  10. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    Very cool. Congratulations
     
  11. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Thank you!
    Weird though, I still don't know what this is. It was a fun adventure to get this finally about 3 hours into central Vermont mountains.
    Here's a few more pics I took in the daylight.
    I feel certain it's old. Like 70s old or maybe early 80s. It just has an older look than my 1983 Aria ZZ Blueburst which by the way is a much smaller guitar body.

    In the 3rd pic below, you can see how the original bridge insert area was plugged and redrilled for the current bridge. In doing so, by design or accident, the bridge was located 'higher' up on the guitar towards the low E string side... and the E string there is not perfectly inline there, but has a little bend in it over the bridge.

    Clearly replacement tuners. You can see the original holes in the headstock for vintage style. Schaller tuners. Are those M6? This is the first guitar I've had with Schallers on them. Are they all 'locking' or only certain units like newer ones?

     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  12. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I think so too. I am about certain it was a black finish from a factory, and it was sanded off. It does not have the same appearance as the back of the headstock. The mismatched wood grains are a bit unattractive too, and very noticeable so if this a factory built guitar I can't believe anyone would put one out there like that.
    I also believe that's where either "Burny" or "Gibson" logos would have been as well :(
    I've read that the older original 1976 Gibsons simply had stickers with serial numbers which could be long gone. And we know many guitars came out of Japan with no identifiers or serial numbers in the old days too :(
    Not sure if the tone and volume pots are original or not. Maybe the pickup selector switch is. At some point I'll have to get in there to see if there are any clues and also what those pickups actually are.
     
  13. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    Looks as though the bridge not only moved up toward the low E, but also moved back, which may have been done because it would not properly intonate. Or, depending on pole spacing of original holes, it may have been a wraparound originally.
     
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  14. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    Gibson would not have had a three-screw mounted truss cover. If it doesn't have the brass bell truss rod nut, it isn't a Gibson.
     
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  15. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    In the second picture posted above at top of this thread, I think there are faint traces of black paint right on the corner of the headstock. Particularly if you click through on that above pic to get to the higher resolution it seems visible.
    Also, the only other clue I might detect is in this pic here. it's very faint but seems to be some dark (black ?) remnant there.
     

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  16. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Backporchmusic: I agree completely. I know they didn't have those. I speculated could be different hole pattern (2) under that cover, but haven't removed it yet. I should do that next.
     
  17. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

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    Could be one of many brands.

    I had one like that in the late 90' s, with a headstock repair.

    Check out Hondo, they made an Explorer copy with a headstock seam in the same place.
     
  18. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I have seen those Hondos. I don't believe this is one of those. The seam location is a little different and I'm also not aware they ever made a solid 2 piece body (mahogany). I know they made a lot of plywood guitars that were heavy - maybe after better built originals (?)
    I'll try to post a picture of a late 70s early 80s Burny next. They seem to have a very similar wood seam there.
     
  19. Zuzax

    Zuzax Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks kinda like a stripped Hamer.
     
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  20. GreenMagicMan

    GreenMagicMan Tele-Meister

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