On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Explorer (serial no. 3880)

Gibson American

Not on view

The Explorer, along with the Flying V, was one of Gibson’s most adventurous early designs meant to compete with Fender’s modernist space age aesthetics. However, the instruments were unsuccessful at first, and fewer than fifty examples were built between 1958 and 1963. Only in the 1970s and 1980s did guitarists begin to embrace the radical design, leading Gibson and other makers to produce instruments with the now-iconic body shape. The rarity of original Explorers makes them highly sought after today.

Technical Description:
Korina (Limba wood) body and neck, rosewood fingerboard; 24¾ in. scale; natural finish; set neck with pearloid dot inlays; curved headstock with inlaid mother-of-pearl Gibson logo; two PAF humbucking pickups, three-way selector switch, two volume controls and one tone control; gold-plated ABR-1 tune-o-matic bridge, pickup covers, and Kluson tuners, clear and gold plastic bonnet knobs, four-ply white and black plastic pickguard

Explorer (serial no. 3880), Gibson (American, founded Kalamazoo, Michigan 1902), Korina (Limba wood), rosewood, nickel, plastic, gold plate

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Courtesy of Perry A. Margouleff