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All mahognay body and neck in a Gold Burst finish with LACE pickups and gold hardware.
When your tone’s as massive as that of Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher, you need a guitar with equally mammoth power. For both looks and sound, the iconic Gibson Explorer is a perfect fit: this radically angled electric was light years ahead of its time when it was introduced in 1958, and it’s still the first choice of many of the world’s fiercest rockers.
The Bill Kelliher “Golden Axe” Explorer from Gibson USA brews select tonewoods into a timelessly revolutionary body style. With powerful LACE Nitro Hemi humbucking pickups and classic hardware, this is a guitar befitting Kelliher’s status in the world of metal. Trapezoid fingerboard inlays, gold-plated hardware, a hot-stamped Golden Axe truss-rod cover, cream pickguard with hot-stamped Mastodon logo, and Bill’s choice of Go-Gold Burst finish in high-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer complete this stunning package.
Body and neck mahogany has a long history as a tonewood with Gibson, and it provides the perfect core for the Bill Kelliher “Golden Axe” Explorer. Crafted from solid, unchambered mahogany, the Explorer-style body yields plenty of richness and depth, along with excellent sustain. The solid mahogany neck is carved to Bill’s preference of slim Explorer profile measuring 0.800” at the 1st fret and 0.850” at the 12th, and topped with a solid rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a PLEK-cut Corian nut. The body’s top and fingerboard are trimmed in elegant cream binding.
Pickups and electronics Bill Kelliher demands the utmost in power and versatility from his pickups, which is why his “Golden Axe” Explorer is equipped with two powerful LACE Nitro Hemi humbuckers. These extremely powerful contemporary humbuckers excel at high-gain metal tones, with thumping lows and punchy, aggressive mids, yet retain outstanding clarity and sweet, bell-like highs. As a bonus, they are wired for coil-splitting to provide authentic single-coil tones, which can be used individually or in several combinations via a traditional three-way selector switch. A push-pull switch on the master volume control splits the bridge pickup, while the master tone’s switching splits the neck pickup.
Hardware Ever since their introduction in 1954, Gibson’s Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece have been acclaimed for their perfect marriage of solid sustain and efficient intonation. These classics answer the call perfectly on the Bill Kelliher “Golden Axe” Explorer, along with a set of high-quality Grover Mini tuners. All hardware, along with the strap buttons and pickup covers, is plated in gold.
Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell Explorer case with black exterior, and includes owner’s manual and truss-rod adjustment tool.
Put your fingers behind some golden tones. Order today.
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Gibson Bill Kelliher Explorer Electric Guitar:
When I saw this guitar, I had to have it. I was immediately impressed by the beautiful finish with the binding and trapezoid inlays. The neck is a bit of a different profile than my '92 Les Paul Classic with 60s neck, but after a couple of days I like it. My issues: for the price of this guitar, one would expect that small things, like a properly slotted nut, would be taken care of. The strings stick in the nut (ping) like crazy when tuning. If you don't have a nut file handy, it will drive you nuts until you pay a tech to smooth the nut slots! Aside from a poorly slotted nut, this guitar will not stay in tune. I literally have to re-tune each string after every five minutes of playing. Annoying! Another concern: The volume and tone knobs are sticky when turning - enough so that a smooth volume roll is not possible. To my surprise, I opened the control cavity and discovered that the pots are plastic! If I didn't like the finish on this guitar so much, I would have promptly packed it back in the box and sent it back for a refund. I do love the look and playability of this guitar. I can see, however, that Gibson's reputation of cutting corners to cut costs in the last few years is spot on. Very dissappointed in the overall quality.