If you have any vintage gibson guitars that are posted on this site ,you are always welcome to post a review,comment or detailed features ,im sure other guitar players who visit us would love to know ... Domenic

Important Note : Due to the overwhelming amount of comments on this blog i cannot answer all the questions although id love to . You can still post questions hopefully some of our viewers can help you out ... Thank You

Gibson Explorer Bass

Gibson Explorer Bass ( 1984-1987 )

1985 gibson explorer bass guitarDuring the early 80s , when glamour rock and heavy metal was at its peak ( zz top ,ozzy , kiss ... etc ) , the gibson explorer guitars somehow gained popularity .

In 1981 to 1989 gibson issued some different models reminiscent to the original explorer such as the korina , cmt , explorer III , and explorer heritage .

Due to their success gibson introduced a bass called the gibson explorer bass . Unlike their companions ( explorer guitars ) the gibson explorer bass was short lived and discontinued in 1987 .

Known today as a good, not expensive, all around sturdy bass , a great workhorse for gigs . ( pic courtesy of ebay )

The explorer bass had an alder body , a 3 piece laminated neck , chrome hardware , 2 volume controls ,1 master tone, 21 frets , 2 humbuckers with black covers ( gibson logo on covers ) , blackface peghead w/logo decals , and were made mostly in ebony and ivory white finishes , some black in 85 & red in 86 .

Vintage Guitar Price Value :
1984 - 1987 > $750 to $1000

guitar price guideAvg Upward Trend Of 9% a Year since 2000


  1. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I had one. Cream colored. Not death metal at all. But I did not care. Three years ago, I sold it. I am now in a perpetual state of depression. Moral of the story: Never sell a Gibson Explorer Bass, unless you sell it to me for a reasonable price. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous4:44 PM

    We have one, apparently an '86 because it is bright candy apple red. It was purchased used from a local shop with hardshell cass for approx. $300. The guy obviously had no clue what he had or thought it was fake or something. But it's the real deal, very loud humbuckers, awesome.

  3. Anonymous5:13 PM

    I am about to offer my '85 explorer on ebay. It taught me to play. It taught me the meaning of tone. Metal if you like, mellow as the last bus of the night. A true champion of tone. Not for the funk popper-for the groove master. A great bass to wear. Heavy and well balanced. I found it in 1990 for $400 next to Muddy Waters in Mpls. Mn. Time to move on.

  4. Anonymous7:22 PM

    hey i might be interested in your explorer , do you have any pics maybe we can work out something before you put it up for sale ...craig

  5. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I got my Gibson Explorer Bass(new)(black)in the summer of '85. Being my first bass, it also taught me how to play. I still have it and will most likely be buried with it!This bass is very didtinctive in the strange way that you can feel the sound as well as hear it. It is a juggernaught of intimidation in appearance and sheer presence!Truely a classic to behold!

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  7. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Please,Please! can someone somewhere tell me where I can get my hands on one of these things the Gibson Explorer bass is the only thing I've ever wanted in a bass!

  8. Anonymous8:47 PM

    try ebay

  9. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Hi there. I'm looking for a 1987 gibson explorer bass (red). If anyone knows where you can buy one please email me.
    thank you. =]

  10. I've had one since 85.Played every bass in the store and this was the last one I tried out.I wasn't into metal and it was the most expensive bass in the shop.Once I laid my 14 year old hands on it,there was no looking back.It's been my main axe ever since.To give an example of it's durability,it went through a house fire.The case was fried but the bass didn't look too bad.Played a gig that night,pulled it out,plugged it in,and guess what...Still in tune.

  11. Anonymous3:57 AM

    An interesting side story to the Gibson Explorer bass is that it was obviously a bass version of the guitar reissue of the 1958/59 Gibson Explorer guitar.

    To my knowledge no 1958/59 Explorer basses were built?

    Anyway, the '84-'87 Gibson Explorer bass was an Alder body (as mentioned by Domenic) but the original 58/59 Explorer guitars were made out of Korina not Alder. However the Korean built Epiphone Explorer basses WERE built using Korina from 2002-04. Dont think for a minute that because its built in Korea it was sub standard. I bought one of these basses after falling in love with a mates black Gibson Explorer and honestly they compare very well. IMHO the Korean Epiphone stuff (and more specifically the instruments that came out of the UNSUNG factory) were built with pride and like they had something to live up to.





    Seriously if you want a real Explorer bass and cant find a Gibson dont think that the Epi aint the real deal. If anything you could say that its more authentic because the wood is at least the right wood. After all Alder is one of the main tone woods that Fender use.

  12. I have afew Gibson Explorer Basses!! They rock!!! I run two stacks for my rig .1 Marshall , the other AmpegMy Gibsons sound better than any of my other basses. I've owned Fenders, Rickenbackers, and had customs made but none have that TONE I need !! Gibson Explorer Basses Rule! I want to have them RE -ISSUE them!!

  13. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I had a black Explorer bass from '86 to '88. Nice fretboard, decent tone but VERY SENSITIVE to changes in temp and humidity. It was too fussy to be a good working instrument, though not as bad as a Ric. I gigged with it for 2 years then switched over to Ibanez Roadster and Fender Jazz basses. Much more usable "real world" instruments!

  14. Anonymous11:55 AM

    where can i buy this bass?

  15. I have a Gibson explorer bass, looks like it went through world war III,it came from a Texas prison, not kidding, sounds like butter, stays in tune forever, nice ebony neck. Has original case,the bass is white with a lot of wood showing from the wear. I have thought about selling it, it sits in the case, you walk by it and you can feel it's power, it's raw mojo. Everytime I play it out people try to buy it off me, a real magnet. I have a Gibson thunderbird too that I play more, mainly because of the shape not the sound, I think the explorer is better sounding, fat lows and thick tone on the high strings too, not one bit of honk, nice...

  16. where can i buy this bass?

  17. Anonymous11:53 PM

    i have one of the '86 explorer basses, it is a bad motherfucker. it is the hippest bass i have ever owned and i have owned a quite a few, although i don't know too much about them. i suppose i should contact the gibson co. anyway, it rocks and it rolls...

  18. Anonymous12:40 PM

    IF anyone has a gibson explorer bass they want to sell please contact timcosgrove@yahoo.com

  19. Anonymous9:41 AM

    just bought one one e-bay. Natural yellow wood finish, high gloss with an ebony fretboard. Can't wait to take delivery. Have always wanted one of these. Yes, I'd have prefered a Korina, but these are becoming scarce in any form.

  20. Anonymous2:35 PM

    I have one gibson explorer in medellin colombia S.A. 1984 black with original hardcase, for sale , contact me . andresterrazalaguito@hotmail.com

  21. Anonymous10:08 AM

    i have a 1986 red gibson explorer with original case for sale if interested you can contact me at robertneilson74@yahoo.co.uk

  22. Anonymous4:21 PM

    I have a '86 cherry red, with white pickguard. Awesome bass. Really heavy by weight and sound... Never gonna sell it.

  23. If anyone has a gibson explorer bass they want to sell please contact romanbolotov@yahoo.com

  24. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I've got an Epiphone/Unsung 99. Great Bass-be advised these necks are a bit wide. Something I personally like is the placement of the pickups on the Epi vs. the Gibby. Also the string length is 32 on the Gibby, 34 on the Epi.

    Sound on the Gibson IS of higher quality, can't deny it, but you go with what you got!

    PEACE and Happy playing!!