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Thread: 76 explorer

  1. #1

    76 explorer

    I have a 76 explorer with the really big neck, but it has a regular sticker/serial # without the limited edition. Did Gibson send out any LE's with regular stickers?

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Jignant's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Both LE's and non LE's went out with gold sticker s/n decals to my knowlege. Here is a 77 non LE in wine red...I did see a proclaimed 1st gen explorer reissue with indent s/n on Ebay but it could have been a fake. 1st gen reissue specs - three piece mahogany, shorter neck tenon, fat neck profile, ABR1, gold 6 in line Klusons and t tops. Not sure if there were Korina versions made in the 70s. Bought mine in high school for under 400 bucks...
    Last edited by Jignant; 10-02-17 at 12:55 PM.
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  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    It would be interesting to compare serial numbers of the LE and non LE '76s to see if there is any logic to these.

    Added are neck thickness measurements at 1st fret / 7th fret / 12th fret

    00229608 LE nat 60s med nk
    00229622 LE full nk, nat 0.843 / 0.943 / 1.000, 7615/7621 pots
    00229628 LE nat 0.830 / 0.925 / 1003
    00229772 LE nat
    002298XX LE nat Kahlerized restored
    00230XX4 LE nat hs broken off
    00230001 LE
    00230010 LE? nat ex-The Edge
    00230040 LE blk 7615/7621 pots
    00230048 LE? nat stolen in Austin Tx
    00230127 LE nat sold in Japan
    00230163 LE nat
    00230184 LE nat very thick baseball type of nk
    00230203 LE nat
    00230210 LE nat
    00230214 LE nat large nk
    00230224 LE nat original warranty registration card (filled out by Gibson) dated 11/6/1976
    00230260 LE nat chunky nk
    00230309 LE blk stripped to nat, hs broken off, body routed for Kahler
    00230370 LE, nat, warranty reg. 4.4.77, 762X or 763X pot
    00230417 LE nat chunky nk 7635 pots
    00230419 ? nat Dave's guitar coll
    00230517 LE nat hs break
    0023054X LE nat stamped pat.no. T-Tops 0.840
    00230543 LE nat kahlerized restored blk pg
    00230556 LE blk rep hs break baseball bat nk
    00230558 LE blk
    00230634 LE nat chunky nk
    00230691 LE blk
    00230695 LE blk
    00230696 LE nat
    0023075X LE nat chunky nk
    00230833 LE nat
    00230965 LE blk
    00231107 LE nat
    00231118 nat stamped serial # (maybe not by Gibson), no LE indication/decal, maybe refin, 762X and 761X pots
    00231131 LE nat
    00231236 LE
    00232218 LE nat 7615 pot
    00232253 LE blk 8/13/77 pch date on warranty card
    00232275 LE blk .812 / .954 / 1.017
    002323XX LE broken hs stripped added nk inlays (prior to restoration)
    00232348 LE nat
    00232407 LE nat 7621 pot
    00232413 LE nat
    00232630 LE nat
    0023264X LE huge nk
    00232665 LE nat
    00232685 LE nat
    002327XX LE blk
    002327XX LE 0.912, 755X pots
    00232706 LE nat baseball bat nk
    00232708 LE nat chunky nk
    00232709 LE nat huge nk
    00232726 LE nat fat and chunky nk 7615 7622 pots, K 2 stamped on hs
    00232734 LE nat rep hs brk
    00232760 LE nat chunky nk 76 pots
    00232776 LE nat huge nk original warranty registration card (filled out by Gibson) dated 11/20/1976
    00232778 LE nat 762X pots
    00232789 LE nat
    0023279X LE nat (refin blk) (James Hetfield), 7621 pots
    00232828 LE nat big nk 7602 and 7615 pot
    00232845 LE nat stamped 2nd 763X and 7624 pots
    00232856 LE
    00232884 LE nat
    00232897 LE blk super fat nk
    00232917 LE baseball nk
    00232926 LE big nk nat
    00232961 LE big chunky nk 7615 7621 pots K 2 stamp on hs
    00232966 LE nat big nk
    00232986 LE big nk
    00233XXX LE nat huge nk SD 59 pups
    00233XXX LE nat large nk 7542 pots
    00233026 LE nat
    00233048 LE nat chunky nk
    00233055 LE nat
    00233058 LE nat huge (now shaved) nk
    00233064 LE nat 7615 and 7621 pots
    00233075 NON LE large nk nat
    00233079 LE blk full nk
    00233082 LE nat
    00233179 LE nat 7615 and 7621 pots
    00233184 LE nat
    00233124 LE nat chunky nk 7621 pots
    00233191 LE nat 7615 pot
    00233219 LE nat 7621 pot
    00233233 LE nat 'fattest nk'
    00233320 LE nat
    0023333X LE nat (Luke Gibson), full nk - 0.911 / 0.974 / 1.017
    00233345 LE nat big nk
    00233362 LE nat big nk NO tarbacks
    00233372 LE 7615/762X pots
    00233373 LE nat big nk
    00233379 LE nat really big nk
    00233428 LE nat
    0023348X LE nat, removed nk, nk cavity stamp in body 'July 1X 1976'
    00233540 LE nat chunky nk
    00233552 LE nat
    00233601 LE nat huge nk
    00233772 LE nat big nk
    00233784 LE nat huge nk
    00233813 LE nat very big nk
    00233816 LE nat fat thick nk
    00233818 LE nat huge nk .951/1.026/1.049
    00233820 LE (could also be 00233920) nat big baseball bat nk
    00233908 LE nat huge nk
    002339XX LE 0.961, 761X pots
    00233915 LE nat chunky nk 7615 7621 pots
    00233918 LE nat thick nk
    00233980 LE nat baseball bat nk
    00233989 LE nat bought at NAMM (early example?) 7542 (2) and 755X pots
    0023X081 LE nat
    0023X621 LE nat fat nk
    00234007 LE nat
    00234031 LE nat
    00234103 LE nat
    00234115 LE nat, K stamped on hs (and 2)
    00234124 LE nat chunky nk 7621 pots
    00234161 LE nat

    00239787 non LE see through wine RED, 'K' stamped on hs
    00239793 non LE nat 7636 pots
    00239866 non LE nat
    00239880 non LE nat fat & meaty nk also stamped 96732X in hs
    00239888 non LE nat
    00239896 non LE nat
    00239913 non LE blk fat nk
    00239939 non LE nat
    00239965 non LE nat
    00239979 non LE
    0023998X non LE nat
    00239965 non LE nat
    00239979 non LE nat
    00240XXX non LE nat schallers
    00240XXX non LE unplayed with tags 762X pot
    00240015 non LE nat routed
    00240052 non LE nat STAMPED serial no may be original
    00240057 non LE nat
    00240083 non LE blk, refin white
    00240112 non LE nat
    00240154 non LE nat
    00240161 non LE nat 7636 pot slim 60s nk, 0.8 / 0.92 / 1.0
    00240169 non LE nat 76XX pot
    00240220 non LE nat
    00240229 non LE nat narrow depth nk
    00240246 non LE nat
    00240248 non LE
    00240267 non LE med nk 764X pot
    00240282 non LE nat
    00240293 non LE blk 7640 pot beefy nk
    00240297 non LE nat
    00240776 non LE wine RED see through big nk 'K' stamped on hs
    00240777 non LE blk (refin, originally black), big & wide nk 760X pot
    00240789 non LE nat
    00240821 non LE nat lge nk 7636 pot
    00240828 non LE nat
    00240837 non LE nat
    00240840 non LE nat
    00240878 non LE nat
    00240891 non LE big nk 0.787 / 0.945 / 0.984
    00240897 non LE blk
    00240909, non LE nat 7621 pots
    00240923 non LE nat beefy nk
    00240953 non LE nat med nk
    0024X992 non LE nat replaced pups
    00240993 non LE blk not fat nk
    00240998 non LE stripped/refin
    00241020 non LE nat very chunky nk
    00241025 non LE nat added pg switches
    00241036 non LE blk
    00241038 non LE blk
    00241054 non LE nat
    00241067 non LE STAMPED serial no (no decal) looks original nat finish ex-38 Special
    00241071 non LE nat kahler route filled
    00241099 non LE nat modded
    002411XX non LE nat med size nk (SGLP63) 0.805 / 0.909 / 1.005
    00241179 non LE nat blk refin body
    00241284 non LE blk super flat nk
    00241304 non LE nat
    00241307 non LE nat 60s nk
    00241340 non LE nat Kahler
    00241358 non LE blk floyd
    00241364 non LE blk
    00241371 non LE blk
    00241407 non LE nat not too skinny nk
    00241502 non LE nat, 7636 pot
    00241517 non LE nat
    00241562 non LE wine RED see through, 'K' stamped on headstock
    00241563 non LE wine RED see through, 'K' stamped on headstock
    00241566 non LE nat full/thick nk
    00241585 non LE black 7636 pot
    00241591 non LE black full nk
    00241815 non LE nat
    00241XXX non LE stamped 2

    First impression is that all LE's have the big necks, and (at least) some of the non LE's as well. Plus LE's are not limited to natural finished guitars.

    There are also a few Explorers known that according to the pot codes would date to 1975-1977, with six digit stamped headstock numbers:

    627091 nat also w 06 247092 decal
    627093 white 7548 pot
    627271 white
    627404 white 764X pot codes
    627463 white
    627881 white 7552 pot codes, stamped DEMO under the pg
    967310 white 7636 pot
    96732X nat also w decal 00239880 (see above)
    967357 white Heritage auctions
    967368 white 75 and 76 pots, stamped SECOND
    967370 white chunky medium nk
    967392 white 7640 pot codes
    967395 white 7640 pot codes
    967406 white not big nk
    967453 white factory 2nd bought in March 1977

    (Firebird, white 75 pots stamped 627673, with a '00' decal under the finish)

    The 1977s - see my next post in this thread:

    06 247041 (nat)
    06 247052 (nat)
    06 247069 nat, stamped BGN
    06 247082 (blk)
    06 247092 (nat) also with 627091 stamped hs number
    06 247109 (refin, ex Black Oak Arkansas)
    06 247116 (nat)
    06 247118 (nat) hs brk
    06 2471XX (nat)
    06 247133 (nat)
    06 247167 (blk)
    06 2472XX (blk)
    06 247XXX (nat)
    06 2521XX (blk) 7650 pot
    06 252157 (red)
    06 252189 (red) kahler
    06 252190 (red)
    06 2521XX (blk)
    06 252197 (blk)
    06 252211 (red)
    06 25222X (red)
    06 252271 (nat)

    1981 Explorer: 0.812 / 0.935 / 1.000

    Shipping totals according to Gibson's ledgers (which contain inaccuracies):

    1975: White 2 (total 2)
    1976: Ebony 104, Natural 1835, White 67 (total 2006)
    1977: Ebony 203, Natural 760, White 124 (total 1087) - at least a batch of red Explorers was made as well
    1978: Ebony 65, Natural 149, White 60 (total 274)
    1979: Ebony 133, Natural 94, White 60, Explorer II (E2) 586 (total 873)

    "If" the serial numbers on the '76 LE Explorers were applied in chronological sequence, the known pot codes would indicate that Gibson did not start shipping the run of Explorers until around June (my #00229622 has one 7621 pot). I wrote to Gibson for the shipping dates of my guitar and that of a non-LE guitar with 7621 pots, but was informed that there are no ledgers for this period available. If this is correct, it will be very hard to verify when these guitars actually were manufactured and/or shipped.

    When checking the serial ## and pots of other 1976 Gibsons though, it seems that the serial number decals that were applied in the factory may NOT have been used in chronological order, but were applied at random within specific pre-assigned number ranges. Certain ranges of serial numbers were apparently assigned to specific models, with archtops in the low 100,000s, followed by the 3X5 guitars up to the 110,000s, the Les Paul range (110,000s-140,000s, with the Standards and Artisans - which were (re)introduced later in 1976 - in the 230,000s range), then the SG/L6s, S1/Marauders, basses and acoustics (140,000s-up to the 220,000s), with the Firebirds, Tbirds and Explorers occupying the 230,000s-240,000s range. Exceptions do apply...

    Pot dates were all over the place, but that may not mean a whole lot. Some examples:

    LPC #00120544 7613 pots
    LPC 00123976 7653 (!!!) pots
    SG Cst 00145326 754X pots
    SG Std 00149664 751X and 752X pots
    FB 00233531 7552 pots
    Tbird 00243036 7636 pots

    A number of 1976 guitars also have stamped manufacturing dates in the control cavity. The data derived from these also adds to the conclusion that the serial numbers within the pre-assigned ranges may have been applied randomly.

    If this is correct, then it would not be possible to determine if the general neck dimensions of the LE's and non LE's gradually changed during their production runs (from big to huge, as has been suggested in other threads), since the serial numbers on these guitars were not used in strict chronological sequence. YMMV...
    Last edited by keef; 10-03-18 at 06:39 AM.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    It would be interesting to compare serial numbers of the LE and non LE '76s to see if there is any logic to these. My LE is 0022XX22 if I recall correctly. Big neck.

    00 232917 is a LE

    Here's a non LE with 0024XXXX:
    http://www.oldenburger-music-station...76%20black.htm

    I don't know if the LE moniker was limited to natural finish Explorers - so chime in guys.
    My '76 LE s/n 00 23333X
    Last edited by Luke Gibson; 01-23-10 at 12:12 PM.
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    fingerboard......

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  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    EDIT MAY 2013:

    With 90 1976 Explorers now listed (which is approx. 4.5% of the factory totals of 2006 as per Gibsons records), let's take another look at some figures.

    What Gibson says about these 2006 Explorers:

    1835 natural finish guitars (91.15%)
    104 black (5.18%)
    67 white (3.33%)

    The 90 listed guitars are divided as follows:

    75 natural (83.33%)
    9 black (10%)
    6 white (6.67%)

    (one red example was not counted)

    One could argue that in view of the relative small sample of 4.5%, the figures of the listed guitars correspond broadly with the Gibson factory records.
    IF that is an acceptable assumption, then this would also provide ballpark data with regard to the production totals of LE vs non LE guitars.

    Of these 90 listed guitars, there are 55 LE's (61.1%) and 35 non LE's (38.9%) (Gibson has no data regarding the division of LE's-non LE's). When applying these percentages to the 2006 total, this would yield the following numbers (obviously subject to change):

    1226 Limited Edition Explorers
    780 regular (non LE) Explorers

    And here is some conjecture – feel free to laugh it off.

    The explorers with the stamped 627XXX and 967XXX serial numbers – mostly finished in white – were made in Kalamazoo in 1975 as a trial run for the ‘official’ 1976 run of limited edition explorers. Some of these early explorers have late 1975 pots, others late 1976 ones. This would indicate that these were actually completed and shipped out in small quantities during 1976 and 1977 (with only two apparently being shipped in 1975).

    The 'K' stamped wine red explorers -K possibly standing for ‘Kalamazoo’ – could well be a batch or two made in the Parsons street factory, which mostly turned out special runs after Nashville took over most of the manufacturing duties. Maybe a store order. Gibson's records do not mention any red explorers.

    I would assume that all ‘regular’ limited edition and non-limited edition 1976 explorers with the decal serial numbers were made in Nashville.

    Now look at the marketplace for used guitars, and try finding an explorer with a 1977 serial number (starting with 06, or having the new 'current' numbering sequence), which I have been doing for a few years now. Those 1977's are VERY hard to find as compared to the explorers with a 1976 (00) serial number. And then look at the ‘official’ shipping totals for explorers in 1976 and 1977 (respectively 2006 and 1087). These do not correlate with the apparent rarity of the 1977 explorers vs those from 1976 - compare the numbers listed in post #3...that is far from 2:1, so not as one would expect.

    What this would logically imply is that most of the explorers shipped by the factory in 1977 were actually made in 1976 – and in 1975. Not a biggie though.

    About post #113 (the ferrari red explorer): that is certainly not a '76 - but I assume the owner already knows that.
    Kahler trems were supposedly not invented until 1979. Plus wrong pots, pickguard, tuners, pickups, strap holders, case.....and those original leftover 70s decals sometimes turn up for sale:

    Last edited by keef; 07-08-15 at 06:41 AM.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member Jignant's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Here s my 77 serial number and anther shot.



    Last edited by Jignant; 01-14-10 at 02:17 PM. Reason: jignance
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  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    Which color, Luke?
    Natural (sorry!)



    Mine was previously loved (played) a lot! These are very resonate toneful guitars. Mine has the tarback pickups. I'm thinking about installing a set of RS Fralin True 60's, old pots and Bumblebee's for curiosuity's sake. What's anyone's opinion; should I?
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
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  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Sorry Luke, your serial # seems to have one digit too many - what is the correct no (you can X out the last number).

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    Sorry Luke, your serial # seems to have one digit too many - what is the correct no (you can X out the last number).
    One too many threes Keef, sorry!
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

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  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member shuie's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post

    J45's former '76 LE is 00235053 or 58, natural finish, big neck
    00233058.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    You'd kinda have to measure to see exactly how big. I also had a non-LE '76 in black that had a really big neck, as big as some of the biggest '58 Historic fat necks but not nearly as big as the LE. It was just too big.

  12. #12

    Re: 76 explorer

    It's funny that a guy who is interested in my '76 LE Explorer, which has the fat neck, states that he had one that was approx 1/2 inch (!!) thicker than mine on the first fret, and he's not sure about mine, since he doesn't like those skinny necks...Mine is just a hair thinner than my Oxblood Les Paul, and that's a fatty. Anyone has some measurements of the fat LE necks?

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    You'd kinda have to measure to see exactly how big. I also had a non-LE '76 in black that had a really big neck, as big as some of the biggest '58 Historic fat necks but not nearly as big as the LE. It was just too big.
    Good point. I don't have the required tools, but maybe some of the members can post neck measurements which I will include in my earlier post. It would be nice if the LE mysteries can be finally sought out.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Anje's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    I have access to good tool to measure that, but my LE has had the neck shaved down (I'm lucky to have former J45's / Shuie's one, fantastic guitar btw).
    Previous '76 I've had had been refin (so no serial tag left unfortunately) and was supposed to be a LE, it really had this big big fat neck, bigger than the black non-LE posted above judging from the pic, and too big for me.
    When looking at back of the neck pics, I find you can spot on this unusual LE big fat neck profile looking at the headstock/neck junction, the back of the neck looks significantly fatter than the back of the headstock (it looks like a "stepdown" when going from the back of the neck to the back of the headstock). I've hardly seen that on other guitars.
    I don't have this guitar anymore, but it belongs to a buddy now so I may have access to it to do measures if interested, let me know.

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member Jignant's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    I am seeing a lot of 002xxxxx serials and mine starts with 062522xx. Is this possibly an incremental serial number because mine is supposed to be a 77? Anyone know the serial number rationale and 70s production years for these 1st gens? I am seriously considering a pickup and electronics upgrade cause the original pots are shot. RS or anyone make a drop in vintage kit for Explorers?

    Souly Noted - Classic Rock, Modern Rock and Original Music.

  16. #16

    Re: 76 explorer

    Here's a couple of pics of the "coffee table" as my band mates call it.



  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by DRYBONE View Post
    Here's a couple of pics of the "coffee table" as my band mates call it.


    Looks like it's in great shape, I just love these guitars!!
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  18. #18

    Re: 76 explorer

    Mine's 0023054x, LE, natural and has stamped pat.no. T-Tops

  19. #19

    Re: 76 explorer

    I'm the second owner. It had a dimarzio in the bridge and a TP-6 tail piece. The original tuners went bad in 86, so I replaced them with schaller mini's. The pick ups are Duncan Antiquities that MJ wound for me. The neck PU was a T-top when I bought the guitar in 83. I think I paid $400.00.
    Last edited by DRYBONE; 01-13-10 at 10:17 PM. Reason: 47 and still can't spell

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    I've read a lot of info here about the LE necks being huge. The neck on my guitar is full but I wouldn't classify it as huge (and I have small hands) Can we start adding neck size measurements to the above serial number list to see how much variation there is between guitars?
    Last edited by Luke Gibson; 01-14-10 at 04:09 AM.
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member shuie's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    I've only owned two '76 LE's. I have no measurements for either. The first one had a large size neck. I'll say it was like an '01-'02 R8 since I have nothing else to compare it to. This guitar had no serial number (dated with the pots) since it had been refinished when I bought it.

    My 2nd '76 LE was the former j45 guitar that Anje owns now. Before j45 had Dave Johnson shave it down, this particular guitar had the biggest neck of any electric guitar I'd ever held in my hands. It was ridiculous, unplayable for any length of time in it's original state.

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    here's a 1976 with serial number. it had a nice full neck. Probably like most R9's but was a pencil compared to the LE below that i converted to PAF's.








  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    I owned around 100 vintage Gibsons at the same time I had this '76 LE so I had dozens anof 50's necks to compare it to. By far the biggest neck of any Gibson I've ever played. I sent it to Historic Makeovers to have the neck sized similar to my '64 ES-345 that I loved so much. It also appears in the Historic Makeovers coffee table book. I think it's the only non-Historic Les Paul in the book. They also changed the fingerboard out to a darl chocolate Brazilian like vintage Gibson's have.




  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by shuie View Post
    I've only owned two '76 LE's. I have no measurements for either. The first one had a large size neck. I'll say it was like an '01-'02 R8 since I have nothing else to compare it to. This guitar had no serial number (dated with the pots) since it had been refinished when I bought it.

    My 2nd '76 LE was the former j45 guitar that Anje owns now. Before j45 had Dave Johnson shave it down, this particular guitar had the biggest neck of any electric guitar I'd ever held in my hands. It was ridiculous, unplayable for any length of time in it's original state.

    I remember Kerry had Dave shave down the neck to a 60's ES type shape & install a Braz board. Does anyone know how it sounded after the mods? I'm wondering if shaving down the neck changed the tone of the guitar??
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    here's another original '76 LE that I had at the same as the others. You can see the serial number below. You can see I had them all at the same time so was able to compare the three 76's many times. This LE also had a big neck, much like a nice full Historic but still wass not neart as big as my other LE. all three necks were different profiles so it's pretty obvious they varied quite a bit of the course of the 1976 production year.










  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    I owned around 100 vintage Gibsons at the same time I had this '76 LE so I had dozens anof 50's necks to compare it to. By far the biggest neck of any Gibson I've ever played. I sent it to Historic Makeovers to have the neck sized similar to my '64 ES-345 that I loved so much. It also appears in the Historic Makeovers coffee table book. I think it's the only non-Historic Les Paul in the book. They also changed the fingerboard out to a darl chocolate Brazilian like vintage Gibson's have.



    This is by far my favorite '76 Explorer! I'm wanting to do something similar to mine (sans the Bigsby) to make it look more vintage. Beautiful guitar Kerry!!
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    here's another original '76 LE that I had at the same as the others. You can see the serial number below. You can see I had them all at the same time so was able to compare the three 76's many times. This LE also had a big neck, much like a nice full Historic but still wass not neart as big as my other LE. all three necks were different profiles so it's pretty obvious they varied quite a bit of the course of the 1976 production year.









    Great pictures, thanks for posting! IIRC, you mentioned that the fat neck LE had the best tone. Do you think that was due to it having such a large neck? ...just curious. Explorers and Marshalls what a great combo....
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Gibson View Post
    I remember Kerry had Dave shave down the neck to a 60's ES type shape & install a Braz board. Does anyone know how it sounded after the mods? I'm wondering if shaving down the neck changed the tone of the guitar??
    I feel like it changed it quite a bit. It was a bit less resonant after the board change but MUCH more playable. The neck was so big it was miserably uncomfortable. I'm 6'4" and have never been bothered by a large neck but i'm serious when I say this thing was ridiculously big. Even though it lost a little of it's acoustic properties it really didn't matter because it was not something that anyone would be comfortable playing on a regular basis. It just wasn't practical to play. I've had some baseball bat 1930's Gibsons and they weren't as big. I've also some war-time banner-heads that were HUGE. Again, it was the biggest neck profile bar none of any Gibson I've played and I've played a lot. Reducing the neck at least made the guitar playable. If it would have been anything like my other 76's I wouldn't have touched it. I will say that even after I reduced the neck and changed the board it was still a better guitar acoustically than my other two 76's and neither could come close to the sound, even when I swapped to the same pickups. This old road worn LE just had something special about it. When I had the PAF's in it it could hang with my burst or any other PAF Gibsons in the tone department.

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    I feel like it changed it quite a bit. It was a bit less resonant after the board change but MUCH more playable. the neck was so big it was miserably uncomfortable. I'm 6'4" and have never been bothered by a large neck but i'm serious when I say this thing was ridiculously big. Even though it lost a little of it's acoustic properties it really didn't matter because it was not something that anyone would be comfortable playing on a regular basis. It just wasn't practical to play. I've had some baseball bat 1930's Gibsons and they weren't as big. Again, it was the biggest neck profile bar none of any Gibson I've played and I've played a lot. Reducing the neck at least made the guitar playable. If it would have been anything like my other 76's I wouldn't have touched it. I will say that even after I reduced the neck and changed the board it was still a better guitar acoustically than my other two 76's and neither could come close to the sound, even when I swapped to the same pickups. This old road worn LE just had something special about it. When I had the PAF's in it it could hang with my burst or any other PAF Gibsons in the tone department.
    Thanks Kerry! I'm really wanting to try a pickup swap in my LE. Unfortunately earlier this year I sold all of my pickups and my last PAF to a forum member. I still have a set of RS Fralin True 60's that didn't sell, I think I'm gonna try'em this weekend. Where did you get the knobs??
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member j45's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Gibson View Post
    This is by far my favorite '76 Explorer! I'm wanting to do something similar to mine (sans the Bigsby) to make it look more vintage. Beautiful guitar Kerry!!
    This (below) was my inspiration for converting my LE to PAF's and horsehoe Bigsby with Custom Made plaque. It sold at the Skinner auction house about 3-4 years ago and brought $750,000 with fees. To me the "Skinner Explorer" is the coolest gibson ever made. If I had my choice of any Gibson in existence, any famous burst or whatever, this would be my pick. My conversion is my own tribute to the Skinner. I knew that I could never afford it so converting my '76 LE was the next best thing to this:


  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Thanks Kerry, that's kind of what I thought, I think a lot of the tone come from the neck. I also noticed the other Explorers had the original tuners, that might have something to do with it??
    Last edited by Luke Gibson; 01-14-10 at 04:03 AM.
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    This (below) was my inspiration for converting my LE to PAF's and horsehoe Bigsby with Custom Made plaque. It sold at the Skinner auction house about 3-4 years ago and brought $750,000 with fees. To me the "Skinner Explorer" is the coolest gibson ever made. If I had my choice of any Gibson in existence, any famous burst or whatever, this would be my pick. My conversion is my own tribute to the Skinner. I knew that I could never afford it so converting my '76 LE was the next best thing to this:

    Yeah, I love this guitar! I also think the V head stock Explorers are awesome! As stupid as it sounds I've even though about having a toggle switch cover routed in the back of mine because of this guitar. ....I wonder if Gibson did this because switchcraft wasn't making angled toggle switches yet or they were just using parts they already had on hand?? I also noticed Allen Collins Explorer had the round cover.
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jignant View Post
    I am seeing a lot of 002xxxxx serials and mine starts with 062522xx. Is this possibly an incremental serial number because mine is supposed to be a 77? Anyone know the serial number rationale and 70s production years for these 1st gens?
    8 numbers starting with 00: 1976
    8 numbers starting with 06: 1977

    See also here:
    http://www.gibson.com/en-us/Support/SerialNumberSearch/

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Gibson View Post
    I've read a lot of info here about the LE necks being huge. The neck on my guitar is full but I wouldn't classify it as huge (and I have small hands) Can we start adding neck size measurements to the above serial number list to see how much variation there is between guitars?
    Please do...neck thickness at frets 1, 7 and 12, anyone?

    BTW - the neck on my guitar is BIG, but I would not say it's huge either. It's actually very comfortable to me, more so than the neck on my 03 R7, which is also a biggie.

    Maybe I must get me some calipers over the weekend...

  35. #35

    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by keef View Post
    It would be interesting to compare serial numbers of the LE and non LE '76s to see if there is any logic to these.

    My LE is 00229622 if I recall correctly. Big neck, natural finish.

    0022333X is a LE, natural finish
    00230001 LE
    0023054X, LE, natural finish, stamped pat.no. T-Tops
    002327XX LE, original black finish
    00232789, LE, natural finish
    00232856, LE (Fatneck's)
    00232917 is a LE
    00232926 LE, big neck, natural finish
    00232986 LE (Melrock)
    00233026, LE, nat finish (Lanman)
    00233075 owned by Muzikman7 is NOT a LE, large neck, nat finish
    00233345 is a LE, natural finish, big neck
    00233552 LE, nat finish
    00233772 LE, nat finish, big neck
    J45's former '76 LE (now owned by Anje) is 00235058, natural finish, big neck (shaved later)
    00239913, non LE, black (see pic), fat neck
    Here's a black non LE with 0024XXXX:
    http://www.oldenburger-music-station...76%20black.htm
    Drybone's is 00240891, not a LE, big neck
    00241591, non LE, black

    I found all these serial ## within half an hour on the LPF and internet - so don't expect your LE to be really exclusive. A few thousands made would seem feasible.

    First impression is that all LE's have the big necks, and (at least) some of the non LE's as well. Plus LE's are not limited to natural finished guitars.
    My natural finish non-LE '76 Explorer has the S/N 002411XX, with a medium size neck. I've always (well, at least since I started looking into these things) found it a bit puzzling that far more LE than non-LE Explorers appear to be on the market, as this is not what one would expect from a limited edition... The above serial numbers indicate that, sometime in between serial number 00235058 and 00239913 (apparently in the later part of 1976), Explorers were no longer designated LE, or the LE series was discontinued and replaced by an "unlimited" edition.

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member Anje's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    that could be it yes, even if having more non-LE data would be safer to do that assumption I think, since you especially have a non-LE in the 233xxx range.

    btw, I take the occasion to post a recent pic of former Kerry's and Shuie's road worn LE, I'll second everything already said about it, fantastic guitar!




    It now has very nice exposed early 60's Pat# that sound real great in this guitar.
    I'm still wondering from time to time if I should put the Bigsby back on, I love the Bigsby look, but it really sounds/plays killer with the stoptail..

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member Anje's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    here's another original '76 LE that I had at the same as the others. You can see the serial number below. You can see I had them all at the same time so was able to compare the three 76's many times. This LE also had a big neck, much like a nice full Historic but still wass not neart as big as my other LE. all three necks were different profiles so it's pretty obvious they varied quite a bit of the course of the 1976 production year.

    Hi Kerry, this is great info thanks for sharing those details.
    We often read / state that "LE necks are HUGE", but having this particular exemple where you've been able to compare 3 side by side is precious interesting factual data, especially when reading the "output" being that they can vary in quite significant proportion in the "huge" department

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member Jignant's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post

    Did the one on the left come with a black guard originally? I made mine to match the headstock. Lots of great examples from everyone here! Now I am jonesing to upgrade the electronics in mine...
    Souly Noted - Classic Rock, Modern Rock and Original Music.

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 76 explorer

    Quote Originally Posted by Jignant View Post
    Did the one on the left come with a black guard originally? I made mine to match the headstock. Lots of great examples from everyone here! Now I am jonesing to upgrade the electronics in mine...
    Must be a replacement guard. No '76s came with anything other than white single layer guards, unlike the originals that had laminated ones. Some of the later reissues (the '83 Korina run e.g., came with a black guard.

    I never felt the need to upgrade the electronics of the '76 BTW - those tarbacks, whatever they are, sound GREAT in my guitar. Pots work fine, too.

  40. #40

    Re: 76 explorer

    Anje, does that baby blue super lead have "white lightning" stenciled on the back side? Did you buy a 63 firebird V along with it?

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