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Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar

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The Explorer Melody Maker is one the Limited Run Series as Gibson USA re-introduces the Melody Maker as the budget-friendly entree to Gibson solidbody electrics.The Melody Maker was introduced by Gibs... Click To Read More About This Product

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The Explorer Melody Maker is one the Limited Run Series as Gibson USA re-introduces the Melody Maker as the budget-friendly entree to Gibson solidbody electrics.The Melody Maker was introduced by Gibson 1959 as their budget solidbody model. It had a single-cutaway Les Paul Junior shape with a thinner body and distinctive, narrower Melody Maker headstock. The one single-coil pickup was controlled by one volume knob”sound familiar? In later years, a double-cutaway and then an SG-shaped Melody Maker were released.

The new Melody Maker is available in four iconic body shapes: Les Paul and, SG, and now for the first time for the Melody Maker: Flying V, and Explorer. The Melody Maker is now powered by a Seymour Duncan HB-103 humbucker to produce the punch and roar that modern guitar players demand. The maple body comes in a choice of grain-textured satin finishes while the set-in, 1-piece mahogany neck has the slim Melody Maker profile. The wrapround tailpiece, with its tight and solid design, offers the sustain and resonance that many rockers seek. The Gibson USA Melody Maker comes with deluxe gig bag.


Maple body (reduced 5% from normal size)
Grain textured satin finish
Set 1-piece mahogany neck
Melody Maker neck profile
24-3/4" scale
22 frets
Acrylic dot fretboard inlays
1.695 nut width
Corian nut
Seymour Duncan HB-103 humbucker
One Volume control
Wraparound tailpiece
Gig bag included
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
GibsonLimited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar

(based on 2 reviews)

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Reviewed by 2 customers

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Excllent guitar for the money, Awesome value

By James Pearson

from Elon, NC

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Before I start: I know what the description says: I've customized four of these now. All four MM Explorers had genuine Gibson USA 491T humbuckers in them. Perhaps you might find some with the DD HB103s, but all so far have been 491Ts. It's important to note that both pickups sound great, but that 491T is a rock machine that's EXTREMELY close to an 80s DiMarzio Super Distortion (I know, I've done side-by side recordings with my modded MM Explorers with one having a 491T and another with an HB-103 installed from a Jackson...) On to my comments: The body is light, comfortable, and easy to play sitting or standing up. I've gigged with one of mine (a white one) and it is a easy as a lightweight Strat. The Maple body is very bright compared to the mahogany, something like old swamp ash. The body is about 4/5 the size of my Gibson Explorer (a 2000), and about half the weight. The fretboard looks like a dry rosewood, but is actually a baked maple: it's hard and easy on the fingers, and isn't nearly as bright sounding as a Fender (or other) with a non-treated maple fingerboard. It would have been fun if these had banana headstocks, but the V-like headstock is growing on me. Here's a nice surprise! The tuners are actually Kluson brand Deluxes: they're not the cheaper "lowest bidder" tuners found on many "Gibson Deluxe" supplies. A nice change! Even on these cheaper guitars, the nut is Plek'd and works great. It still often has that B or G string "ping" when you're tuning, something about the Corian - but then again, so did my $1400 Gibson SG. These really are a bargain. Made by hand in the USA with pretty much flawless nitrocellulose thinly applied to the wood in a nice smooth satin (not a "flat" color, but satin). The execution is great except for the fret ends. They didn't take time to dress the ends on any of my 6 MMs. The intonation isn't recording-quality because of the way the wrap-around tail works. If it had adjustable saddles, this would truly be the bomb. It plays in-tune enough for everyday play and for gigging. I like the neck. It's a Melody Maker neck, which means it's somewhat slim and somewhat thin. It's not a shredder neck, nor is it a 60s LP neck. It's something in between, like a wider and easier Telecaster neck. There isn't any extra room under the pickguard for another potentiometer for tone. There isn't enough depth in the rout for a double-ganged pot or a splitter pot, either (your mileage may vary and don't mod your guitars on my advice)... but you can make room for a different pot if you're GREAT at routing. I ended up putting in a micro switch to split my DiMarzio 4-blade on one of my MM Explorers... there's JUST barely enough room for that. It worked out great overall... My other modded MM Explorers are wired just like from the factory with Gibson components and whatever pickup I was jonse-ing to use (a DiMarzio Super Distortion, a hotter Seth Lover, etc.). These are going away FAST. Since another site marked them down below cost, they've finally started flowing out the door. If you want a new one, now is the time to grab one. Since GC does returns, you can try one out before they're gone! On another note, the strings from the factory are bulk vintage-style nickel strings. They're something like 9.5s, they bend really easy and can even de-tune if you grip them hard against the frets. If you put on 10s (I've been using Gibson Brite Wires), they're a little harder to press, but play in tune better. For beginners, you'll appreciate the factory strings or even staying with some .009s. Some of the current "hybrid" sets (.009-.046) work GREAT with these! The short scale accommodates them very well! Overall, I've bought 6 (three explorers, three SGs) and am looking to save up for another before they're gone! (for serious)


A Gibson Only In Name

By Shannon McDowell

from Fishers, IN

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Sigh...Where to begin? Well, lets start with the basics. I got this for my son who's really wanting to get started in the wonderful world of guitar. I thought this would be a good way to give him a taste of the good life. It was non-playable right out of the box. The action was very high and the nuts on the tuners were very loose. No problem, that was fixable. But as I was setting it up, It gave me a good chance to give it a good inspection. The fit and finish was not what I would consider Gibson. It is not even the same size as a standard Explorer. Very small. The pickup is NOT a USA Gibson, as I thought. I would have been much better off buying an Epiphone. For $400, I can think of some very nice Ibanez, ESP, Fender, etc. and not had to sacrifice all the goodies. I bought the Gibson name on the headstock. Nothing more. Bottom line, my son is happy, because he doesn't know any better. Dad is not, cause he does know better.

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