Gear reviews and "guitar player interviews". The Guitar Zombie is the fastest spreading blog about guitars, amps, effects and other stuff.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gibson Melody Maker Explorer - an affordable and great guitar for riffing

A US-made ​​Gibson Melody Maker Explorer checked in to my house a few months ago. I swapped it for a Telecaster, not a Fender but a "noname". It turned out to be a good deal and the guitar turned out to be a really riff monster with one Seymour Duncan HB-103 pickup and volume knob. 

It is not an exclusive guitar, to be honest. But the overall impression when putting the guitar on and turning the volume up is "good quality and very light weight". the whole thing with that is that the guitar is the striped down and made ​​for guitarists with a strained economy. Miraculously, Gibson has yet created a good and easy to play instrument. It feels pretty damn fun to meet a cheap and really good guitar. Melody Maker was initially considered a cheap student product from 59's / 60's, but has now returned in a limited edition and in different varieties.

The headstock on original Explorers has the classic "hockey stick", but this one has "The Spear", which gives the overall impression a little different touch, and I like it. The guitar is also slightly smaller than regular Explorers, and therefore a bit more comfortable to play if you´re not a giant.

The body is made of Maple and the neck is Mahogany. The fingerboard, with 22 frets, is made of Baked Maple. A wood that replaced Rosewood when Gibson got problems with illegally imported wood as the availability of Rosewood was strangled. Domestic Maple is not a bad solution, it feels great actually. Baked Maple delivers a very rich tone, nice clarity and great sustain and it´s fairly similar to Rosewood's dark appearance. Baked Maple is used by many other brands, like Fender and Suher, and is not some sort of budget wood, although it´s cheaper due to the manufacturing process which has a lower cost.

The Pickup, a Seymour Duncan HB-103, is a ceramic high-output pickup with awesome attack. The clean sound works ok but it´s in the gain area this guitar really stands out. No compromises. I liked it from the first moment. A really charming and tight sound indeed! I have a Melody Maker "Joan Jett" too with the same feeling, but that guitar is a lot more lavish.

A fall back is that the tail piece is a bit weak. It´s a "wrap aoround the tail piece" with less opportunity for intonation with only two screws for adjustments. My piece is good intonated so I should not whine. It seems  to have a tight contact with the body and it delivers a good "tone".

The tuning screws are the weakest part but the guitar holds tuning quite well and that's the main thing I think. I guess they suposed to give a "vintage feel", but instead they feel a bit childish if I'll be honest. I would prefer better quality here actually, as Gibson's Groovers for example.

A sad thing is that the Gibson logo is printed on the truss rod cover, which makes it feel cheap and not at all "Gibson Style", and perhaps that´s the whole purpose? To make a good, cheap guitar for beginners.

The rating would have been higher if it had more lavish and more stable tuners, but it is nevertheless a really playable guitar, made for high-gain enthusiasts.

The price? Around 300 USD on eBay, a very affordable guitar.

Zombies 3.5 (5)

No comments:

Post a Comment