SOLD! - 2001 Gibson USA Eric Clapton 1958 Explorer Custom Art & Historic Div.
This one's so rare I bet you didn't even know it existed....
You are looking at a stunning and ultra rare piece: 1 of only 25 ever made!!! Incl OHSC and Certificate Of Authenticity. Immediately scooped up by collectors, these just never come up for sale.
- Eric Clapton’s 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer -
Eric purchased the guitar at Alex Musical Instruments in New York in the early to mid-70s and it can be seen on photos taken during the ’74-’75 tour.
The guitar was used for several tracks on the '75 album "There's one in every crowd". An original 1975 album is included in the sale! It also can be seen draped around Clapton in a prominent Music Man amplifier catalog of the mid ’70's. A nice print of the ad is included in this sale.
One unique feature on the guitar that attracted his attention was the shortened bass bout (the upper back horn). Clapton initially believed that this came as a result of the guitar being an original prototype, but that theory was eventually debunked and the guitar turned up to be modified by the previous owner. This allegedly made Clapton somewhat pissed, up to the point of trying to return the guitar to the store.
Nevertheless, he used this guitar on several songs from the album “E.C. Was Here” released in 1975. It is also most likely the guitar he was photographed with for the Music Man ad for HD-130 Reverb amplifiers in 1976. The photo was taken so that the sleeve on Eric’s shirt directly covers up the portion of the guitar that was cut off, so this is mostly just a guess.
In 2001 Gibson produced a very limited edition of Eric Clapton's modified 1958 Explorer: the Explorer Clapton Cut, featuring a shortened bass bout that allows more comfortable arm positioning and the Explorer Split Headstock, a faithful recreation of the original 1958 Korina Explorer with the "forked" headstock found only on the very earliest examples..
Clapton's '58 Explorer had removed wood on the back end of his guitar as well as shortened the horn, thus giving his Explorer a very distinct look. Those aesthetics were the starting point for the Explorer here. The mahogany used on this Explorer is just exceptional- look at those striations. The rosewood fingerboard has some incredible striations as well.
A very special instrument all around. The mahogany body and set neck join together to create those famous 58 Explorer low end and mid push. Grabbing up that tone are a pair of Gibson Burstbucker PAF pickups. They found a large part of the PAF's special sound was due to mismatched coil impedance, which they applied to the BB's. This gives this Explorer those exceptional classic overdrives and sweet sustains. This is a true tone machine.