Gibson X-Plorer New Century

The Explorer has to be one of Gibson's best-loved shapes, and this 2006 New Century option is far removed from the more subdued korina guitars of the late fifties.

Aimed fairly and squarely at the modern metal player, the range also includes a Les Paul, SG and Flying V. The unique point here is that all the New Centuries feature a full-body mirrored faceplate.

The mirror is set flush to the solid mahogany body with a 3mm indent into the wood and the remainder of a standard Explorer's fixtures and fittings somehow look that much cooler as a result.

Pickups are both Gibson humbuckers - namely a Super Ceramic 500T in the bridge and a 496R Hot Ceramic in the neck. Both are open-coiled and we can't help thinking that polished chrome covers would have been just the job considering the livery here.

That classic hockey stick headstock is recognisable the world over, and Gibson has utilised its 1960s thin taper feel to this mahogany neck. A mirrored 'bell' truss rod cover and custom mirror dot inlays complete the picture.

Sounds

The X-Plorer is easy to play sitting down. However, to rock you must be on your feet and, although the guitar is undeniably weighty, it's perfectly balanced and plays wonderfully.

The sounds are ideal for all rock and metal styles, with the classic mahogany push given just the right abrasive edge by the ceramic pickups.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

The excellent modern vibe and crushing tone.

Cons

That weight may be too much for some.

Verdict

Explorers have much more to offer than just a massive rock tone, so you should try one out if you get a chance.

Available Controls

2 x Volume 3 Position Switch Tone

Bridge

Tune-o-matic

Case Included

Yes

Country of Origin

USA

Fingerboard Material

Ebony

Guitar Body Material

Mahogany

Hardware

Chrome

Inlays

Mirror Dot

Neck Joint Location

19

Neck Material

Mahogany

Neck Profile

'60s-style

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

22

Pickguard

Yes

Pickguard Material

Mirror

Pickups

496R Ceramic Humbucker (Neck) 500T Ceramic Humbucker (Bridge)

Scale Length (mm)

629

Tailpiece

Stopbar

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.