This Gibson Explorer has been Matt Bigland’s fair-weather friend since his teens. He tells their story so far...
“I think this is a 1969 or 1967 reissue made in 2002, so not that old, 17 years now... so I guess that is kind of old. I bought this when I was 18; I’ve had it for 16 years and I love this Explorer because I feel like I kind of got lucky with it - with that particular year, because I have another Explorer that’s 2008 and it feels totally different to this one.”
“It’s really light which is killer because having a heavy guitar, in my opinion, really sucks. So it feels really agile and manoeuvrable.”
“I originally wanted an ebony Explorer like this because I think Dave Grohl was using one of these when he was touring The Colour And The Shape which is my favourite record of all time. So I was like, ‘I want that guitar’. Obviously Hetfield plays Explorers... so I really wanted this one. I had no money and I was working shitty café jobs so I saved for ages to try and afford this guitar. I researched for ages to try and find it and I found this shop in Glasgow that had one for £700. I guess no one wanted them at that time.
“I saved £700, I got the train up to Glasgow. I got off the train and walked to the shop, and I reckon I was off the train for probably 25 minutes. Walked straight to the shop, picked the guitar out, put it in a case and walked straight back to get a train home. I was on the train for eight hours each way. It was a lot of travel in one day just to buy this guy.”
Taking it out
“When I got it back to Leeds it just kind of stayed in the case for a couple of weeks because I was too afraid to play it. Eventually I got over that, as you can see. I haven’t really done anything to this guitar at all. Which is kind of a testament to the guitar. The pickups are super hot and I had it setup a couple of days ago because it was all banged out of shape. And the luthier was like, ‘These pickups are unusually hot for an Explorer’. I guess I just got lucky again with that.”
Feel the beat
“This is just bad technique. I play this every show and we play a lot of shows; I’ve played it every day since I was 18. I have terrible technique, my hands are way too big and I’m a drummer at heart so I just beat the fuck out of this thing. I’ve just kind of dug away at the wood with the pick.”
“This one has quite a feminine neck at the top, which means I can noodle on it way easier. The action is really low. When you have a high action you feel like you have less control over the string. I like to do a lot of Billy Corgan wails on it and I feel that with a lower action you can do that more.”
Dinosaur Pile-Up’s latest album Celebrity Mansions is out now on Parlophone. The band are touring the UK in December