Right before I went overseas I came home on a 3 week leave. While home I wondered into Specialty Guitar in Dormont, right outside of Pittsburgh. Hanging on the wall was a used Gibson Explorer. It was a natural finish and had unusual contours to it. I pulled it down and examined it. The guitar had been abused. The back was torn up from someone’s belt buckle. The gold hardware was pitted. And the exposed pick-ups had a ton of crud caked in them. BUT they wanted $200. $200 for a Gibson? Let me at it!. The guitar had no case and it’s less than conventional shape meant that Larry would have to hold it with the neck out my car’s window as I drove home. When I got it home I immediately started tinkering with it. I mean it was already beat to Hell and back…so why not see how it worked. I removed the pickups and replaced them with a Dimarzio PAF and a Dimarzio X2N. When it came time for me to go over seas to fulfill my enlistment I gave all my guitars to Lou Lombardi to watch for me. While in his care Lou took the Explorer to The Guitar Gallery in Washington Pa. Tim, the repair guy asked who rewired the Explorer because it now sounded like a Telecaster. Once I got home from the army it was time to really have some fun with the explorer. Being a fan of Matthias Jabs’ white explorer with black stripes I refinished (Remember what that means…spray paint) the Explorer. BUT all I had was yellow spray paint. So the explorer was now yellow with black stripes. I wish I had a picture because it really didn’t look bad. BUT it now sounded like crap. It turns out that there’s something to that whole “Let the guitar vibrate” thing. The spray paint really muffled the natural acoustics of the guitar. So I decided to refinish the guitar the right way. I took the guitar apart and set it aside for when I had more time. The guitar sat…..for about a decade. In the mean time I got married, had kids and bought a house. Finally I decided to get the Explorer and embark on my restoration project. I began to sand off the spray paint. And then it happened. I got divorced. I lost my garage and had no place to work on the Explorer. So it got religated to under my bed. Finally after a few more years I realized that I was not going to do anything with the guitar. So I gave it to Larry who loved to tinker with guitars. A year later I asked him how the restoration project was going. He tells me that he traded the guitar to a friend who did some work on his house for him. I figured the Explorer was gone. A few years later I had a Gibson ’61 Reissue SG that I was looking to sell or trade. I mentioned it to Larry and he said “Why not trade it to Jeff for your Explorer?”. I said why would I trade a perfectly good guitar for a guitar that was in pieces. Larry then tells me that Jeff sent it off to an authorized Gibson dealer and they restored it to Gibson Specs. He replaced the pickups and had it rewired. So Jeff and I met at Larry’s house and exchanged guitars. I had my Explorer back and it was factory fresh. Now…before the sappy music starts and everyone is crying with joy I have to tell you. Altho the guitar was beautiful and it and I had a history…I never really played it. It’s unique shape and aircraft carrier case made it hard to lug around. So rather than have it sit here and gather dust I decided to take it to Pittsburgh guitars and trade it for a guitar that I would play. I traded the Explorer for a ’99 Fender ’52 reissue Telecaster that is a total dream come true. So as one story ends….another begins. At one time I owned another E2…it’s pictured above along with the E2 I’ve been talking about.  The picture with the E2 in a case is after it was restored. The picture below is the E2 in my first guitar collection.

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