Epiphone Gothic 1958 Explorer Review 2021: The Black Beauty

Epiphone has always had its name associated with Gibson, being a cheaper and as some would say a better-sounding version of it. But it all depends on the kind of sound you are into.

Explorers were first released in 1958 and have been known as hardcore guitars for rhythm players ever since. The Epiphone Gothic Explorer (also known as the Goth ’58 Explorer) is an original Epiphone product.

It’s basically just another version of the vintage 1958’ Explorer, but with a satin black look and a slightly different tone because of the pickups. It also comes in a double-locking Floyd rose version.


  • Fun to play,
  • easy setup,
  • best for budget


  • Unless you have a particular sound preference, there is nothing to complain about really.

Editor Rating


A Befitting Guitar For Metal Heads

Unlike the typical Explorer, which is made in China, the Epiphone Gothic Explorer is made in Korea and if it makes you feel any better, the product is later inspected in the US. The neck and body of Epiphone Gothic Explorer are made of mahogany.  The D profile neck makes it easier to fit the hand around it. Like any standard explorer, it has 22 frets, 2 volume knobs, and 1 tone knob. The tone knob also works as a stutter switch (also known as a killswitch). I find that neat, not having a separate switch on the guitar to work as a stutter switch. I won’t recommend Gothic Explorer as a lead guitar because of the cut around the edge of the fretboard and body, making it difficult to reach the end frets. But hey, if you want to use it like a lead guitar then you can always get used to stretching your fingers out.  The pickups include two passive humbuckers, designed by Gibson. They are heavy sounding and have a lot of power in them.  This guitar is by no means a low-end instrument; it has a very good build and setup.

The Epiphone Gothic Explorer sure does live up to the manufacturer’s claims. It has a little something for everyone, not just the metalheads. If you are looking for a GOOD heavy-sounding guitar on a budget and can get used (or already are) to it being played better when hanging low, then this guitar is for you. Best for rhythm players and exceptionally good for the price!

this guitar is honestly one of the best you will get for the money. set up beautifully, so when i got it i really didnt have to do any sort of set up. i really like the way it feels and plays. very smooth and fast.

I loved the soung but it doesnt beat my schecter with invadors…i would use it for metal. I cant tell the wood but it was a pretty badass guitar. id say you would look like metallica on stage but eh too dark.

Ive had this guitar guitar for about 8 months now, and its great! Beautiful flat black finish, grover tuners, very smooth neck, and with the set neck, its actually really good for reaching the higher frets. The guitar was set up nice, but every one has their own preferences, I set my action higher.

It is a great value, especially if you can pick one up fairly cheap; the Goth series don’t tend to sell well and can often be quite a bit cheaper. I have an ’04 Korean one, and it is fantastically resonant. Mine came with one high fret (the 9th at the low-E end) and after getting that polished away the action goes lower than I am comfortable with before it buzzes.

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