I have owned a ‘95 LP Studio since ‘98 and it is bulletproof. The QC is absolutely spot on, and the craftsmanship is excellent. I have been looking for an explorer for a couple of years now, then I saw a returned 2017 T in a German store for £700. Keen on the raft of upgrades like thicker fretboard and weight reduction I pulled the trigger, since it’s difficult to find a second hand one for under £700. It arrived with hard case, strap, FB protector, documents, and a photograph of it on the workbench at Gibson. For some reason. I have been enjoying it very much since it landed 6 months ago, and it’s one of my main slabs. However, I was expecting a similar QC standard as my LP Studio. But it’s just not there. I have had many cheaper guitars which blow the explorer out the window, like an Ibanez ICT700, Ibanez MMM1, RG, etc. So i’m kinda disappointed. I changed the pickups this evening and uncovered even more rubbish to whinge about while I had her in pieces, so here I go: Rant - the piece of rosewood they’ve used for the fb has a weird grain structure, the edge of the board is uneven (has a rough edge), but they’ve lacquered over this anyway and left it. - The fb wood of first few fret spaces has end grain and feels rough on the finger tips. - the 496T in the bridge has a 53mm pole spacing but the string spacing is 49mm, so the 1st string doesn’t cover the pole at all. - the scratchplate doesn’t fit flush on the body. - under the scratchplate, the edges of the screw holes are raised. - in between the end of the fb and the neck pup there is orange gunge everywhere, possibly mahogany dust and lacquer, or glue. I had to scrape this off. There is even a blob of it on the fb end, which they have lacquered over. I sanded the lacquer (and blob) away. - there is a blob of lacquer on the fretboard, knuckle side near the nut. - the 6th string nut slot has been slotted twice, there is a smaller slot underneath the E slot. - tuning was slipping out for the first couple of months, despite the Grovers and the new self-lubing nut, until I sorted it with graphite. - soldering has been done by an infant. - one of the pup ring screw holes is stripped out, just spins. - the pickups are poor sounding, thin. Not what I’ve heard this set sound like in older instruments. Cutbacks? Anyone else think the modern 496t is weak? The BKP cold sweat set I put in just blew them out of the water. I don’t expect Mayo quality, but this is disappointing from Gibson, and I’ve heard similar complaints. I still love the guitar, I’m a sucker for raggy doll guitars anyway. I don’t need them to be pristine, I like them a bit banged up. Just disappointed that Gibson have taken such a dive. I hope I’m wrong, and I’m the only person who got a duff one. Oh, and customer service? Doesn’t exist. I went to try a 2017 explorer in my local store. It was cherry. “Can I order a black one please?”. “Err, sorry no. Gibson tell us what we can have”. Lmao.