Eric Clapton’s 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer

Eric purchased the guitar at the Alex Musical Instruments in New York in the early to mid-70s. [original source needed] It can be seen on photos taken during the ’74-’75 tour.

One unique feature on the guitar that attracted his attention was the shortened bass bout (the upper back horn). Clapton initially believed that this came as a result of the guitar being an original prototype, but that theory was eventually debunked and the guitar turned up to be modified by the previous owner. This allegedly made Clapton somewhat pissed, up to the point of trying to return the guitar to the store. [reliable source needed on this]

Nevertheless, he used this guitar on several songs from the album “E.C. Was Here” released in 1975. It is also most likely the guitar he was photographed with for the Music Man ad for HD-130 Reverb amplifiers in 1976. The photo was taken so that the sleeve on Eric’s shirt directly covers up the portion of the guitar that was cut off, so this is mostly just a guess.

The guitar today

According to Tony Bacon’s book Flying V, Explorer, Firebird: An Odd-Shaped History of Gibson’s Weird Electric Guitars, Clapton gave the guitar to Junior Marvin in 1977, who then sold it off to a private buyer sometime in the 1980s.

More recently, the guitar ended up in the hands of Kunio Kushida, a guitarist and a collector from Japan (also the same person who owns Duane Allman’s Gibson Les Paul Junior).

Kunio Kushida playing Clapton’s Gibson Explorer. Source: Kunio Kishida Goes Back to His Roots with His 8th Album “Slide Angel”
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7 months ago

This guitar was sold by Clapton to Allen Collins of Lynyrd Skynyrd I believe in 1976. It now hangs in the rock n roll HOF along with Gary Rossington’s LesPaul

Stephen Stuckmeyer
Stephen Stuckmeyer
7 months ago

Yes, Allen’s was not the cut away version but I understand Eric had more than one. There are some that claim Allen bought his from a shop in Nashville. Gibson claims the Clapton/Collins story when they talk about famous people that played the Explorer. Wonder if the HOF has the serial number of Allen’s and if it could be traced back to its history?
Sorry if I’m muddying the water. I think one thing is for sure there are not a lot of those 58’s and they are worth a lot of cash.


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