All guitar modifications are inherently imperfect, and unexpected issues can crop up. Please do your own research and/or consult help from a local guitar repair shop if you aren't sure about the parts you want to install. You can also feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.
Full Parts List for an Epiphone Explorer Upgrade
Compatibility Notes: Active pickup requires battery, Graph Tech tuning machines are listed as fitting most guitars, but do not specify the Epiphone Explorer.
An Epiphone Explorer Upgrade Guide
This guide offers a potential upgrade recipe for an Epiphone Explorer, the "Gibson Inspired" version. The guitar is solid, but would really benefit from a hardware and pickup swap. We're looking to add active pickups, an upgraded bridge/tailpiece, and tuning machines from a well-known guitar hardware brand.
EMG Zakk Wylde Signature Humbuckers: You could go with a different active pickup here, maybe the Fishman Fluence Modern or Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates, but I like the EMG Zakk Wylde signature set for a little more heat and smooth attack. Keep in mind the battery installation issue if you go with an active set. For what it's worth, the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates are passive and don't need a battery.
Important note: Active pickups require a battery to be installed in the cavity of the guitar. Note that the Epiphone Explorer has limited space in the back panel, so some modifications might be necessary.
Bridge Hardware Upgrade
KAISH Premium Titanium Roller Saddle Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece: Epiphone cuts costs (compared to the Gibson counterparts), by going with cheaper stock hardware. An upgrade here gets you better tuning stability and, some would say, improves the way the guitar plays.
Tuning Machines Upgrade
Graph Tech PRL-9721-Bo Locking Ratio Calibrated Machine Heads: Like the bridge hardware, the tuning machines gives you another area to improve. These Graph Tech locking tuners are a huge improvement over the stock tuning hardware that comes with the Explorer out of the box.
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