MUSIKMESSE: Gibson unveil Bill Kelliher Golden Axe Explorer

Published 10 years ago on April 10, 2013

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Gibson unveil Bill Kelliher Golden Axe Explorer-

When your tone's as massive as that of Mastodon's Bill Kelliher,you need a guitar with equally mammoth power. For both looks andsound, the iconic Gibson Explorer is a perfect fit: this radicallyangled electric was light-years ahead of its time when it wasintroduced in 1958, and it's still the first choice of many of theworld's fiercest rockers.

The Bill Kelliher "Golden Axe" Explorer from Gibson USA brewsselect tonewoods into a timelessly revolutionary body style. Withpowerful LACE™ Nitro Hemi® humbucking pickups and classic hardware,this is a guitar befitting Kelliher's status in the world of metal.Trapezoid fingerboard inlays, gold-plated hardware, a hot-stampedGolden Axe truss-rod cover, cream pickguard with hot-stampedMastodon logo, and Bill's choice of Go-Gold Burst finish inhigh-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer complete this stunningpackage.

Body and neck

Mahogany has a long history as a tonewood with Gibson, and itprovides the perfect core for the Bill Kelliher "Golden Axe"Explorer. Crafted from solid, unchambered mahogany, theExplorer-style body yields plenty of richness and depth, along withexcellent sustain. The solid mahogany neck is carved to Bill'spreference of slim Explorer profile measuring 0.800" at the 1stfret and 0.850" at the 12th, and topped with a solid rosewoodfingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a PLEK-cut Corian™ nut.The body's top and fingerboard are trimmed in elegant creambinding.

Pickups and electronics

Bill Kelliher demands the utmost in power and versatility fromhis pickups, which is why his "Golden Axe" Explorer is equippedwith two powerful LACE™ Nitro Hemi® humbuckers. These extremelypowerful contemporary humbuckers excel at high-gain metal tones,with thumping lows and punchy, aggressive mids, yet retainoutstanding clarity and sweet, bell-like highs. As a bonus, theyare wired for coil-splitting to provide authentic single-coiltones, which can be used individually or in several combinationsvia a traditional three-way selector switch. A push-pull switch onthe master volume control splits the bridge pickup, while themaster tone's switching splits the neck pickup.


Ever since their introduction in 1954, Gibson's Tune-o-maticbridge and stopbar tailpiece have been acclaimed for their perfectmarriage of solid sustain and efficient intonation. These classicsanswer the call perfectly on the Bill Kelliher "Golden Axe"Explorer, along with a set of high-quality Grover™ Mini tuners. Allhardware, along with the strap buttons and pickup covers, is platedin gold.

Case and extras

Each guitar comes protected in a plush-lined hardshell Explorercase with black exterior, and includes owner's manual and truss-rodadjustment tool, along with Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty and24/7/365 customer service..


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