A 1958 Gibson Explorer
Serial No. 8 4541, in a natural finish, offset angular korina body, twenty-two fret ebony fingerboard with dot inlays, asymmetric headstock, two humbucking pickups, three rotary controls, selector switch, metal bridge, stud tailpiece and cream pickguard; and a black rectangular hardshell case with brown plush lining and Lee Dickson's handwritten tie-on label '58 Gibson Explorer 84541 and adhesive paper label similarly inscribed; case containing a set of single stripe Kluson Deluxe gold-plated tuners and strap

The Explorer was one of the Gibson company's futuristic experimental designs developed during the 1950s. One batch of Explorers were made and the first group of nineteen were released commercially in 1958, with three the following year in 1959. A small number of Explorers were released in the early 1960s as well.

Eric Clapton said that he bought this guitar via his manager Roger Forrester, from a fan in Austin, Texas in c.1983. He has used it on stage and is photographed playing it during the ARMS concert at The Royal Albert Hall, London, September 21, 1983.
Gibson Explorer/Natural
ROBERTY, Marc Eric Clapton - The New Visual Documentary, London: Omnibus Press, pp. 84-85 (illus.)
MARTEN, Neville Would You Buy A Used Guitar From This Man? Article in Guitarist, 15th Anniversary Secial, Clapton Issue, June, 1999, p.79

Lot Essay

The supergroup who participated in the ARMS concerts on September 20th and 21st, 1983 at the Royal Albert Hall comprised: Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood, Jeff Beck and Jimmie Page. They were backed by: Andy Fairweather Low (guitar, vocals), Kenney Jones (drums), Charlie Watts (drums), Bill Wyman (bass), Ray Cooper (percussion), Chris Stainton (keyboards), James Hooker (keyboards), Fernando Saunders (bass) and Simon Phillips (drums). Eric Clapton said of this occasion "...Obviously it was a concert I very much wanted to do both on behalf of Ronnie [Lane], and on behalf of the Action Research into Multiple Sclerosis Fund. But that didn't mean I wasn't nervous. Far from it, I was petrified when we had the first rehearsals. But it rapidly became great fun. And it was a delight to work with such a competent bunch of musicians. Originally the idea was for everyone to just sort of loosely jam together, but subsequently it was quite rightly decided that everyone involved should do their own little regular sets, with the rest of the band providing the backing..." - The group in fact went on to do a short tour of America for ARMS.

Clapton used this guitar for Rita Mae, Rambling On My Mind, Have You Ever Loved A Woman and Cocaine during the ARMS concert at The Royal Albert Hall in 1983. This concert was filmed and released on video by Channel 5 as ARMS - The Complete Concert.

In a recent interview with Neville Marten for Guitarist Lee Dickson recounted the story behind the acquistion of this Explorer "...The guy arrived in Texas with this guitar - Ronnie Prolor, a really nice guy and a good friend over the years. He said "I've got this Explorer, do you think Eric would be interested?" It was just before the $10,000 Les Paul, at the time when you couldn't really give Explorers and Flying Vees away. Eric used that guitar on the ARMS tour..."

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