The radical Explorer electric guitar was first introduced in 1958 and like its sister model, the Flying V, its initial reception was a bit lack luster and production was discontinued in 1963. In 1976, after other companies had success with similar models, Gibson reintroduced the Explorer producing several variants over the years. The late 1970s through the early 1980s were the best years for the model as it found new fan base when James Hetfield used an Explorer for Metallica’s Ride the Lightning album (1984). 

James Hetfield with his Explorer guitar

Notable musicians who have played the Explorer include:

Gary Moore
Lzzy Hale
Eric Clapton
James Hetfield
Bill Kelliher
The Edge

Jason Hook
Allen Collins
Dave Grohl
Matthias Jabs
Rick Nielson