Gibson and Lzzy Hale are developing a hybrid “Explorer Bird” model

Lzzy Hale performing live
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Even before Lzzy Hale was recruited by Gibson as the brand’s first female ambassador last year, the rock hero had already collaborated with the company for a trio of signature guitars: the Gibson Lzzy Hale Explorer and Lzzy Hale Dark Explorer, and a budget-friendly Epiphone iteration.

As such, the Halestorm titan's signature six-string catalog makes no secret of her affinity for the Explorer blueprint, but for her next model, Hale has promised to create “a different animal altogether”.

In a recent interview with Total Guitar, Hale revealed she’s currently busy working with Gibson to develop her next signature model, the “Explorer Bird”, which will be a hybrid between – you guessed it – the Firebird and Explorer.

Of how the idea came about, Hale recalled how the “hare-brained scheme” casually arose while she was in conversation with Gibson’s Brand President, Cesar Gueikian.

“I think it was at the NAMM right before lockdown – we were doing some projects with Gibson – and I mentioned offhandedly that it would be cool to have a Firebird headstock on an Explorer body,” Hale said. “Then Cesar was like, ‘If you were to do something like that, what color do you think it should be?’”

After that conversation, development on the Explorer Bird soon began, and it wasn’t long before Hale had a prototype version that made its way into her arsenal of instruments. In fact, she’s even been playing it live, with the hybrid template lending itself to some unique playability elements.

You can see it in action from the one minute mark onwards in the video above.

“I’m playing it in drop C right now for both Back From The Dead and our latest single The Steeple, because it just handles those low tunings really well,” she reveals. I don’t know if it has something to do with the headstock – but probably. It sounds really mean.”

Though the guitar pictured above is only a prototype, it still closely resembles what we can expect from the real deal when it eventually arrives later this year.

According to Hale, the axe will flash a red and black finish and gold hardware. It will also opt for 1970s humbuckers over the standard ‘57 Classic humbuckers found on Hale’s flagship Explorer signatures.

Lzzy Hale performing live

Lzzy Hale performing live with her prototype Gibson Explorer Bird (Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Hale also took the opportunity to reflect on her new role as a Gibson ambassador, saying, “The most beautiful thing about what I do now with Gibson is that you get to put yourself up there in a way that, for the generation of young girls that want to get into this instrument, makes the bridge to that dream just a little bit shorter – just like when I was younger and saw Joan Jett playing guitar, or Lita Ford or Nancy Wilson.”

She added, “You always hope that maybe one day you’ll be able to design a guitar and put out something with your name on it. So, now that it’s become a part of my life, it blows my mind every time – especially with the wonderful people at Gibson.”

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.