Epiphone 1958 Korina Explorer and Flying V review

This intriguing collaboration between Epiphone and Gibson’s fabled Custom Shop has produced faithful reproductions of two of the most brilliantly radical guitars ever devised

Epiphone Korina 1958 Explorer
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

The Explorer is a stunning recreation of a classic, with ballsy sounds that are worth way more than the modest asking price, and great playability. The Flying V is fabulous looking, evoking a vibe and era like almost no other guitar – and it has great authentic blues-rock tones, too.


  • +

    Top quality builds with classy old-school aesthetics.

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    Relatively lightweight for all that timber.

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    Explorer is full-on, the V a little less strident.

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    Both have great necks and are superbly playable.


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    Not at this price.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

When in 1958 Gibson president Theodore ‘Ted’ McCarty designed the ES-335 and its siblings the ES-345 and ES-355, it was clear that his understanding of electric guitar design ran deep. The models were an instant success and their unbroken production from then until now has proved so in spades. How come, then, that in that very year the self-same designer dreamt up these two? 

Other than the basic electronics, the Explorer and Flying V couldn’t have been more different. Of course, this was the ‘space age’ and Fender already had designs called Stratocaster and Telecaster that evoked cosmic adventure and all that was groundbreaking and modern. So it seemed Gibson was gunning for its share of this market, too.

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Neville Marten

In the late '70s and early '80s Neville worked for Selmer/Norlin as one of Gibson's UK guitar repairers, before joining CBS/Fender in the same role. He then moved to the fledgling Guitarist magazine as staff writer, rising to editor in 1986. He remained editor for 14 years before launching and editing Guitar Techniques magazine. Although now semi-retired he still works for both magazines. Neville has been a member of Marty Wilde's 'Wildcats' since 1983, and recorded his own album, The Blues Headlines, in 2019.