Up until now, the road dog series has consisted of Tele-style guitars with license plate pickguards, but I have been wanting to incorporate other classic shapes and hardware, so when I got a request for an explorer shaped ax with something interesting to fill the large expanse of body behind the bridge, I happily accepted the challenge.
The body is Sassafras, with a one piece poplar barnwood top, sanded down below the grey weathering. The neck is maple and walnut, with a black locust fretboard. The pickup is a Porter classic humbucker which I modified with an alnico 2 magnet after deciding the alnico 5 it came with was a bit too thin sounding in the lower range. I made the pickguard from a piece of aluminum sheeting that I imagine must have come from the inside of an old industrial cooler or freezer unit. The primary feature of course is a hood emblem from a 1958 Buick Special, set into a round recess in the body.
I shaped the headstock based on the one that was originally planned for the Gibson Explorer in the late ’50s which was quickly ditched in favor of the “hockey stick” headstock it ended up with, but I tweaked the side profile on mine to allow proper string clearance around the tuner posts.