Left handed Explorer guitars

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RITTER  are a Swiss brand. Their RGP5-EX is a soft case that will fit lefty Explorers but in order to fit it the guitar has to go in face down. This means the rear of the guitar faces upwards and the the pickups, bridge, switches are at the bottom of the case. Also the slightly extra padding from the front pockets isn't there for the lefty. See HERE. However, the bag offers 33mm padding and this is exceptional for a soft case, but just not optimized for a left handed guitar. The Ritter website is not very impressive. All it has is a link to their catalog which opens as a PDF. A lefty Explorer is not a good fit for this soft case and I do not recommend this case for the reasons given. I give it  a 4/10 only because it just doesn't work for a lefty. 

Thomann Explorer gig bag.jpg

THOMANN is a German musical instrument and musical accessories chain store that is all over Europe and the U.K. This gig bag is branded as a Thomann but is a bag sold under other brand names and they are all made in India. I have compared all of these bags side by side and they are identical except for branding. This is a really good gig bag made of 600 Denier cordura nylon and 20mm padding. It is made for right handed guitars so a lefty guitar fits in face down instead of face up. The bag suits the bigger-bodied Gibson Explorer. It is slightly roomy for the smaller-bodied Gaskell shape. Although the same bag as others it is the least expensive. Buy direct from Thomann. Unfortunately for us here in Australia by the time you do the currency conversion and add postage this gig bag is well over AU$ 100 per bag. I give the Thomann Explorer gig bag a 9/10.

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GB DELUXE is a bag I am very familiar with. I was using these for all my Gaskell Explorers until they stopped selling them in Australia. These are made in India and is the same bag as the Thomann and other bags that look the same. This is a really good padded gig bag with 20mm padding. Being for a right handed Explorer the lefty Explorer fits in face down instead of face up, so all the outside pockets are on the backside of the guitar leaving no additional padding for the front of the guitar. The bag suits the bigger-bodied Gibson Explorer. It is slightly roomy for the smaller-bodied Gaskell shape. At US$ 49.95 it is fairly expensive and is only available from online music stores such as Alto Music in the USA or DV247 in Europe. I give the GB DELUXE gig bag a 9/10.

World Tour.jpg

WORLD TOUR is an American brand. The gig bag is outwardly the same as all the other similar ones that are made in India, i.e the GB and THOMANN bags but it is a little different. For a lefty Explorer you have the same issue as all the rest, with the guitar going in face down and with the outside pockets therefore being on the back side of the guitar. The bag is advertised as having "20mm padding" but it isn't. It's about 12mm. The bag suits the bigger-bodied Gibson Explorer. It is slightly roomy for the smaller-bodied Gaskell shape. At US$ 29.95 from ZZounds in the USA it is a cheap bag and overall not that protective but for the price there is nothing to complain about. I give this one a 6/10.

TKL explorer bag.jpg

TKL is another brand that sell musical instrument cases and gig bags including a gig bag for Explorer guitars. This one is particularly nice with very robust padding but only for right handed Explorer guitars. TKL products are very high quality and they are the most expensive. However the usual problem with putting lefty in a right handed gig bag made is even more of a problem with the TKL. The TKL has padded headstock, bridge and end-pin protectors. This is useless for a left handed Explorer as the guitar is in the wrong way anyway so those features aren't protecting anything. And the padding is only 15mm compared to the usual 20mm of others. Not a big difference but overall this gig bag is not recommended for a lefty handed Explorer. At US$ 79.99 it is not cheap either. I give it 4/10 

ChromaCast EXTREME GIG BAG.jpg

CHROMACAST CC-EXTPB-BAG is a gig bag designed to fit "extreme" guitars of all kinds which includes Explorer, Flying V, Firebird, Kelly, etc. The good thing about this case is that it is roomy enough to be able to put a lefty Explorer in it right way up, which can't be said of any of the other Explorer gig bags. My only concern with this bag is that it is a little flimsy and it would be better if it was more padded. But it does the job better than a padded gig bag for the reason that it goes in the right way.  I give it 7/10.  

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GATOR make some very good guitar bags. I have used many over the years and I like them. The GBE-EXTREME-1 is not one of their best in my opinion. This bag is a generic oversized bag meant to fit Explorers, Firebirds, Vs and other extreme shapes. It has 10mm padding and is essentially just a zip-up sleeve. You can lay your guitar any way in the bag so it doesn't have the issue of other gig bags as previously mentioned. However, because it is too thin I would not recommend this bag. You may as well wrap your guitar in a blanket. To be fair it is marketed as a budget gig bag and that is most definitely the case. At least you can put your guitar in it face up like it should go. I give it 6/10.  

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CHASE DIRECT is a UK online musical instrument and musical accessories store that sells cases for all musical instruments. Their Explorer bag is branded as "Chase." It looks like they only deliver within the U.K. I have not seen another one like this. The bag has the usual problem with being a right handed bag but also has only 10mm padding. This would be a little risky to use for active musicians. I would not recommend this unless you really need to go somewhere with your guitar that isn't going to be an obstacle course, definitely not gigging. At GBP 29.99 at least it's not too expensive! I give this Explorer gig bag a 5/10.

ROCKAG RB 20620 gig bag.jpg

ROCKBAG RB20620 by Framus & Warwick could very well be the gig bag that offers the best protection for an Explorer shaped guitar. This one features 30mm padding all round, front and rear. As with similar bags it has pockets for carrying leads, strings and straps. This bag will also fit Firebird guitars due to the fact that the bag is a little squarer in the body which accommodates the Firebird lower body contours (when put in face down for a lefty.) This bag can be bought quite easily from European, US and Australian music stores and while not the cheapest is definitely very robust. Framus & Warwick have different bag series and even offer leather bags. If the RB20620 was not still a right handed bag in the first place, I would give this bag a 10 out of 10.  

Artist REC350FV Flying V Explorer case $

ARTIST GUITARS is an Australian distributor of their own brand guitars, keyboards, drums, and other musical instruments and accessories including cases and gig bags. Their REC350FV hard shell case is a generic wood case with plush padding that supposedly fits Explorers and other bigger-bodied guitars. I am not convinced that it fits Explorers as the case does not seem to be deep enough to accommodate the Explorer's sweep-back headstock. I haven't tried it but the numbers don't add up. 9mm height is too low. Also, there is no shaping so the cavity for the body of the guitar is a rectangle. The guitar could move around in the case without extra padding from stuffing the space with your cleaning cloths. It's okay for a Firebird but I don't think so for an Explorer.