I'm posting this message from the old forum for those interested. I upgraded my Epi Explorer with Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers and the other stuff below. I don't think I replaced the pots. I don't remember.
For those with Epiphone Explorers (I just purchased one - on its way), here is a recommend list of upgrades. I just got off the phone with www.allparts.com and found out their service is incredible. A gentleman named Michael knew exactly what I needed and only sold what I needed. Here were his specific recommendations:
GB-0528-002 GB-0528-002 - TonePros® T3BT-G Bridge 1 $70.00 $70.00 TP-0457-002 TP-0457-002 - TonePros® SGM1-G Gold Metric 1 $40.00 $40.00 EP-0066-002 EP-0066-002 - Gold Toggle Switch 1 $17.00 $17.00 EP-0055-002 EP-0055-002 - Switchcraft #11 Gold 1/4" Input Jack 1 $4.60 $4.60
He said to keep the tail piece, but get the locking studs ($40 item above). The bridge and locking studs help give you much better sustain and tone. The switch on these guitars are horrible, so it's a must, along with the input jack. I was told the pots are probably ok or you can replace them later. I'll have my tech check them out.
He also said to replace the nut if it's plastic (to bone) and make sure the grooves fit your string gauge (nuts sometimes are made for .09s and need to be adjusted for .10s or higher).
Everything above is about $150 shipped.
I'm also replacing the pups with Seth Lovers (total about $210). I got the guitar for $410, new with hard case (which is an amaxing deal). So all the upgrades will be about $360, most of which I can do myself (I might have the neck Plek'd and set up but that's something I do for any guitar and I don't consider part of the price). So for $770, I'll have a great guitar. A new Gibson Explorer is $1400. I played both at the store and I don't think there will be much difference in tone with the upgrades to the Epi.