Gibson Custom Shop unveils the Murphy Lab Collection

They include a ‘57 Les Paul Goldtop, ‘57 Les Paul Junior, ‘59 ES-335 and ‘63 Firebird V.

Gibson Murphy Lab ’57 Les Paul Gold Top

A Gibson Custom Murphy Lab 1957 Les Paul Goldtop with Ultra-Heavy ageing. Image: Gibson

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Gibson has announced the first guitars from the Murphy Lab, a division of the Gibson Custom Shop led by guitar-ageing specialist Tom Murphy and dedicated to premium, artificially aged vintage-reissue instruments. Described as a “greatest hits album” of Custom Shop reissues, the Murphy Lab Collection contains a total of 50 different models.

The Murphy Lab’s four distinct levels of ageing and wear – Ultra-Light, Light, Heavy and Ultra-Heavy – are carried out by Tom Murphy and his team and achieved through a series of patented chemical processes, with the end goal being a Gibson instrument that not only looks like a vintage guitar, but feels like it has been broken-in through years of playing.

The four levels of ageing are available on Murphy Lab Collection models, as well as on a Murphy Lab Menu of distress options for instruments custom-ordered via Gibson’s Made 2 Measure programme.

Murphy Lab aged instruments take a separate path through the Custom Shop and receive the new Murphy Lab lacquer formula and hand-applied techniques.

Gibson Murphy Lab '59 Les Paul
The Murphy Lab Collection contains Gibson’s most vintage-accurate reissues and realistic ageing to date. Image: Gibson

Part of the journey to create a realistic aged look was to reverse-engineer the original lacquer that the brand used in the golden era of the 1950s and early 60s. This enables the Murphy Lab to achieve much more authentic lacquer checking and suggests that razor-blade checking may be a thing of the past.

At the time of launch, some retailers had already received stock of Murphy Lab models, with UK store Peach Guitars posting this unboxing video on its YouTube channel:

The Murphy Lab Collection features an array of models that encompasses all of the usual suspects from significant model years, so you’ll find 1954, ’56 and ’57 Goldtops, a ’57 Junior, Special and Les Paul Custom along with the expected 1958, ’59 and ’60 Burst replicas. ES-335, 355 and SG Standard and Special models are also available, as well as a reverse-body Firebird and a Trini Lopez.

Stay tuned to Guitar.com for a deep dive into the Murphy Lab Collection including video demos and reviews.

Learn more and see the full Murphy Lab Collection at Gibson.com.

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