Almost a year and a half after the collection was initially announced, and just over a month and a half since our first concrete preview of the instruments, the Gibson Custom Shop Murphy Lab collection of guitars has finally been revealed.
Featuring a total of 50 instruments with four distinct levels of aging – Ultra Heavy-Aged, Heavy-Aged, Light Aged, and Ultra-Light Aged – the collection features Les Pauls, SGs, Firebirds, ES-335s and more.
Led by Gibson Master Artisan and guitar aging pioneer Tom Murphy, the Murphy Lab was created to be a division of the Gibson Custom Shop focused entirely on building historical guitars with clone-like accuracy.
Murphy and Gibson managed to scientifically reverse-engineer the original Nitrocellulose lacquer Gibson used on guitars in the 1950s and 1960s, for instance, in light of the original lacquer's propensity to crack over time. The Murphy Lab guitars' dimensions were also laser-scanned to match their original counterparts, while even plastics found on the original instruments were chemically recreated.
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to have an opportunity to bring these instruments to the market; to have my name on them is a tremendous responsibility,” Murphy said in a press release. “This work has been my passion for decades and what we have achieved in The Murphy Lab in terms of the different styles of aging and the consistency of the process is truly groundbreaking.
"I always stack my work up against real deal vintage Gibson guitars, and the effect that we are now able to achieve, well, there's just nothing else out there like it. This is a game changer. This is the future of aging guitars.”
Prices for the Gibson Custom Shop Murphy Lab guitars range from $4,299 at the low end to $10,499 at the high end.
For specs and more info on the collection, stop by gibson.com.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.