Gibson Custom Shop debut the artificially-aged Murphy Lab collection

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Gibson Custom Shop debut the artificially-aged Murphy Lab collection

Words by Will Brewster

Ushering in a new era of instrument relicing.

A year after announcing the launch of the new division, the Gibson Custom Shop has unveiled the first guitars from the Murphy Lab, an ambitious experiment dedicated towards creating high-end artificially-aged instruments as a tribute to the company’s golden era of instrument production.

Catch up on all the latest product news here.

Led by industry veteran Tom Murphy – renowned for his role in the launch of the Gibson Custom Shop and his reverse-engineering of Gibson’s ’50s and ’60s lacquer finishes for Custom Shop models – the Murphy Lab seeks to construct the most realistic artificially-aged guitars on the market using a combination of sophisticated tools, science and technology.

Each technician in the Murphy Lab has received hands-on training from Tom in order to understand the chemical processes and specifications used to create each instrument, utilising the same techniques and ethos used to model the ageing of classic guitars for the likes of Jimmy Page, Slash, Peter Frampton and more.


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Offering four distinctive levels of wear and tear – including Ultra-Light, Light, Heavy and Ultra-Heavy – the Murphy Lab launches today with 50 different aged Historic Reissue models, including a range of classic Les Pauls, Les Paul Juniors, Trini Lopez models, SGs, ES-335s, Firebirds and more.

Every instrument to come out of the Gibson Custom Shop’s new division has been laser-scanned to emulate the exact dimensions of authentic ’50s and ’60s Gibsonmodels, with the Murphy Lab technicians also incorporating chemical processes to recreate plastics and shades of Gibson’s Sunburst finish for the new ‘old’ models.

“I am incredibly humbled and honoured to have an opportunity to bring these instruments to the market; to have my name on them is a tremendous responsibility,” Tom Murphy said in a statement coinciding with today’s launch.

“This work has been my passion for decades and what we have achieved in The Murphy Lab in terms of the different styles of ageing 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.”

View the Gibson Custom Shop Murphy Lab range in full here.