Gibson and Chicago Music Exchange unveil exclusive Murphy Lab 1961 Les Paul/SG Junior in Shell Pink

Gibson Chicago Music Exchange Murphy Lab SG Les Paul Junior
(Image credit: Gibson)

Chicago Music Exchange has unveiled its latest exclusive electric guitar – a Gibson Custom Shop 1961 Murphy Lab SG/Les Paul Junior that comes equipped with a short vibrola and is finished in Shell Pink.

It marks one of the first times a retailer has been given an exclusive Murphy Lab model after the ultra-boutique range of six-strings first debuted last March.

At the time, the line itself ushered in a new era of factory aging, using a Tom Murphy-pioneered method that recreates authentic looking replicas of vintage models, offering four distinct categories of weathering: Ultra Heavy-Aged, Heavy-Aged, Light Aged and Ultra-Light Aged.

The SG in question is the recipient of the latter treatment, arriving in an Ultra-Light Aged Shell Pink finish that bears the signs of ever-so-subtle lacquer checking – much like a vintage instrument that has been well looked after all these years.

Alluring aesthetics aside, the SG also boasts a handful of contemporary, model-specific tweaks, most notably arriving in the form of the custom S Bucker pickup – a fitting that contrasts with the sole P-90 alternative of original ‘61 SG/Les Paul Juniors.

The curvature of the three-ply black pickguard remains the same, though, as does the wraparound Lightning Bar bridge and streamlined control circuit comprising a three-way selector switch with knobs for volume and tone.

Another notable addition on Chicago Music Exchange’s part, though, is the presence of the short vibrola. Both the bridge and vibrola tailpiece have heavy aged weathering.

The model carries both the SG and the Les Paul name – a result of the naming issues that took place in 1961, when the SG template was first introduced under the Les Paul name – much to the disapproval of Les Paul himself.

The super-premium SG features a mahogany body and neck, an Indian rosewood fingerboard with celluloid dot inlays, white button Kluson tuners and black top with silver insert control knobs. 

The CME Gibson Murphy Lab SG certainly offers something tantalizingly different as far as SGs go, and is available now for $5,099. For more information, visit Chicago Music Exchange.

In recent times, Chicago Music Exchange has been more known for its exclusive gear partnerships with Fender. Last October, the gear retailer unveiled a Player Jazzmaster sporting a unique Pacific Peach finish.

That same colorway was revived around six months later, when CME added Stratocaster and Telecaster models to the Pacific Peach family.

It's not the first time Chicago Music Exchange has favored Shell Pink for its guitars, either, getting Fender to apply it to a trio of Acoustasonic models in October last year.

The past weeks have seen some potentially exciting developments in Murphy Lab world, with Gibson brand president Cesar Gueikian teasing what looked to be the first-ever Murphy Lab acoustic models on Instagram.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.