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Gibson ushers in "the future of aging guitars" with the 50-strong Murphy Lab collection

A preview of Gibson's new Murphy Lab collection
(Image credit: Gibson)

Almost a year and a half after the project's initial announcement, and a month and a half or so since we got our first concrete look at the shop's work, Gibson's Murphy Lab has finally officially unveiled its first collection of electric guitars

Featuring an even 50 (!) immaculately detailed 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.

The brainchild of 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.

For instance, Murphy and Gibson managed to scientifically reverse-engineer the original Nitrocellulose lacquer Gibson used on guitars in the 1950s and 1960s, in light of the original'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 statement. “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.”

As one would expect from such intricate Custom Shop work, the Gibson Murphy Lab guitars are on the pricey side, ranging from $4,299 at the low end to $10,499 at the high end.

You can read more about all of the individual Murphy Lab models at Gibson (opens in new tab).

A preview of Gibson's new Murphy Lab collection

(Image credit: Gibson)

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.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 (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). 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.