Joe Bonamassa takes Gibson’s Murphy Lab models for a spin in new Artist Series episode

Joe Bonamassa with a Gibson Murphy Lab Les Paul
(Image credit: Gibson TV)

Gibson has recruited Joe Bonamassa for the second episode of its Murphy Lab Artist Series YouTube show, which sees the blues guitar god philosophize about the allure of vintage instruments.

The six-minute session also sees JoBo get hands-on with Murphy Lab iterations of the 1959 Les Paul Standard, 1963 SG Special, 1964 SG Standard – in both Cherry Red and Pelham Blue colorways – 1959 ES-335, and the P-90-equipped 1956 Les Paul Goldtop for an in-depth sonic and visual appraisal.

Gibson debuted its 50-string Murphy Lab lineup earlier this year – a range of classically styled, artificially aged electric guitars that aim to authentically recreate the aesthetics of genuine vintage-era instruments.

Bonamassa, perhaps the guitar world’s most high-profile guitar collector and six-string connoisseur, mused, “I enjoy old guitars because it’s a hunt, a passion. 

“Every guitar that comes out of a case represents a kid’s dream,” he continued. “It’s not about ‘stuff’, it’s about becoming a custodian of something that’s been existing longer than you have.”

Of course, it’s JoBo in the driving seat, meaning we get to hear each end of the Murphy Lab range’s sonic spectrum, ranging from the subtle bite of the dialed-down P-90-loaded Goldtop to the unplugged, acoustic-esque "ping" of the ‘59 Burst.

For some parting wisdom, Bonamassa offered, “I remember when I got my first guitar. You pop the case and you’re like, ‘Oh my god.’ It represents a dream that anybody can pick one of these things up and go, ‘If I just believe in myself, I can do this.’

“Look at me: Odd last name, a voice like Kermit the Frog and questionable note choices. If I can do it, anybody can.”

Head over to Gibson (opens in new tab) to peruse the Murphy Lab lineup.

Gibson’s Senior Director of Product Development, Mat Koehler, recently addressed reports of finish flaking issues some Murphy Lab model owners have experienced, saying that such problems have arisen due to inadequate acclimation processes.

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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.