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Gibson Custom Murphy Lab
Gibson Custom Murphy Lab

Gibson Murphy Lab

The Gibson Murphy Lab is an all-new division of the Gibson Custom Shop, under the leadership of guitar-ageing specialist Tom Murphy, dedicated to crafting historically-accurate guitars of Gibson’s most legendary instruments. It’s a great hits album of 50 Custom Shop Historic Collection models, representing the most popular Made 2 Measure models and colours, such as the ‘59 Les Paul Standard, ‘64 SG Standard, and ‘59 ES-335, among others.

The Gibson Murphy Lab is led by veteran builder Tom Murphy, one of the original pioneers of guitar ageing, who for 25 years has been faithfully recreating the vibe and character of vintage guitars on the canvas of newly-created guitars. He was instrumental in the creation of the Gibson Custom Shop and his work is a fine art, expertly adding wear and natural lacquer cracking to guitars using his extensive knowledge, creative vision, authentic style, and passion for building historically-accurate guitars. He has recreated the ageing on guitars of legends such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Slash, Joe Walsh, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Peter Frampton, Dickey Betts, Gary Rossington, and more.

The Murphy Lab

Each artisan in the Murphy Lab has been trained under Tom’s supervision to be an ageing expert, using Tom’s specific processes and specs to provide distinct levels of age and wear. Each instrument takes a separate path through the lab to receive the new Murphy Lab lacquer formula and hand-applied Murphy Lab techniques. Normally the Tom Murphy ageing process took a long time so there weren’t as many guitars available with this finish, but now he has a specialised team working with him, so more guitars can be produced with the same great care and attention to detail.

Gibson Murphy Lab Workshop

New "Old" Lacquer

Nitrocellulose lacquer in the ’50s and ’60s was imperfect and brittle, causing the finish to develop checks typically under the finish. Tom reverse-engineered this original lacquer to create ultra-realistic ageing, testing prototypes of various shapes, sizes, finishes, and ageing levels to get the most authentic look.

Gibson Murphy Lab Nitro Lacquer

Ageing Options

There are four levels of ageing available through Made 2 Measure and the all-new Murphy Lab collection:


Uses only the lightest touches by the Murphy Lab ageing technicians, creating unique lacquer checking with minimal wear, like if the guitar had spent most of it’s life in a case.


Simulates 50+ years of average play wear, with more intense, unique lacquer checking patterns, dings, pick trails, finish flaking and softened edges.


Simulates 50+ years of life on the road, featuring significant wear and tear with lots of buckle rash, light arm wear, neckwear, and prominent checking patterns all over the guitar.


This emulates the ageing of decades of heavy playing and on-stage abuse, with major buckle rash, heavy arm wear, visible pick wear, heavy neck and peghead face wear, and areas of exposed wood throughout.

You also have the unique option to have the guitar painted by Tom Murphy himself.

Gibson Murphy Lab Ageing


Ultra-Light and Light aged guitars are paired with VOS (Vintage Original Sheen) patina hardware, where the parts of lightly aged for an authentic vintage patina, and the finish is buffed to a light matte appearance. Heavy and Ultra Heavy aged guitars are paired with a newly-developed Murphy Lab heavy aged hardware.

Extra Rolled Fingerboard Edges

All Murphy Lab aged guitars have extra rolled fingerboard binding that mimics the worn, broken-in feel of a vintage Gibson, disrupting the evenness of the yellowed lacquer and binding nips just like the originals - another example of the great attention to detail on all Murphy Lab guitars.

Rolled Fingerboard Edges

<< Shop the Gibson Murphy Lab Series Below. >>

Gibson Custom Murphy Lab


Electric Guitars