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Gibson Custom Shop | Introducing the Murphy Lab

fretboarder

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May 20, 2015
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76
The new knobs etc look stupid on that aged guitar also the can checks dont look very good either.
 

Wizard1183

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Jan 20, 2018
Messages
148
The new knobs etc look stupid on that aged guitar also the can checks dont look very good either.
Well I see MANY on these forums creaming in their pants over a Murphy and I’ve always been like Meh. A guitar will look good regardless. Gibson does an excellent job on painting and I’ve never seen a difference in them? I know Murphy leaves his initials in the checking. But otherwise can you tell? I can’t. And I def wouldn’t pay more for a Murphy. His paint schemes aren’t exactly original like an artist painting a certain picture. Gibson does a vintage cherry or lemon burst? Tom does same thing. End result? The SAME.
 

sws1

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Dec 4, 2001
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2,594
That makes absolutely no sense. Historics cost more than USA due to parts and build schemes. You didnt answer my question. He uses the same exact paint/clear as Gibson. What makes his so special? When I see his, theyre NO different than a regular historic...

Outside of his aging techniques. If you put one Paul side by side against a Murphy painted one, Can you ALWAYS tell the difference? And how? Cause basically its one painter vs another....

You need to take an economics class. A marketing class would also help.

Do you think Air Jordans cost 10x the amount to construct them than a cheap pair of Nikes?
Do you think luxury cars cost of development is proportionally the same as cheaper cars?
etc.

What do these luxury products have in common? Significantly higher profit margin. It's why many companies have high end lines....they can charge ever increasing prices and drive ever increasing profits.

You'd be shocked to hear the cost to build an R9 (excluding the aging). It's alot lower than you think. And it's probably have a tad higher than the cost to build a USA LP.
 

Wizard1183

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Jan 20, 2018
Messages
148
You need to take an economics class. A marketing class would also help.

Do you think Air Jordans cost 10x the amount to construct them than a cheap pair of Nikes?
Do you think luxury cars cost of development is proportionally the same as cheaper cars?
etc.

What do these luxury products have in common? Significantly higher profit margin. It's why many companies have high end lines....they can charge ever increasing prices and drive ever increasing profits.

You'd be shocked to hear the cost to build an R9 (excluding the aging). It's alot lower than you think. And it's probably have a tad higher than the cost to build a USA LP.
Air jordans yes I can see. Luxury products? Quality. They’re not Chinese built. Again my question isn’t answered. So it’s purely a marketing scheme correct? Tom Murphy. That’s what you’re paying for? Just a name? Got it! Thank you.
 

sws1

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Dec 4, 2001
Messages
2,594
Air jordans yes I can see. Luxury products? Quality. They’re not Chinese built. Again my question isn’t answered. So it’s purely a marketing scheme correct? Tom Murphy. That’s what you’re paying for? Just a name? Got it! Thank you.

The market has proven that Tom Murphy aged guitars sell, and for higher money. So Gibson is making more of them.
 

ourmaninthenorth

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Mar 28, 2009
Messages
6,356
Air jordans yes I can see. Luxury products? Quality. They’re not Chinese built. Again my question isn’t answered. So it’s purely a marketing scheme correct? Tom Murphy. That’s what you’re paying for? Just a name? Got it! Thank you.
It's no secret that I hold corporate Gibson in extremely low esteem. It's smoke and mirrors nonsense is comedic. My axe is already ground to dust on this matter - it's that repetitive I bore myself with it.

But one can only narrate one's own experience.

I have enduring experience of a 2001 Tom Murphy, I bought it within 45 seconds of playing it, why? because it was a Tom Murphy? yes. at the time partly, but only partly. Primarily because from the off the guitar felt and sounded right in my hands. It was significantly more expensive than it's non aged Historic counterparts. Here's a fact, despite the hundreds of Les Paul's I'd played before, and the hundreds since, I've never found one that I consider it's superior. Maybe I got lucky, who knows? It's silly to be reductive on these matters.

I love and play as I find, as in reality most of us do. Is Tom Murphy the second coming? Is he buggery. But he sure put out a great guitar that has given me more consistent joy than any other of it's generic type.

I have no idea why, nor is it that important that I do.
 

GreenBurst

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Mar 5, 2004
Messages
702
Yes, good points. I to have a Murphy LP. But I've always wondered how much of that is the wood? Not sure if Tom just gets guitars to paint, or not. Of all my playing years and a current stash of 8 LPs I find that even more than pickups, the wood is the largest variable. Just not sure at this point which has the most impact, the neck or the body.

I can state that swapping out to a Brazilian fretboard did not change the tone. It made a big difference in playability and feel, but not tone. So, it was still a huge improvement. But, if it feels better then it makes you play more confidently. That must translate into tone somewhat.

YMMV
 

TexanViking

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Joined
Jun 22, 2019
Messages
44
Air jordans yes I can see. Luxury products? Quality. They’re not Chinese built. Again my question isn’t answered. So it’s purely a marketing scheme correct? Tom Murphy. That’s what you’re paying for? Just a name? Got it! Thank you.

I’ve owned three Historics now, an ‘05 R8, a ’13 R8, and now an ‘18 R9, Murphy painted and Murphy aged, w/ Brazilian board.

When I chose the Murphy I have now, there were other Murphy painted LPs on the wall, some aged some not, some R8s some R9s, as well as a larger population of non-Murphy painted LPs. Considering now all the Historics I’ve owned and the others I’ve poured over when considering for purchase, I’d say the difference can be summed up into two things.

1. He doesn’t exactly stick to the color schemes of the moment. Mine looks like one that has lost a pinch of red to time, but not a lot, like it spent more time in the dark than most. That said, you can see that the whole thing has shifted towards yellow as once clear nitro often will. So while the colors aren’t the standard “bourbon burst, lemon burst” and so on, they do... make sense.

2. All the Murphy painted instruments seemed to have a touch more depth or 3D-ness to them. Not a hell of a lot, mind you. And it could easily have been the figure in the wood and not his work. Even the R8s he painted had considerable figure, more than ordinary R8s (all the ones he painted were these dealer-specific, “Wildwood spec” LPs), but the Murphy LPs still had a touch of something extra to their depth when compared to others of similar maple figure degree.

Is he some magician, probably not. I’d imagine it’s not that the rest of the Custom Art & Historic staff can’t do what he does (whatever that is), they probably just don’t.

Ultimately, it wasn’t a factor for my purchase, it had more to do w/ the flame, the straightness to the grain on the back, the sound, the board, and the aging.

Whether the up-charge is worth it, as always, is up to the buyer, and says as much about the value that money holds to them as anything.
 

JPP-1

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Jul 11, 2006
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1,295
I was ready to pull the trigger on a Murphy Lab At Wildwood because the color and flame were beautiful. But that broken glass. checking. Wtf!

Once I saw the checking on some of these Murphy Labs I put my card away. Are you kidding me, The checking looks like the amateur spray checking that has been rather universally mocked here and on other forums. It looks nothing like real checking. I have vintage Gibsons with real checking. At least the original Murphy’s mimicked the most aesthetically appealing horizontal checking, albeit the razor method still appeared a tad artificial.

I was ready to applaud Gibson for providing lightly aged Historics at a very attractive price but c’mon. If I wanted that horrific spider web broken glass look I could get a bottle of 5 dollar canned air and get the same result. I really hope Gibson gets this right.
 
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AA00475Bassman

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Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,113
So whats so good about murphy to command $5000 more because he painted a guitar? Lets take his relic jobs out the equation for a second. Whats the difference between Murphy paint and Gibson paint? Im betting subliminal.
Far from subliminal shading ,color Murphy's non aged early 90's were gorgeous Tom has a talent for painting , Although I can't pull the trigger on one I have tried over the years . I had cold feet last spring I was going to buy a Rossington North of 9000.00 I stopped my other Historic's are fine guitars I just could not justify the up charge . But once again Murphy has a strong vibe and I totally understand the lust !
 
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surfreak

Active member
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May 6, 2002
Messages
1,106
I can only speak from experience, having owned a Murphy painted & aged R9, a TH Murphy aged R9 and having seen a few of these Murphy Lab ones up close:

- I cannot detect any difference in quality in a Murphy paint job vs a Gibson paint job. No subtle 3D effect, no more historically accurate shading, nothing. In my book, whoever paints the R series at Gibson is as good as Tom Murphy.

- Neither Murphy's razor aging technique nor Murphy Lab's flash freezing are convincingly authentic. My preference goes to the freezing technique because it looks a bit closer to how a nitro finished guitar would age.
Put it this way: yes, the "shattered glass" effect is a bit artificial, but for sure no real vintage guitar would ever display those razor lines.
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,929
Air jordans yes I can see. Luxury products? Quality. They’re not Chinese built. Again my question isn’t answered. So it’s purely a marketing scheme correct? Tom Murphy. That’s what you’re paying for? Just a name? Got it! Thank you.
It's a product line by the master of aging - Tom Murphy . While not for everyone , it does offer a price point for a aged and painted instrument that are closer to vintage specs . Think of it this way , you want the look and feel of a vintage Sunburst Les Paul , but at the fraction of the price . That's it in a nutshell . More choices for the consumer . Also with the makeover folks out there , this gives the consumer the choice of having a purely built and aged instrument directly out of the Gibson Custom shop program . Win win for the consumer . Gibson Custom is knocking it out of the park in a major way !
 

Wizard1183

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Jan 20, 2018
Messages
148
It's a product line by the master of aging - Tom Murphy . While not for everyone , it does offer a price point for a aged and painted instrument that are closer to vintage specs . Think of it this way , you want the look and feel of a vintage Sunburst Les Paul , but at the fraction of the price . That's it in a nutshell . More choices for the consumer . Also with the makeover folks out there , this gives the consumer the choice of having a purely built and aged instrument directly out of the Gibson Custom shop program . Win win for the consumer . Gibson Custom is knocking it out of the park in a major way !
Thanks for clarifying. Aging I can see he does well. But apart from again he’s still using same nitro with plasticizers. Some of non Murphy R9s looks as good in my opinion. I just don’t think a non aged Murphy is worth anymore. But many feel it is. And that’s fIne
 

TexanViking

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Jun 22, 2019
Messages
44
Yes upwards of a $1000 extra! As well as cluttering up their custom shop page https://www.gibson.com/Custom-Shop

The cluttering of the site appears to be a function of breaking out every color as much as anything. I’d imagine their webmaster will eventually get hip to coalescing not only colors, but aging degree, into some menu or link-driven feature in each product page (as they were w/ color on the pre-Lab Historics).

To the point of “[an amount] extra,” I’d be curious how many purchasers bought one b/c of Murphy’s name and/or handiwork, and how many were more like myself, where they liked everything else about the instrument enough that they weren’t put off by the up charge for something they didn’t care about.

Generally speaking, usually when businesses identify that a feature isn’t actually a selling point, they strike it, lower price, in the interest of aggressively pursuing market share. Alas, this is as textbook a marketplace.
 

TexanViking

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Jun 22, 2019
Messages
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I was ready to pull the trigger on a Murphy Lab At Wildwood because the color and flame were beautiful. But that broken glass. checking. Wtf!

I’m w/ you, brother. Particularly the more extreme examples. It seems like the lighter the application of their aging “secret sauce,” the better. Photos of the models on the Gibson site, as well as close-ups on the recent YouTube videos, seem to look best (and most realistic) w/ the lowest or second-to-lowest level of aging. Realism inversely proportional to heaviness. 🤷‍♂️

On a side note, when you say, “at Wildwood,” are you near their high-altitude area, or did you mean to imply viewing from the website? My condolences if you’re among those turbo-buried under snow right now.
 

Morlock

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May 22, 2018
Messages
19
The cluttering of the site appears to be a function of breaking out every color as much as anything. I’d imagine their webmaster will eventually get hip to coalescing not only colors, but aging degree, into some menu or link-driven feature in each product page (as they were w/ color on the pre-Lab Historics).

To the point of “[an amount] extra,” I’d be curious how many purchasers bought one b/c of Murphy’s name and/or handiwork, and how many were more like myself, where they liked everything else about the instrument enough that they weren’t put off by the up charge for something they didn’t care about.

Generally speaking, usually when businesses identify that a feature isn’t actually a selling point, they strike it, lower price, in the interest of aggressively pursuing market share. Alas, this is as textbook a marketplace.
I noticed all the different colours and I guess they are excited about their new range but what would be wrong with eg: "Les Paul '59 reissue available in 4 colours" just like the rest of their range where you then click on it and check out the different schemes available?

Or just place all the Murphy's in one area. I think they might be shooting an own goal with this because I got rather exhausted bypassing all the Murphy's to look at the regular Custom range guitars.

They do have that kind of collector feel about them so that might be a market as well as people who really do get into the worn look and want a Les Paul that looks like a road warrior. Given the main complaint regarding Gibson is price it will be interesting to see how many people go for this range.

Only time will tell.
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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Thanks for clarifying. Aging I can see he does well. But apart from again he’s still using same nitro with plasticizers. Some of non Murphy R9s looks as good in my opinion. I just don’t think a non aged Murphy is worth anymore. But many feel it is. And that’s fIne
I hear you and the beauty part for the consumer is the choices . I have always loved the gloss finish on my R9's and R8's . I wouldn't get to caught up in the plasticizers issue as the finish is thin and the wood breathes plenty and you can feel it in your hands as the wood vibrates and sings and sustains like crazy -honest !!!!!!!! Don't believe me , take one for a test drive in your local shop in your neck of the woods .
 
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