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Murphy lab yay or nay?

jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
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4,196
Why would the latter not happen, LOL? We know that the CS does this with special runs such as artist models. They also offer tweaked CBs for Wildwood CME Spec models. There's a reason that MLs cost so much and it's not just the aging.
Developing special recipe winds or alt-magnets much, much different than matching a group of buckers from a pile to a group of husks.

Matching from the supply bing? LOL back: a combinatorial improbability, and to whose tonal benchmark..?

Again, if they were different CustomBuckers in ML guitars than same-year Historic Reissues, they would advertise and place it on the label.
 

deytookerjaabs

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Nov 6, 2016
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1,551
I don't know about the Murphy thing other than a quick glance at a couple in GC.

But, I would say Gibson started hitting the mark a few years ago in terms of my perception of what the word reissue should mean. I say that just because around then the binding & inlay material along with the geometry of those details plus some of the guitars having that glass like finish finally hit the mark in terms of actually making the guitar look like it could have come from 50's-era materials. Little things might be off but all the important stuff was there and still is with the new guitars. And that recent Brazilian run had ones that looked to good to be true in it.

It could be a lot worse. Right now you can spend 4K on a custom shop "1959 Reissue" Strat that will have the wrong inlays, wrong body contouring, wrong pickguard material, wrong fingerboard edge profile, a crappy dry porous RW board and an NOS finish that will only age by applying liquid nitrogen. Point is you're not getting much "Reissue" in all that money you spent. At least a new CS Les Paul, SG, 335 mostly now adhere to era correct specs & materials considering the boatload of cash you put down on it.
 

CAGinLA

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Jan 4, 2016
Messages
478
Developing special recipe winds or alt-magnets much, much different than matching a group of buckers from a pile to a group of husks.

Matching from the supply bing? LOL back: a combinatorial improbability, and to whose tonal benchmark..?

Again, if they were different CustomBuckers in ML guitars than same-year Historic Reissues, they would advertise and place it on the label.
I respectfully suggest that you just don't know what your talking about. Why don't you simply ask Mat from Gibson on his megathread about what ML is doing with the pickups?
 

programmer

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Jul 2, 2021
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But, I would say Gibson started hitting the mark a few years ago in terms of my perception of what the word reissue should mean. I say that just because around then the binding & inlay material along with the geometry of those details plus some of the guitars having that glass like finish finally hit the mark in terms of actually making the guitar look like it could have come from 50's-era materials. Little things might be off but all the important stuff was there and still is with the new guitars. And that recent Brazilian run had ones that looked to good to be true in it.
I have a goldtop from that Brazilian run (2018). The neck binding on that is very thin. I don't know if that is period correct but it looks great aesthetically. Here it is next to a '58 special.
01-08-2023-10-52-11.jpg
 

jb_abides

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I respectfully suggest that you just don't know what your talking about. Why don't you simply ask Mat from Gibson on his megathread about what ML is doing with the pickups?

Will do. Happy to be proven wrong in order to shed light on the matter.

Please provide your evidence a spec difference does exist.
 

CAGinLA

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Jan 4, 2016
Messages
478
Will do. Happy to be proven wrong in order to shed light on the matter.

Please provide your evidence a spec difference does exist.
LOL, how the hell am I supposed to provide you with proof of a spec difference?

Some people around here just like to argue for argument's sake.
 

cmontgo

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Jan 10, 2002
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Just bought my first Murph (R9) a few weeks ago. I have to say that I wasn’t originally impressed with the concept or the price but when my salesman put it my hands - oh well. The most wonderful thing about them, I noticed, is that the finish is fully cured. No stickiness, whatsoever. That, and the fact that it’s lightweight (8.1 lbs.) makes a guitar that I can play all night long. There was some wiggle room on the price, too.
 

bluesky636

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Jan 10, 2014
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473
I wouldn't trade my 2014 R8 for a Murphy Lab.

Now if Gibson wanted to GIVE me a Murphy Lab R8 or R9, I would give it due consideration.
 
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Lewis Liu

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Jul 6, 2021
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A lot of people claim that the Gibson Custom Shop hand picked better R9s into Murphy Lab, but it seems not true according to the interview with Mat from Gibson by Guitar.com. Below is the URL and for your convenience I have captured the relevant part and highlight it in the screenshot.


1673251471462.png
 

60thR0

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Nov 1, 2021
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A lot of people claim that the Gibson Custom Shop hand picked better R9s into Murphy Lab, but it seems not true according to the interview with Mat from Gibson by Guitar.com. Below is the URL and for your convenience I have captured the relevant part and highlight it in the screenshot.


View attachment 20605
That’s a clever answer that avoids the specific question about whether or not they are selected off the line or picked blindfolded. Yes they are all historics and go through the same build process, but given the price difference especially for say a heavy aged R9 vs a VOS I find it hard to believe they are chosen completely at random, and that quote doesn’t actually say that either. It also makes perfect sense, they need to protect their investment.
 

Lewis Liu

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That’s a clever answer that avoids the specific question about whether or not they are selected off the line or picked blindfolded. Yes they are all historics and go through the same build process, but given the price difference especially for say a heavy aged R9 vs a VOS I find it hard to believe they are chosen completely at random, and that quote doesn’t actually say that either. It also makes perfect sense, they need to protect their investment.
Yes, what you said makes sense, but if we look at this from another perspective, we may come to a completely different conclusion. Gibson would advertise possibly everything that can make their products special, especially for those newly promoted high-end ones, to justify the price point. Hand selecting by Murphy Lab is definitely a unique selling point. Not mentioning it may encounter challenges from customers that whether the aging works and different lacquers alone worth the price doubling as compared to a regular VOS R9 (take ultra heavy aging for example here).

Anyway, this is a myth only those insiders would know, happy to discuss.
 

executor

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Dec 30, 2020
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Tom Murphy chat with GuitarGuitar UK.

If you watch from 18:20, it sounds to me there is some sort of selection process for guitars that eventually go into the Murphy Lab.

 
Last edited:

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,244
The necks are a big part of it, but also the resonance of the wood and the clarity of the Custombuckers.

As a frame of reference. I've been playing/buying Gibsons since 1987. I've owned 41 of them over the years - from '60s & '70s vintage through Gibson USA, Memphis, and Custom Shop.

17 out of those 41 are Custom Shop Gibsons built between 2007-2021 - a mix of LPs, SGs, Firebirds, and ES models.

2 out of those 17 are True Historic LPs (one hand painted by Tom Murphy) and 2 are Murphy Labs ('64 335 and R8 LP).

A good chunk of the Custom Shop models I've owned have had Custombuckers. The ones in my current MLs just sound a little different to me. I don't think that ML is necessarily using special Custombuckers but I suspect that they might be putting more attention into pairing the right CBs for a particular guitar.
I’ve owned a number of Gibson’s. i started playing Gibson’s in 1969! My 1st & 2nd were both Melody Makers. The 1st one was a 1965 and the 2nd was a 1961 that was the best one I’d ever owned until 2009 when I found an incredible single cutaway/ dbl pickup. I’ve probably owned around 25 Melody Makers. I do own a 1959 dbl cut LP Special and a few other Gibson’s. My 2021 ML R-9 is as good as some of the original Les Paul’s that friends have owned and loaned me over the last 45+ years. I got spoiled and got a Travis Bean in 1975 and that guitar was amazing. I played it on &off for years.
 

SubSauce

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Sep 14, 2022
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I can't speak to the pickups being any different between Murphy Lab and standard historic reissues, but I can attest to the lacquer being different: thinner and more brittle feeling in the former, and more thick and gummy in the latter. Seems like things said by Gibson's people would corroborate this difference as well (see executor and Lewis Liu's contributions above). My experience has shown me that one has a higher likelihood of finding a gem of a Les Paul from the Murphy Labs lineup compared to the standard reissues. I've played many examples of both over the past couple of years in stores and there are just more Murphy Labs that I pick up and feel or hear something that stands out to me as being special than the non Murphy Labs Les Pauls. I believe it is the lacquer that contributes to this difference. I don't own a Murphy Lab because they are quite expensive but my vote would be a yay if I could afford one.
 

CAGinLA

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Jan 4, 2016
Messages
478
I’ve owned a number of Gibson’s. i started playing Gibson’s in 1969! My 1st & 2nd were both Melody Makers. The 1st one was a 1965 and the 2nd was a 1961 that was the best one I’d ever owned until 2009 when I found an incredible single cutaway/ dbl pickup. I’ve probably owned around 25 Melody Makers. I do own a 1959 dbl cut LP Special and a few other Gibson’s. My 2021 ML R-9 is as good as some of the original Les Paul’s that friends have owned and loaned me over the last 45+ years. I got spoiled and got a Travis Bean in 1975 and that guitar was amazing. I played it on &off for years.
When I was 16 and looking to get a second electric I had a chance to get a '70s Travis Bean for cheap - the sales guy (Ed Roman - I'm sure some of you here knew him) was really pushing it on me, but I ended up passing on it and getting a crazy looking Dean Explorer with a locking trem system (because it was the mid-80s and I was a budding young Metalhead!). In hindsight, I wish I had grabbed the TB.
 

Wizard1183

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Jan 20, 2018
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304
Les Paul Historic Reissue from Custom Shop for me these are great guitars but let's leave the aging to them. for me Murphy Lab are definitely guitars for collectors for the glass in the showcase.
Why not play them? Not like anyone would know other than fret wear lol
 

Lewis Liu

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Jul 6, 2021
Messages
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I still think that ML guitars are way too overpriced.

First of all, those guitars were not produced by Murphy himself, unlike Fender Masterbuilts which are actually built by those Masterbuilders; ML guitars are only selected by Murphy Lab from regular custom shop products and then finish them with a different Nitro Lacquer and perform ageing works on them (if any selection process is involved, which we don't know for sure).

Secondly, the above-mentioned selection process (if any), finishing and ageing work are not perform by Murphy himself, it is a result of teamwork, just like Fender Custom Shop teambuilt; however the price of ML guitars are much much higher than Fender CS teambuilt, and reach the level (if not higher) of Fender Masterbuilt, which is rediculous.
 
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