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Gibson Custom Murphy Lab

By Mark Jhonson: April 1, 2021

Respected by generations of players and collectors the Gibson Custom Shop has been at the forefront of high-end quality instruments for decades now. A Jimmy Page Number One Aged & Signed Les Paul would set you back a whopping five figure sum, in fact we sold one about five years ago for £75,000. Let’s take a look at the man who helped create this legacy.

Gibson is a brand steeped in history and heritage with names like Lloyd Loar, Ted McCarty, Les Paul, Seth Lover residing in the hall of fame. Each one of these legends building on the foundations built by Orville Gibson. One such man is Tom Murphy, earning his place in Gibson’s rock ’n’ roll hall of fame.

Gibson-Murphy-Lab-Les-Paul-Gold-Top@1400x1050From the beginning, Tom always had a fascination with vintage instruments from that golden era and it wasn’t long before he was authentically recreating them. Turning heads with his period-correct time pieces. He soon realised there was a growing market for these instruments.

Tom secured his legendary status at Gibson when he started faithfully recreating artist signature models. Jimmy Page, Gary Rossington, Billy Gibbons are just a few examples of reissue artist instruments that have received the Murphy treatment.


Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian recalls recently receiving an original 1959 Les Paul “who does this belong to and is it for sale?” he asked. What he had actually received was one of Tom’s latest 1959 Aged Les Pauls.

“What you have created here Tom is the ultimate historic reissue replica, even when you close your eyes it feels like an instrument that’s been played for decades”.

Gueikian then approached Gibson CEO, JC Curleigh, and suggested creating the Gibson Murphy Lab in recognition of Tom’s work. An exclusive club with the finest Custom Shop artisans trained and headed by the main man himself. Tom admits having a lab with his name above the door is a great honour which comes with a high level of responsibility, but he has every faith that his team of highly skilled luthiers can uphold and exceed the level of prestige associated with the Gibson brand.


With the 65th anniversary of the burst looming you just know there will be some very special guitars handcrafted in the Murphy Lab. The current range comprises of 50 different models with four levels of ageing:

  • Ultra Light: That prized possession that only ever sees the light of day occasionally, spending most of its time in its case under the bed.
  • Light: Unlike its ultra light friend this beauty has been played a bit more but still rarely leaves the safety of its home.
  • Heavy: This trusty workhorse has been out on the road with you night after night, showing signs of heavy wear.
  • Ultra Heavy: Your life-long companion who sleeps next to you and has toured with you for decades. Not a looker but, boy, if those scars could talk what stories they would tell.


Body styles include tried and tested classics:

Les Paul











Gibson-Murphy-Lab-59-Les-Paul@1400x1050Here at Guitar Village we have a treasure trove of Gibson Custom Shop guitars click the link below to see our current inventory.




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