Manually relic’ing a guitar is nothing new, but now Gibson is taking the process to an entirely artificial level. Gibson has introduced their new Murphy Lab Collection led by industry pioneer Tom Murphy, which uses a combination of chemical processes to artificially age guitars all the way back to the 50s.
“Using the most sophisticated tools and technology, master artisan Tom Murphy and his team create each Murphy Lab guitar inside our Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville, Tennessee,” said the company in a statement. “Each instrument is a unique, handcrafted work of art, with the character, vibe, and feel of an original vintage guitar.”
The Murphy Lab Collection Gibson guitars range from $4,299 to $10,499 and includes everything from classic Les Pauls and SGs to ES-335 styles and even a Firebird or two.
On one hand, this is great way for someone to get their hands on a guitar they’d likely never see the actual vintage version of. On the other hand, these guitars are expensive as hell and I feel like the prices are this high to help cover the cost of the process… which in turn is driving the price up. Maybe just go buy a cheaper Les Paul and beat the crap out of it over the next 20 years? It might be just me, but I never really understood the appeal of the relic market, and this just distances it even further from me.
Though it’s not surprising these guitars are likely going to draw ire from some Gibson players. Gibson CMO Cesar Gueikian revealed the idea of the Murphy Lab Collection midway through 2020 on Instagram and a good handful of people weren’t too pleased with the idea.