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The Marvels of the Murphy Lab

There are 7.764 billion people on this beautiful ball of water and dirt that we call home, and hardly any of them know Gibson guitars better than Tom Murphy. Tom is a legend in the world of guitars, and instruments bearing his name have acquired a deservedly sterling reputation due to their outstanding tone, jaw-dropping looks, and stunning vintage accuracy. But, he wasn't always a rockstar of lutherie. In fact, he worked as a professional touring musician for many years, and during that time he became intimately acquainted with vintage guitars: how they sound, how they feel, and how they look. After deciding to stop touring, Tom got a job as a finish specialist at Gibson and eventually became a project manager in charge of the first reissues of the 1959 Les Paul standard.

For a while, Tom also gained valuable experience working as a luthier to the stars, and his client list included luminaries like Jimmy Page, Dickey Betts, Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, and Gary Rossington (fun fact: he brought Peter Frampton's iconic Les Paul Custom back from the dead after it had been resting in pieces in the debris of a crashed cargo plane for three decades!).

Now, things have come full circle, and our friends at Gibson have handed Tom the keys to a brand-new institution of sonic savagery within the Gibson Custom Shop: the Murphy Lab. Tom and his team of skilled craftspeople have one mission, and one mission only: to create the most ridiculously awesome recreations of vintage Gibson guitars that the world has ever seen.

Step Into the Lab

Murphy Lab is aptly named because it is basically the musical equivalent of what happens when you give a mad scientist a laboratory fully-stocked with warp drives and flux capacitors. With a plethora of resources behind them, Tom and his team have been able to create guitars that are essentially carbon copies of vintage Gibsons. They look, feel, and sound so close to the originals that it's downright scary.

How do Tom and his team achieve such unparalleled vintage accuracy? Well, first off, Tom has discovered a brand-new formula for nitrocellulose lacquer to use on aged guitars that mimics the properties of 1950s and ‘60s finishes to a T. Thanks to this thinner finish, aged Murphy Lab guitars look like authentic vintage pieces. They don’t just look the part--they are the real McCoy!

Of course, the heart of the Murphy Lab is the aging process. Part of what made Tom a legend was his ability to replicate the natural wear and tear found on distressed vintage instruments by hand-aging brand-new instruments. With his practiced eye and skilled hands, Tom artfully mimicked the finish and feel of old guitars, and he has imparted his skills to the talented team at the Murphy Lab.

Though Tom may not age each and every guitar himself, he has done a bang-up job of teaching his team the Way of Murphy, and they do a marvelous job of replicating his masterful work. As a result, each guitar looks like it came out of a time machine and feels like your favorite worn-in pair of blue jeans.

Step Into the Sixties

This incredible Murphy Lab creation is a reissue of the 1961 ES-335, a vintage model prized for its skinny C-shaped neck profile. This model features an exacting reproduction of that super-fast neck based on scans of an original, and it provides a marvelous vintage-accurate playing experience. It also features other period-correct appointments like Kluson tuners and rounded cutaways, so it has the full package. And, it's built the old-school way with hot hide glue to maximize resonance and sustain. We have no doubt this sah-weet '61 ES-335 will prove itself to be an inspiring musical companion on all your fretboard adventures!


Brand Gibson Murphy Lab
ModelMurphy Lab 1961 ES-335
Finish Color'60s Cherry
Finish TypeHeavy Aged
Weight7.96 lbs.
Body Wood3-Ply Maple/Poplar/Maple
Center BlockSolid Maple
Neck WoodSolid Mahogany
Neck ShapeAuthentic '61 Skinny C-Shape
Neck Dimensions.800 1st - .920 12th
Neck JointLong Tenon Attached with Hide Glue
FingerboardIndian Rosewood attached with Hide Glue
Fingerboard Radius12"
Frets22 Authentic Medium Jumbo
Scale Length24.75"
Width at Nut1.69"
Binding1-Ply Royalite
Pickups2 Alnico III Custombuckers
Controls2 Volume, 2 Tone, 3-way Switch
HardwareMurphy Lab Heavy-Aged Nickel
TailpieceAluminum Stopbar
Saddle MaterialNickel-Plated Brass
TunersKluson Single-Line Double-Ring
PickguardBlack 5-Ply Wide Bevel
CaseGibson Custom Hardshell

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Serial Number: 120928

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