Gibson Custom Shop Wildwood Spec 1958 Mahogany Explorer - Aged by Tom Murphy
Serial Number Video
In all my time at Wildwood, I have never had the pleasure of playing an Explorer aged by Tom Murphy, a noted finish wizard (for more on Tom, see the blurb below). After cranking the volume and jamming on this serial for a while, I hope I see many more! The finish looks marvelous, and the aging on the neck feels great, too--it evokes the same feeling as your favorite pair of broken-in jeans.
Overall, its voice is just all-around bigger than many Explorers, and it has more of everything: treble, bass, and midrange. The neck pickup is clear enough to handle chord riffage, but it still has crushing weight. So, it produces thick rhythm sounds and creamy lead tones for days!
The bridge pickup still sounds huge, but it has more muscle than gristle. The midrange roars and snarls like nobody's business, the highs scream, and the lows punch you in the gut.
All in all, this is a marvelous example of an Explorer, and anyone who enjoys pointy guitars and the sweet sound of humbuckers in a mahogany body will love it to pieces!
When you search "Tom Murphy" on Google, nary a single guitar-related thread comes up. Every page is about another fellow named Tom Murphy who plays catcher for the Seattle Mariners. When you dig deeper and search "Tom Murphy guitar" you might find a profile from his hometown paper in Marion, Illinois that traces his story arc from his origins as a guitar-obsessed teen to his time as a Nashville sideman to his tenure at Gibson Guitars, where he was a project manager in charge of reissuing a little-known obscurity from Gibson's history: the 1959 Les Paul. Go further down the rabbit hole and you'll find a list of clients that will make your jaw drop: Jimmy Page, Dickey Betts, Joe Perry, Billy Gibbons, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, and Gary Rossington. Why do so many rock stars seek out Tom?
The Murphy Magic
The answer is simple: the man is a certifiable wizard. Facetiousness aside, consider this example: after Peter Frampton's famous Les Paul Custom rested in pieces in the debris of a crashed cargo plane for thirty years, Tom was able to bring it back to life and make it sing again. Some might chalk that up to magic, but it's much simpler than that. He's just a master craftsman who has honed his skills for decades.
As a professional player, Tom gained the sort of intimate knowledge of guitars that can only come when you're struggling to make a repair during a set break during a four-hour gig. He also saw untold thousands of real-life roadworn guitars, which gave him an excellent sense of what an aged reissue should look like. Finally, as a finish specialist for Gibson, he absorbed as much knowledge as he could from his peers. Because of his training and real-world experiences, his guitars look as authentic as can be. His aged finishes are as authentic as can be, which makes sense; after all, he probably aged quite a few guitars by wearing them down out on the road!
|Brand||Gibson Custom Shop|
|Model||Wildwood Spec 1958 Mahogany Explorer|
|Finish Color||Natural, Aged by Tom Murphy|
|Neck Shape||Chunky '58 C-Shape|
|Neck Dimensions||.930 1st - 1.030 12th|
|Frets||22 Vintage-Style Banjo|
|Scale Length||24 3/4"|
|Width at Nut||1 11/16"|
|Pickups||2 Wildwood Spec Custom 'Buckers|
|Controls||2 Volume, 1 Tone, 3-Way Switch|
|Case||Gibson Black Hardshell Case|
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