Gibson Custom Shop, Made to Measure Program & Murphy Lab

Always wanted to own a Vintage Gibson instrument but you do not have or do not want to spend the money to buy vintage? That is very understandable as vintage prices have soared to unobtainable hights for mere mortals like you and I. This is why we are such big fan of the Gibson Custom Shop!

CLICK HERE to view our ENTIRE Gibson Custom Shop Collection!

The Gibson Custom Shop

The Gibson Custom Shop has been developing steadily since 1991 when they started the Dealer Custom Program with Edwin Wilson and Tom Murphy trying to meet the demand for affordable replicas of the golden age 50s and early 60s instruments. As the guitars that Gibson made in the seventies and eighties were no real match for the quality of these originals made from the early fifties to the late sixties.

In the period 1991-1993 the Custom Shop was born and since then has grown into building instruments that easily rival those illusive guitars of yesteryear. I have been a Gibson dealer for over 30 years now and as People like Edwin Wilson, Tom Murphy, Matt Koehler and Thom Fowle and others got closer and closer to nailing the exact specs and getting close the looks, feel, sound and specs of the original guitars. I have watched the steady growth of the Custom shop and I have seen these instruments getting better and better as they got more and more insight into what made the old instruments; so to speak. Constantly improving and adding to the experience of playing a Gibson Custom Shop guitar.

I can honestly say that Gibson Custom Shop is the pinnacle of craftsmanship, quality and sound excellence. Each instrument celebrates the Gibson legacy I spoke of. I have been a Gibson dealer for over 30 years, so I have followed these developments closely and have all the experience and the connections at Gibson to assure access to all the good stuff from the Custom Shop!

Murphy Lab: Get your own Gibson aged to perfection!

The newest addition to the Gibson Custom shop and its constant strive for making the best instruments possible is the Murphy Lab. It is where Gibson re-imagines and implements new ways of delivering the Gibson Custom Shop historic experience. Master Artisan Tom Murphy and his men bring his expertise, authentic style and his passion for building historically accurate guitars to the Murphy Lab Collection.

Max Guitar has been the leading authority when it comes to Gibson and Gibson Custom Shop guitars and special 'made to measure' limited runs made in their Nashville workshop; Robbert has been working closely with the luthiers there, sourcing the best flame tops and most resonant tone woods for the guitars that you will find on these pages. So if there is a guitar that you have been fantasizing about, or always have been willing to buy and play, Max Guitar has the direct lines to the guys at the Gibson Custom Shop to realize this dream guitar for you in VOS (Vintage Original Specifications) or four levels of aging: Ultra Light Aging, Normal or Light Aging, Heavy Aging and, finally, Ultra Heavy Aging.. Let us know and we'll get you a personal quote! We'll make it Happen!

VOS - vintage gloss lacquer, no aging, lightly dulled pickup covers

ULTRA LIGHT AGING - The Murphy Lab Ultra-Light Aged finish treatment, paired with lightly aged hardware, simulates decades of light play wear, giving it the unique character, vibe, and feel of an original example from the Gibson Golden Era. Creating patina, and includes dulling of finish, period and model correct checking but no ‘damage’

NORMAL OR LIGHT AGING: the above plus various nicks, chips, dents & dings; surface scratches & some mild finish wear. The Murphy Lab Light Aged finish treatment, paired with lightly aged hardware, simulates decades of natural play wear, giving it the unique character, vibe, and feel of an original example from the Gibson Golden Era.

HEAVY AGING: the above plus buckle wear, some exposed wood, exposed armrest rim, heavily aged hardware. The Murphy Lab Heavy Aged finish treatment, paired with the aged hardware, simulates decades of heavy play wear, giving it the unique character, vibe, and feel of an original example from the Gibson Golden Era.

ULTRA HEAVY AGING: The above plus more exposed wood, on back and arm rest and neck. some blackening of wood.

CLICK HERE to view our ENTIRE Gibson Murhpy Lab Collection!

Who is Tom Murphy? - Bio

Tom Murphy is THE household name when it comes to the aging of guitars. He is seen as the person who developed the aging of Gibson guitars to perfection. All TomMurphy aged guitars come with a Certificate of authenticity and all guitar up till 2020 should have a TM signature engraved somewher on the top of the guitar, craftily hidden between the weather checking.  A short history:

  • 1989 - Tom started working out at Gibson in the ‘woodmill’ in 1989 where he paired and matched mahogany bodies, but soon was ‘promoted’ to the ‘painting’ dept where in he practiced and developed his guitar finishing skills which later in his career would come in handy, refinishing Les Pauls in thinner, more period correct cellulose lacquer finishes.
  • 1991 - Together with Edwin Wilson Tom started up the ‘Dealer Custom’ program at Gibson. One off models that had the Custom Shop decal on the back of the neck.
  • 1993 - The program resulted in a Tom was involved in introducing the first more correct Historic Reissue Les Paul at January Namm of that year.
  • 1994 - Tom Murphy worked at the ‘Gibson Art and Historic painted most of the Sunburst Les Pauls at the Gibson and some Goldtops
  • 1994 November – Tom moved to Illinois and started hi own company: ‘Guitar Preservation’ and started aging Gibsons, for instance be recreating authentic looking weather checking by using an razor blade. 
  • 1998 – Tom now works exclusively for Gibson and ages around 50 guitars that year
  • 1999  - the first Gibson Murphy aged guitars come onto the Market        
  • 2001 – 2003  and Later -  Limited edition replicas’ of celebrity guitars are released on the market by Gibson - Dicky Betts Gold top, Gary Rossington guitar, Paul Kossoff, Ace Frehley and many more.

CLICK HERE to view our Gibson Custom Shop Collection!