Murphy Lab and VOS reissues have different lacquer??

HIDDEN

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I read that Gibson (reissues) are built the same- except some are aged by Murphy Lab and some are VOS. Does this mean some are sprayed with the new lacquer - which I guess will check in time regardless- and some aren’t?


“We’re using a proprietary lacquer formula,” says Koehler. “1950s and 1960s lacquer was reverse-engineered so it could be recreated in its original brittleness. Without going too deep into trade secrets, I can say that it’s not just the lacquer that’s at work. Tom’s still using his bag of tricks, so occasionally he’ll pull out a blade, but the checking itself is established by the lacquer formula.”

“The guitars themselves are basically just Historic reissues”, he reveals, “so every guitar in our Murphy Lab collection is the same as our regular ’59 Standard, with hide-glue neck and body joints. The only thing that’s going to differ is the lacquer and level of ageing.

Murphy lab Review
 
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Clint

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Supposedly the lacquer if different as mentioned in your last sentence.
 

Beastie28

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Trade secret and proprietary reverse-engineering is a bit over the top though. Many luthiers use nitro without stabilizers (plasticizers) to allow or promote checking. Ronin is one example, and our own @ExNihilo has given good insight into his nitro and process. Anyway, I think many of the ML look great and I would love to own one but just acquired a 2021 R9 VOS simply due to cost.
 

KissTone

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The reverse engineering claim is marketing BS. No matter what they’re using as the finish it is not—and can not—be the same as what was used in the golden era. It’s just not possible for a few practical reasons.

Now, that doesn’t mean their current formulation doesn’t include some of the desirable characteristics of older finishes, but it‘s certainly not identical.

So I guess they could have “reverse engineered” some aspects of the finish formulation (which really ain’t no big deal as lacquer isn’t exactly like the philosopher’s stone).
 

greens

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Trade secret and proprietary reverse-engineering is a bit over the top though. Many luthiers use nitro without stabilizers (plasticizers) to allow or promote checking. Ronin is one example, and our own @ExNihilo has given good insight into his nitro and process.

Slightly off topic, but does anyone know how Reranch and other commercially available nitro compares to the top stuff out there, for example whatever Historic Makeovers uses?
 

Subterfuge

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I'm pretty sure whatever HM uses would be a pretty guarded secret ..
 

greens

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I'm pretty sure whatever HM uses would be a pretty guarded secret ..

Oh sure, I'm not asking for the formula. My question was for the people who can tell the difference, or at least claim to.
 

tomajoha

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Oh sure, I'm not asking for the formula. My question was for the people who can tell the difference, or at least claim to.

Yes feels very different, no 'give' if you press your nail into a ML. I did the same thing on a pre-ML aged R4 and the lacquer peeled off rather than chipped off. Presumably the presence of more plasticisers.
 

decoy205

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I haven’t played a newer reissue( post 2015) but the custom shop 2007 Lp custom I used to own and my 2005 R8 were night and day. The 2007 was soft and could dent. The 2005 is hard as glass and would chip for sure.
 

greens

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Thanks, that is the kind of thing i was wondering about. I've never handled a Historic Makeover or Murphy lab, but have modern Gibsons USA guitars, a 60s Gretsch, and a few builds I've lacquered myself with most of the nitro brands available today--Reranch, Gracey, Stewmac, Watco, Behlens/Mohawk, Oxford. Some check more readily than others, but if I'm being honest I can't say I've detected a huge difference among any of them. The most crazing on anything is on my 20 year-old Gibson USA semi-hollow that was exposed to a lot of cigarette smoke before it came to me, and I suspect that had something to do with it.

I've certainly never seen lacquer peel off. But on the other hand, I don't know how glass-hard I'd say all of them are. My own jobs do chip though, that's for sure. I have an Epiphone MIJ that is acrylic lacquer, not nitro, and that is definitely noticeably softer.
 
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Eugen_Onegin

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Sorry to keep beating the dead horse here....but have we unequivocally confirmed that VOS and Murphy Labs are using different lacquers? Looking at some 2022 VOS and they are experiencing checking.

If they are different, how in the actual F is Gibson not offering a Les Paul with the Murphy lacquer, minus someone beating it up?
 

Clint

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Eugen_Onegin

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Yeah...that's dumb. Maybe if Slash was hand painting these, they would be worth that much. I really do not see the attraction of paying an extra $4k, ontop of the $8k, for some dude who no one really never heard of before the last few years, to paint your guitar.

Just give me the GD lacquer minus all the bells and whistles.

And last rant, but it also seems that the Ultra Light Guitars are getting bottom barrel tops. Another reason to smh. Ultra Heavys look consistently stellar, as they should be. But every top should be a stunner on the Murph line.
 

DanD

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At $6500 and up every top from the CS should be beyond reproach.

I may miss all the guitar shopping tho and I'd likely go bankrupt.

So Gibson, please continue to put sub-optimal tops on your R models.
 

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