Murphy lab basic questions

60thR0

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
25
Hi all, although this is my first post I have been searching through and couldn’t easily find answers to these questions. Can anyone help?

1. At what point are ML guitars “selected”-I presume it is after painting and before final lacquer, as the colours offered are standard production (CS). I find it a bit odd given Tom’s history/legacy with paint that that is one thing that isn’t being offered as unique/specific to ML. Perhaps that would cannibalise M2M?

2.What is the selection process/criteria for determining what guitars become ML guitars? At the risk of introducing hype, is there any suggestion (from anyone credible) that they are selecting (ie. siphoning) the better sounding guitars off the line? If not then how are they deciding which get the ML treatment?

3.I know this is a stretch but any thoughts as to how they might decide which become ultra
light, light, heavy etc? Is there any suggestion that the heavier ML treatment is reserved for the “better” sounding/looking guitars or if not how do they decide?
 

KStopper65

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
1,959
Reaction score
2,283
At what point are ML guitars “selected”-I presume it is after painting and before final lacquer, as the colours offered are standard production
Far before this. These are being picked off the shelf, if they are being picked off the shelf, just after the neck and wood have been attached. I say this because the wood filler used on the Lab guitars is different, and also in some cases defective, as shown by many threads online.
What is the selection process/criteria for determining what guitars become ML guitars? At the risk of introducing hype, is there any suggestion (from anyone credible) that they are selecting (ie. siphoning) the better sounding guitars off the line? If not then how are they deciding which get the ML treatment?
IMO they are just having the CS send them some guitars without there being any criteria. If the CS makes 100 husks, they send 10 randomly to Murphy lab. Its possible they are hand picking them, but unlikely. Remember, the extra price is for the aging only, not for them to pick you a great guitar.
I know this is a stretch but any thoughts as to how they might decide which become ultra
light, light, heavy etc
Again, I believe this is randomized. The ultra heavy ones are more expensive because they are being reliced more. Simple as that.

Paging @calieng
 

Airplane

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
1,203
Reaction score
1,067
ML must do their own paint jobs because some of them show defects that the CS don’t. Except the ML guitars are finished in the regular CS line and the pore filler or whatever the reason for the chipping is doesn’t like the ML freezing treatment or what it is they do.
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
2,224
To the best of my understanding they are all just regular production guitars that are pulled off the line and sent to Murphy Lab before they hit the finishing process.

How they sort them within the Lab may be another question but I do believe some of the guitars that are aged are actually below the quality of the VOS and gloss guitars. I bought one with a non matched flame top that was ML heavy aged that I thought looked interesting but it would not have sold as a VOS or gloss model. Probably would have been a reject.

As far as the ones I have owned they have all been really nice except for one dud that I returned immediately. But then most of the VOS and gloss models that I have seen in person seem pretty nice these days too.

001500_lg6-3.jpg
 

mjross

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2008
Messages
1,537
Reaction score
2,034
To the best of my understanding they are all just regular production guitars that are pulled off the line and sent to Murphy Lab before they hit the finishing process.

How they sort them within the Lab may be another question but I do believe some of the guitars that are aged are actually below the quality of the VOS and gloss guitars. I bought one with a non matched flame top that was ML heavy aged that I thought looked interesting but it would not have sold as a VOS or gloss model. Probably would have been a reject.

As far as the ones I have owned they have all been really nice except for one dud that I returned immediately. But then most of the VOS and gloss models that I have seen in person seem pretty nice these days too.

View attachment 573180
Nice, diggin that color and top!
 

calieng

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
2,224
That's the one another forum member bought as Demo from the Gibson Garage after I returned it.

This is what he received. Same guitar (none of the chips were there originally).

IMG_0120.png
 
Last edited:

mudface

Boo Bee
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
11,555
Reaction score
35,207
Hi all, although this is my first post I have been searching through and couldn’t easily find answers to these questions. Can anyone help?

1. At what point are ML guitars “selected”-I presume it is after painting and before final lacquer, as the colours offered are standard production (CS). I find it a bit odd given Tom’s history/legacy with paint that that is one thing that isn’t being offered as unique/specific to ML. Perhaps that would cannibalise M2M?

2.What is the selection process/criteria for determining what guitars become ML guitars? At the risk of introducing hype, is there any suggestion (from anyone credible) that they are selecting (ie. siphoning) the better sounding guitars off the line? If not then how are they deciding which get the ML treatment?

3.I know this is a stretch but any thoughts as to how they might decide which become ultra
light, light, heavy etc? Is there any suggestion that the heavier ML treatment is reserved for the “better” sounding/looking guitars or if not how do they decide?

Better sounding as a "Criteria" for selection?

How would you define "Better Sounding"?..... Would that opinion be the same for everyone?

How would one determine the "Sound" without the electronics or hardware on board?
(note that these instruments are aged before final assembly, if they use extreme cold as a process, they don't want to damage other parts)

My belief is that it's just a finish option........Tone/Sound being subjective is not a criteria for selection.
 
Last edited:

KS 5150

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
2,625
Reaction score
2,318
To the best of my understanding they are all just regular production guitars that are pulled off the line and sent to Murphy Lab before they hit the finishing process.

How they sort them within the Lab may be another question but I do believe some of the guitars that are aged are actually below the quality of the VOS and gloss guitars. I bought one with a non matched flame top that was ML heavy aged that I thought looked interesting but it would not have sold as a VOS or gloss model. Probably would have been a reject.

As far as the ones I have owned they have all been really nice except for one dud that I returned immediately. But then most of the VOS and gloss models that I have seen in person seem pretty nice these days too.

View attachment 573180

Yes, Mat Koehler from Gibson confirmed this on the other forum. They just pick regular CS's off the line and move them to ML. No criteria or fairy dust involved.
 

kewl kat

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2021
Messages
149
Reaction score
227
In doing some research regarding guitar finishes recently, I came upon an article written by someone who used to work at the Fender Custom Shop. He said that often times, if a guitar after painting did not look just right, or if there was some other observable imperfection, they would do a Custom Relic on the guitar. And, for regular Relics, if there was a blank in the pile that did not look good across the board, they would relic the side that had the defect or imperfection, to not to loose valuable wood, to great cost efficiency.

From the looks of one of the Brazilian's that was posted recently on this forum, with what appeared to me to be black knot or somewhat similar defect on the fretboard, Gibson is not treating ML's with any sort of kid gloves, in terms of selection. In fact, it would not surprise me, at all, if they leaned in the same manner that Fender does with their Relics, and chose wood that was less than perfect, with imperfections, including from a set aside pile they could easily work around and disguise in the relicing process.

You take a low value item, that might otherwise have ended up as a Gold Top, and sell it for top dollar as a Murphy Lab Historic.

Maybe there is some fairy dust involved after all...:facepalm:
 
Last edited:

Sct13

Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
21,174
Reaction score
27,730
So, the selection process is/was; For R9's the flame/figure must be pronounced and go edge to edge within a certain allowable percentage, edge to edge is very important. They must be matched well (book match is king) Flitch matched is OK as long as its symmetrical

Those that are non-pronounced and either not book matched or flitch matched well become R0 and some years R8's. Plain tops are usually R8's like the last few years ..

backs and weights are also considered, for the R9 a single piece of Mahogany with tight vertical grain, lighter (with looks being more important) R8's have wavier backs, heavier pieces.... Remember that with Gibson NOTHING is absolute...its production ....

R8 neck heels are different from R9's (that's the giveaway) Sometimes R8 necks do not have a perfectly centered Quartersawn neck, as most R9's have that chatoyant stripe along the back that is centered reasonably noticeable. However, I have seen R8's with near perfect quartersawn necks. I have two, CR8 and an MTM R8.

For ML guitars they are probably pulled for their uniqueness in grain and figure / weight and overall look of the guitar, I am sure they have selected the right people to do this.... tom may have a laid out a set "standard" for them to look out for .....but nothing is perfect, and there will be guitars that are just grabbed off the rack ...

So don't get too caught up in the marketing ....They have a history of doing things very well then somehow screwing it up.

I haven't played one yet but I intend to do so soon.

I'll be the sole judge in this matter and my word will be the final say ..... :facepalm: :rolleyes:
 

TM1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
Messages
1,226
Reaction score
748
```The finish they use for the ML's is different from the Custom Shop. Murphy took some original lacquer and had it analyized and duplicated and that's what's used on the ML guitars. The finish checking is done by freezing, no more razor blades! All the aging is done by hand. I got one of the Light Aged R-9's back in July and it's one of the most resonate new guitars I've come across in 50+ years!
 

Sct13

Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
21,174
Reaction score
27,730
```The finish they use for the ML's is different from the Custom Shop. Murphy took some original lacquer and had it analyized and duplicated and that's what's used on the ML guitars. The finish checking is done by freezing, no more razor blades! All the aging is done by hand. I got one of the Light Aged R-9's back in July and it's one of the most resonate new guitars I've come across in 50+ years!

grabbing them before paint and finish….:fingersx:
 

danzego

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
1,493
Reaction score
829
There’s no rhyme or reason. I’ve seen great tops, dog tops, straight backs, curly backs, and weights between 8 and over 9 pounds on these. Anyone here claiming that there’s any special selection process to these new Murphy Lab guitars is, quite frankly, talking out of their derrière.
 

TM1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
Messages
1,226
Reaction score
748
Kinda like they were back in the days in Kalamazoo. I've seen/played original's that were beauties and some that were dogs. I have friends who've had some really great Bursts and have had ones that were just so-so. No different today. The thing to do is listen with your eyes closed. It's all about listening/playing with your ears and fingers, that's how you find a great guitar!
 

DarthPaul

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
3,306
So, the selection process is/was; For R9's the flame/figure must be pronounced and go edge to edge within a certain allowable percentage, edge to edge is very important. They must be matched well (book match is king) Flitch matched is OK as long as its symmetrical

Those that are non-pronounced and either not book matched or flitch matched well become R0 and some years R8's. Plain tops are usually R8's like the last few years ..

backs and weights are also considered, for the R9 a single piece of Mahogany with tight vertical grain, lighter (with looks being more important) R8's have wavier backs, heavier pieces.... Remember that with Gibson NOTHING is absolute...its production ....

R8 neck heels are different from R9's (that's the giveaway) Sometimes R8 necks do not have a perfectly centered Quartersawn neck, as most R9's have that chatoyant stripe along the back that is centered reasonably noticeable. However, I have seen R8's with near perfect quartersawn necks. I have two, CR8 and an MTM R8.

For ML guitars they are probably pulled for their uniqueness in grain and figure / weight and overall look of the guitar, I am sure they have selected the right people to do this.... tom may have a laid out a set "standard" for them to look out for .....but nothing is perfect, and there will be guitars that are just grabbed off the rack ...

So don't get too caught up in the marketing ....They have a history of doing things very well then somehow screwing it up.

I haven't played one yet but I intend to do so soon.

I'll be the sole judge in this matter and my word will be the final say ..... :facepalm: :rolleyes:
Does this also apply to Collector's Choice models?
Particularly those "repurposed" from a CC R9 to a "Standard Historic" R8 just by changing the pickups and COA?
Just wondering...
 

Sct13

Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
21,174
Reaction score
27,730
No clue, it seems at first they were pretty good at matching tops to the originals… then that “accuracy” tapers off, then it’s whatever looks close …
 

mudface

Boo Bee
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
11,555
Reaction score
35,207
Does this also apply to Collector's Choice models?
Particularly those "repurposed" from a CC R9 to a "Standard Historic" R8 just by changing the pickups and COA?
Just wondering...

The "repurposing" of Collector Choice models was to sell overproduced/overstocked models that were piling up in inventory at the Gibson Custom Shop. Remember this was during the bankruptcy debacle.....Gibson had to sell guitars and sell them fast.

I don't believe they wouldn't sell because no one wanted these guitars.....they just needed to move them fast. I wouldn't mind having a CC#29....but what a great deal to get one of these repurposed.

Some weren't as simple as name and COA change.... Pickups were replaced....serials had to be removed from the control cavity....there was some effort had to be done to repurpose them.

Though i should add that a change from an R9 to R8 isn't that big of a change. There are R8's that are factory new with slimmer necks and smaller heels with flammy tops..... in all sense they could be a R9. As were some of the original 1958 models can have small heels and slimmer necks and like original '59s can have bigger heels and plainer tops.

Collector Choice models will have a certain neck carve that is similar to the original it represents and of course the color and aging aspects.....the flame can be as close or as far as it could get from what i have seen.
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads



Top