NGD Murphy Lab R9. You must be kidding

Pageburst

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Getting caught up in the Murphy hype I decided to check out some MLs and frankly with the exception of a Gold Top, I had been more or less appalled by the finish checking. The Murphy Lab I bought has some of the more convincing checking in pictures but it’s still a far cry from real checking and any vintage finish Les Paul I’ve played and or owned.


Afaic, anyone who thinks a Murphy Lab resembles an actual vintage or naturally aged finish has never owned or even held a vintage Gibson. It’s not even close, Not in look or feel

The Good:
The factory burst paint is beautiful and hard to capture well in pictures. I wouldn’t doubt that this color nails many of the vintage Bursts when they were new.

Very accurate late 59 early 60 neck size. Small shoulders very comfy almost identical to my 2018 Brazilian and tied for the smallest C shape neck of the R9s that ai own.

Custombuckers: the last two new Gibsons I purchased a Murphy painted and Murphy Lab have some of the most convincing PAF pickups I’ve heard and I own a vintage SG Les Paul and 345 with PAFs/Pat#s. I have found most Custombuckers good but a little lacking and not as dynamic as I would like. I replaced all the Custombuckers in my R9s with boutique PAFs from OX4, Rewind, Wizz and Stephens Design. I don’t feel the need to to replace these recent custombuckers. They have that dry woody hollow clarity that can be pushed into lush shimmery vocal growl using your pick.

Tone and playability
Great across the board. The tone is everything a good Les Paul should be. Clear and articulate yet with plenty of vocally growl. I would take either of these stock Murphy’s and put them up against a vintage Burst.

The bad
You must be kidding: the checking is not even close. And this particular ML is better than most of the MLs I’ve seen. It’s otherwise such a beautiful Les Paul. The nitro might be hard but if I had to guess it’s applied on way too thick. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put these guitars in a commercial blast chiller. Good natural looking checking needs to be cajoled through more gradual and repeated temperature change . Maybe ML can send their lab techs down to see Kim at HM. While not perfect HM does a far more convincing aged finish.



Here are some pictures the ML is the second guitar from the right up top

tCw9yb.jpg

8AboPi.jpg


Murphy lab and Murphy painted
v0FNZn.jpg
 

Big Monk

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Getting caught up in the Murphy hype I decided to check out some MLs and frankly with the exception of a Gold Top, I had been more or less appalled by the finish checking. The Murphy Lab I bought has some of the more convincing checking in pictures but it’s still a far cry from real checking and any vintage finish Les Paul I’ve played and or owned.


Afaic, anyone who thinks a Murphy Lab resembles an actual vintage or naturally aged finish has never owned or even held a vintage Gibson. It’s not even close, Not in look or feel

The Good:
The factory burst paint is beautiful and hard to capture well in pictures. I wouldn’t doubt that this color nails many of the vintage Bursts when they were new.

Very accurate late 59 early 60 neck size. Small shoulders very comfy almost identical to my 2018 Brazilian and tied for the smallest C shape neck of the R9s that ai own.

Custombuckers: the last two new Gibsons I purchased a Murphy painted and Murphy Lab have some of the most convincing PAF pickups I’ve heard and I own a vintage SG Les Paul and 345 with PAFs/Pat#s. I have found most Custombuckers good but a little lacking and not as dynamic as I would like. I replaced all the Custombuckers in my R9s with boutique PAFs from OX4, Rewind, Wizz and Stephens Design. I don’t feel the need to to replace these recent custombuckers. They have that dry woody hollow clarity that can be pushed into lush shimmery vocal growl using your pick.

Tone and playability
Great across the board. The tone is everything a good Les Paul should be. Clear and articulate yet with plenty of vocally growl. I would take either of these stock Murphy’s and put them up against a vintage Burst.

The bad
You must be kidding: the checking is not even close. And this particular ML is better than most of the MLs I’ve seen. It’s otherwise such a beautiful Les Paul. The nitro might be hard but if I had to guess it’s applied on way too thick. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put these guitars in a commercial blast chiller. Good natural looking checking needs to be cajoled through more gradual and repeated temperature change . Maybe ML can send their lab techs down to see Kim at HM. While not perfect HM does a far more convincing aged finish.



Here are some pictures the ML is the second guitar from the right up top

tCw9yb.jpg

8AboPi.jpg


Murphy lab and Murphy painted
v0FNZn.jpg

Looks like tha down payment I made on my house!
 

Brek

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Interesting, of the two i have in my posession at mo, one looks to be really thin lacquer thats the '58, the '57 seems thicker, although that maybe the white undercoat making it appear so. I have no idea about the checking in comparison to a real 50's les paul, the only time i was lucky enought to be given a go of one, i had no idea about the finer points, cannot remember the checking, this was back in 2006ish.

I am just happy they are using a more accurate lacquer, to be fair I could easiliy not have it as an option, but it isn't, so i paid my money, and am very very happy with the feel and responsiveness of everything about them, the '58 is so resonant, that there is a deep sympathetic resonace growl from something around the bridge area, that can be heard when unplugged, the whole guitar vibrates on the G string around the b fret, like feel it in your chest vibrates, although the amplified sound is not picking it up
 
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mudface

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The ML has a sweet top,.. can’t really see the aging....but color and flame are outstanding .....well....the whole collection is outstanding.

I have a CC and pay no mind to the aging.... wasn’t the reason I bought it.

If you can live with the aging,.. then I would say its a keeper.
 

FadedLP

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Getting caught up in the Murphy hype I decided to check out some MLs and frankly with the exception of a Gold Top, I had been more or less appalled by the finish checking. The Murphy Lab I bought has some of the more convincing checking in pictures but it’s still a far cry from real checking and any vintage finish Les Paul I’ve played and or owned.


Afaic, anyone who thinks a Murphy Lab resembles an actual vintage or naturally aged finish has never owned or even held a vintage Gibson. It’s not even close, Not in look or feel

The Good:
The factory burst paint is beautiful and hard to capture well in pictures. I wouldn’t doubt that this color nails many of the vintage Bursts when they were new.

Very accurate late 59 early 60 neck size. Small shoulders very comfy almost identical to my 2018 Brazilian and tied for the smallest C shape neck of the R9s that ai own.

Custombuckers: the last two new Gibsons I purchased a Murphy painted and Murphy Lab have some of the most convincing PAF pickups I’ve heard and I own a vintage SG Les Paul and 345 with PAFs/Pat#s. I have found most Custombuckers good but a little lacking and not as dynamic as I would like. I replaced all the Custombuckers in my R9s with boutique PAFs from OX4, Rewind, Wizz and Stephens Design. I don’t feel the need to to replace these recent custombuckers. They have that dry woody hollow clarity that can be pushed into lush shimmery vocal growl using your pick.

Tone and playability
Great across the board. The tone is everything a good Les Paul should be. Clear and articulate yet with plenty of vocally growl. I would take either of these stock Murphy’s and put them up against a vintage Burst.

The bad
You must be kidding: the checking is not even close. And this particular ML is better than most of the MLs I’ve seen. It’s otherwise such a beautiful Les Paul. The nitro might be hard but if I had to guess it’s applied on way too thick. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put these guitars in a commercial blast chiller. Good natural looking checking needs to be cajoled through more gradual and repeated temperature change . Maybe ML can send their lab techs down to see Kim at HM. While not perfect HM does a far more convincing aged finish.



Here are some pictures the ML is the second guitar from the right up top

tCw9yb.jpg

8AboPi.jpg


Murphy lab and Murphy painted
v0FNZn.jpg

I really love the Murphy painted one…the flames are so sweet!
 

framos

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I just got a MLab '59 a few days ago, and I second a few of the OP's comments.

The good:

- CustomBuckers! A relatively low wind 8k A3 PAF on the bridge can sound somewhat ice picky sometimes, but these pickups have a distinct character to them. Somewhat close to the wildwood spec'ed CBs. 9.5/10

- The guitar plays simply great. The guitar was very easy to setup, took a straight neck with whatever action I wanted, no buzz at all. 10/10

- The finish is gorgeous! 10/10

The bad:

- The back of the neck feels a bit sticky! Hope it gets better with time, as the guitar is brand new. The profile is very nice, however. 9/10

- I replaced the tuning keys with the drop-in Gotoh Magnum Locks, as I always do. After removing the original tuners, I could see that they messed up a bit the drilling of a handful of screws, slighly damaging the surroudings (below the tuners, lucklly). Was not too happy to see that, but hey, who cares?

Won't speak for the ageing, as I have never touched a real burst or even a HM guitar. But the checking patterns are very different from previous Murphy guitars I owned. Mine is the lightly aged, so I am not sure it's different from the heavy aged.
 
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FadedLP

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I just got a MLab '59 a few days ago, and I second a few of the OP's comments.

The good:

- CustomBuckers! A relatively low wind 8k A3 PAF on the bridge can sound somewhat ice picky sometimes, but these pickups have a distinct character to them. Somewhat close to the wildwood spec'ed CBs. 9.5/10

- The guitar plays simply great. The guitar was very easy to setup, took a straight neck with whatever action I wanted, no buzz at all. 10/10

- The finish is gorgeous! 10/10

The bad:

- The back of the neck feels a bit sticky! Hope it gets better with time, as the guitar is brand new. The profile is very nice, however. 9/10

- I replaced the tuning keys with the drop-in Gotoh Magnum Locks, as I always do. After removing the original tuners, I could see that they messed up a bit the drilling of a handful of screws, slighly damaging the surroudings (below the tuners, lucklly). Was not too happy to see that, but hey, who cares?

Won't speak for the ageing, as I have never touched a real burst or even a HM guitar. But the checking patterns are very different from previous Murphy guitars I owned. Mine is the lightly aged, so I am not sure it's different from the heavy aged.

Here's a few pics:

View attachment 542679




View attachment 542681


View attachment 542682


View attachment 542683


View attachment 542684

Cheers!

Wow looks awesome - fretboard seems maybe a little dry?
 

framos

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Wow looks awesome - fretboard seems maybe a little dry?

Not anymore! :) A single application of lemon oil did the trick. Not a particularly dark fretboard though, but really smooth!
 

Prospector

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Thanks for the in depth review. If you get a chance, it seems a number of us would be interested in seeing a closer look at the aging. You have some beautiful Les Pauls!
 

amorrow

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Your collection sure looks nice…every one of them!

If you’re not happy with the finish, consider holding out for a different one. I have 54 and 59 heavy aged, and they’re absolutely on par with (and honestly think the 59 surpasses) my old HM.
 

Pageburst

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Here are some close up pictures as requested.

The top checking is some of the better checking I’ve seen on an ML but the finish on the sides seems way too thick. I have yet to see an ML that didn’t have this finish effect in the bout area and around the strap button.

I think any additional aged guitars in my future will be vintage or ones that I age naturally myself like my beater TH59. I still love that guitar and the wear looks natural because it is. Just to be clear I have absolutely no issue with a pre-aged. guitar. It’s an aesthetic choice like color. However for me, it needs to be convincing.


4nadMb.jpg

8JKdde.jpg

wT1ehV.jpg

2K7SkD.jpg
 
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Brek

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Yeah thats some thick lacquer there. Will look at mine as see is they are same, not noticed anything obvious so far, but will have a closer look and compare.
 

amorrow

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Yea that not only looks thick, but looks like it’s about to flake off. Haven’t seen many light/ultra light aged up close, but of the heavy aged I looked over when shopping I didn’t see any that looked like that anywhere on the guitar…not unreasonable to return that in my opinion.
 

Pageburst

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Yea that not only looks thick, but looks like it’s about to flake off. Haven’t seen many light/ultra light aged up close, but of the heavy aged I looked over when shopping I didn’t see any that looked like that anywhere on the guitar…not unreasonable to return that in my opinion.


If you look at the ML Frames posted above, it looks like the same thing. Calieng posted one that was even worse, it looked like lizard skin.

I really like the top, the neck size and most of all the tone.
 
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amorrow

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Yea I totally see what you're saying and agree it doesn't look good, but I'm just saying I don't see that on mine and imagine there should be plenty of others out there without the issue. I've posted pics of my 54 and 59 M2M heavy aged in other threads, but here are a couple few photos targeting the areas you're seeing the rough finish, what almost looks like blistering/flaking. Mine have checking in those areas, but nothing like the rough areas you show.

pD6s7O5.jpg

iKVw1lL.jpg

OMdov7D.jpg

QxIz8Um.jpg
 

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