The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

SOLD Gibson R8 Les Paul Tom Murphy Aged Sunburst, 2002


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The Gibson R8 reproduces the famed 1958 Les Paul Standard model, the first in the line to include both a sunburst finish and the then-new PAF humbucker pickups.

Launched in 1952, the Gibson Les Paul model put a carved Maple cap on a Mahogany slab, and paired that with a Mahogany neck with Rosewood fingerboard and a gold-top finish. The Les Paul custom soon followed, but without the Maple cap – the body was all Mahogany, including the carved top – and with an Ebony fingerboard and Black finish. For 1958, the Les Paul Standard appeared, using the same Maple and Mahogany construction but with a Sunburst finish. That finish required more attention to the top wood selection, and many of these models have spectacular flame figuring. And of course the Standard included the new Seth Lover designed humbucking pickups, which rapidly displaced most of Gibson’s other pickups, including the single coil P-90, on most models.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson R8 Les Paul, Gibson Custom Shop built and aged by Tom Murphy. It is stamped, or branded, R8 in the control cavity just at the wiring channel exit. Like the classic 1958 Standard, it features a bookmatched figured Maple top on a Mahogany slab body. The neck is also Mahogany, but the Rosewood used for the fingerboard is likely from Madagascar rather than Brazil. Madagascar Rosewood can look quite a bit like Brazilian, but does not have the same CITES restrictions. The hardware choice adheres closely to the 58 spec, with Kluson Deluxe style tuners, ABR bridge and stop tailpiece, and a pair of humbuckers; plating is nickel. The wiring is clean and includes Bumblebee capacitors.

This Gibson R8 Les Paul is in great shape, though the aging process takes it rather far from the glossy, factory fresh aesthetic. Play wear is minor, especially seen in the negligible fret wear. The finish is oxidized as it would over time, with a fair amount of lacquer checking. It plays well, and definitely has the late 50’s look.

The original black Gibson hard shell case is included. The case contains the original creme coloured pickguard.

From a product archive page, here’s the builder on the Gibson R8 Les Paul Tom Murphy model:

“For as long as Gibson Custom Shop has been making reproductions of vintage sunburst Les Paul Standard guitars, Tom Murphy has been perfecting the craft of capturing the magic and vibe of the originals. From his distinctive sunburst finishes to his elaborately detailed aging process, Tom considers his creations to be playable works of art, providing owners with the vintage experience without the six-figure price of an original.

This limited run Murphy Painted & Aged Les Paul Standard captures Tom’s vision of the perfect Les Paul Standard from start to finish. Each guitar features handpicked Murphy woods, a three-dimensional Murphy sunburst finish, extensive Murphy aging, and a special Murphy historic serial number sequence.”


Price: $7,500.00 CAD
  • Model: R8 Les Paul
  • Year: 2002
  • Finish Aged Sunburst
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 8 8489
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 24/06/2020

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 9.372lbs 4.26kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.693in 43mm
Gibson Website

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