1975 Hand Made Murphy Shaw Guitar

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by gravy, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. gravy

    gravy Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    I just joined and I must say I really like this board a lot!I tried asking about this on the other board,but nobody seems to know there so I thought I'd try my luck here.

    I just scored this '75 Murphy/Shaw & I can only find very limited info on the net .Basically that they quit Gibson started Murphy Shaw. Their factory burns down & that's it.????I figured somebody around here could help.
    It sounds absolutely amazing!!!!HUGE neck,which I like but damn this is bigger than my '59 special which also has a pretty chunky neck.The one piece/neck through thing bums me out a little,but I'm sure I'll get used to it.All Gibson Parts minus the Grovers.Epoxy filled Pickups.
    Any info will help.:hmm
     

    Attached Files:

    endial, carydad and Mikey57 like this.
  2. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    6,238
    Likes Received:
    112
    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    THat looks like a rare one there my friend! Wish I had some more info. I know what those 2 started doing at the end of the 70's and right on through up to today.... but I have never seen one of these fine guitars before!
     
  3. gravy

    gravy Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    hey Loki- Thanks for checking it out.It is really nice,but needs a litle TLC.I just wish I find out more about it.:fingersx:
     
  4. gravy

    gravy Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    OK-So I still can't find out anything about these fine guitars.:confused:
    Does anyone have any ideas how I could go about getting a hold of Tom Murphy or Tim Shaw to get some info?:fingersx:
     
  5. Travisbone

    Travisbone Junior Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    hi there. I actually own a 1975 custom murphy shaw. It was a gift from my mothers boyfriend who got it made for him when he was youngger. I was wondering if you know how much these guitars are appraised at. I'm looking to sell mine and can't find anything on how much they are worth. They are very rare though
     
  6. Mike Marois

    Mike Marois Junior Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    I have one but I don't know where Pat Murphy and Tim Shaw are now.
     
  7. bfisher

    bfisher Junior Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Hi Guys
    I also own a Murphy- Shaw. I bought mine around 1975 from a music store in Canton Ohio. Mine is a silver metal flake finish and I actually visited the place right before it was finished.They actually shaved down the neck a little to suit my hand size and where the neck joins the body on the top side they made a perfect curved fit for my thumb. I also remeber those guys were working on this guitar for Billy Gibbons and it was the shape of Texas - I remember handling it. As I recall the two of those guys were nice but a little strange - real craftsmen though. Out of all the guitars I owned ( I had many) I still have this one - I had a chance some years back to buy a used second one and should have done it. I knew the guy that owned it and we both came from Canton and bought them at the same store. I am unsure of exactly how many of these guitars they made and sold before the fire happened but I am betting less than 100. I was told mine was really unique due to the finish and that it was so diffucult for them to do that htye would never do another metal flake finish. Mine is still in the case and hasn't been really played for 20+ years - the neck is still staight as an arrow and feels just as good as. I am unsure of the value and it will never be worth big bucks due to the obscurity of the brand. I believe I paid roughly $1000.00 for mine in 1975 - a lot of money back then but it was a custom made guitar - and I loved playing it and did so every night for the next 4years until I got off the road and tucked it my closet. I would love to know what happened to those guys and if they are still in the "Business" or not. I hope I hear from a few of you guys about this - I'll have to try and get some pics and post them up if anyone is interested

    Thanks
    Bob
     
  8. Jason

    Jason Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,510
    Likes Received:
    347
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Cool story. I don't have any info for you, but I do know firsthand how hard it is to spray metal flake. Stuff really likes to clog up in the nozzle... and cleanup is a nightmare!
     
  9. Copakid

    Copakid Junior Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Hey guys,

    I am in the market for a Murphy Shaw guitar. Let me know if you want to part with one.
     
  10. voices

    voices Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    640
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Tim Shaw currently works for Fender in Nashville
     
  11. gravy

    gravy Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008

    Hey if anyone's interested. I'm actually thinking of parting with my Murphy Shaw. I'm seriously considering buying back my old '59 Special and need to raise some funds.Shoot me a fair price and we'll go from there.
     
  12. jdwright6@gmail.com

    jdwright6@gmail.com Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    I bought this guitar. Good seller honest guy. +1 for him.

    Anyone know anything about it yet?
     
  13. jdwright6@gmail.com

    jdwright6@gmail.com Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Description: Serial number 23. We have been provided the following information: “Beautiful Mahogany and Maple neck through body construction.All Gibson parts,very unique epoxy filled Tim Shaw pickups. Guitar has a plaque on the back in the guitar, says handmade by Shaw and Murphy, Kalamazoo MI 1975. #23…. The tuners have been changed to grovers sometime in the 70's. I bought this guitar from the original owner who got it directly from Shaw and Murphy but never knew anything about it other than the previous story or what its worth. There is also not the original case. However there is what appears to be a 70's style SG bridge and a lightweight aluminum tailpiece with long studs. The sound rivals Shaw's from the 80's when compared side by side to my early 80's standard. Other than that I don't know much about it. Guitar condition is 7.5/10 some minor worming not through the finish on the back, oxidization on the tailpiece and some finish flaked off the back of the neck. 5 way switch which is strange with dual coil taps. Tone and volume.” Based on the photos provided, the owner’s description appears to be correct.

    Tim Shaw, one of the makers of this guitar, has provided the following information: “There were about 107 of these made in total, from about 1973 to late ’76 or early ’77. The original partners were Patrick Murphy and me; by 1975, we’d added Chuck Burge, who later worked with me in R&D at Gibson, and a guy named Loring Janes. Our shop was over a music store in Kalamazoo called The Sound Factory, which later became Pro-Co Sound. The last plaque was put in the back of guitar #26, I think; after that, they were called Sunrise guitars. This is one of the earliest guitars with the maple peghead overlay and that particular peghead shape, which was taken from a circa 1860’s Bruno that Murphy owned.

    “The earlier guitars, like this one, used Gibson components, but I rewound the pickups. Later on, we made the pickups entirely ourselves. The controls are master volume, master tone, a 5-way rotary (series, fingerboard pickup, parallel, bridge pickup, and series out-of-phase,) and two series/parallel switches. Bill Lawrence had been a consultant at Gibson in the early 1970’s, and I learned a lot about pickups and controls from him. The original tuners were Gotohs.

    “This guitar is probably cherry, not mahogany, but it’s hard to tell from the photos. By and large, we used Michigan maple, walnut, and cherry for the body woods. There was no big fire that drove us out of business; we weren’t very fast or very profitable, and it quietly sputtered out in 1977. I left and moved to California in January of that year.

    “I don’t remember the original retail price, but it certainly wasn’t $1000. Most of these were sold direct; others were sold through a small network of music stores in the Midwest.”

    Tim Shaw later gained some degree of notoriety for his work on Gibson pickups, and consequently this instrument would be of historical interest to collectors.
     
  14. jdwright6@gmail.com

    jdwright6@gmail.com Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Open to trade offers for boutique, vintage, or les paul/fender guitars.

    Not interested in amps, pedals.
     
  15. jdwright6@gmail.com

    jdwright6@gmail.com Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    please email me directly at my username if interested, thanks very much
     
  16. thumper

    thumper Junior Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Testing before I write and find out that something doesn't work. Sorry, If this does come up, on the forum, shortly you see the complete story on the Murphy-Shaw guitars.
     
  17. thumper

    thumper Junior Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Murphy-Shaw guitars

    Hi guys,
    I do have the complete low down on these, I was there and I was the guy who built them.
    It was Pat Murphy, Tim Shaw, Loring Janes, and Chuck Burge (me).
    It starts off with Pat Murphy in the 60's, in Germany, he meets classical guitar maker Rhyner Krempel. Pat Murphy introduces Krempel to the classic Martin and the X bracing and they developed the first Krempel steel string guitars. In fact they developed the reverse Martin Xbrace pattern which Martin later adopted for Martin guitars!
    Pat moves back to the states and opens "Instrument Repair Service". In the Sound Factory Building in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He hires Tim Shaw. It is 1973, a player came into the shop who wanted a custom double neck solidbody built by Gibson and they refused. Pat took on the job and built the guitar. Players came in the shop and saw it under construction and started placing orders. At that point they desided to call them Murphy-Shaw guitars.
    A couple of months later and when Pat and Tim were working on #2 and #3, I came in as another member. With my tallents on board and Murphy busy with guitar repair, I started taking over one after another guitar building details. It was not long before I had done a redesign of the guitar, made a complete set of blue prints, and took over all of the construction. I think by #4 or #5.(while Pat and Tim did a lot of repair keeping us alive)
    From that point on, I built the guitars from design and lumberyard to final sanding. Pat did the sanding, lacquer work, buffing, fret work, and final set-up. Tim built pickups, guitar assembly, and all the wiring. Loring helped with assembly, etc. By the time we built #23, Pat desided that in view of my doing redesign and all the wood work that we should not any longer call them Murphy-Shaw guitars. We changed the name to Sunrise Guitars.
    We built guitars from 1973 untill late 1976. 100+ guitars. There was no fire. We ended up with 37 dealers, coast to coast. Many, if not most of the dealers (music stores), would never pay us or delay payment for so long that we went broke. To make a long story short, Pat moved to Nashville and managed Bill Lawrence's pickup factory, Tim moved to California and went to work for Guitar Player Mag. I went to Gibson. I was hired as guitar designer/model maker, Gibson Kalamazoo.
    10 months after joining Gibson, I ended up on Bruce Bolen's budget at Chicago, CMI. Bruce moved to Kalamazoo and we started Gibsons first R&D department. We had an opening for a pickup and passive wiring guy. I suggested that Tim was the perfect choise. Tim came into town and Bruce hired him for the position. Now it was Bruce Bolen, Tim Shaw, Chuck Burge(me), and Abe Wechter who formed Gibsons first R&D department and a few months later, the four of us were also the first Gibson Custom Shop. Bruce was the boss, Tim did pickups and wiring, I did the design work and the actual building of all the solid body prototypes, show models, and customs. Abe handled all of the acoustic building. Sometimes I helped Abe with the building, sometimes he helped me with the building. When it came to new inlay, I did the design and Tim and I shared the actual inly work.
    When Gibson Kalamazoo disolved in '82, Bruce moved to Nashville to start R&D there. Tim followed. I stayed and Abe stayed. We each started our own personal shops in Kalamazoo.
    Later, Bruce moved to Fender and Tim became head of R&D Nashville and even became a Gibson V.P. Later he joined Bruce at Fender, where they are today.
    Pat Murphy now lives on the west coast and is retired but still active. I am in Kalamazoo and work in my 2,000+ sq ft personal shop, I design and build custom guitars, acoustics, and pickups. I am personal friends with Les Paul since the mid 70's and have done some guitar work and a lot of pickups for his 'players' for the last few years. These are all LPR's.(low impedance pickups) We talk quite often. So I have ended up doing a lot of work on LPR's for people all over. I also specialize in surgical repairs like Les Pauls with broken off heads, does not even matter if the head is missing!!
    That is the story of Murphy-Shaw guitars and the people involved from the 60's untill the present.
    Other info:
    NO Murphy-Shaw or Sunrise guitar ever had any mahogany in it. All were maple and black walnut except two. They were cherry.
    NO Murphy-Shaw or Sunrise guitar ever had a neck-through (someone saw my neck/body jointery design and misstook it for neck-through)
    Yes, we did build a "Texas" guitar for Billy Gibbons. Later, I built a second one for him, a Gibson.
    All but about 35 of these guitars went to dealers for $550 dealers price, likely $1,000- retail. The rest were built as customs for individual players and went generally for $700 and up (do not forget this was the 70's)
    Yes, the famous 'Sunrise Flattop Pickups' came from us.
    - chuck
     
  18. voices

    voices Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    640
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Chuck! welcome to the forum! you have the best stories and i cant wait to hear more from you now you are on here.

    ron-that "Moderne" guy.

    ps-when you are ready for an apprentice, let me know!
     
  19. bfisher

    bfisher Junior Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    After reading the posts at the bottom I got my axe out and looked at the label. Mine is #30 from 1975. Seeing as how I am the only owner I know mine is all original parts and after all these years the neck is still straight as an arrow and sounds like it always did - fat and sweet. I would still like to get the finish repaired on the bacck side and part of the neck but just don't know if it's possible or practical. I am almost positive I paid $900 - $1000 for mine at the music store in Ohio. I know those guys sold 4 or 5 of these guitars becasue I can remember seeing 2 others myself
    iu would still like to get my hands on another one just for sentimental reasons and the fact that I still love this instrument
     
  20. Mark H

    Mark H Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,400
    Likes Received:
    59
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    So realy Mr. Fisher has an "early" Gibson Costom Shop ax?:cool:
    I wonder if the guy with the music shop in Canton ever paid Mr. Burge?:hmm:
    Very nice story!
     

Share This Page