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Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by flobbin72, Nov 14, 2017.
Can somebody tell me what this is exactly!?
My mom got this guitar when she was young from her Uncle and I was wondering exactly what it was. I saw another post saying it was a murphy/shaw but that hey had changed their name to sunrise. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. I have no idea what it is worth and what it would cost to restore but I would love to restore it and play it!
There are some "sunrise" guitars that are Japanese/Asian origin and then there are a very few made in Kalamazoo "Sunrise" guitars. I can't tell you which one this is though. The rare U.S. made ones have quite the back story. Here's some info taken from another thread by forum member Jacco.
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.
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.
I believe I have traced Pat Murphy down at Murph Guitars in California but am waiting on a reply. I would love to get this baby shredding again! I remember playing it when I was a kid and it was awesome!
MIJ Les Paul copy.
Then why does the neck say sunrise?
May have a sunrise???? Any info much appreciated.
Please keep it to this thread - Thanks
MIJ. They also made a killer neck thru body Strat. I worked at a store outside Chicago that sold them.
It's hard to tell with the photos. Do the back of the tuners say 'gotoh', and are there any labels under the pickups?
I will have to get with my mom to get a better look at it. I will post my findings to your questions.
I'd look at the back of the tuners first, that way if it says 'gotoh' or 'goto' you immediately know it's MIJ and don't have to bother unscrewing the pickups. If you have to look at the pickups, unscrew the pickups from the guitar, look underneath them. If the labels say 'goto' or 'gotoh', it's MIJ.
I suspect this guitar will be MIJ. Regardless of if you find it's USA or Japanese made, it shouldn't matter; it's merely informative. Japanese made guitars are usually of better quality than USA made guitars; and the 70s (which I can already tell this guitar is from, if not, early 80s) weren't famous for it's manufacturing prowess in the US for guitarmakers. Even in vehicles, the Japs were wiping the floor making cheaper, higher quality cars than their US and UK counter-parts.