Murph Guitar History

Thomas Patrick ‘Pat’ Murphy was born on July 8, 1920 in Springfield, Illinois and raised in Detroit, Michigan. As a young man he served as a naval air force mechanic, stationed in the Philippines during WWII. When finally discharged, he worked in various occupations and industries over the next 15 years, marrying, moving cross country to California and raising a family in the process.

Murphy Family Band
Murphy Kids 1965

Pat was not musical, but his five children were. They were also actors and did television commercials, live T.V. shows, and theater plays in Los Angeles throughout the 1960’s.

Pat’s two eldest boys, Mike and Terry, were learning to play guitar. Their music teacher Jim Gurley, suggested Pat consider making a new line of guitars and allow his kids to help promote them. A self confessed ‘jack of all trades’, Pat and family embarked on a bold entrepreneurial enterprise – to build a quality guitar aimed at teenage musicians and designed to rival the more expensive American made instruments.

Murph Jrs

At that time, the rock and roll era was exploding. It seemed as though every teenager wanted a guitar or was in a garage band. Pat’s kids were also interested in this new revolution. Mike played in bands with high school and college friends. Terry and Tim started The Murph Jr.’s with neighborhood friends. The boys, along with their sisters, Patty and Noreen, continued their singing and dancing act as The Murphys, (who were similar to the Osmond’s or the Jackson 5 of their time) which included live stage and television performances, as well as a recording session.

To supply this new guitar craze many new U.S. companies started building guitars. Soon, seemingly everyone from record companies like Decca, to department stores like Sears & Montgomery Ward began selling guitars under their own brand names. Then, a flood of imported Japanese made guitars like Yamaha, Goya, Teisco & Kawai made their way into the American market. With all of these local & overseas companies trying to either maintain or gain a share of the guitar sales market, the competition was fierce when Murphy Music Industries started into business.