It seems that the Murph factory was a hotbed for ideas. Maybe it was a case of ‘too much too soon’ as far as working on so many ideas all at once when such huge financial pressures were on but there were many new designs in prototype stage and things were a buzz – and then maybe all these designs helped scare the big guys into coming down hard on them .…. whatever it was, here are some of those crazy Murphs that almost made it!
( I have been provided some photos of the scarce Murph Gemini by Gordon Lockhart of Seattle – his example was given to him many years ago by Denny Doherty of the Mamas & the Papas )
Above is shown the Murph Gemini Semi-hollow guitar. These used a standard Murph Squire neck, pickups and tremelo ( this one has a home made arm fitted ) The serial number on the neck plate was prefixed ‘G’ for Gemini.
Gemini II: Slim body, 2 pickups with tremolo.
Gemini 12 String: Slim Body; 2 pickups
Gemini IV: Slim body Bass; 2 pickups
Now before we go on, Murphy Music Industries did some custom ‘one offs’ as well. Take this example, a Gemini body with a Satellite bass neck built especially for Skip Straw, bassist for Jimmy Lawton & the Lawmen, a 1960’s country & western outfit. A matching 12 string was built for Jimmy Lawton, but Skip tells me it was lost ( it’s gotta be
out there somewhere! ) Skip still owns his bass & loves it as much today as when Pat built it for him in 1966.
The Continental IV was a single cutaway along the styling of the Gibson Les Paul, ( but with it’s own uniqueness )made in late 1965 ( as indicated by it’s inclusion on an early pricelist) and at the same time as the ‘Westerner’ ( see Squire page ). Again there were VERY few of these made and so far, NONE have surfaced. The ‘IV’ was a solid body, single pickup guitar and available in White only!
Tempo I & II
These were ‘build your own guitar’ kits with 1 or 2 pickups. A slab body & headstock which could be left as is or shaped by the builder, the Tempo was a COMPLETE “ do it yourself ” guitar furnished with detailed instructions ( shown below )
No MURPH logo was placed on these – they were designed for the home builder or customiser – again, only a few of these were ever made.
The Silvertone Murph
In mid 1966 the company started negotiations with Sears department stores to build a Silvertone branded Murph. It was not something they wanted to do as it robbed them of their independence but sales were hard to get all by themselves and it was thought that an alliance with a large organisation would help. They would have been a Squire II style of guitar but with a Silvertone logo on the truss rod cover. As explained in the company history, only 25 were made in 1966 and Sears assured them that more would be ordered the following year but by then Murphy Music Industries had ceased trading.
The Murph Acoustic
At the Summer 1966 NAMM show Pat was approached by a Japanese company to import acoustic guitars. The samples the representative showed looked promising but when the shipment of 25 arrived they were JUNK!! They had been victims of the old ‘switcharoo’. After disposing of the imported product ( and after some sobering reflection ) Pat thought they could make a better version themselves – & so they up and designed one. It was a traditional flat top, round soundhole style but only ONE prototype was made before the company went bankrupt. This is still owned by a member of the Murphy family but tooling for this ( the electric former for the sides and various jigs & fixtures for constructing the body ) still exists, stored in boxes for the last 40 years!
The Murph Banjo
Spied on the internet, here is a custom “banjo” Squire ( I’m not sure just how ‘banjoesque’ it sounded. Check out the 5th peg position on the neck!! ….. odd but cool!