Sunrise Guitars... class, anyone... anyone??

Sir M




... heard of these guitars? Any info?


I recall two guys making guitars in Kalamazoo during the late 70's called Sunrise Guitar. Pat Murphy made the bodies, necks, etc and Tim Shaw made the pickups and electronics. They were located on Kalamazoo Ave. in the old Sound Factory building, later the home to ProCo Sound.



wow its beautiful, and this coming from a tele man, I reckon it is worth about £2
I'll give you £3 plus shipping. :)


I saw the Sunrise guitar on the Gear Page. The Sunrise Logo on my bass peeled away years ago and I have been looking for a photo to reproduce it.

Tim Shaw and Dale or Pat Murphy "Murph" left Gibson when Gibson left Kalamazoo. This was a golden age in Kalamazoo - late 70s. Sunrise was short lived. One triumph that they had was making the Texas Guitar (Texas shaped) and selling it to Billy Gibbons.

Sunrise Guitar venue was on Kalamazoo Ave. If you were a young musician it was the place to hang out. Charlie Wick's ProCo Sound was down stairs and at that time they were building Speaker Cabs and Piezo Packs and Preamps and Stomp Boxes - besides cables. Then there was Bryce Robertson a.k.a Uncle Dirty. He had opened a recording studio Sound Factory. Both Charlie and Bryce were musicians and very cool to know.

The Sunrise necks were industructable and featured a unique band steel component to the truss rod that was slotted into a groove that ran the length of the neck. They claimed to have a picture of Charlie Wick from ProCo standing on the guitar neck between two chairs. I may have seen it or just remember hearing about it.

If you are looking for any info on the Sunrise owners. I have chased Tim a few times over the years and he was cool. I Don't know the whereabouts of Murph.

Tim was with Guild and I think he is now Director of Product Development and Fender. This guy has had quite a ride in the biz. You can find him in Nashville...

I still own a Sunrise Bass - single cutaway - Black Walnut, Tim Shaw designed the Pick-ups. It is still being used by a friend's son. I'll post a photo of my Sunrise Bass - bought in 1978.

If anyone has pictures of old Sunrise Guitars or Basses please post away.


Great memories! We used to drive down from Lansing to hang out at Sound Factory. Man, I miss stores like that. You could actually hang with Tim and Murph (I had forgotten their names) - we learned a ton. They did some work on my guitars and I bought a bunch of things from the store. Back to regularly scheduled post...

pat murphy

Hi you-all,

This is Pat Murphy typing a response. I am the originator of the Sunrise Murphy-Shaw guitars, repair shop and customizing shop in Kalamazoo Mich in the 70's.

The Gotoh machines were made in Japan. At the time they were the best machines on the market for the price, which was quite reasonable compared to other high end machines. They can actually be disassembled and repaired, lubricated, etc. Although I have been out of the market long enough now I don't even know if they are still available and if their excellent quality is still up there with the rest of the good stuff.

My email address is [email protected] if you have specific information you want on the instruments. Also, for a bunch of information go to;

This site has been posting on the Sunrise or Murphy-Shaw guitars for a while now.


Thanks andygio. I bought a neck that already had tuners installed and couldn't figure out what they were at all- and wasn't sure if they were decent or junk. They seem pretty solid.


I have a custom bass I built 35 or so years ago that is the same size and shape as a Les Paul guitar. I used a Fender neck and I get the most amazing compliments whenever I play that instrument. Why? Well, it looks great (Black Walnut, Zebra and Paduk) but it's the sound that kills and that is due to the pair of Sunrise pickups that are on it. Pat and partner at Sunrise had me sit down and play for them and cooked me up two "Stacked Humbuckers" that they felt would compliment my playing. Funny that Seymore Duncan claims to have "invented" the stacked humbucker. er, no, they did not.

WOW! I'd never heard of such a thing - "stacked"? Today, that bass still generates the best bass sound I've ever had, recording or playing out. I have two other basses, one a Fender Jazz I use mostly due to it's weight and a Carvin 5 string with 18 volt power and a million sounds and tones. Neither can touch my homemade. I'd post some pictures but VEdit offers no way to upload from my computer I'm sorry to say.

In the 35 years since I met Pat, I've played a mountain of gigs and recorded much. Nothing I can think of made me a better bass player than those Sunrise pickups. Amazingly quiet and a top end that is liquid and beautiful with a bottom end that barks just right. I LOVE my Sunrise pickups. Thanks Pat and company.


I had a Sunrise Guitar that I purchased from those guys back in 1975. Pretty good instrument and mine went through a lot of changes before I finally gave up on it and traded it for an acoustic guitar. They were a bit ahead of their time and it's nice to see Tim Shaw getting some recognition for his pickup work. The threads on the other forum are really thorough and pretty much tells the entire story.


Platinum Supporting Member
wow, this is cool!

so, there's a connection between tim shaw of '80s gibson "shawbucker" fame and sunrise acoustic pickups?

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