Over the years, the Orpheus brand is a name has been used on several lines of guitars in different parts of the world: from Bulgaria to the former Soviet Union, to the United States and Japan.
Through research, we found that in the late 1960s through mid-1970s, Coast Wholesale Music Company of California imported a line of electric guitars made in Japan under the Orpheus name. It is suspected, but not proven, that these electric guitars could have been made in the highly respected Matsumoku factory of Japan.
Luckily, we found this Orpheus 12-string hollow body electric back in May 2019 at Centaur Guitar in Portland, Oregon (BTW: The guys at Centaur really know their stuff when it comes to 1970s made in Japan guitars, so give them a call or stop by). Since I already owned a mid-1970’s Univox Coily, I recognized that the build and the pickups were very similar. The body, the neck, the triple edge binding, the cherry burst finish, and the pickups all resembled other guitars we’d seen from Matsumoku.
Built by Matsumoku Industrial of Japan (we think, we’re not sure!) and imported to the U.S. by Coast Wholesale Music Company of California, this 12-string semi-acoustic hollow body electric from the 1970’s is a rare bird.
A very rare sighting of a Murph Squire 12-string electric guitar!
As seen on Ebay, this Squire 12-string is in pretty good shape for its age. The Murph Squire 6 and 12-string guitars were built by Murphy Music Industries – a company started by WWII veteran Patrick Murphy – in the San Fernando, California in the mid-1960s.
Mike Campbell talks about the solid-bodied Rickenbacker 12-string he found shopping through the old “Recycler” advertising newspaper, driving to Anaheim, and later discovering it was built on the assembly line with George Harrison’s guitar in the 1960’s.
Here’s the story of Murph Guitars. It’s the story of how Patrick Murphy, a WWII Navy pilot from Detroit, who moved to California in the 1960′s – and for a brief period – became a designer and manufacturer of some groovy electric guitars.