Alan Murphy-Guitarist

Taken from the article:

Alan Murphy has a reputation for speaking his mind which has upset a few people in the past but his delivery is not aggressive, just quietly forceful. Sat in the fairly narrow, but long room in which his studio equipment is housed I felt impelled to tackle the monitoring and acoustics first….

‘All I’ve got for here, as you can see, is a hi-fi approach with two quite powerful Name 135 amplifiers and Name SBL’s (separate box loudspeakers). It’s a very plain sound but it’s incredibly workable, not tiring by any means. I monitor at really low levels for most of the time because my ears get really tired. When I’m doing sessions I’ll just leave if it’s too loud. I don’t really understand why people do it because it doesn’t make the recording any better.
‘If I’m writing alone, it’ll inevitably be from an idea I’ve hummed to myself or sat down and doodled, stretched and pulled until it’s something else. These days I look at it to see if it’s worthwhile and if it’s not, then I just discard it.

‘My attitude to music has changed drastically in the last two years. I did a lot of what I call turd polishing before. I would get the backing to sound fantastic then someone would come in and sing the vocal and I’d realise I didn’t like the song, let alone the vocal! Now I don’t do that anymore. I haven’t got the time to waste – I’d rather sit at home and watch the telly if that’s the way it’s going to be!

As for music generally, I see a lot of people doing that self-same thing. Taking a small idea and trying to make something of it. I’d rather do more honest things musically and try to avoid overproduction – even though that’s difficult.’
What does such a famous guitarist use to capture that sound in his own studio? Alan started by fondly talking about the guitars he’s currently using before moving on to amplification.

‘Iv’e just had two special ones made for me by Yamaha which are a dream of mine. When I first started I had a Telecaster and my next guitar was a Gibson 335, which I still own, and the semi-acoustic idea has always been close to me heart. The Yamaha MSG is like a solid-bodied version of it, very simple – I can’t stand fiddliness in guitars so that’s what I’m using now.

I’ve got a couple of Statocasters which I can never get rid of, Fender 12-strings and a few old Arias, none of which means an incredible amount to me but as you know there’s always a use for them. Here I’ve got about 27 guitars which I plan to hang on the walls so that I can make a grab for what I need!

‘As for amps, you can see I’ve got an interesting range. There’s this new pre-amp I’ve got, made in Kalamazoo. It’s quite a common approach these day – a 12 AX7 valve in a MIDI – controllable box of tricks, which is very nice, but still not my favourite even though it’s valve. I’ve also got the Boogie Quad which is what I use on stage with level 42 and I’m really very happy with that, because the DI sound from it is the closest I’ve got to the same thing through a cab, I’ve always liked the Boogie but the old line outputs were a bit toppy, a bit fierce, whereas this one gives a very warm, clean sound.

‘I do have speakers here but it’s not really practical when your working in one room. My other options are the (Vox) AC30 and a couple of Fender Super Champs. The Super Champs are my main thing when I’m recording – I always take them with me to sessions because I know I can get a sound with them straight away! I’ve used one on every recording I’ve ever made, apart from the last Level 42 one, which was the Quad’