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James Murphy (guitarist)

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James Murphy
Background information
Birth nameJames Franklin Murphy
Born (1967-07-30) July 30, 1967 (age 56)
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • recording and mixing engineer
  • Guitar
  • bass
  • keyboards
Years active1987–present
Formerly ofDeath, Testament, Obituary, Cancer, Disincarnate

James Franklin Murphy (born July 30, 1967) is an American guitarist. He is best known for his work in metal bands Cancer, Obituary, Death[1] and Testament.[2] He founded Disincarnate,[3] an early death metal band.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2001 but recovered. In October 2011, Murphy stated that the tumor had returned but that it was non-cancerous and that it was being treated pharmacologically.[4] He is working on a tribute album to Death founder Chuck Schuldiner who died from pneumonia, caused by complications of his treatment for a brain tumor. He also produced Deron Miller's band World Under Blood. He also completed production of the industrial death metal band Dååth's second album, The Hinderers, which was released on Roadrunner Records, and Lazarus A.D.'s second album The Onslaught, and its follow-up Black Rivers Flow released on Metal Blade Records, and many other productions and mixes on various record labels. He has also performed as a touring guitarist for Agent Steel in Europe and the UK in 1987, and was briefly in Hallows Eve in 1989.

In addition to playing guitar, Murphy operates a recording studio, SafeHouse Production, where he has mixed and produced albums for other bands. He has also contributed lessons to Guitar Player magazine.



Murphy has used Caparison guitars since he was able to play guitar again after his treatment. During his years with Testament he played modified Fender Stratocasters with Floyd Rose bridges and Ibanez guitars, primarily the S series models, as well as B.C. Rich guitars during the Obituary and Death period, especially Warlock models. With Disincarnate, he used a Gibson Flying V, loaded with an EMG 85 in the bridge position, through a Marshall 8100. He is a longtime endorsee of EMG pickups, and mainly uses the 85 and 89 models, although on Testament's The Gathering his Ibanez were fitted with Dimarzio Steve's Special and Air Norton. For amplification he is currently using Framus Cobra series amplifiers, although previously he used Mesa amps through Mesa 4x12 cabinets with Testament.


James Murphy
  • Convergence (1996)
  • Feeding The Machine (1999)
  • Weed Out The Weak (1997)
  • The Freakshow (EP, 1999)
  • Come Down Cold (1999)
  • Nothing Is Sacred (2009)

Guest appearances


  1. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography: Death". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Biography: Testament". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Biography: Disincarnate". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ex-TESTAMENT/DEATH Guitarist Says His Brain Tumor Is Not Cancerous". blabbermouth.net. October 24, 2011. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  5. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Biography: Cancer". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  6. ^ "Disincarnate - Soul Erosion - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". Metal-archives.com. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  7. ^ Hill, Gary. "Biography: Explorers Club". Allmusic. Retrieved July 11, 2010.