Earl James "Joaquin" Murphey (often spelled "Murphy", 30 December 1923 in Hollywood, California – 25 October 1999) was an American steel guitarist. Nicknamed "Joaquin" due to his personality, Murphey was an "innovative" and highly influential steel guitarist who helped to define the sound of Western Swing styled lap steel guitar, combining the Hawaiian steel guitarists styles, and the influence of early Western Swing pioneers such as Leon McAuliffe and Bob Dunn. He started professionally while a teenager in the late 1930s, and eventually joined the prestigious Spade Cooley western swing orchestra. This commitment also brought him film appearances, in many "singin' cowboy"'s features.
He had a long-lasting friendship with inventor and guitar hardware manufacturer Paul Bigsby, who custom-built at least three lap-steel for him (a standard, a double neck and even a three neck model).
Murphey worked extensively for various western swing and honky-tonk acts (Jimmie Widener, Andy Parker and the Plainsmen, Johnny Bond, Smokey Rogers and many more) but seldom recorded on his behalf.
In 1980, he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame
His contemporaries included Herb Remington, Leon McAuliffe, Noel Boggs and Speedy West.
Many illustrious steel guitarists such as West and Buddy Emmons claimed Murphey as their main influence and mentor.
- 1947 steel guitar custom-built by Paul Bigsby