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Thread: Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

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    Cheesesteakologist phil_104's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick, and welcome to the forum!

    Last year I went to see Fleetwood Mac live, as my dad has been a lifelong fan. As a guitarist, one of the more striking elements of this live performance was Lindsey Buckingham's guitar, and the amazing sounds that he produced with it. After the show, I discovered that this was a Turner Model 1. I was just blown away by the sound.

    Could you explain what the inspiration was to create such an instrument? Was it a close partnership with Lindsey, or a design that he embraced?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions,
    Phil
    - Gibson CS ES339 - Gibson Les Paul Trad - Gibson J-200 Standard - Fender Hwy1 Strat - Gibson Captain Kirk Douglas SG - Takamine E-series Acoustic - Fender Blues Deluxe - Fender Excelsior -

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRat View Post
    Everyone seems to have a different opinion about cleaning/preserving fretboards. What's your procees for that? Thanks!
    Well, you can forget "feeding the wood"...it's dead! But the fingerboard can get too dry and shrink if your ambient humidity is low. Acids from your hand sweat can eat away at the wood. Grunge can build up.

    For simple cleaning and care, I like to use white ScotchBrite...the mildest of the pad abrasives...with either Dr. Duck's Axe Wax or Howard's Feed'n'Wax. I hate steel wool around guitars, especially electrics because little fibers of steel break off and lodge themselves every where, and pickups and wiring are particularly susceptible to attracting a metallic fuzz that can actually short out electronic connections. I always rub the fingerboards along the length so as not to put in cross grain scratches...often found from horrible fret jobs of the past.

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    Administrator Evan Skopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    What got you interested in ukuleles?


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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    GREAT info so far. Like being front row to a master in learning some ins and outs of guitars. So much in this thread I knew nothing about 3 hours ago.

    Life IS Good!

    Thanks Rick for the great guitars and basses I have heard over the years in artists hands.

    Ever made one for Joe Perry or Brad Whitford? I bet they would love your work.
    Aint no pro but I know what I like....
    Guitar to sound output:
    Hamer, Dean, or Various, Levy's straps, Dunlop straplock/picks, Daddarrio strings 10-46, Duncan, Dimarzio, Mogami, Monster, MojoDrive pedal on occasion, Marshall, Crate, Vox, Mesa Boogie, Black Shadow Celestions, Eminence,..


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    Tone Member Scott Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hey Rick---what I want to know is how you make such awesome instruments AND have cool hair?

    Yours truly,
    Jealous bald-guy
    Scott Miller
    New Products/Technical Guy/Something Something
    Seymour Duncan

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    thanks for doing this rick!

    please tell me about the wall of sound that you guys built. it seems like a foh guys dream and nightmare all wrapped in a 10 tractor trailer package.

    if a guitar player with a hard attack was going to electrify an acoustic for stage use, a deeper 000-28 type guitar, what would you suggest, sound hole + bridge or ???
    Read up on it in Blair Jackson's incredible book (and a project into which he got trapped as in quicksand!) on the Grateful Dead's Gear. That book really tells the story accurately. My own experience was as a member of the committee that directed the design of the system, and my particular tangible contribution was to come up with the design, proportions and dimensions for most of the rectangular loudspeaker boxes. I based that on making the dimensions in length, width, and depth correspond to wavelengths that were 1/3 of an octave apart to reduce the effect of internal standing waves. The interiors were also padded with horsehair carpet padding, and we wound up modifying many of the JBL loudspeakers, replacing the aluminum cone domes with paper as we found some nasty resonances with the aluminum.

    Ultimately the biggest problem with that system was logistic and with the anarchic crew handling it. It actually packed pretty well, and a modern version of it could be made much more easily transportable.

    Interestingly, the Bose L-1 system uses some of the same line array principles as the WOS, and they recommend that each member of a band have their own...just like we did with the WOS.



    000-28...Please don't remind me of one of the guitars I never should have sold...my '58 Brazilian on which I'd scalloped the braces.

    If you need really loud, go with a magnetic soundhole pickup like the Duncan Woody or MagMic. If you want moderate, go with the Wavelength Multi Source.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by phil_104 View Post
    Hi Rick, and welcome to the forum!

    Last year I went to see Fleetwood Mac live, as my dad has been a lifelong fan. As a guitarist, one of the more striking elements of this live performance was Lindsey Buckingham's guitar, and the amazing sounds that he produced with it. After the show, I discovered that this was a Turner Model 1. I was just blown away by the sound.

    Could you explain what the inspiration was to create such an instrument? Was it a close partnership with Lindsey, or a design that he embraced?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions,
    Phil
    Lindsey was the main inspiration for that guitar. I got to know him while the band was recording Rumours, and I did a lot of work on his Strat and Les Paul. He expressed a desire to have a guitar that combined the best of both of those instruments as well as telling me plainly what he did and did not like about the Alembic guitar I built for him (I was president and instrument designer of that company in the 1970s up into '78). The result was my design for the Model 1. I showed him a blueprint, he said he wanted one, I delivered his first about ten months later, and the rest is history!

    So it's both a design he inspired, though didn't really participate in, and it's one that he clearly embraced. I think it was easier for me to design with him in mind because his musical background in folk and acoustic music...even in banjo...was the West Coast equivalent of my own musical journey.

  8. #28
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick! Three questions:

    1. What's your feeling about resonance in an electric guitar? All guitars have a resonance but Les Paul's thing seems to have been to eliminate resonance as much as possible. Personally I like a resonant guitar like a ES-335 better than a solid, thick bodied, mostly non-resonant guitar like a Les Paul. Do you agree with Les Paul that resonance in an electric guitar inhibits sustain and tone?

    2. What's your feelings now about brass bridges and nuts? You used to put brass on a lot of the Alembic guitars and basses but now, using brass is out of fashion and actually looked down upon by many. Do you still use brass?
    BTW, Eric Johnson has said that he'll put a brass bridge saddle on some of his Strats for the high E string (but no others) to fatten it up.

    3. I asked you once about replacing the piezo tweeters in my SWR California Blonde and you said you were going to replace them in yours too. Did you ever find a nice replacement? If so, what did you replace them with and what crossover did you use?

    Many thanks!
    Lew Collins

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Skopp View Post
    What got you interested in ukuleles?

    Barry Pearlman came to me about five years ago to propose that I consider making ukes. I became intrigued, attended some meetings of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz, and was entranced. I did some research, particularly listening to what my friend Rick McKee (Ukulele Dick) had to say about vintage ukes...he's got over 250 of them...and decided there was enough there and that I had enough that I could bring to the table to make it worth while. You can see my first uke and my then 9 year old son's explanation of what worked and what didn't on the Gourmet Guitars video of me.

    Now I play uke more than guitar...it's just so friendly, and it travels easily, to say the least.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by BTMN View Post
    GREAT info so far. Like being front row to a master in learning some ins and outs of guitars. So much in this thread I knew nothing about 3 hours ago.

    Life IS Good!

    Thanks Rick for the great guitars and basses I have heard over the years in artists hands.

    Ever made one for Joe Perry or Brad Whitford? I bet they would love your work.
    Thank you!

    Never met the Aerosmith guys...I'd left Boston before they came on the scene, and somehow our paths haven't crossed since.

    I have to say that I tend not to hustle guitar players who are so strongly associated with another brand. When such an artist switches from a strong brand association or endorsing loyalty, I think it can diminish their effectiveness. We on the manufacturing side get hustled every week by what we (behind the scenes) call "endorsement whores"...people who will play any brand for free guitars and ego gratification. So I tend not to go after artists who are clearly so associated with another brand, though I certainly know of those who do. My guitars either sell themselves on quality and utility for a particular artist or they don't. I don't force the issue.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    Hi Rick! Three questions:

    1. What's your feeling about resonance in an electric guitar? All guitars have a resonance but Les Paul's thing seems to have been to eliminate resonance as much as possible. Personally I like a resonant guitar like a ES-335 better than a solid, thick bodied, mostly non-resonant guitar like a Les Paul. Do you agree with Les Paul that resonance in an electric guitar inhibits sustain and tone?

    2. What's your feelings now about brass bridges and nuts? You used to put brass on a lot of the Alembic guitars and basses but now, using brass is out of fashion and actually looked down upon by many. Do you still use brass?
    BTW, Eric Johnson has said that he'll put a brass bridge saddle on some of his Strats for the high E string (but no others) to fatten it up.

    3. I asked you once about replacing the piezo tweeters in my SWR California Blonde and you said you were going to replace them in yours too. Did you ever find a nice replacement? If so, what did you replace them with and what crossover did you use?

    Many thanks!
    Lew Collins
    Lew,

    1) Electric guitars, even solid bodied ones are all about resonance. Pickups are merely windows into the tone of the guitar and the strings themselves. Les and I talked at length about this once when I visited him in Mahwah; I was briefly the Gibson tech liason to Les. He was adamant, for instance, that there be two types of Les Paul body construction...the standard mahogany with the maple cap and the custom with the all mahogany body. Of course Gibson during the Norlin years screwed it up, making them all mahogany/maple, but Les knew just how different the two styles sounded...independent of the pickups. Yes, semi-hollow instruments have a different style of resonance, Q, and damping of string vibration, but it's not that solid bodies do not resonate.

    2) Well, I probably helped start the whole brass hardware thing along with my friend and mentor Owsley Stanley. I now don't think that brass string nuts make all that much difference...a little, but not enough to bank on. The bridge thing is a bit different. Having mass there does decouple the strings from the body a bit, and can increase sustain. Johnson's trick is an interesting one of using the bridge saddle to voice the strings individually. The first Alembic instrument...the bass I made for Jack Casady had interchangeable bridge saddles, and he had them in ebony, ivory, and brass. We also made retrofit saddles for the Guild Starfire basses loved by Jack and Phil Lesh.

    Right now the bridge hardware I'm interested in pursuing more of is being designed by Rick Huff of Skyway. He makes the best sounding whammy bar I've ever heard. Amazing, and he's got hardtail designs as well.

    3) I never got around to it, but look at the offerings from Madisound http://www.madisound.com/ They have the best selection of speaker drivers of any place in the US. You could contact them for their recommendations.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    what types of guitars have you built for ry cooder or david lindley? they are both pretty unique players.

    did they have a specific idea of what they wanted or something they wanted to get from an instrument that they couldnt from what they had?

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    Ultimate Tone Member playas's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick,

    again thanks for giving up your time to do this.

    - Do you ever think, wow I love my job ...and what memories come to mind?

    - Is there any one instrument that you
    1)are more proud of then all the rest and
    2)felt that you really learned a lot from making i.e. from messing it up?

    - Sounds like your ability to deal with all sorts of people is something that you think has been really useful would you say that´s the personal quality that has been most useful to your success?

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Miller View Post
    Hey Rick---what I want to know is how you make such awesome instruments AND have cool hair?

    Yours truly,
    Jealous bald-guy
    Hey, I need a hair cut this week, I could send you enough for a full rug...

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    what types of guitars have you built for ry cooder or david lindley? they are both pretty unique players.

    did they have a specific idea of what they wanted or something they wanted to get from an instrument that they couldnt from what they had?
    For David it's been mostly a bunch of odd custom pickups for saz, cumbus, and oud, for Ry it's been everything from a Bigsby equipped Model T that I built to his infamous Strat assemblage with the Teisco and National pickups and the tortoise overlaid peghead and pickguard and a Model 1 that he got from me to give to Ali Farka Toure. One of my most memorable evenings was a gig at McCabe's where Ali Farka played the guitar I built for most of the night.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick, thanks for this.

    I was wondering where the idea for the Mama Bear came from. Your background seems to be very much in the fine craft of instrument building; meanwhile the Mama Bear is a very high-tech digital device. A lot of people with your background would shun such a thing, yet you seem to have embraced it wholeheartedly. Tell us about the ideas and inspiration that brought us this very unique and incredibly useful device.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    1.Given your I think pretty adventurous style in acoustic guitar building,did it ever cross your mind to try something along the lines of the classic(and quite ancient) half pear body shape that we meet in mediterranean,middle eastern,and asian cultures?Since music is universal do you think that a design like this being well executed could be adopted by "modern" musicians?
    2.I've seen through the years guitar very few luthiers favouring the plain old pickuo instead of piezos(Rob Armstrong also comes to mind).How far do you thing one can go resembling the natural timbre of an instrument in the electric side with pickups/piezo systems and what's your current favourite?
    OH WE ARE SO HAPPY TO HAVE YOU HERE
    Last edited by JHN; 10-06-2009 at 01:17 PM.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick, great to see you on here and I'm enjoying your answers. I love learning things this way because other people always ask questions I don't think of! I liked your angle on not chasing after "endorsers" who are identified with a brand... war stories...

    Have you built any semi-solid electrics? If so, how did you voice them and why?

    Thanks,
    Jol

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by playas View Post
    Hi Rick,

    again thanks for giving up your time to do this.

    - Do you ever think, wow I love my job ...and what memories come to mind?

    - Is there any one instrument that you
    1)are more proud of then all the rest and
    2)felt that you really learned a lot from making i.e. from messing it up?

    - Sounds like your ability to deal with all sorts of people is something that you think has been really useful would you say that´s the personal quality that has been most useful to your success?
    Well, I'm basically fairly unemployable outside of the music scene, so I'd better enjoy this! That's a slight exaggeration...I have worked as a jeweler's assistant, a cabinet maker, and a carpenter in my time... But guitars and the like still fascinate me no end.

    Memories...yes, and yet the new ones just keep unfolding. I did start writing a book many years ago, and I need to get back to it. There's just a finality to the idea of writing a last chapter that I'm not quite ready to face!

    Instruments of which I'm proud...well, the first Alembic bass, the third Turner Model 1...the one that went to Lindsey, "Ms. Antarctica"...the acoustic that Henry Kaiser took to the Southern-most continent, the first of any of the series of instruments we've made here...Model T, Renaissance, Electroline bass, Compass Rose uke. But also I'm always looking to do better...different and better.

    One of the projects that taught me the most as well as crystalizing my existing ideas on the subject was the Mama Bear R&D project. It confirmed to me a lot of what I thought I heard in the differences between true acoustic guitar tone and amplified acoustic guitar tone. I had some unproven notions with regard to the importance of the phase response changes that a guitar imposes on a string signal. I thought that the often preferred "smiley curve" eq setting that many apply to under saddle pickup signals was an attempt to crudely do what a guitar top (especially with large flat top guitars) did to the string signal which is to suck out midrange. I thought that a guitar made with very stiff sides and an almost equally stiff and reflective back made for a guitar that projects but does not necessarily sound loud to the player; that's about knowing how to control the dispersion of sound from the guitar depending on it's ultimate use. All of these notions were confirmed and/or deeply clarified by my experience in recording dozens of guitars in a number of ways and settings. I also got to actually see the frequency and phase response comparisons between mic and pickup signals from the same guitars recorded at the same time. It was interesting to delve so deeply in digital models of guitars and wind up understanding pure acoustic instruments all that much better.

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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    I'd like to know if you have ever considered building an ukulele with an octave G string. So many people switch ukes to play either in low or high G depending on the style of music including myself. Why not just build one with a paired course of each? Also, i love zero frets. Why did the idea fade away? Makes the first position so much more comfortable for barre chords.

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