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

  1. #41
    Toneologist playas's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Thanks for all your answers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Turner View Post
    ...

    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!

    ...



    Doesn´t have to be your last book does it?

  2. #42
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hey Rick and Jol! Good to see you both here.

    I have three more questions that I'd love to hear your opinions on:

    It has to do with passive tone controls on electric guitars and different capacitors of the same value (.02) but different compositions.

    1) Do you hear a difference in the tone of a .02 ceramic disc cap, a .02 Sprague orange drop type cap, a .02 bumble bee cap and a .02 oil cap such as the Jensen or Hovland when used as the tone cap in a normal electric guitar with high impedance pickups?

    I think I can hear a difference between different caps in certain parts of a guitar amp circuit but I'm not sure I notice a big diff or any diff when caps of the same value but of a different composition are substituted in a guitar's passive tone circuit.

    I can't understand why there would be a big difference since all you're doing is sending treble to ground using the cap to block frequencies that you don't want sent to ground when you're turning the tone control down.

    What do you think? If you do hear a difference in tone or feel, why do you think there is a difference?

    2) What type of caps do you prefer to use in a passive tone circuit in an electric guitar with normal high impedance pickups?

    3) What's your favorite way to retain highs and keep a guitar from getting muddy when you turn down the volume control using high impedance pickups? Do you like the 50's mod where the tone control is attached to the middle terminal of the volume pot - like Hamer does? Or do you like any treble bleed resistor/capacitor designs where you place a R/C network across the volume pot? What do you like and why?

    Many thanks again! Lew
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 10-06-2009 at 12:43 PM.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hello and thanks for this.

    My question has already more or less been asked albeit not exactly in the way I meant it so feel free to move on.

    I have been playing electric for about 10 years now and was contemplating on perhaps also getting an acoustic. The budget would probably be somewhat modest (without going for the real cheap starter level stuff) until I know if it is for me or not.

    Which kind of guitar (type of even model if you have one in mind) would you think it'd be best for a guy that's basically played and loved strat-styled (superstrat actually) guitars as a good compromise of playability, size (particularly thickness) and tone?

    In short sth I could manage without feeling overwhelmed but still feel satisfied with the tone I'm getting.

    Thanks again and I'll understand if you feel you've already answered that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Fingers_Jay View Post
    I prefer cheaper guitars, nothing is as cool as a cheap guitar that sounds awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by That90'sGuy View Post
    Not all guitars are created equal, so make sure it sings and if it does, you'd be silly to pass it up.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hello Jol great to have you here!!!

    Oh my, this feels kinda like standing in the presence of greatness now
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Fingers_Jay View Post
    I prefer cheaper guitars, nothing is as cool as a cheap guitar that sounds awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by That90'sGuy View Post
    Not all guitars are created equal, so make sure it sings and if it does, you'd be silly to pass it up.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by ratherdashing View Post
    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.

    The idea for Mama Bear hit me in 1989 when I was the head of Gibson Labs West in North Hollywood. We were the West Coast R&D and Artist Relations departments, and we also were in charge of the Photon Guitar Synth project that Gibson had bought from Kevin Kent. With Photon came engineer Cliff Elion who had done his advanced degree work in digital modeling...and bear in mind that this was way back. He had previously been involved in the Lynn Drum Machine project...the first real sampled drum machine.

    Cliff got it into his head that he could build a digital model of a tube amp right there in his IBM desktop computer...and he did...and it was not only pretty ****ed impressive; it was also more than likely the first digital modeling amplifier. As soon as I heard it I understood the basic principles behind it...that in order to model an acoustic event you have to be able to encode not only the frequency transformations and non-linearities of the system being modeled, but also the phase response. Everything you run a signal through changes that signal in frequency content and timing, and that makes for the signature sound of that transforming device whether it's a pickup, a preamp, an amplifier, or an acoustic instrument. If you can untangle the signature, you can model it, and Cliff had done so years and years before Line 6 came out with their amps.

    My second question to Cliff after hearing the Marshall stack in a computer was "Can you do this for acoustic guitars?" His answer was, "Yes..."

    We reported back to Nashville on what we were doing both with this project and with a pickup system that I came up with that had the potential do double the tracking speed of any guitar synth, and we got shot down on both ideas...

    Upon leaving Gibson, I stayed in touch with Cliff and bit by bit came up with the basic functions you see on the face of Mama Bear...an input switch to let the device know something about the incoming signal, and output switch to select the guitar model desired, a pan pot to fade between the direct sound and the effect, and the usual input gain and output volume controls. The basic functional design was complete by about 1993, but I had no way to build it...I'm not an electrical engineer though I'm a decent tech, and I certainly had no software development skills. So the device remained in my imagination until the NAMM show of 2001 when Evan Skopp invited me to participate in focus group on the future of acoustic amplification. He knew that I'd helped start Highlander, designing the pickup element for that system, and that I'd written a lot on acoustic amplification for Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

    I came in a bit late to the meeting, and everyone was talking about pickups. When it was my turn, I gave my opinion that we were in the end game on pickups design. Yes, there might be incremental improvements, and yes, the preamplification could be majorly improved by going to higher supply voltages, but that in my experience we were really hearing the pickup location, that what we were hearing was fairly accurate for that spot, and that the answer was to digitally model what the wood and air of the guitar did to that UST signal.

    Evan, Kevin, Cathy, and Seymour invited me to come down to Santa Barbara and further explain my theories. I did, they invited me to form a new company with them, we got Cliff (now an independent designer) involved, and embarked on the Mama Bear project.

  6. #46
    In Fluence Y'all frankfalbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    When you say it like that, it sounds so easy...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JHN View Post
    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
    1) I love oud music and would like to try building one someday, but boy what a pain to make! There's also the comfort factor. They really have to be played sitting down. There is a wonderful Southern California oud builder and player, Viken Najarian who makes solid body ouds, and I put a pickup system into a thin flat backed oud for the fantastic player John Belezekian many years ago. But I do have a practical and admittedly commercial side that says that this is a very small niche.

    2) Are you referring to the "string return" pickup where the strings are literally part of the coil assembly directly vibrating in a magnetic field? I think it's an interesting side note, and the first instrument I saw with that preceded Armstrong's work by several years; it was an electric violin that someone brought into the Alembic store in Brady St. in San Francisco in about 1972. It might be worth a second look, especially with modern magnet materials.

    As for more normal under string magnetics, I have yet to hear one that doesn't sound like a magnetic pickup. That doesn't mean bad, it just means that there is a certain signature there. There is also the issue that any magnetic pickup divides the string by a ratio that is constantly changing as you play up and down the neck. That is why, for instance, there is no such thing as a magic placement for a mag pickup...the magic depends on the note you're playing. I still think that the future is with properly processed saddle pickups for acoustic guitars.

    All of that does not stop me from making my own magnetic pickups for my guitars and basses...they have a sound, it can be wonderful. Seymour and Kevin have certainly found great ways to design them...old and new.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Jol Dantzig View Post
    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
    Jol, I'm really honored to have you here. We never really have had the chance to hang out that we deserve!

    War stories...A very well known bass player whose sound changed forever never to return when I turned him onto Alembic basses was featured in Bass Player Magazine in the mid 1970s. In the feature he talked pretty extensively about his finding his sound with his Alembic. He was also featured in a full page ad as endorsing another brand. There was also an announcement of his being appointed to the Gibson Advisory Board... I avoid that kind of thing like the plague now.

    Semi-hollow...yes, from a couple of points of view.

    I make some chambered Model 1s using a Western red cedar body core capped top and back with various woods at a thickness of around .100". The most amazing one so far had the WRC core and Brazilian rosewood top and back. The construction is best described as a stressed skin panel with very stiff and arched hardwood plates being laminated to a very light and resonant core. It's analogous to a honeycomb cored panel...very light and stiff. These things sound incredible, especially with a very light Spanish cedar neck reinforced with carbon fiber.

    The other approach is what we do with our Renaissance semi-hollow guitars. They have a Western red cedar center block, bent sides, and a braced back and top, though I'll admit that the bracing is more to prevent cracks and damage that as any kind of tone bar arrangement. I could spin it that way, but I do have to live with myself...

    We are now making what we call "the Deuce" which is our RS-6 acoustic-electric steel string with the Timberline pickup system to which I've added a modified version of Seymour's "StagMag" pickup. I drill out the base plate on the StagMag so I can push the magnets down under the plain B and E strings to get proper string to string balance. The issue with mag pickups and bronze or brass strings is that the windings cut down on magnetic response as well as having no magnetic qualities of their own. If you don't revoice a pickup, you wind up the the B and high E being way too hot. Most mag pickups designed for bronze wound strings are made with fairly low output and medium to low impedance to get the frequency response extension needed for "acoustic" tone. I didn't want acoustic tone from the mag pickup...I wanted real electric guitar tone; I've got plenty good acoustic tone from the Timberline.

    Well, the Deuce delivers the goods I think better than any other hybrid electric/acoustic guitar. We generally make them with dual outputs so the mag pickup can go to a real electric guitar rig while the piezo goes to an acoustic amplification system. The result is really two guitars in one.

    I'm looking forward to being able to take this Renaissance guitar construction method and go more "electric" with some shapes while retaining the tonal advantages I've found with the semi-hollow style.

  9. #49
    SDUGF Founder Evan Skopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    You mentioned it briefly a little bit earlier, but can you expand on your connection with Howe-Orme guitars? Specifically, what about them appeals to you? What design ideas have you incorporated into your instruments? Can you talk about your collection of Howe-Ormes?
    Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
    Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

  10. #50
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    Hey Rick and Jol! Good to see you both here.

    I have three more questions that I'd love to hear your opinions on:

    It has to do with passive tone controls on electric guitars and different capacitors of the same value (.02) but different compositions.

    1) Do you hear a difference in the tone of a .02 ceramic disc cap, a .02 Sprague orange drop type cap, a .02 bumble bee cap and a .02 oil cap such as the Jensen or Hovland when used as the tone cap in a normal electric guitar with high impedance pickups?

    I think I can hear a difference between different caps in certain parts of a guitar amp circuit but I'm not sure I notice a big diff or any diff when caps of the same value but of a different composition are substituted in a guitar's passive tone circuit.

    I can't understand why there would be a big difference since all you're doing is sending treble to ground using the cap to block frequencies that you don't want sent to ground when you're turning the tone control down.

    What do you think? If you do hear a difference in tone or feel, why do you think there is a difference?

    2) What type of caps do you prefer to use in a passive tone circuit in an electric guitar with normal high impedance pickups?

    3) What's your favorite way to retain highs and keep a guitar from getting muddy when you turn down the volume control using high impedance pickups? Do you like the 50's mod where the tone control is attached to the middle terminal of the volume pot - like Hamer does? Or do you like any treble bleed resistor/capacitor designs where you place a R/C network across the volume pot? What do you like and why?

    Many thanks again! Lew
    Lew,

    1) It is possible that there could be minor differences, but the cap is not literally in the signal path in a passive treble rolloff tone control. It just drains highs off to ground as part of a low pass LRC circuit. In order to really hear any differences, you'd have to try different caps that had been very carefully measured to you knew that the capacitance was well within 1 or 2 percent from brand to brand. I think that could account for people hearing differences...there being actual differences in capacitance among the devices.

    There are most definitely differences in caps that are passing the signal you're listening to. The high end audio press bubbles over with this vs. that cap., and they're not all smoking jimson weed.

    2) I tend to use polypropylene or ceramics. I also tend to go light on the value so the pot is more useful over it's entire range.

    3) I tend not to compensate with the resistor/cap trick. I do, however, love putting in an all pots bypass switch, usually but not always on a push/pull pot. With certain pickups, it's amazing what happens when you get the pots completely out of the way and they're not loading down the pickup(s) with their shunt resistance to ground.

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

    Hey Rick; Thought I'd pop in an' say hey for all the Aussies. Been following along in between working in the shop. Facinating stuff, tough to pull away from. Would love to hear about your bridges on your acoustics. Very unique and I'm sure a lot of thought went into them.
    John

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

    Quote Originally Posted by frankfalbo View Post
    When you say it like that, it sounds so easy...
    Frank, it was a lot easier when it was all a dream in my head!

    (referring to the concept and development of Mama Bear)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Skopp View Post
    You mentioned it briefly a little bit earlier, but can you expand on your connection with Howe-Orme guitars? Specifically, what about them appeals to you? What design ideas have you incorporated into your instruments? Can you talk about your collection of Howe-Ormes?
    Evan, I first came across Howe Ormes in my apprentice luthier days in Boston, circa 1963. I had not fully formed any notions of what made acoustic guitars tick, though I owned a couple of nice ones...a 1923 or so Martin 2-17 (another I should not have sold...) and a 1962 D-28. The Howe Orme that came into the shop was absolutely beautiful and as well made as any Martin of it's age. It also sounded incredible, on a par with the best of the 00 and 000 28 12 fret guitars I'd played. It also had a tilting neck...no dovetail, and it had a very thin pressed arched top molded in a cylindrical arch in the center 1/3 of the top. It was clearly from a branch of the guitar design tree that had for some reason withered and died out...not because of sound or quality, but more likely failed marketing.

    I started collecting them and at one time my array of them was up to about 16 instruments...guitars, mandolins, octave and tenor mandolas, and what the Howe catalog called a cello mandola. My old friend Lowell Levinger www.vintageinstruments.com also collects them and between us we had about 26 or 27 of them. We loaned most of our collections to the Museum of Making Music for that exhibit, and at the same time, Fretboard Journal had a full feature article on the instruments and the history of the company written by Gregg Minor and Bob DeVellis for which I wrote the introduction. That article became the catalog for the exhibit, and Lowell, Gregg, Bob, and I played as a quartet on four of the instruments for the opening concert.

    I may have to retire before I can get to figuring out how to reproduce the qualities in those instruments, but it is a strong desire on my part to build first a close replica and then my take on the design where I retain the aesthetic and tone, but take care of some of the inherent weakness in the structure.

  14. #54
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Turner View Post
    Lew,

    1) It is possible that there could be minor differences, but the cap is not literally in the signal path in a passive treble rolloff tone control. It just drains highs off to ground as part of a low pass LRC circuit. In order to really hear any differences, you'd have to try different caps that had been very carefully measured to you knew that the capacitance was well within 1 or 2 percent from brand to brand. I think that could account for people hearing differences...there being actual differences in capacitance among the devices.

    There are most definitely differences in caps that are passing the signal you're listening to. The high end audio press bubbles over with this vs. that cap., and they're not all smoking jimson weed.

    2) I tend to use polypropylene or ceramics. I also tend to go light on the value so the pot is more useful over it's entire range.

    3) I tend not to compensate with the resistor/cap trick. I do, however, love putting in an all pots bypass switch, usually but not always on a push/pull pot. With certain pickups, it's amazing what happens when you get the pots completely out of the way and they're not loading down the pickup(s) with their shunt resistance to ground.
    Many, many thanks! And 100% agreement. Just wanted to hear it from someone with much more credibility than me! You'd be amazed at the number of people who insist they hear a big diff when they supposedly compared different caps of the same value but different compositions in a guitar's passive tone circuit. I don't hear any difference at all. I've even installed two different caps on a push pull switch so I could switch between them instantly. I heard no diff at all between a poly cap and a oil cap. Thanks again for clearing this up and giving your opinion. Lew

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jsteele View Post
    Hey Rick; Thought I'd pop in an' say hey for all the Aussies. Been following along in between working in the shop. Facinating stuff, tough to pull away from. Would love to hear about your bridges on your acoustics. Very unique and I'm sure a lot of thought went into them.
    John
    Hey, as you may know I've spent a fair amount of time in Tasmania over the past couple of years, and I really love Australia.

    As for the bridge...well, I'll admit that part of the design is aesthetic...it's an homage to some 18th and early 19th century designs as well as a nod to some of what the Larson Brothers did. But beyond that, one way to thing of an acoustic guitar bridge is that it's the largest and most important brace on the guitar top. Making the bridge long I believe couples the string vibration to a larger width of the top while shaping it as I do does make it a bit more flexible before the flare of the points and the design keeps the weight reasonable.

    Also, I like using rosewood for the bridges, and in that I'm following in the tradition of fine classical guitars which almost invariably have ebony fingerboards (for a kind of neutrality of tone) and rosewood bridges that tend to be more lively and resonant than ebony. I might modify that with a particularly dense or extra stiff top to tame highs, but mostly I go with the rosewood bridge.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Thanks for doing this, Rick!

    If I remember correctly, the pickup on the Model 1 rotates - how did you come up with that idea, and what does it do for the sound? And is it motorized?

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

    Hi Rick!

    This thread has been a great read so far!!

    Who is your biggest guitar influence?
    Who would you most like to jam with?
    Where do you go when you need to relax and have quiet time???


    Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it's a plan!

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

    Hi Rick. Welcome to the SDUGF. I haven't read all the questions and answers so you may/may not have been asked this.

    What is your all-time favorite acoustic guitar and why?

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

    Hey Rick, its really awesome to have you here.

    Have you ever been in the shop working on something and one of those huge "Oh crap!!" moments where you realized you just did something really really bad, royally screwed it up? Ive built a couple of guitars and i know ive had those moments all too often. Just wondering if it still happens to the pros, lol.

    Thanks again
    Quote Originally Posted by Empty Pockets View Post
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    Default Re: LIVE NOW - Guest Luthier Series - Rick Turner / Rick Turner Guitars

    Hi Rick...Just got home so this may be on the table...was there ever a moment when you thought..."Oh Man, I am never going to make a living doing this" ? and second, was there ever a moment when you said.."Wow!!! I made it. I can do this!"? Just curious. Thanks for being a part of this, we really enjoy your life's work and all you taking the time to answer our questions.

    -dave
    I don't believe anything I say and only half of what you hear....

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