Talking Guitar: From The Rick Turner Workshop
When you say the name Rick Turner you think of one thing; the man who helped define the legendary Fleetwood Mac sound and helped to influence the bass and electric guitar pick up world we know today.
Rick, as our good friend Jason Kostal put it, “could forget more things about guitar making than I will ever learn ... He is a legend!"
So you can imagine the excitement when I was lucky enough to fly to Santa Cruz California to meet him at his shop, meet his incredible team and interview the man himself in a one on one session.
A brief history on Rick:
Not many know that Rick was in a band called Autosalvage that nearly broke the big time, opened for some huge acts and even had great reviews in publications such as Rolling Stone Magazine. But alas (well not for us) his music career was short lived and a life of luthier awaited.
Rick first cut his teeth in the luthier world doing guitar repairs in Boston working alongside Stan Stansky and Don Gadbois a cabinet maker and jazz guitarist. However, despite the fact that his band Autosalvage had broken up, the band still played a role in Turner’s guitar- building future. The story goes a fan of Autosavage brought Rick am SG neck, a smashed SG body and the pickup harness; offered him $75 for it, which Rick took. He then went away, rebuilt the body in mahogany, rebuilt the headstock, and installed the pick-ups. A few months later Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead ended up buying the guitar and recording with it for their album ‘Skull & Roses’.
Rick then went on to set up and co-founded Alembic with the intent of developing the sound of bands such as Grateful Dead and other bands in the bay area. Turner worked on practically everything Alembic touched and pioneered much of their technology through much trial and error. There was no Google in those days! But it was not until the famous carving job Rick did on and early bass for Jack Casady put Alembic and Rick Turner on the map as an instrument maker.
It was only a few years later that Rick found himself at Record Plant just across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to do a setup on John McVie’s Alembic #33 bass, where he attending most of the recording sessions and worked as a guitar tech to Lindsey Buckingham. And it was here the first conversations of the M1 began!
From Rick …
“Based on talks with Lindsey, and also the general criticism of Alembic guitars, I started thinking very deliberately,” says Turner. “I said, ‘Okay, what I’ve got to do is climb down off this branch of the tree and get down on the ground and look around for another tree to go up, in terms of guitar design.’ I went to a set-neck guitar with a mahogany body to try to get the best of both worlds. I wanted more of that clarity from the body, because I had played that hybrid SG and didn’t like its whippy neck. I also thought the SG was fabulous within about a one-octave range, so I wanted to extend that range. The choice of an arched top and back was very deliberate. I really thought about every aspect of the instrument. And then I showed Lindsey the blueprints and he said, ‘Oh, you know, I’d get one of these. I’d like the first one.’ And then Alembic blew up on me. Part of the settlement was that I left with the design.” Rick Tunrer for Premier Guitar Interview.
Earlier this week we invited our friend and guitar aficionado Stuart Ryan to film an in-depth look at the Rick Turner Model 1 C. Enjoy...
We have recently brought in some outstanding new Rick Turner Model 1's into our showroom, all of which are variations of the Lindsay Buckingham Model and fitted with his (LB) pick up configuration.
For more information on these incredible Rick Turner Model 1s please do not hesitate to contactct us on email@example.com or call on 0207 835 5597.
Have a great weekend!