Magnatone Giveawya

September 2014

Rick Turner: The Father of Boutique Guitars

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Rick Turner: The Father of Boutique Guitars


A Turner masterpiece in production for an undisclosed client. This instrument will have nylon strings and be equipped to work with Roland guitar synths.

Turner on the State of the Boutique Family
With five decades of guitar building under his belt, Turner naturally has opinions about the state and future of boutique guitar makers. He expects to see faster price increases from instruments made in Asia—especially China, where there’s a burgeoning middle class that will probably start competing for the worldwide demand. Of North American makers, Turner gives Jean Larrivée, Santa Cruz Guitars’ Richard Hoover, and Bob Taylor credit for being on the ground floor of boutique guitar construction. “I just hope that American guitar makers can hold on through the economy.”

Turner is encouraged by the fact that electric players seem to be looking beyond Les Pauls and Strats—though he is thinking about coming out with his own take on the Stratocaster. Given that his Model 1 is basically his take on the Les Paul, there is little doubt his interpretation of the Strat would be anything less than inventive, unique, and wholly playable. Only one thing gives him pause on the matter: “The dizzying array of Strats coming out of Fender these days is . . . I mean, who can keep track?”


Lindsey Buckingham—who purchased the first Rick Turner Model 1 guitar and now owns six of them—wraps up a fiery solo onstage at a May 3, 2009, gig at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by J. Chris Johnston
 
While many Turner fans look upon his instruments as works of art, to Rick Turner they are simply tools. “I certainly know guitar makers that think of themselves primarily as artists, but I don’t. The musician is the artist. On the best of evenings, the instrument disappears and the mind, soul, and heart of the musician communicate directly with the audience. My job is to stay the hell out of the way. And part of that is making instruments that play well and that allow a musician to develop his or her own signature sound. You don’t want to make characterless instruments, but you don’t want to impose the character of the instrument too severely on the musician.”

Rick Turner Model 1 Specs
The first Model 1 guitar built for Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham featured the following specifications.
Dimensions
  • Scale length: 24 3/4"
  • Nut width: 1 11/16"
  • Fretboard radius: 12"
  • String span at bridge: 2"
Woods
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Laminated maple and purpleheart set neck with 24 medium-jumbo frets
Hardware
  • Tuners: Schaller M6-A
  • Bridge: Copy of Turner’s early-’70s Alembic design built by Stars Guitars
  • Knobs: Mouser Electronics Eagle knurled black aluminum Electronics
  • Pickup: Rotatable Rick Turner-designed, high-impedance humbucker with ceramic magnets, built by Bartolini
  • Controls: Quasi-parametric EQ with hardwire-bypass switch, a 150 Hz–3.5 kHz sweep knob, 12 dB boost/cut knob, and Master Volume and passive Tone knobs
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