Here is my story on him from that interview from 2016.
Santa Cruz based luthier, engineering genius and all around rock star Rick Turner has built his life around music, and perhaps music has built a life around his work. Rick Turner is someone whose life has taken so many loops, turns and 180 degree backflips, therefore, I am befuddled as to where to begin a story about this man. Overall, I suppose that there is not so much a beginning and an end to his story, but a continuous narrative of adventures and hard-won luck.
Let us begin with an analogy about the guitar, as guitars have been a central character in the story of Rick's life....
Guitars begin as chunks of wood waiting to be transformed into vehicles of artistic expression by caring and talented hands. Each one is uniquely crafted, some even hand-made, comprised of many components that are fused to form one instrument. Every instrument collects the mood and spirit of not only the hands and life of the maker, but the experiences of the musician who will one day hold it in their arms like a cherished lover and make her sing with her own stringed-voice.
We humans are handcrafted in a similar manner. We take on what we have been given by our makers, those who influence our lives, allowing each piece of our life to make us who we are, and eventually we become who we are suppose to be. We are ready to sing the song of our own lives.
Rick Turner, a mischievous, sparkly-blue-eyed guitar maker, music maker, well-known electronics genius and inventor is just one of those well-crafted humans. He has taken all aspects of his life, every piece of the puzzle of his existence, and he has created a world filled with so many of his life’s own songs.
Music has been a part of Rick Turner’s life since he was a wee lad growing up in various New England states where he was part of a household that cherished music. “I don’t remember music NOT being a part of my life. In the late 1940s and early 50’s, my parents had a nice collection of 78’s and they listened to the radio, usually classical stations. Then when 45’s and 33 1/3 records came out, my dad started buying a lot of guitar records; jazz, classical, and flamenco.”
Rick began to take on music with a more personal focus even before he was a teenager. “I built my first mono hi-fi (from an Eico kit) when I was about 15 and got into folk music. My grandmother bought me a little Stella guitar when I was 11, then some bongo drums and a conga drum. When I was 15 or so, I found a nice Fairbanks and Cole 5 string banjo in an antique store and taught myself how to restore it. I bought a Harmony Stella 12 string when I was 16, then a nice little Martin 2-17 that I’d found at a friend’s house, it belonged to his mother and she sold it to me.”
In 1962, while at Boston University, Rick met musicians Lowell Levinger, aka Banana, (who later became part of The Youngbloods) and Michael Kane. The men formed a folk trio called Banana & The Bunch and they began performing music in the Cambridge folk scene. With his guitar chops now honed to a fine-tuned level, Rick began to gig regularly in 1965 with the folk duo Ian and Sylvia, who, as a band also utilized the talents of future "Cream" producer & "Mountain" bassist Felix Pappalardi. Rick toured the Unites States and recorded on two of their albums, “Live at Newport” & “Play One More.”