Rick Turner co-founded Alembic in 1970 and designed the classic Series 1 and Series 2 basses. He founded Rick Turner Guitars in 1979 and joined Gibson in 1988 where he served as president of Gibson Labs West Coast R&D Division.
Turner left Gibson in 1992 and ran a guitar repair shop at Westwood Music in Los Angeles where he developed piezo pickup designs, working with Jackson Browne, David Crosby and others. He later co-founded Highlander™ Musical Audio, manufacturer of piezo pickups for acoustic guitars. He continues to design and build guitars for many professional players such as Lindsey Buckingham, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, David Crosby and Andy Summers. He is also a regular columnist for Acoustic Guitar and a former columnist for Bass Player, Frets and Guitar Player magazines. His present company is Renaissance Guitars and he has partnered with Seymour Duncan to form D-TAR.
Turner's designs are considered significant and innovative, and include at least the following:
- invented and patented the graphite neck in 1976, with Geoff Gould who then started Modulus Graphite.
- the use of curved plates on the front and back of his Model 1 electric guitars in order to reduce standing wave hysteresis loss.
- the use of 18v preamps in an attempt to tame the 'quack' commonly associated with piezoelectric acoustic guitar pickups.