Rock, Folk, Jazz
Instrument(s) Played
Guitar, Ukulele
Autosalvage, Uke Ellington
Contact Info


Rick Turner (born July 30, 1943) is a legendary builder of guitars, basses, ukuleles and other stringed instruments. He has lived and worked in Santa Cruz since 1997. Rick is also a musician of note and has made his mark in rock & roll in several arenas. As a guitar builder, Rick has created instruments for some of the most enduring figures in rock, including Lindsay Buckingham and Jesse Colin Young. It is widely agreed that the sounds we now take for granted wouldn’t be possible without Rick’s groundbreaking guitar pick ups, which have become a standard in the industry.

Rick got his start touring and recording with Canadian folk duo Ian & Sylvia. He is closely associated with The Youngbloods and pioneered the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound." Rick is a founding member of the sixties era psychedelic band Autosalvage, which released a self-titled albumon RCA in 1968. The album was reissued on vinyl by the Edsel label in 1988. In 2001 UK-based label Acadia Records reissued the recording on CD, with informative historical liner notes included.  In 2012 the band had a feature story on NPR’s “Fresh Air," and in 2013 the band played a 40-minute slot at South By Southwest (SXSW).  Autosalvage has officially obtained cult status.

In Santa Cruz, Rick is a regular at the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz and plays in the band Uke Ellington with bassist Matt Bohn, uke aficionado Sandor Nagyszalanczy and singer Hanna Smalltree. The band plays tunes by the Duke, Benny Goodman, Charlie Christian, Kurt Weill, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer and the like.

Rick began building his distinctive Compass Rose line of ukuleles in XXX and has built ukes for such stars as Sarah Maisel. Rick is also a frequent contributor to Fretboard Journal, American Lutherie, Guitar Player and Acoustic Guitar magazines.

Live Shows

Upcoming Shows

• SUNDAY,  APRIL 17th • 7:30 pm 
Swing That Uke! 

Don Quixotes International Music Hall 
6275 Highway 9 
Felton, CA 
Three groovy acts taking the ukulele places it's never gone before. You'll be swaying to infectious rhythms andhumming songs you thought you forgot for days afterwards. With Matt Bohn on Bass and jazzy harmonica wiz George Galt

Past Shows

Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Retreat
With Keith Greeninger, Joe Craven, Jayme Kelly Curtis, Gail Dreifus, Adam Burns
and more

THURSDAY, MARCH 14 - 11:00 PM                                                                                                                                                                                       Esther's Follies 525 E 6th Street, Austin, TX as part of South by Southwest


  • Autosalvage, 1968 RCA
  • Show Us Your Ukes, 2009


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