Ed Askew

The most particular and unique tiple artist is with no doubt Ed Askew, the underground folk singer; also known for his paintings he travelled the last 50 years droping few tunes now considered as masterpieces.
Rediscoverd and honored by the new folk scene he's a pure songwriter, singing his poetry with an intense white voice and a strong folk-played tiple for only orchestration.

Two mythic "Psych-folk" LP's cames out in 1968 and 1970 "Ask the Unicorn" and "Little eyes", then later in 1984 he recorded "Imperfiction" on cassette but multi tracked, and "little houses" in 1986; the albums, recently reissued could be find easily.

His "life story" with the ten strings instrument began as he was a child and is nicely related in this article named "how I got my martin tiple" he wrote for the "fretboard Journal" in 2009, but the incredible full of karma and beloved T15 story , lost in a train, continues here, in a youtube confession….

We can find in a Jacob Kaplan 2011 interview this exchange about the tiple:

JK Did your tiple playing change between Ask the Unicorn and Little Eyes?
EA A little. I became more precise. I could pick out melodic lines. If you listen to [Little Eyes], the tiple playing is much more specific. The thing that kind of broke my heart was . . . I got really good at the tiple, later on. I got much better later on. But none of that ever got recorded.
JK I read somewhere that for you the very act of playing the tiple—something you don’t do much anymore—affects the way you sing, the timbre of your voice.
EA When I played the tiple I used to tend to dance, so that would have an effect on the way I sang. The whole thing was very intense, and the tiple’s loud. It doesn’t look loud, but it’s very loud. And I suppose it had to do with those songs.

and in a David Shirley article, The Ageless Poetry of Ed Askew 
an interesting comment about the hardness of the instrument playability and it's implication in the artist personality :

The tiple's ten steel strings are tuned high like a ukulele, with which it shares a bombastic tone and lingering projection. Introduced by Martin in 1924, the instrument is notoriously difficult to play, and much of Ask the Unicorn's irresistible appeal involves Askew's heroic and not-always-entirely-successful attempts to keep the damned thing under control while simultaneously keeping up with the songs' relentless vocals.

Ed , playing a tiple tune in 2010.

1986 TV Show

The unique Ed askew'sT15 pickguard

In 2007 Ed hardly played the tiple and asks Joshua Burkett to play with him on this Set / interview appearence

The young Psych- folk artist plays an unknown new tiple showing a particular headstock profile.
Links :


  1. Thanks so much for this! I'd never heard of Ed Askew before, and he is the answer to the question I've been asking: what can I do with a tiple that's actually _pretty_?

  2. I did an interview with him:


  3. some more recent tiple songs here by the way : http://edaskew.bandcamp.com/album/paper-horses
    listen free.

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK6O3PssOrE
    this is a link to a video. a song i am singing is Dark Horse. my band mate, Tyler Evans, is playing the tiple. pictures of NYC.