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View Full Version : Compass Rose 12fret or 14fret to body?



M3Ukulele
11-08-2014, 03:58 PM
After watching the Rick Turner video in post here earlier today and being interested in opinions & comments from owners of these fine looking ukuleles I discovered that there are 12 & 14 fret to body versions?

Is there a big difference in sound between the two and what would be the reason to have one over the other?

For those who have played various wood combinations does the wood choice affect the sound a lot or does Rick's build and skill as a luthier make most Compass Rose tenors sound very close the the same?

I do love Ricks personal CR with the Koa but wondering what others sound like. Rick seems to embrace all kinds of wood and a lot of local wood options. If you have not played full video it's a great video.

Comments from those who know & can help a newbie!
Thanks

gyosh
11-08-2014, 06:02 PM
Mine is 14 fret to the body. Adirondack spruce top, cherry back/sides. Mr. Hussey was kind enough to let me record him playing it, hope he doesn't mind my posting it. Lots of background noise. Sorry about the quality.
http://youtu.be/Krt-PFXANg4

M3Ukulele
11-08-2014, 09:38 PM
That sounds very nice. Looks like you have a dark finish on the wood. I'm a big fan of spruce tops. I'd love to try all the various spruce tops- Engelmann , Andirondack , German .......I gave a custom with Sitka and black walnut sides/back and it sounds great. Thanks for sharing that clip. I see have have a Kamaka HF-3....... How does your CR compare sound wise. I never really considered the 12 vrs 14 fret thing.....to new to Ukulele. Interested in opinions and more comments from CR owners. Thanks

DownUpDave
11-08-2014, 10:22 PM
I too am taken with Compass Rose sound and quality. If you do a youtube search there are videos of a walnut, cherry, koa and spruce/rosewood being played by Gryphon instruments. You can definitely hear a difference between the four with the spruce being the most distinct.

Doc_J
11-09-2014, 03:04 AM
My flamed cherry CR is a 12-fret neck, and sounds terrific. The bridge seems to be at the sweet spot as far as I can see. But, Rick knows how to modify the bracing for great sound with 14-fret necks.

gyosh
11-09-2014, 05:04 AM
That sounds very nice. Looks like you have a dark finish on the wood. I'm a big fan of spruce tops. I'd love to try all the various spruce tops- Engelmann , Andirondack , German .......I gave a custom with Sitka and black walnut sides/back and it sounds great. Thanks for sharing that clip. I see have have a Kamaka HF-3....... How does your CR compare sound wise. I never really considered the 12 vrs 14 fret thing.....to new to Ukulele. Interested in opinions and more comments from CR owners. Thanks

My CR has much deeper, richer tone than the Kamaka. It sounds more "full" if that makes sense. It's supposed to. Rick makes no secret that he builds to appeal to the guitar player and his ukes reflect a more "guitar like sound." My Kamaka sounds wonderful too, but it's different. There is more brightness to the sound and seems to shine with strumming rather than picking.

If you go the custom route you should have a conversation with your builder about the style of playing you prefer. My CR sounds good while strumming but sound it's best when playing melodies where the tone and sustain really shine. I'm not a very good player, but I've had many of the pros play my CR and they seem to like its quick response, sustain and tone. I had to play the two back to back to understand what they meant.

As for the difference in fret length, Rick says the 12 fret gives the saddle a better placement on the lower bout and it will sound better. He adjusts the bracing on the 14 fret ukes to compensate. There are a few others I see at Uke meetups every so often that have the 12 frets and we cannot tell the difference. Mine even has a D-TAR Timberline pickup on board and you would think that might affect the sound/tone, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Rick is pretty darn good at what he does.

The difference in fit and finish between my Kamaka and CR is night and day. The best way to describe it is that the Kamaka feels like it was rushed in comparison. The CR is flawless in looks and feel. The only modification I've done to my CR was to round off a sharp corner on the nut. Rick and his crew produce a Uke that is second to none.

Hope this is helpful.

gyosh
11-09-2014, 05:07 AM
My flamed cherry CR is a 12-fret neck, and sounds terrific. The bridge seems to be at the sweet spot as far as I can see. But, Rick knows how to modify the bracing for great sound with 14-fret necks.

I remember seeing the flamed cherry. Your Uke is beautiful!

Doc_J
11-09-2014, 08:14 AM
I remember seeing the flamed cherry. Your Uke is beautiful!

Thanks. I'll use your compliment as excuse to post a picture of it. :) It sounds a good as it looks!


http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Compass%20Rose/c1df1858-9064-4463-8c82-cdb7719b85a2_zps3cc5f974.jpg?t=1415560413

gyosh
11-09-2014, 08:41 AM
Thanks. I'll use your compliment as excuse to post a picture of it. :) It sounds a good as it looks!


http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Doc_Jenkins/Compass%20Rose/c1df1858-9064-4463-8c82-cdb7719b85a2_zps3cc5f974.jpg?t=1415560413

That's the one!

What strings do you prefer on yours? I had mine set up for Saverez Red Cards. I switch between those and Southcoast ML-SW

Gillian
11-09-2014, 09:22 AM
My flamed cherry CR is a 12-fret neck, and sounds terrific. The bridge seems to be at the sweet spot as far as I can see. But, Rick knows how to modify the bracing for great sound with 14-fret necks.

Here is a fuzzy pic of the carbon fibre bracing in the top, also the two bolts that hold the neck on. This pic is from my 14-fret microjumbo cutaway tenor and you can also see what I think is carbon fibre reinforcing the cutaway. I don't know if Rick does this cutaway reinforcement routinely or because bloodwood is brittle and he wanted to make sure all that bending didn't split the wood.

72687


Yes, that is the natural colour of the bloodwood he chose. It's gorgeous, like looking into a ruby.

Doc_J
11-09-2014, 09:35 AM
That's the one!

What strings do you prefer on yours? I had mine set up for Saverez Red Cards. I switch between those and Southcoast ML-SW

I'm not sure what I prefer on it. But the Oasis Brights on it now sound pretty good. After listening to that HMS video with 12 different strings, I'm not sure I'm qualified to recommend strings. They all sounded good and really similar.


http://vimeo.com/111199011


Here is a fuzzy pic of the carbon fibre bracing in the top, also the two bolts that hold the neck on. This pic is from my 14-fret microjumbo cutaway tenor and you can also see what I think is carbon fibre reinforcing the cutaway. I don't know if Rick does this cutaway reinforcement routinely or because bloodwood is brittle and he wanted to make sure all that bending didn't split the wood.

72687


Yes, that is the natural colour of the bloodwood he chose. It's gorgeous, like looking into a ruby.

Very cool inside look, Thanks! Have you got a picture of the whole uke? I've seen a purple heart uke, but never a bloodwood body.

Rick Turner
11-09-2014, 11:58 AM
The bloodwood was particularly difficult to bend, so we thinned it way down and added the reinforcement on the inside.

We do modify our bracing and also shift the main soundhole on the 14 fret "HO" body style ukes. "HO" for Howe-Orme, some of my favorite late 19th Century instruments. They made a whole family of uke or guitar shaped mando instruments, and they also made some of the best sounding "parlor" guitars ever made in sizes on up to beyond parlor...close to Martin 12 fret 000 guitars.

Gillian
11-09-2014, 03:28 PM
Very cool inside look, Thanks! Have you got a picture of the whole uke? I've seen a purple heart uke, but never a bloodwood body.

Adi spruce top, bloodwood back and sides, curly (quilted?) maple neck.

7269572696

Doc_J
11-09-2014, 04:03 PM
Adi spruce top, bloodwood back and sides, curly (quilted?) maple neck.


http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=72695&d=1415586398
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=72696&d=1415586420

That is gorgeous. The quilted maple neck looks exceptionally good with the bloodwood body.
Very nice slotted headstock!

Rick Turner
11-09-2014, 05:32 PM
Those tuners, by the way, are Rubners from Rosette Guitar Products. Fantastic tuning machines. Not cheap, but worth every dime, and actually in line with other top shelf tuners for ukes.

M3Ukulele
11-10-2014, 01:19 PM
Is that the mini jumbo tenor in cutaway? Rick,I read in one of you posts that you thought sycamore is well suited to re entrant tuning. What makes sycamore suited to this. What is you opinion of 12 vrs 14 fret. So many wood combinations and all these great custom ukuleles to try! (G). Thanks for all the comments. I did hear a big
Difference in wood combo's in the gryphon videos. They have a nice 2007 sycamore 12 Frey CR for sale.

Rick Turner
11-10-2014, 01:28 PM
OK...

Yes, mini jumbo cutaway.

Sycamore...just has a nice transparent sound that seems great with re-entrant. That said, my uke playing musical partner, Sandor, has one of my 12 fret tenors in all sycamore tuned low G, and it's fine.

12 vs. 14? Playing style mostly. I started on a 12, and now I need a 14 to get where I need to get. Down the road I want to build a 16 fret long scale tenor tuned to Bb. Put a capo on and it's tuned standard at 14 frets. Kind of a Pete Seeger ukulele!

My next one is going to be with a Sequoia top on a body made from Hawaiian milo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thespesia_populnea Why, because the wood from both species is well suited to uke making...and the wood I have has good stories attached. The milo came from Aaron Oya, the Sequoia from my surf board building buddy, Larry Fuller. Good souls, good hands, theirs to mine. It's wood with a bit of extra spirit infused in it.

stevejfc
11-10-2014, 02:02 PM
Mine is a 12 fret walnut. Walnut seems to have been Rick's early go-to build choice. Beautiful wood, with a upper mellow to low bright voice. The late/great MGM nudged Rick over the years to build 14 fret ukes, and was very happy when the option (12 or 14) was made available.
Full disclosure................I love my Compass Rose !

Oh yeah, Living Waters low G strings are great sounding on my CR

Pueo
11-10-2014, 02:05 PM
I have two Milo ukuleles, and I love the sound of them, very powerful. My Tahitian friends are not surprised they are as loud as they are, and say that's why the make the to`ere out of milo...
I love it when the wood has a story. Looking forward to seeing that ukulele, Rick.

Rick Turner
11-10-2014, 02:16 PM
Here's the story on the giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) http://http://www.thegiantsequoia.com/ It went down over 45 years ago and has been very selectively dispersed into the Northern California woodworking community.

saltytri
11-10-2014, 03:39 PM
Great site, Rick! But the link doesn't get me there. This does the trick: www.thegiantsequoia.com

M3Ukulele
11-10-2014, 04:54 PM
Thank you for your comments Rick and all. Great story on the Giant Sequoia site. Hope to see pics and You Tube video of your new Sequoia/Milo uke when completed. From what I'm reading I'm sure all the CR ukuleles are great. Can't wait to try some in the near future. Looking forward to seeing your updated site. Please post a note with new link when it's live.

localmana
11-10-2014, 06:08 PM
I went down to Rick's shop and picked out a Rosewood side and back with a cedar top to make it sound Spanish Guitarish w/ 12 frets to the body. It's just great the way it is. 14 would maybe give a bit more range but 12 is great for me.
Alan

gyosh
11-10-2014, 06:40 PM
I went down to Rick's shop and picked out a Rosewood side and back with a cedar top to make it sound Spanish Guitarish w/ 12 frets to the body. It's just great the way it is. 14 would maybe give a bit more range but 12 is great for me.
Alan

I wanted the 14 vs. the 12 for no other reason than looks. Now I'm learning a couple songs that venture past the 12th fret.

Who woulda thunk it from me?!

Gillian
11-10-2014, 07:14 PM
I wanted the 14 vs. the 12 for no other reason than looks. Now I'm learning a couple songs that venture past the 12th fret.

Who woulda thunk it from me?!

Here ya go, Gary...try the opening riff to "Devil in Her Heart" (http://sanjoseukeclub.org/Song%20Book/Devil%20in%20Her%20Heart.pdf);)

gyosh
11-10-2014, 07:40 PM
Here ya go, Gary...try the opening riff to "Devil in Her Heart" (http://sanjoseukeclub.org/Song%20Book/Devil%20in%20Her%20Heart.pdf);)

Trying to learn The Rain Song but I'm having trouble mustering up the talent to play it.