View Full Version : Compass Rose comparison to Collings

09-11-2011, 03:29 PM
After reading an older thread about "the best" tenor ukes, I began to compare specs on both Compass Rose and Collings tenors. They both have a 1 3/8" wide fretboard at nut. But beyond that, can anyone enlighten me about other differences or similarities in design or construction? For example, are the necks on these more like a guitar in thickness (considering their makers' guitar roots)?
There are enough videos of both around so I can at least get some notion of their sonic qualities, but I would like to hear comments from those of you fortunate enough to have played both or either one: Are there design/construction differences that made a difference to you?
Yes, I am beginning to dream of these instruments. :drool:

09-12-2011, 02:22 AM
I have never played a Compass Rose ukulele but I have two Collings. Perhaps Rick Turner and some Compas Rose owners can weigh in on this.

Collings have a total of 19 frets, 13 to the body. I believe that all of Rick's ukes have 17 frets, 12 to the body. Collings ukuleles all have radiused fretboards. I don't beleive that Compass Rose does, although I could be wrong. I would imagine that it could be an option if you were ordering one.

The Collings necks are very slender in thickness, even thinner than my KoAlohas. And their ukes are feather light. Again, You will have to get some input from some CR owners on their necks.

Hope this helps a little.

09-12-2011, 02:35 AM
I have a Compass Rose and have played a few Collings. CR are said to have thicker necks, but mine is narrower than my Kanilea, but thicker from front to back. The CR not be very loud or soft, very dynamic to the touch. CR are also said to be guitar-like, but I would say they are just very full sounding, but
have as much sparkle as any uke out there. Both are very light and well balance uke. Both have perfect workmanship. The designs are very different, but
I'll let Rick discuss that.

09-12-2011, 05:55 AM
I'll jump in a bit here. I have had the chance to play both, as one friend of mine has a Collings, and another friend has a brand new Compass Rose (I feel like a pauper with my KoAloha concert!).

Both are wonderful......just as good as it gets. They are different. My impression of the Collings is that it is built in the Martin tradition. It feels "Martin-esque" to me. Of course, the sound it bright, full, and the details are perfect. I can't comment enough on how finely made the Collings are......

I have played a couple Compass Rose uke's and had the very lucky opportunity to talk with Rick Turner about his uke's. Not sure how to describe them, but the feel is quite different as compared to the Collings. Rick shares that he does design his ukuleles in the spirit of making it easy to attract guitar players to uke. However, his ukuleles are not little guitars, they are all uke. Of course, the build and finish is meticulous. Did I mention how perfectly set up and easy to play Rick's ukes are......his shop really knows what they are doing. The Compass Rose I played this weekend sounded so full and rich, and I loved the sound port which made it so I could hear my poor playing really well! I LOVE that Rick uses local woods as well and he is just the nicest guy to know. The Compass Rose is as good as it gets.

09-12-2011, 06:18 AM
For what it's worth, I don't own either one, but I consistently over stay my welcome at a local shop that carries both. For me, the Collings was really nice, sounded great and felt great. The Compass Rose made me want to sell my Kamaka and put in an order for one of my own. Like stated above, the neck is slim but has a bit more depth to it. I'm 6'2" and a little "girthy" and the CR felt perfect in my hands so forming barre chords and stretches felt more natural. A little heavier than my Kamaka but just as sweet in tone and I thought it had a little more clarity. Very, very easy to play. Made my playing sound better than my actual skill level. IMHO the Collings was great but the CR was better.

09-12-2011, 06:23 AM
I'm saving for a top-spec in both, can't wait. :)

09-12-2011, 07:10 AM
Ah, well, it's clear that the ———————uke is better!!:D

I really appreciate these comments from all of you. I suspected that the differences would be especially small. As I play more and more ukes I've discovered that small differences in "feel" and "weight" start to loom large. I'd have to try at least one in person to make a good decision.

How lucky the uke world is to have choices like these!