View Full Version : Biting the bullet and ordering a Compass Rose from Rick Turner

10-29-2011, 06:20 AM
Just emailed Rick about building me a Compass Rose; if my calculations are right it should be about 1500.

I got my Sceptre in August which really changed my mind about hand-built ukes; I used to think it was an elitist thing, but after little niggles with ukes that I bought in the 150-259 price range, I decided to go for it and haven't been disappointed. The difference is huge - it's got soul, in my opinion.

So yeah, despite my Sceptre I still yearned for a maple uke; Ohana would have got it if the shipping date didn't keep slipping, and even then I had a few cosmetic gripes about their top-of-the-range flamed maple. I've had my eyes on a Compass Rose for well over a year now, and I think the time is right. :D

I keep telling myself that I've had a gig a month for the past 6 months, and so I deserve it, but I still feel a tad guilty about spending this amount of money on an instrument. But then I look at it and fall in love again...

It's this very uke that I'm after, if anyone's wondering - linky (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1l1JtcS5FI)

I still live at home, just got promoted and have a few gigs left this year, so I haven't got the same outgoings and dependancies as others - I'm getting that feeling in my bones that the time is right. :D

Ronnie Aloha
10-29-2011, 06:44 AM

10-29-2011, 07:00 AM
You will love it.

I ended up with the flamed cherry CR from 2011 NAMM, and it is the only tenor I need.

10-29-2011, 07:01 AM
Can you post pics, Doc?

10-29-2011, 07:09 AM
Can you post pics, Doc?
Here's a pic I have handy.
MGM also did a video of it. (http://youtu.be/xEQk-KEhPc8)



10-29-2011, 07:11 AM
Mmm, that's lovely! What's the purfling around the top? I was going to go for just solid black but I like the look of yours.

10-29-2011, 07:33 AM
It's the purfling Rick puts on many of the CRs I have seen. It looks like Walnut, Maple, Ebony, and Maple.
Here's a closer view of the headstock with the purfling.


10-29-2011, 07:35 AM
Lovely, cheers!

10-29-2011, 09:49 AM
Excellent choice... although I think I might be biased. I just ordered a Flame Maple Style C Compass Rose Tenor from one of Rick's dealers on Thursday.
Here's a link;
I think it's a wise choice to go directly to Rick and order up exactly the ukulele you're looking for. I think I may have been heading in the same direction with either a Compass Rose or a Hive but then just happened to see the one above on the very day it was posted on Gryphon's web-site. It's exactly what I was looking for.
I know cherry and maple are a little bit unconventional for tonewoods, but I think in the hands of an experienced and capable luthier, their tone can be as beautiful as their physical appearance. Do some searches on here for maple and/or cherry as a tonewood. Rick Turner has some interesting things to say about their use and the things he has done to adjust for some of their inherent tonal characteristics.

Keep us posted about your ordering journey. I should have mine in my hot little hands on Wednesday or Thursday. I'll let you know what I think when I get it.

Cheers, Dean

10-29-2011, 10:10 AM
Cheers Caboose, Yes I've followed Rick's comments on here and have read up a lot on maple. My local luthier and I had a long chat about it, I asked him why Rick seems to be in the minority with regards to having a maple top, instead of a spruce or suchlike. His response was "Because he's bloody good".

I'm under instructions to take it to him when it's through so he can have a poke around inside and see how it works (without voiding the warranty, of course).

Paul December
10-29-2011, 10:14 AM
Are the rosette and headstock graphic inlaid or decals?

Dan Uke
10-29-2011, 10:42 AM
I don't think this is even remotely close to "biting the bullet" ;)

10-29-2011, 10:59 AM
Rick or another CR owner will have to chime in but I'm gonna' guess that they're decals. I'm betting you would add another $500.00 to the price (if not more) if those were inlays...

But hey, I'm a Fender Telecaster guy...I'm used to decals...even on Masterbuilt Custom Shop offerings. I doubt if they're going anywhere anytime soon with that Poly over top of 'em... well, maybe with a flamethrower :D


10-29-2011, 01:06 PM
Congratulations! However, "biting the bullet" may be the wrong idiom, as it usually means finally doing something that's very painful and unwelcome. (I believe it comes from either the old west or a 19th century war. When someone needed surgery in the days before anasthesia, that person would be given something to bite down on, like a bullet or a piece of leather, as an aid in tolerating the their pain.) This doesn't sound like dfoing something painful. It seems more like giving into temptation. Anyway, I hope your Compass Rose is "the One." Please post photos when you receive it.

10-29-2011, 01:47 PM
Are the rosette and headstock graphic inlaid or decals?

They are rub-on transfers. Rick has a video on that. http://youtu.be/x3dIW3C7HxI

10-30-2011, 12:27 AM
Hmm appears I may be lost in translation; I was always under the impression that 'biting the bullet' was facing up to the facts - the fact being that if I don't buy it now, I don't think I ever will!

10-30-2011, 04:40 AM
Hmm appears I may be lost in translation; I was always under the impression that 'biting the bullet' was facing up to the facts - the fact being that if I don't buy it now, I don't think I ever will!

From the US Hollywood Westerns, the common scene is some cowboy "biting a bullet" while a doctor or another cowboy digs another bullet out of a wound. From Wikipedia:

"To "bite the bullet" is to endure a painful or otherwise unpleasant situation that is seen as unavoidable."


Perhaps buying that Compass Rose IS unavoidable for many of us (I certainly want/hope/plan on doing so next year), but maybe not quite "biting the bullet"?? :)

Rick Turner
10-30-2011, 04:55 AM
Rub-on transfers...for a couple or three reasons...

They make a fairly complicated design possible at a reasonable cost...a design that goes beyond just doing concentric circles and allows for those points and for the W, S, and E of the compass rose to be on the face.

Since the design is not inlaid, we don't have to reinforce the area under the rosette which would add mass to the tops.

Decals are a nice part of the uke tradition going back to some of the instruments made in Hawaii in the teens and 1920s.

They aren't cheap...each rosette costs me about $8.50 which is more than I'd pay even for a simple circle of abalone...but I like the design and the whole concept behind it.

10-30-2011, 08:36 AM
I've had my compass rose for about 2 months and it's the only uke I play now. I went to Rick and ordered a
cedar top with rosewood sides and back with peghed tuners. I like the sound, the look and don't regret for a
moment that I made this decision. I told Rick that we should have t-shirts to be worn proudly to spread the