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View Full Version : what makes the Compass Rose Ukes different?



darylcrisp
05-16-2013, 12:29 PM
if you noticed my other thread, i am close to acquiring one. deciding between a koa Kanilea slothead or an adi top/cambodian RW CR.

specifically the tenor size. i'm sure they are built great and have excellent finish, but what is it that makes you love yours?

the tone, the playability?

thanks
d

iDavid
05-16-2013, 04:37 PM
They are braced a bit differently which favors low-g tuning. The neck feels great. I had one, but much preferred other ukes I had. The CR looks great, however.

gyosh
05-16-2013, 05:06 PM
I won't have one until tomorrow but what I like best about the CR's I've played at both Sylvan, and Gryphon as well as Rick's personal player is the tone and then the feel/playability. I especially like the deeper neck. I don't feel like I'm squeezing to make a chord shape, it feels like I have more leverage. His attention to detail is amongst the best in the business and the innovation in design are unparalleled.

It's a beautiful instrument made by a master luthier, and it's built to last and only get better.

remy26
05-16-2013, 05:06 PM
I like the originality of the look and Mr. Turner's attention to detail. I love the neck shape too. What makes it better than a Kanilea? Can't say for sure, but I really like the look, feel and tone from my CR.

And what gyosh said! :D

NewKid
05-16-2013, 05:34 PM
Wow, I agree with the feel of the neck too. Its just right! But the whole thing feels wonderful and plays great. The Cambodian Rosewood CR at Sylvan is gorgeous. I bet if he labeled it something else it would have sold faster. For a $290 more, you could get the Sequoia/Cocobolo masterpiece at Gryhon!

Mahalo,
Don

P.S. In my opinion, anything from Rick Turner is going to be great! His ukuleles are under-priced for what you get!

Newportlocal
05-16-2013, 05:53 PM
Wow, I agree with the feel of the neck too. Its just right! But the whole thing feels wonderful and plays great. The Cambodian Rosewood CR at Sylvan is gorgeous. I bet if he labeled it something else it would have sold faster. For a $290 more, you could get the Sequoia/Cocobolo masterpiece at Gryphon!

Mahalo,
Don

P.S. In my opinion, anything from Rick Turner is going to be great! His ukuleles are under-priced for what you get!

I can't believe the one at Gryphon isn't sold already. If I didn't have a cocobolo and sinker redwood CR almost completed I would be all over that one.

keliiyama
05-16-2013, 06:53 PM
Compass Rose ukes are SUPERB instruments;) First the fit and finish is perfect. Then the neck is much thicker than most ukes. This thickness fits to the natural curve of your thumb and palm. This feature is not good for children or people with really small hands. Then you have the cantilevered neck, this helps stretch out the soundboard, creating more surface area for the sound frequencies to travel. Then there the bracing, allowing for more bass. And in my uke he used a hybrid X brace! So he voices the top. Then Compass Roses have their saddles bent back at 7 degrees, allowing the strings to be tight. Thus allowing the strings to push down more power into the bridge. Rick Turner and his team builds these ukulele. And he brings 50+ years of experience so there you go!!! Have fun choosing;)

keliiyama
05-16-2013, 06:55 PM
Oh and a Adi top with Vietnamese Rosewood is a great combo. Vietnamese Rosewood is hard to find, and is similar to Brazilian...:drool:

Dan Uke
05-16-2013, 07:43 PM
Oh and a Adi top with Vietnamese Rosewood is a great combo. Vietnamese Rosewood is hard to find, and is similar to Brazilian...:drool:

More similar than all the other rosewoods?

pakhan
05-16-2013, 08:31 PM
Personally I like CRs. I've heard folks say that they sound more guitar like than most ukes- and I agree in that they have a wide dynamic range, with more bell like trebles I associate with the guitar sound.

They are built very well, and in general a lot of thought has gone into how to maximise the tone of a smaller instrument.

consitter
05-16-2013, 08:36 PM
I think they look like they have big butts....;)

erivel
05-16-2013, 09:11 PM
I think they look like they have big butts....;)

To quote Sir-Mix-A-Lot: "I like big butts and I cannot lie..."

darylcrisp
05-16-2013, 10:30 PM
something i just noticed about the CR uke at Sylvans is its a 12 fret-whereas most of the K brands i see are 14 fret.

i like a good 12 fret acoustic guitar, it adds something to the mix.

d

remy26
05-17-2013, 02:06 AM
To quote Sir-Mix-A-Lot: "I like big butts and I cannot lie..."

Darn, beat me to it!


something i just noticed about the CR uke at Sylvans is its a 12 fret-whereas most of the K brands i see are 14 fret.

i like a good 12 fret acoustic guitar, it adds something to the mix.

d

I was going to mention this. It is something to consider since you do lose a little bit of fretboard real estate. I have played both a 12 fret and 14 fret CR. The 14 fret sounded great too, but I preferred the tone of the 12.

Rick Turner
05-17-2013, 06:36 AM
A few comments...as the designer of the CR series...

The original body shape for the tenors...first just the 12 fret, and now including the 14 fret versions...was derived from the Howe-Orme "tenor mandola" of the mid 1890s. I collect the brand, and they made a full range of four "mando family" instruments, all "guitar shaped", all beautifully made. The Howe Ormes also inspired the cantilevered fingerboard extension; all the H-O guitars and many of the mando family instruments bear that feature, and it allows for more upper bout top vibration in the violin tradition.

The "micro jumbo" CR tenors and "nano jumbo" concerts...both 14 fret...were derived from the 1934 Gibson Super 400 archtop which itself came down directly from Orville Gibson who built some round hole archtops (18" across lower bout) in the 1890's with a very similar shape. Its proportins put the bridge right in the center of the big round lower bout.

We do adjust our top bracing to accommodate each type of wood we use. The stiffer tops get three fan braces; the more flexible ones get five, and we'll also splay the braces more or less parallel to the grain of the top to adjust the ratio of length-wise to cross-grain stiffness.

As many here know, it has always been my aim to make ukes that would be appealing to guitar players...my main clientele for many years...and so the larger neck and a deliberate attempt at a warmer sound that still has transparency in the upper end of the sound spectrum.

One cool thing that popped up over the past few years was designing the cedar topped, mahogany back and side pineapple soprano uke for my "Build a Uke in 4 days (3!)". Suddenly the more traditional sound was there...maybe a bit warmer as both cedar will do and pineapple shapes will do...but the point was that it was easy to get a more island-like sound. We may make some CR pineapples at some point.

Re. finishes...developing a good finishing system is one of the single most difficult tasks in all of lutherie. We do a hybrid finish...it starts with a couple of pre-sealer coats of a very thin epoxy, next is a catalyzed urethane adhesion enhancer, then a catalyzed polyester sanding sealer, and then that it topped with either super clear polyester to be rubbed out or a satin nitro lacquer. And all that is for the "natural" finishes...no stain in the wood or sprayed colors. And as a finisher (yes, I do 99% of the spraying here), it always comes back to proper prep of the bare wood; get that right, and the finish processes go smoothly (pun intended). I have not felt a need to go to UV curing...finish drying is not the bottle neck in my shop, and that's the real reason for UV.

Always lurking in the background for me is the desire to design and build instruments that I like and will play. I'm really a musician first and then a luthier in spite of the overwhelming tilt of hours to the building side. If I wouldn't play it, I won't build it.

hawaii 50
05-17-2013, 06:52 AM
Thanks Rick..i love reading about you and Compass Rose Ukuleles,i am still so happy with my Koa CR tenor style C model that you guys built for me last year..I still practice with it everday. and the sound keeps getting nicer too..Thanks again

and I am one of the ones who believe your polyester gloss finish can not be beat..all the hard work you put into it shows..wow
congrats on the ukulele side of your company..take care say Hi to Gary today for me..
Len

caukulele
05-17-2013, 06:54 AM
I received my incredible Compass Rose Nano Jumbo Concert last night...It is the most beautiful instrument I have ever played. Fantastic resonance and tone, rich full sound and impeccable finish. It went beyond my expectations and I have very high standards, being an artist myself. I told Rick what sound I was looking for and let him choose the wood... This one is Rosewood and Spruce. I have only been playing it since last night, and I am completely in love with it.....it is like holding an orchestra in my hands.....
5312453125531265312753128

Dan Uke
05-17-2013, 06:55 AM
Awesome Response Rick. Much better coming directly from the designer than a fanboy.

Dan Uke
05-17-2013, 06:56 AM
I received my incredible Compass Rose Nano Jumbo Concert last night...It is the most beautiful instrument I have ever played. Fantastic resonance and tone, rich full sound and impeccable finish. It went beyond my expectations and I have very high standards, being an artist myself. I told Rick what sound I was looking for and let him choose the wood... This one is Rosewood and Spruce. I have only been playing it since last night, and I am completely in love with it.....it is like holding an orchestra in my hands.....
5312453125531265312753128

That is one beautiful instrument and great pics!!

caukulele
05-17-2013, 07:02 AM
That is one beautiful instrument and great pics!!

Thanks...I still can't believe it is really mine!!!!!

hawaii 50
05-17-2013, 07:07 AM
I received my incredible Compass Rose Nano Jumbo Concert last night...It is the most beautiful instrument I have ever played. Fantastic resonance and tone, rich full sound and impeccable finish. It went beyond my expectations and I have very high standards, being an artist myself. I told Rick what sound I was looking for and let him choose the wood... This one is Rosewood and Spruce. I have only been playing it since last night, and I am completely in love with it.....it is like holding an orchestra in my hands.....
5312453125531265312753128



Wow that is beautiful..
Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce? Rick's favorite wood Combination for sound and beauty too..congrats!

btw I know exactly how you feel! Gary's turn tonight..

gyosh
05-17-2013, 07:09 AM
My cedar top mahogany back and sides pineapple tenor that I built in Rick's class started off really bright and punchy, but now a year and a half later and a different set of strings, it's much warmer to my ears and I've been playing it daily since I pulled it out a few weeks ago (I'll admit it sat for much of a year). I play that over my mass produced ukes because it sounds much better.

I can imagine a pineapple CR would be pretty awesome for those seeking a more traditional sound, yet want the Compass Rose quality.

Paul December
05-17-2013, 07:56 AM
I really wanted to get a CR but ...
... from the replays to my previous thread, PMs, and other threads, there wasn't a consensus that CR project above average.
Yes, they are pretty & have nice tone.... But not extra loud. Obviously, tone is important, but personally I couldn't blow my $$$$ unless I knew for a fact it would arrive louder than my less expensive ukes.

darylcrisp
05-17-2013, 08:01 AM
A few comments...as the designer of the CR series...

The original body shape for the tenors...first just the 12 fret, and now including the 14 fret versions...was derived from the Howe-Orme "tenor mandola" of the mid 1890s. I collect the brand, and they made a full range of four "mando family" instruments, all "guitar shaped", all beautifully made. The Howe Ormes also inspired the cantilevered fingerboard extension; all the H-O guitars and many of the mando family instruments bear that feature, and it allows for more upper bout top vibration in the violin tradition.

The "micro jumbo" CR tenors and "nano jumbo" concerts...both 14 fret...were derived from the 1934 Gibson Super 400 archtop which itself came down directly from Orville Gibson who built some round hole archtops (18" across lower bout) in the 1890's with a very similar shape. Its proportins put the bridge right in the center of the big round lower bout.

We do adjust our top bracing to accommodate each type of wood we use. The stiffer tops get three fan braces; the more flexible ones get five, and we'll also splay the braces more or less parallel to the grain of the top to adjust the ratio of length-wise to cross-grain stiffness.

As many here know, it has always been my aim to make ukes that would be appealing to guitar players...my main clientele for many years...and so the larger neck and a deliberate attempt at a warmer sound that still has transparency in the upper end of the sound spectrum.

One cool thing that popped up over the past few years was designing the cedar topped, mahogany back and side pineapple soprano uke for my "Build a Uke in 4 days (3!)". Suddenly the more traditional sound was there...maybe a bit warmer as both cedar will do and pineapple shapes will do...but the point was that it was easy to get a more island-like sound. We may make some CR pineapples at some point.

Re. finishes...developing a good finishing system is one of the single most difficult tasks in all of lutherie. We do a hybrid finish...it starts with a couple of pre-sealer coats of a very thin epoxy, next is a catalyzed urethane adhesion enhancer, then a catalyzed polyester sanding sealer, and then that it topped with either super clear polyester to be rubbed out or a satin nitro lacquer. And all that is for the "natural" finishes...no stain in the wood or sprayed colors. And as a finisher (yes, I do 99% of the spraying here), it always comes back to proper prep of the bare wood; get that right, and the finish processes go smoothly (pun intended). I have not felt a need to go to UV curing...finish drying is not the bottle neck in my shop, and that's the real reason for UV.

Always lurking in the background for me is the desire to design and build instruments that I like and will play. I'm really a musician first and then a luthier in spite of the overwhelming tilt of hours to the building side. If I wouldn't play it, I won't build it.

Rick

thank you for the info and reply.

darylcrisp
05-17-2013, 08:06 AM
oh, one more question(my last post would not allow me to edit)

Rick
regarding the two tenors at sylvans(adi/cambodian RW and sitka/acacia), which of those do you think would appeal to a fingerstyle player who is not absorbed with strumming. i go all over the neck.

thanks
d

Rick Turner
05-17-2013, 08:13 AM
Well, my next CR will have an Adi top and probably Amazon rosewood back and sides. I don't have any more of the Cambodian (which was also sold as "South East Asian") as my supplier decided to stop going there...after he saw a jeep that hit an old unexploded...'til that moment...land mine. Of the rosewoods (and speaking in generalities), the Cambodian, Amazon, Cocobolo, and Madagascar are the closest in looks, workability, and tap tone to Brazilian. Honduras is even harder with even more resonant ring to it, but it's getting really hard to get, and the high end marimba builders just devour the stuff.

I'm also going to build myself one of the cutaway "Le Jazz" models in Adirondack and flame maple just because...

Dan Uke
05-17-2013, 08:56 AM
Well, my next CR will have an Adi top and probably Amazon rosewood back and sides. I don't have any more of the Cambodian (which was also sold as "South East Asian") as my supplier decided to stop going there...after he saw a jeep that hit an old unexploded...'til that moment...land mine. Of the rosewoods (and speaking in generalities), the Cambodian, Amazon, Cocobolo, and Madagascar are the closest in looks, workability, and tap tone to Brazilian. Honduras is even harder with even more resonant ring to it, but it's getting really hard to get, and the high end marimba builders just devour the stuff.

I'm also going to build myself one of the cutaway "Le Jazz" models in Adirondack and flame maple just because...

Sounds nice. RT, you should consider building a few "limited" edition ukes that are built 100% by you. Even if you charge a premium, I'm sure there's a market out there.

maclay
05-17-2013, 09:03 AM
"What makes the Compass Rose ukes different?" - They are awesome!

Play great, sound great, look great...the end :)

Dan Uke
05-17-2013, 09:10 AM
"What makes the Compass Rose ukes different?" - They are awesome!

Play great, sound great, look great...the end :)

Jake, yours sounds really good too. Love the sharp attacks of the notes.

maclay
05-17-2013, 09:24 AM
Jake, yours sounds really good too. Love the sharp attacks of the notes.

Hey thanks.....I learned from the master himself.

hawaii 50
05-17-2013, 09:25 AM
"What makes the Compass Rose ukes different?" - They are awesome!

Play great, sound great, look great...the end :)


Aloha Jake..

I agree with what you say above..

but I guess one of the main reasons the Compass Rose is so different is Rick Turner himself..not many luthiers are like him(knowledge wise).. and he is giving back to the craft by training young builders like yourself,I hope he keeps doing that.. and I know they all want to work with Rick like you..

wishing Hive Ukulele and Compass Rose the best in the future..

Rick Turner
05-17-2013, 09:49 AM
The basics of my design philosophy and style are to build on the traditions of lutherie...several hundreds of years worth...and to stay alert for good old ideas that somehow died out...the Howe Orme instruments, for instance, while being open to new ideas and materials that really work. And so we use hot hide glue for a lot of acoustically critical joints...and carbon fiber where it is really helpful...the old and the new together. I also pay attention outside of the field of lutherie to engineering and materials breakthroughs, to what people are doing in industrial design as well as arts and crafts. And, as I said, I play what we build, and that keeps me sensitive to the range of requirements of musicians.

mm stan
05-17-2013, 10:51 AM
I received my incredible Compass Rose Nano Jumbo Concert last night...It is the most beautiful instrument I have ever played. Fantastic resonance and tone, rich full sound and impeccable finish. It went beyond my expectations and I have very high standards, being an artist myself. I told Rick what sound I was looking for and let him choose the wood... This one is Rosewood and Spruce. I have only been playing it since last night, and I am completely in love with it.....it is like holding an orchestra in my hands.....
5312453125531265312753128
Wow wow I wish I had one of these...it looks amazing and I am sure it sounds just as amazing....the wood selection is beautiful and so is the finish...congrats.... wonder if Rick made a sister to this oneI would buy it in a second.....soooo jealous, I think to me it's his most beautiful one he made I ever seen....WOW ,....

Hippie Dribble
05-17-2013, 10:56 AM
Wow wow I wish I had one of these...it looks amazing and I am sure it sounds just as amazing....the wood selection is beautiful and so is the finish...congrats.... wonder if Rick made a sister to this oneI would buy it in a second.....soooo jealous, I think to me it's his most beautiful one he made I ever seen....WOW ,....
I agree Bruddah, that is maybe the prettiest one I've seen too. There's something very appealing about the Nano Jumbo concert shape.

Newportlocal
05-17-2013, 11:03 AM
I received my incredible Compass Rose Nano Jumbo Concert last night...It is the most beautiful instrument I have ever played. Fantastic resonance and tone, rich full sound and impeccable finish. It went beyond my expectations and I have very high standards, being an artist myself. I told Rick what sound I was looking for and let him choose the wood... This one is Rosewood and Spruce. I have only been playing it since last night, and I am completely in love with it.....it is like holding an orchestra in my hands.....
5312453125531265312753128

Congratulations! It is stunning.

GASguy
05-17-2013, 11:22 AM
Those beautiful volumptious curves!!!

Christina Hendricks does not out curve that georgeous ukulele!

Need I say that I Want a mini-jumbo?

Edited to add notice Want with a capital W?

hawaii 50
05-17-2013, 03:26 PM
Wow wow I wish I had one of these...it looks amazing and I am sure it sounds just as amazing....the wood selection is beautiful and so is the finish...congrats.... wonder if Rick made a sister to this oneI would buy it in a second.....soooo jealous, I think to me it's his most beautiful one he made I ever seen....WOW ,....


Come on Stan..just order one already..what you waiting for...haha