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Help! Compass Rose ukulele

GUEST,ClaireBear 15 Mar 06 - 11:27 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 06 - 12:36 PM
Purple Foxx 15 Mar 06 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 15 Mar 06 - 01:32 PM
M.Ted 15 Mar 06 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 15 Mar 06 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 16 Mar 06 - 12:46 AM
Purple Foxx 16 Mar 06 - 01:45 AM
GUEST,ClaireBear 16 Mar 06 - 10:31 AM
Purple Foxx 16 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM
M.Ted 16 Mar 06 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 16 Mar 06 - 05:16 PM
M.Ted 16 Mar 06 - 07:39 PM
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Subject: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 11:27 AM

I'm considering purchasing a gorgeous tenor ukulele made by Rick Turner of Renaissance Guitars (Santa Cruz, CA) under the trade name "Compass Rose." It's a beauty, solid koa, seems to play like a dream, has a cantilevered neck, great action.... The only thing is, I know virtually nothing about the tenor uke and very little about the maker.

My plan for the uke is to finally learn an instrument on which I'm comfortable playing leads. I'm a very good singer and a competent musician, but my instruments tend to be modal ones -- Celtic harp, dulcimer, McCann duet concertina -- that don't comfortably change keys, making me the rhythm player. I'd be using the ukulele rather like a guitar, I guess (unless the instrument dictates a new style, which is always possible): The four-string critter suits my tiny hands better than the single-O Washburn guitar I used to play. Plus, I haven't played guitar in a long time because I've been in a succession of bands that already have an OK guitar player but none of the other stuff I play -- but none of them has a tenor uke either!

BTW I play largely English traditional folk and sea music, and some American folk too, but branching out into...umm, variety and vintage material is not out of the question.

Is there anyone here with information or advice?

Thanks,
Claire


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 12:36 PM

there is a uke players association, I met the gy guy at a guitar fair in Derby a few years ago. you will find them very helpful. google, they're bound to be there.


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 01:23 PM

Hello ClaireBear,As chance would have it I purchased my first ever uke a couple of days ago.
It is still very early days with me but I am finding it relatively easy to learn (so far) & it would appear more versatile than I thought.
(Though maybe not so good for modal music)
Obviously it's not a traditional instrument in England but you could play English music on it with no difficulty.
Another huge advantage is that it is ,of course,extremely portable.
George Harrison used to take a Ukulele everywhere & I'm beginning to understand why that was.
My advice would have to be "Go for it!"


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 01:32 PM

Thank you very much, Purple Foxx. I'm certainly leaning in that direction, and it's great to hear you think it would be adaptable to the kind of music I play.

Still hoping for some comments on the luthier's quality, as the uke is very high-end and will deplete my music budget for some time. I would probably start lower but for the instrument's appealing tone (not a typical ukulele sound) and its uniqueness -- Turner typically makes walnut and sycamore ukes; the koa is a rarity.

Anyone?


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 07:58 PM

I've been playing uke for a long time, and about 12 years ago, made the jump to a tenor, which I love--I think the uke is a great instrument, and recommend it to anyone--

So I think you should get a uke--but is this one the one? It's a custom, high-end, luthier instrument. Usually, the folks that buy these things are guys like me(not me, though, cause I already have too many ukes;-) who have developed their playing ability to a fairly high level, and know what they want from an instrument.

You are talking about learning to play uke, and learning to play lead uke--this might not turn out to best instrument for doing what you want to do--(Think about the guy who bought a Martin D28 when he wanted to learn flamenco)--you won't know until you learn to play it--

I have never played any of Rick Turner's instruments, but they have a reputation for being very "leading edge", which means that you will be the center of attention at every session--on the other had, if you decide you want to get rid of it, it may take a while to find an investor--


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 08:31 PM

Well, too late, M.Ted, though I still have two days to think it over and return it if it's not right.

Believe me, I've thought through everything you said. In fact, I did back off and buy a less expensive Compass Rose in mahogany, not actually because the price was considerably lower (though that was nice!) but because the sound was both brighter and more even from low to high. (The Turner ukes have a low string at the bottom, down an octave from the classis uke tuning. They're also a bit larger than the other tenor ukes I've seen.)

Though all of your advice is sound, I had what seemed to me like good reasons for choosing as I did. Had I started with a less top-end uke, it would have had a shallower, uke-ier sound that would not have been what I wanted, and I doubt that the uninspiring sound would have given me adequate impetus to progress until I was "ready" to move to a first-class instrument.

As well, I am a fair musician already, so while uke will be a new experience, I won't exactly be starting from scratch. (I'm not in the D-28 for flamenco category, thank goodness!)

And finally, a high-end instrument may be harder to sell, but I'm thinking that if I do need to sell it, I'm ultimately likelier to be able to get back close to what I paid for it than I would with a more entry-level model.

Well, perhaps I'm foolish, but it's done -- and sitting in my office next to me. In fact, I can't wait to get home from work and play the thing! So bye for now, I'll check in tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 12:46 AM

I finally got a look at some pics of the ukes, and they aren't way out there (except, for some, in the composition)--the price that I found for a new mahogany tenor was $630, which strikes me as a pretty good deal--Whatever you payed, enjoy it--ukuleles are the most fun of all the instruments--if you want any helpful hints, just ask--


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 01:45 AM

Yes,above all else have fun ClaireBear.


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 10:31 AM

Yup, that's what I paid (and, probably, where I paid it -- Gryphon?), and that $630 was a reasonable price for a first-class but not over-the-top instrument was the impression I had as well. Thanks for backing me up, M.Ted, and for your kind thoughts, Purple Foxx!

And I will take you up on that tips offer, M.Ted, once I've learned my way around the fingerboard some. I spent hours last night running scales and noodling on morris tunes, and facility is coming. The interesting thing, I suspect, is what musical direction it's going to push me in. I'm at a crossroads anyway.....

Tell me, what kinds of music do play with yours?

Claire


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 10:43 AM

ClaireBear I'm still mastering tunes from the Tutor book.
There do seem to be a lot of Ukulele music sites on line though.


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 04:44 PM

Yes--I found it at Gryphon--I play the old time jazz/crooner standards stuff, mixed with some of the Hapa Haole tunes, which is what they call the English language Hawaiian songs with odd hawaiian words which are played for tourists--I am out of the music loop now, but encourage you to connect with the Hawaiian music scene where you are(Bay Area, right?)

California has more Hawaiians than Hawaii, and they have started getting back to their musical roots--Island Music is a real, living, american folk music, and it comes complete with dancing and good food, as well as outgoing and friendly people--so check the papers for Hawaiian events--

If you want some suggestions for listening--Cliff Edwards(Ukulele Ike), Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and Ohta San--


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 05:16 PM

Yes, Bay Area, and I should indeed hunt up local resources and stop being so insular. Thank you very much for both the listening and the lifesyle suggestions suggestions. Dancing and good food are both pretty high on my list (along with music), but for some ridiculous reason, it had not honestly occurred to me to branch out into Hawaiian music. Indeed, though, why not? Maybe this is my big opportunity to learn Sol K. Bright's "Hawaiian Cowboy," a song I've loved for years. I'm a pretty good yodeler too...


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Subject: RE: Help! Compass Rose ukulele
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 07:39 PM

There was a great restaurant out in the Sunset, on Judah, called The Punahele Grill--great, live, island music, real island comfort food, and lots of Hawaiians--I was going to mention it, but I haven't been out there in a few years, and when I looked it up, one of the restaurant review sites said that it is closed. I hope this is no longer true--it was always full of people, and a very important place for the folks who went there--

Oh, and, "Brown-Eyed Girl" is very popular these days--


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