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Compass Rose Ukulele Review
Compass Rose Ukulele made by Rick Turner's Renaissance Guitar Works in Santa Cruz.
It was all about the tone. I owned a tenor Uke manufactured in overseas, and I was simply seeking a better tone. I stopped by Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto, and played a number of Ukes that Gryphon had on display. None sounded better than the Compass Rose tenor. It possesses the timbre and resonance I was seeking.
At this point, one should remember that the beauty is in the ear of the beholder, and although there were a bunch of stellar Ukes, my ear most appreciated the Compass Rose.
One feature that attracted me to the Rick Turner's ukuleles was that most of his Ukes are made locally of native California woods, predominantly Walnut and Sycamore.
The Uke that I chose is made of Santa Cruz Sycamore, and the grain is really interesting. I've enclosed a picture of the Sycamore Compass Rose Uke from the Renaissance website, and the grain on this ukulele is very similar to that of my Uke.
Prices on these Ukes are a bit steep at $950 - $1,200, but i have spotted these on eBay from time-to-time. If you're shopping for a beautiful sounding hand-finished (and locally made!) tenor Uke. I recommend you check these out. I also recommend you look at the ukuleles made by David DaSilva in Berkeley, and of course those made by Kamaka. All are very high quality and each has its own unique sound.
Review by Christophe