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  #1  
Old 10-24-2021, 10:43 AM
phydaux phydaux is offline
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Default Mandolin - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250

So I'm buying my first mandolin and I was all set to buy a KM-150. Then I saw that the KM-250 was only $50 more.

Now I'm happy to spend a tiny bit more if it will get me a better instrument. With the KM-250 do you actually GET ANYTHING for the extra $50?
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Old 10-24-2021, 01:53 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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It has been my experience that once you get an all solid mandolin like the KM 150, they all sound very similar until the 900. What you get is cosmetic. I could say the same for Eastman. In fact I think the matte finish on the 300s sound better that the others.

I would say, depending on where you buy, money should go towards a good setup. If buying new, buying from Elderly, the Mandolin Store, and a few others will get you a good setup. A box store buy will need $75 worth of setup work. I've played a KM 150 at a generic music store, and at Gryphon, and there was no comparison. The KM 150 is where you get a real well made mandolin, so good for you not going lower.
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  #3  
Old 10-25-2021, 06:42 AM
phydaux phydaux is offline
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I ordered the KM-250. And a gig bag, arm rest, Toneguard, strings, capo, leather strap, harmonic dampeners, and some other accessories.

And now the waiting....
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Old 10-25-2021, 08:48 AM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
I ordered the KM-250. And a gig bag, arm rest, Toneguard, strings, capo, leather strap, harmonic dampeners, and some other accessories.

And now the waiting....
Don't know about current Kentucky models, but I bought a used KM-250 (all solid wood) back in the mid-late 80s that was a well-built, good sounding instrument. I played it for years until upgrading about 8-10 years ago.
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:44 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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Kentucky is an interesting company. They are the only maker that has a mid level mandolin in the 900 to 1500 master series mandolins. I got and education the time I played up both the Kentucky and Eastman lines. Tone wise, not a whole lot to difference between the KM 150 and a KM 750, or the Eastman MD 315 and 815. Mind you, the more expensive mandolins looked better. But when you play a 900 or a 100 or a 1500 Kentucky, the tone improves a bunch.

But then they handed me a Northfield F5S, and things got interesting. See, not a whole lot of difference between that and a KM 1500, except for a thousand dollars. I left feeling I'd regret not spending the extra grand. I cried uncle after playing some Gibsons. I guess my feeling is not to trade up in increments. After the KM 150, go at least to a master Kentucky or a Northfield or whatever you can sell your first born for.
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:49 PM
phydaux phydaux is offline
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Iíve got a long way to go before itís the instrument thatís holding me back. I expect to spend the next six months sitting in front of a metronome. LOL
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Old 10-27-2021, 03:05 PM
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Just realize it's a really different instrument than a guitar. If your fingertips don't hurt a bit, you are not on the tips enough. Only one of the two strings per course are on guitar callouses when you are on your tips.

Mandolessons.com has some beginner videos that are good and free, and graded fiddle tunes so you can go to the easy section. Angeline the Baker is a good starter. I find playing exercises very good, but you need to reward yourself with a fiddle tune or two. Metronomes rule.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:58 PM
phydaux phydaux is offline
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Yes, I'm on mandolessons.com for the videos. I have a copy of Mandolin From Scratch by Bruce Emery, and I have Mandolin For Dummies on order.

Between that, and a metronome, I think I'll stay busy for a while.
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Old 10-28-2021, 03:10 PM
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In terms of what you get for the 250, one of the differences is a radiused fretboard, which I very much prefer. And I think bigger frets too, which I also prefer.

I do find it interesting that the 150 and the 250 seem frequently to sell for very similar prices (I've spent a fair amount looking at the market lately).
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Old 05-23-2022, 08:53 AM
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Reviving old thread. I just ordered a KM252. I was all set to order a 156 but I too saw the 252 for about $50.00 more. The nicer tuners and color of the finish sold me. This is my first mandolin and I wanted something that I wouldn't feel the need to upgrade for a while. I can barely play guitar so I'm not sure why I decided to tackle another string instrument but I an really looking forward to it. I just hope it arrives before the weekend.
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Old 05-23-2022, 02:03 PM
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Who did you buy from?
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Old 05-23-2022, 02:47 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
...Only one of the two strings per course are on guitar callouses when you are on your tips...
Not if you've been doing it correctly right from the beginning - most guitarists with a jazz, classical, or orchestral-string background, as well as hardcore 12-string players, don't have this problem...
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Old 05-23-2022, 05:23 PM
Lillis Lillis is online now
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Who did you buy from?
I bought it from Sun Valley guitars in Arizona. They advertise a full set up and their price was decent. They are a sponsor on Mandolin cafe for what that’s worth.
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Last edited by Lillis; 05-24-2022 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 05-24-2022, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillis View Post
I bought it from Sun Valley guitars in Arizona. They advertise a full set up and their price was decent. They are a sponsor on Mandolin cafe for what that’s worth.
Welcome to the mandolin club! Glad you picked a seller that does initial setups properly, and it's a make that's got a good rep.

The tension is higher on the mandolin so it will take some getting used to; but in addition to being an octave higher (at the top E) than the guitar, the tuning in 5ths makes its sound unique and resonant in a range that only the fiddle competes with in most settings. Those [closely space] frets make starting from a guitar backround not quite the same step function a fiddle might, and a lot less painful for any roomates you might have
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:22 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillis View Post
I bought it from Sun Valley guitars in Arizona. They advertise a full set up and their price was decent. They are a sponsor on Mandolin cafe for what thatís worth.
Nice guy. Took over when The Mandolin Store left for Nashville. I was there when in was TMS, and they had no 900 Kentucky ready to go, but set one up while I was there so I could try it. So your mandolin will be ready to go.
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