View Full Version : Mando for a Friend
This is my first post, and it may sound a tad nuts but bear with me.
I'm planning on buying a mandolin for a friend for Christmas; the Kentucky KM-140S. I can get it at Folk of the Wood for $135.00 (not including case). This man is an old friend who plays a number of stringed instruments and a mando would be right up his alley. Actually, I'm using him as a guinea pig. If he gets into it seriously, I may get one for myself. So, with all that said, is the KM-140S a decent entry level instrument? I don't want to choose a mando less expensive than that, and is, if he dumps the mando after a period there's not much loss for such a small investment.
I joined the mando world last week with a Kentucky KM-150S. I think the 150 is better because it's all solid woods.
My 150 is very iffy in the fit & finish department, yet it plays reasonably well and sounds reasonably good.
So there's a ringing endorsement from a fellow newbie.
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Thanks for the glowing remarks on the Kentucky. I may stick with the KM-140S, as I don't want to put out too much cash for the instrument. As is, I and a number of his friends are pooling our cash together for the mando. Though I do admit that I may consider the KM-380S for myself, for now, I feel that if my friend gets the itch he can always upgrade on his own. What gave me the idea to get him a mando? I saw Grateful Dawg, the DVD of David Grisman and Jerry Garcia. If you haven't checked it out, give it a try. Grisman is a master of the instrument!
The KM140S is fine as a starter instrument. It has a solid top, at least, compared to the 140 which is all laminate. Just make sure it is set up right. You'll probably get hit by the MAS bug soon enough, though.
I hate to be nay-sayer here, but I didn't care for my 140S. I guess I got spoiled because I got it as a back-up to my breedlove. Although it was loud enough, I found it very difficult to play and thin on tone. This probably had a lot to do with set up. Mine came factory direct. Make sure you get it from some one who will set it up properly. Even so, It's hard for me to believe that this is an istrument that will inspire your friend to practice everyday, and I don't think it will take him long to outgrow it. However, with Folk of the Wood you do get the 100% trade up policy. So you can upgrade anytime. I'm getting ready to buy a mandolin from them too. I'm aiming a little higher up the food chain. Either a Mid-Mo or Michael Kelly A model. Beware. Mandolin is addictive and it won't be long until your longing for a better hatchet.
Thanks everyone for your feedback. Money is a concern, and if possible (if I get enough contributions from his friends)I'll shoot for a more stable mando. Like I said, I've known this guy a long time (20 years and counting). Personally, unless he's really smitten, I don't foresee him upgrading. I, on the other hand, may take the plunge at a mid-level instrument, once I've jad a chance to play his mando.
Yes, I do fear mano-diction, so to speak. Before researching mandos for my friend I had no idea of the diversity of instruments and the radical developments in design. I was totally floored! As you can see, the seed of "mando-diction" has already taken root; here I am a newbie in this newsgroup. So I guess I'm on my way via proxy to my friend's coming mando-gift!
BTW, a tech question. What's the heaviest gauge string set that mando strings come in? Again, thanks for your input.
God bless the net and the intelligent people who use it.
By the way, my review of the KM-150S is not so glowing! I'm a bit stunned by the iffy finish issues. As for tone and playability, I'm still too much of a beginner to comment.
I meant to mention at the start of the thread that along with the mando and case I'll also be getting my friend sets of strings, strap, and a pair of starter method books, and a couple of CDs, and though I've found this stuff online for a good price, given what money may be at hand,I won't be spending more than $150.00 for an instrument. Still, if enough cash is collected I'd like to get him a solid mando. Either way, I think he will enjoy the present.
Again, thanks for the input, and Phantoj, I may aim higher than the KM-150S