Well there was a recent thread on this, but as Ted and Scott pointed out...it strayed fairly far from its intent. Though I was a bit confused with the original posting. So I would like to start another thread here but with a little more direction as I am interested in this.
It is without a doubt that not all professionals are playing mandolins that cost 2K or more.......well at least they didn't pay 2K for their mandolins. So what are some mandolins worthy of the professional gig? What are you looking for your mandolin to have that makes it worthy enough to do some gigs with.
I had a Kentucky KM-675 about 6-7 years ago that I though was a very good mandolin. Very loud, great chop and the tone was fairly pleasing. After about a month I replaced the fingerboard with an ebony one, put larger frets on it, a new nut, bridge and a new tailpiece. I had it done by a guy who was just starting to make instruments and he did a decent job and did if for not much at all since he was just learning the craft. A gamble on my part but it paid off. When I first bought the Kentucky it had great potential, it just needed a bit of convincing. I eventually sold it because I was playing a lot of classical and needed a mandolin more suitable for that type of playing. But I sold my kentucky to a guy who was playing in a bluegrass band and once he played it he said sold.....point being, after all said and done...the Kentucky was way under 2K and was a great mandolin even for a professional.