This is my first post after doing a fair amount of research and reading on this site and a few others.
I'm hoping to get some advice on purchasing an fairly inexpensive mandolin, mostly for studio recording. Primary use will be for background, and some lead parts for country and roots type music (not bluegrass). I've been a guitar player for close to 30 years, but this will be my first venture into the mandolin world, so I will have that learning curve to deal with as well. I am hoping to purchase a mandolin that I'll enjoy playing as well as sound good recorded.
After going back and forth between different price points and brands/models, (and originally looking at getting a Breedlove Quartz OO), I've decided to be a bit more practical and start with something a bit more modest, without it being complete junk or something I'll soon regret owning.
At this pont, I've now narrowed down my decision to a Kentucky, and narrowed it down to either a KM-174, or the KM-254.
I've got a couple of questions though on the differences between these two mandolins.
From what I gather, the 254 seems like possibly the better instrument, but I'm not certain it's the better choice for my purposes, primarily because of it being an f-hole, and maybe not sounding as nice for recording, but I'm just guessing here. I could also use a ribbon mic to record it, (AEA R84) which might smooth out any harshness. From what I understand, an oval hole will be a bit mellower and possibly sit better in a mix with other instruments.
The neck on the KM 254 looks like it's easier to access frets up to the 15th fret, which might be a little more cumbersome on the KM174. I'm not sure how the necks differ apart from that, (my preference would probably be for larger frets, which is why the Breedlove was very appealing to me).
Any advice, opinions or experience anyone could provide on these two mandolins would be very much appreciated! (I'm also open to other suggestions for my purposes, these are just the two I've presently narrowed it down to).
Thanks very much.