View Full Version : Kentucky Dating Question

Jan-04-2006, 9:29pm
I have a Kentucky KM-500S with serial number 18683. I would like to determine it's date of production. Does anyone have any ideas or know where I could find the information myself? I have already been on the Saga website and sent them an email, but have yet to receive a response. Thanks.


Jan-04-2006, 9:36pm
Oh, I thought it was going to be a question like....

If a young couple from Kentucky court each other, get married, ends up moving to Ohio and then gets a divorce, are they still brother and sister? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Sorry! That's no help at all, but it's what I was thinking.

Doug Edwards
Jan-04-2006, 10:00pm
I was thinkin' the same thing. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Sorry, couldn't help it. I think you can email Saga for some guildelines.

Brian Aldridge
Jan-04-2006, 10:13pm
I thought it was going to be, question- Why do they only have sex education three days a week In Kentucky? answer- Because the need the mule for driver's education the other two days.

steve in tampa
Jan-05-2006, 5:18am
Everbodys kin in Kintucky..........

Jan-05-2006, 8:24am
but seriously folks...take me wife,please... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Brian Aldridge
Jan-05-2006, 11:02am
do you know why it is so hard to solve murder cases in Kentucky? Because there aren't any dental records, and everyone has the same DNA.

Bob A
Jan-05-2006, 11:47am
Well, looks like everybody who reads the header on this one has the same idea. I suspect we're all kinfolk.

Jason Kessler
Jan-05-2006, 12:02pm
Got THAT right, Uncle Bob.

Fred G
Jan-05-2006, 1:06pm
same reaction here...

Kintucky, 3 million people, 5 last names....:D

Jan-05-2006, 2:36pm
Kodiak must be wondering whats going on. He asked a question about a mandolin and got a lesson in shallow genetic pools. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif
Kodiak, you might try Gruhn(sp?)Music or Elderley Instruments. They may be able to answer your question.

Jan-05-2006, 6:56pm
I must apologize for what I started on this thread. I hope you find out how to get information about Kentucky serial numbers, Kodiak! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Tony Spumoni
Jan-05-2006, 10:16pm
Ya know... ah never mind. too easy.

John Hill
Jan-05-2006, 11:13pm
...It would have been called a "teethbrush" if it was invented anywhere but Kentucky....


Jan-06-2006, 11:23am
I think it's funny still...

But I really don't think there is a good answer. I have seen this discussion before and maybe even started trying to find out if there was an exact serial number/date system. I think what we determined was that no one knows for sure. Not sure Saga will reply if they kept records on it. Desert Rose may have some insight but I believe even the "master model" series numbers are mixed up some years. sometimes they begin with the year of mfg but many do not. good luck and let us know if you find anything.
.... now back to the jokes:p

Jan-06-2006, 12:25pm
They do ask you if you are related when you get your marriage license. I think they ask if you are 1st cousins or something like that.

Jan-06-2006, 12:31pm
Hey im from kentucky and my sister and brother are married to a brother and sister...but I have no idea how to date a kentucky mandolin tho. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-06-2006, 6:18pm
R.L.G., are there 4 people involved in your comment (other than yourself), or just 2? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-07-2006, 9:11pm
What dose a tornado and a divorse have in common in KY....No matter what happens someone's going to lose a mobile home

Jan-12-2006, 10:17pm
Just an update on my progress...

Sent an email to Saga a week or so ago with no response thus far. I've searched the internet and haven't found anything helpful on this model (KM-500S) or the Japanese production of Kentucky mandolins. Anyone know of any websites that may lead me in the proper direction. Thanks.

Doug Edwards
Jan-12-2006, 11:41pm
You might give John Brinkman a call at Waco Vintage Instruments in Mansfield, Texas. He's pretty knowledgable on most instruments and has several reference books. A nice guy too, 817-473-9144.

Jan-13-2006, 10:06am
SJenninigs...4 people and from what I read above 5.3 teeth...LOL

Jan-13-2006, 9:11pm
In my search for information about my Kentucky KM-500S, I contacted Jim from Trinity guitars...here is a very, very good deal on a nice mandolin. #If I hadn't just purchased mine from Elderly (for $700-$750), I would jump on this in a second. #I may anyway if someone else doesn't grab it.

# #I spoke to the owner of the Kentucky Mandolin today and he has reduced the price to $490.
Thank you
Jim Holler, Luthier
Trinity Guitars
2089 Camp St.
Jamestown, NY 14701
716 499 3671
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Holler
To: brian.graves@earthlink.net
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 10:55 PM
Subject: Re: Website Listing Question

#I have the Kentucky on consignment from a good guitar customer of mine. He purchased the Mandolin several years ago and just found that he was not spending time to learn it so it is up for sale. The condition is excellent. The finish is in great shape with only some light surface scratches. No dents or obvious damage any place. The case is a box type rectangle plush lined hard case. #Here is some more info from the web site. It has a nice punchy sound that you want from a mandolin. This mandolin was made in Japan is considered to be of much better quality and sound that the more current versions of the same mandolin. Please let me know if you have any further questions. If you would like to purchase the mandolin you can use Master Card or Visa. Just give me a call tomorrow. Shipping will be $15 and not the $20 listed on the web page for guitars.
Kentucky Mandolin

Made in Japan.
Hard shell box case.
Price $700
Solid Spruce top, Maple neck,rims and carved back.
1-1/8 Nut, 14" scale. SN 18906

Thank you
Jim Holler, Luthier
Trinity Guitars
2089 Camp St.
Jamestown, NY 14701
716 499 3671
----- Original Message -----
From: brian graves
To: jimholler@trinityguitars.com
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 10:30 PM
Subject: Website Listing Question

Can you give me information about the Kentucky KM-500S mandolin you have listed on your website? #Condition, year of production, history of model, etc. #Thank you.


Jan-22-2006, 10:07pm
Brian, did you buy the KM-500S from Trinity Guitars? I had never heard of a KM-500S until I saw the one you bought from Elderly. How does it sound?

Jan-22-2006, 10:42pm
No, I didn't buy it. I was thinking of getting it for my nephew, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I really like mine. #I haven't been able to verify this yet, but I've been told the KM-500S is all solid woods with carved top and back. #It's supposed to be the A equivalent of the F model KM-1500S. #A very good quality, Japanese made instrument. I'm very impressed with the sound, looks, and playability. Highly recommended, especially for $490.

Jan-22-2006, 10:50pm
No, I didn't buy it. I was thinking of getting it for my nephew, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. I really like mine. #I haven't been able to verify this yet, but I've been told the KM-500S is all solid woods with carved top and back. #It's supposed to be the A equivalent of the F model KM-1500S. #A very good quality, Japanese made instrument. I'm very impressed with the sound, looks, and playability. Highly recommended, especially for $490.

Jan-22-2006, 11:44pm
Brian, glad you are happy with your mandolin. I have never played a KM-1500, but have heard good things about them. I have played a couple of Japanese made KM-1000s and they both sounded really good. I was just curious about your KM-500S, because I had never heard of that model. I think all Japanese built Kentuckys were constructed of solid wood.

Jan-23-2006, 1:02am
I have been told (although again unverified) that the KM-500S and KM-1500S were the only standard Kentucky models to actually have a carved top and back. Other archtops/backs in the line were pressed rather than carved.

Jan-23-2006, 9:35pm
Brian it looks like someone pulled the trigger on the KM-500S from Trinity Guitars. #I would say someone got a good deal on that mandolin. #Especially if it sounds like the KM-1000s that I have played.

Desert Rose
Jan-25-2006, 6:46am
I can clear this up somewhat.

I do know that some of the lower model Kentuckys made in Japan by Kasuga had carved pressed tops but I can guarantee that of the F models the km900 and above all had hand carved solid spruce tops

Ive known Sumi long enough that I have seen him making them prior to 1990


Jan-25-2006, 8:08am
Desert Rose...Do you know anything about the production specs or history of the Kentucky KM-500S? I was told it's supposed to be the A model equivalent of the KM-1500S. Thanks.

Mandoforme...I purchased the 500 at Trinity for my nephew. He's a pretty good guitar player and has expressed an interest in mando. I know from experience that it's much more fun and satisfying to play a good quality and well set-up instrument, especially when you're just starting out.

Jan-25-2006, 2:37pm
Kodiak, I have a catalog from Mandolin Brothers '88/'89. They only mention handcarved tops and backs for the KM1000, 1500 and DAWG. The 500S is listed (top of the A-models) but only says solid spruce top, mahogany neck same as the KM-250S, the only difference listed is "Deluxe solid maple back and sides, #C-3701 hard case", the 250S had a chipboard case. Perhaps Stan Jay recalls the detail whether it had a pressed or carved top.

Jan-25-2006, 2:42pm
p.s. the prices (cash) were KM-250, $275, 500S, $588 and KM1000 at $881. IMO too much price difference between 250 and 500 and close enough to KM1000 that the 500S may have a carved top.

Jan-25-2006, 6:26pm
I found two Kentucky brochures that I have the a table of specifications for all models. Unfotunately I didn't find a date on either one. One lists a KM-600 and the other, which I think is later, lists a KM500. Both are listed as having a carved top. The KM-600 catalog is a six page fold out with Grisman on the cover and the KM600 is on the same page as the KM1000 and KM1500. The KM500 catalog is a brown catalog with 10 pages, not counting the covers and blank pages and only includes mandolins KM180 to KM850.

Hope this helps.

Jan-25-2006, 11:28pm
Wow...lloydlore. Thanks for the info. #Also, a great idea to give Stan Jay a call. I've heard he's a very nice guy and likes to talk instruments almost as much as selling them. Do you have a Kentucky too? Just wondering why you've held on to the brochures for such a long time.


Jan-26-2006, 7:30am
Brian, I never owned a Kentucky, but I would pick up catalogs to try to decide what I'd like and never threw them out. In the same stack I found a couple of pre-Gibson Flatiron catalogs too. I should have mentioned that the KM600 above is an A model and I suspect it was replaced by the KM500. It would be interesting to see if Stan recalls anything. Paul

Jan-26-2006, 10:00am
so from the catalog info above, I would guess that the KM 500 was a "factory made" mandolin not included in the Sumi-and-company-made line of Kentucky's "Master Models". But still at the top of the A model Factory line of their mandolins.

Jan-26-2006, 2:40pm
I figured it was a top of the Japanese line, factory made instrument too. I just wanted to see what could be dug up on the history of the model, if anyone could help me identify the year of production from the serial number, and whether the model has a carved top and back. So far, lots of good info and leads about everything, but determining year of production. It's very likely the serial numbers were sequential rather than including some sort of dating code in them. I haven't gotten a hold of Stan Jay yet. He may be able to shed further light on the subject. Thanks to all who have contributed responses.

Feb-16-2006, 3:06pm
Just an update on my search for information...

Called Mandolin Brothers twice, but Stan Jay wasn't available, but I was able to get the following info from the helpful folks at Elderly.

All solids woods. Bound carved spruce top, maple neck and rims, bound carved back, bound rosewood fretboard, pearl dot inlays, pearl fleur-de-lis inlaid in headstock, gold hardware, imported by Saga.

Now that the spec questions seemed to have been answered by more than one reliable source, I just need to figure out if there's any way to determine date of production. No response from an email to Saga. Any ideas?

Cincinnati, OH

Desert Rose
Feb-17-2006, 7:19am
I can confirm that the 500 was not made at the Sumi Maruko shop so it was made at the Kasuga factory


Feb-18-2006, 11:16pm
What do you think of the Japanese KM-650 Kentucky Mandolin on this page?
Photo on this page

Feb-19-2006, 3:46am
Six things you didn't know about Kentucky! (http://www.blacktable.com/thomas040527.htm)

Feb-24-2006, 10:06pm
I have an KM-700, serial no. 17327. It is early a 90's F style, made in Japan.

The wood grain is visible on the front of the headstock. I am told that this feature was unique to the Japanese made Kentucky mandos.

Sometime circa 1993-4 Saga moved production from Japan to Korea. At that time, the serial numbers changed format.

I spoke to the folks at Saga a couple of years ago. They kept no records of serial numbers and years. No help at all.

Hope this helps

Desert Rose
Feb-25-2006, 7:17am
Your timeline is correct

Sumi removed himself from the Kentuky building in early 1993 and started building his own brand

In late 1993 or sometime in 1994 Kasuga went bankrupt, they were the factory maning all the production cheaper Kentuckys