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Thread: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

  1. #1

    Default Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    I have two Kentucky As, one is a KM150 and the other is a discontinued KM171 oval hole. Both sound good to me with the 150 being somewhat brighter as F-holes tend to do over ovals. Will these lower end mandos mellow out with playing and age like the more expensive mandos do? I know it will never happen as there are too many variances, but would love to end up with a sound in the ball park of Brad Laird's Flatiron. That is the sound I'm looking for, but know that will never happen with what I have. However I think that the oval will be the one I will come the closest to achieving that kind of sound from. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    I'm not sure what Brad Laird's FI sounds like but I spent about 1/2 a year trying to achieve the "Gibson tone" from non-Gibson and much cheaper mandolins I finally bought an F9 and bingo ! Anyway a seasoned builder told me when I asked him if He could build me a mandolin that would sound like a Gibson He told me "if you want Gibson sound go buy a Gibson" Thats when I gave up trying to get a certain sound out of a mandolin. Have you tried different strings/picks ? Anyway I hope your mandolins end up sounding like you want or maybe you'll end up with a Flatiron at some point to scratch that itch.
    Lou

  3. #3

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    I think any solid wood top will open up over time. weather that sound will be what you want is another matter. Frank Ford once told me never to buy an instrument for what it might sound like later. Sage advise.

    My 199.00 Michael Kelly improved quite a bit over a year's time, but it is still what it is, the perfect no worry beater.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

  4. #4
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    Quote Originally Posted by Torpedotom View Post
    I know it will never happen as there are too many variances, but would love to end up with a sound in the ball park of Brad Laird's Flatiron. That is the sound I'm looking for, but know that will never happen with what I have.
    If I wanted the sound of a mid-80's pre-Gibson x-braced Flatiron, I'd ask Santa for this one:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/117611#117611
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    I have a Kentucky 171 also. I enjoy this mandolin very much.
    I think that it will always sound like a Kentucky 171... just like my playing will always sound like Joseph Baker.
    What I know is that strings make a huge difference in sound & tone on my mandolin.
    GHS Silk & Bronze are my current strings of choice for this mandolin.

    Joseph Baker

  6. #6

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    Most solid wood mandolin's tone will improve with age. How much of an improvement depends on many factors, including the construction of the mandolin. In the case of your Kentuckys, it would be reasonable to expect some improvement over the years.... an improvement on the current tone, but it wouldn't sound like a different mandolin, just a more open version of what you have now.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com
    1-800-493-4922

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    If it's a lacquer finish yes. I have a 43 year old Japanese made Martin dred copy with a heavy poly urethane finish...sounds the same as it did in '75. Basically OK, but the same. I don't think the laminate top is as big a tone killer as the poly .

  9. #8

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    I have a km150 that when I got it wasn't too impressive tone wise but it has improved the more I have played it. I recently picked up a km250 and it seems like it was not played much if any at all in its 10 year old life. It was a real struggle when I got it but the more I play out the better it sounds. The sound seems to change during the playing time, it's really weird.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Aged Sound From A Kentucky

    Quote Originally Posted by B381 View Post
    I have a km150 that when I got it wasn't too impressive tone wise but it has improved the more I have played it. I recently picked up a km250 and it seems like it was not played much if any at all in its 10 year old life. It was a real struggle when I got it but the more I play out the better it sounds. The sound seems to change during the playing time, it's really weird.
    I took my first lesson Tuesday and my teacher was very impressed with my KM150. He liked everything about it, but especially liked it when I told him I got it for $150 off ebay from a pawn shop. It is turning into a real little cannon as it continues to open up. Love it. I just wish I could find a way to hold it comfortably while sitting.

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