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Thread: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

  1. #1

    Default Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    First, a little background, been wanting to learn guitar for all my life, but being a lefty in a righty world, it's been more than frustrating. I've tried to learn right handed to no avail, now at almost 57 yrs old, I'm staring to learn lefty, but only just a few weeks into it, and actually starting to learn, and over the years have learned theory and fretboard knowledge fairly well. But....I went to the Bluegrass festival in Parson WV last year and fell in love with the Mandolin, now, before I get too involved in guitar, I'm thinking about switching gears to the Mandolin, I just love the sound, and it's been calling me ever since.

    This brings me to one of 2 Mandolins I've been looking at(based on MY affordability and availability). I'm looking at the Kentucky KM380, read all the reviews on here, and the Gretsch New Yorker Deluxe G9300 or 9320 model.
    I will be learning bluegrass with this, and, I want to know if either of these can be (even if temporary) have any issues doing a professional left hand conversion. No, I'm not learning right handed, just my choice. If all works out, I'll change them back and buy a left handed instrument after my playing progresses to a reasonable level to justify the new purchase.

    Which one?

    Funds are tight, new grand-baby to spoil, wife's going back to college to finish degree, so others aren't a consideration, and I don't want a cheapie no resale value to start.
    Thanks in advance, hope I didn't constrict the opinions too much
    Rich

  2. #2
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Kentucky.

    I started mandolin when I was 56 also. Wish I'd done it earlier. Best wishes to you. Have fun.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  3. #3
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    The Kentucky. After not playing for 20 years I began again at 50. My 70th birthday is this summer.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Thanks guys, I read a lot of reviews all positive on the Gretsch, but I had a feeling most here would have said the Kentucky after reading about it here on the Cafe. Glad I'm not the only feller getting up in years before deciding to learn.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Another vote for Kentucky. I would stay away from the 140 but pretty much anything else and you can’t go wrong.

    I did play the all mahogany Gretsch and it didn’t sound half bad. But you are comparing apples with oranges, really. That Gretsch is all solid mahogany pressed into shape. Most if not all Kentucky mandolins are solld spruce and maple carved into shape (although they did make some laminate F styles through the years). All of the other Gretsch models are at least partially laminate and sound awful. The all mahogany one would be ok if you were looking for a funky kind of folksy rootsy tone like the old Kay’s and Harmonys but the tone of a fully carved instrument, especially with the tried and true combo of spruce and maple. Will be much more sophisticated and versatile.
    Don

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  6. #6
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Quote Originally Posted by RHDean View Post
    Thanks guys, I read a lot of reviews all positive on the Gretsch, but I had a feeling most here would have said the Kentucky after reading about it here on the Cafe. Glad I'm not the only feller getting up in years before deciding to learn.
    I stopped playing for 23 years. Began again midway between my 64th and 65th birthday.
    Gibson F5G (Dave Harvey 01/29/2016)
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    "Me, Billy and George are two of a kind."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Plus one on the Kentucky. If you can get a good used KM 250, KM 505 or KM 500 for approximately what the KM 380 costs, you might want to try one of those. I am a couple of months from my 70th birthday and took up mandolin in four months ago. It's a great sideline from the guitar after 55 years on six strings. Happy picking!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Pulling the trigger on the Kentucky guys, I'll post pics when I get it. Thanks again, who knows, I may try and play it right handed.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Dang...you gotta be quick when it comes to buying one of these Kentucky's at a good price, I had 2 others try to buy it while I was making the purchase, whew, it's mine!

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  11. #10

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    I am 72 and just started playing the Mandolin ! I love it !
    Just keep on keeping on my friend !

  12. #11

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    Thanks

  13. #12

    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    I have actually converted a few KM-380 mandolins to lefties. No issues. It will just need a new nut and bridge saddle.
    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

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Absolute beginner, which of these 2, Kentucky vs Gretsch

    RHDean, I also took up mandolin in my late-50s, am now in my 60s and getting to "advanced beginner" stage where I am not terrible but far from as good as I want to be, but having a blast! It is such a fun instrument, and very portable.

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