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Thread: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

  1. #1
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    Question Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I know, it sounds to simple, but let me try and explain my dilemma.
    Huh...

    I've been craving a mandolin for quite some time.
    Living in Serbia makes ordering it from The Mandolin Store (which I came to know, form many stories on this forum is (one of) the best) a pretty expensive business, due to high shipping and customs expenses.
    Afer a year of internet drifting, I got fixated on the Kentucky KM-252 and I was so close to ordering it, when I took (I thought) one last look on Thomann.de stock and found The Loar LM-170 VSM.
    Now, ordering from Germany is much less expensive, so the total costs for the mandolins (with hard cases) would be:

    Kentucky KM-252: 650 / 707$
    The Loar LM-170 VSM: 327 / 356$

    What annoys me the most is that so much of difference goes to shipping and customs expenses.

    I know that there is a difference in the set up. When I asked about their set up process, the guy from Thomann e-mailed me 2 YT videos about mandolin set up.
    The other one tells more about the importance of the process than about the process itself. Still, nice of them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSKtndpbyC4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21PlyVkQMl8

    TMS, on the other hand, does great set up, as I hear.
    I really like and respect their dedication and professionalism.
    But is the difference worth the price?

    I know it looks like I'm making a fuss about 2 entry level mandolins, but let me put in some more context:
    This is my first mandolin (and my faculty graduation present) but, although I'm a starter, upgrading as I go is not all cut and dried, as you see from the listed expenses, and more considering that (no pathetics intended) the average monthly salary here is not much more than the above price for The Loar and much less than the price for the Kentucky.
    So, you see, this purchase has to be well thought trough.
    I need to, so to say, hit the bulls eye with my first shot.
    Now, KM-252 being all solid spruce and LM-170 having laminated maple back and sides, how will the teeth of time treat them and all... I guess you guys know the factors that need to be accounted...

    I'm looking forward to your advice and words of experience and wisdom!

    Thank you! And sorry for the looong story!

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I can't help you with the difference between the Kentucky and the Loar, but setup is not worth more than 300 euros.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I'd suggest thekentucky km 150 . It's 100.00 less than the km 252 and from what I can gather the differences are cosmetic . Good luck

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I had 2 mandos shipped from the US, a collings mt from TMS and a km950 from IA both arrived with way to much bow in the neck i guess due to atmospheric "play" --- freight, VAT and handling will almost double the price of the Kentucky.
    Thomann carries the Loar 500 series and have a great return policy --- Havent played a Loar mandolin but seemingly they are great bang for the bucks - however I have a Loar LH 600 archtop guitar and its a keeper- made my Gibson L 50 ( sold ) sound like a toy. With your economic considerations I would go for the Loar ( and Thomann and find a set up man in your backyard if needed.
    Jens Denmark

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    My advice would be to keep your eye on the classifieds here for a used instrument from a European seller so as to save on depreciation and shipping. For instance, this Eastman MD315 is available in Brussels for 350€: http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/86884
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Thank you guys for your advice and time!
    I've definitely given up on ordering the KM-252 from across the pond.
    Thanks to Rustyback for lifting that spell off of me. Your experience really helped me.
    Also, I only now know that there are classifieds here. But, alas, there are not many Europe-based sellers.
    In fact, the MD315 seems to be the only one. (Thanks, pheffernan!) I'll keep an eye on them.
    Now that I have counted out the US dealers, I have concentrated more on Thomann's stock.
    I'm kinda drawn towards some Gretsch models (G9310 or G9311 - but I wonder if there's any difference except the pickup) and maaaaybe even The Loar LM-590.
    (I'm having second thoughts on The LM-170 due to its laminated back and sides.)
    So I guess I'l be banging my head with this dilemma now.
    Why am i so indecisive??!
    The title of this thread lost it's meaning, for crying out loud!

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I've owned both a The Loar 220 and an Eastman 315, but not a Kentucky. In my humble opinion, the Eastman 315 that is available in the classifieds will blow away both the Kentucky and the Loar as well as the Gretsch and anything else that you might be considering. It is an excellent mandolin in all respects. If it is in your budget, I would give it serious consideration. Good luck...let us know what you decide to do.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    The Kentucky model you described is far and away the better mandolin of the two you originally listed. I agree with all of the other answers, as well. The Eastman is a great choice!

  13. #9
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    I find it hard to believe that there's no music store in Belgrade. I don't know exactly where you live - and THAT is PRIVATE info. But there has to be a music store somewhere close. Perhaps they don't deal in mandolins, or maybe they only have instruments that are "mandolin related". I have seen related instruments for sale here in Canada.

    I have thoughts like "grab a bus, and go to Germany, Austria, Slovakia. I don't know the geography well. I don't know how easy or difficult it might be.

    But there's a better way than viewing it as difficult. People love music. It's everywhere. And you can do a more reasonable search for something a lot closer. So that's done. And if you find something and have questions, that's what we are here for.

    TheLoar 590 is a better idea - and there are several other 500-series you can research at TheLoar website. You can research Eastman site also. Or any of them. All of them are on the internet - because they want your business.

    The real search is for dealers who sell mandos, or can get them, for you. There must be someone close - maybe in your own country. You don't have to compromise what you really want, on your own terms. For now, you simply need more information - I don't know what info you need to make it actually happen. Importing is complicated and expensive - that's the big challenge - avoid it or minimize it. Find out the best way to make it happen in a reasonable manner.

    Start with local dealers, possibly in Belgrade, which is a major city - anything close will save money. Get what you want that will satisfy your needs. People in the US and Canada do it like that - is there something stopping you? I don't know. There's a better way - and local business is usually it; and if not, they aren't in business very long. You deserve the best service, just like anyone else. Music stores exist because they provide a service to a customer who wants the service they offer. If that's not true, you move on, to the next one. The power is yours. Enjoy it.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by LV89 View Post
    Also, I only now know that there are classifieds here. But, alas, there are not many Europe-based sellers.
    In fact, the MD315 seems to be the only one. (Thanks, pheffernan!) I'll keep an eye on them.
    There are usually more than one. Sometimes, I search by country, such as "Spain" or "France." I generally use "eu" on this search function:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/search

    It will turn up some false positives, like any instrument featuring European Spruce as a top, but you'll also find more options to consider!
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Well I would defiantly upgrade from entry level mando to something you wouldn't grow out of in year or 2 due the high shipping/custom charges. It would make sense to spend more $ now than pay another round of shipping charges down the road. I was in your shoes a few months ago never having played a mando except I live in the US with pretty much unlimited choices.
    I tried out a few sub $300 mando's and quickly figured out I would grow tired of them. So with help from this forum I ended up with a
    great mando that will keep me satisfied for years to come. I was going to buy a new Loar 520 but ended up with a used Loar 600 for the same price as a new 520. If you do go Loar you won't be disappointed.
    Good luck
    Lou

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    Registered User houseworker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Thomann don't do any set up work at all. If you buy from them you'll need to find a local luthier to do the work (or do it yourself).

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Hi, everybody! (Hi, Dr Nick!)
    It's been a while and I was kinda busy.
    I'd like to thank you all for taking time to read my looong question and sharing your experiences and offering advice!
    The possibilities of this kind of discussions on good forums always strike me with their coolness.
    Also, I'd like to tell you that I've ordered The Loar LM-590 from Thomann!
    With a nice SKB case and a set of Sam Bush strings.
    It seems that your answers got me sober in a way. I can't believe that I considered importing the KM252 from across the pond,
    when I could get me this and for less money. As Rustyback said, who knows what good would set up be after such a trip...
    I had a (very short) almost dilemma with the LM-590 or 520. They were similarly priced, but I really prefer the more modest and refined look of the 590.
    I feel I made a good choice.
    Now it's the waiting... Anyone knows a way to make it easier?
    Last edited by LV89; Jun-03-2015 at 6:38am. Reason: writing error

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by LV89 View Post
    Hi, everybody! (Hi, Dr Nick!)
    It's been a while and I was kinda busy.
    I'd like to thank you all for taking time to read my looong question and sharing your experiences and offering advice!
    The possibilities of this kind of discussions on good forums always strike me with their coolness.
    Also, I'd like to tell you that I've ordered The Loar LM-590 from Thomann!
    With a nice SKB case and a set of Sam Bush strings.
    It seems that your answers got me sober in a way. I can't believe that I considered importing the KM252 from across the pond,
    when I could get me this and for less money. As Rustyback said, who knows what good would set up be after such a trip...
    I had a (very short) almost dilemma with the LM-590 or 520. They were similarly priced, but I really prefer the more modest and refined look of the 590.
    I feel I made a good choice.
    Now it's the waiting... Anyone knows a way to make it easier?
    The waiting is truly hard! Well, I recommend lots of researching about your new mandolin, downloading photos, making it it your desktop picture and other ideas. Have fun waiting and anticipating.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    The waiting is truly hard! Well, I recommend lots of researching about your new mandolin, downloading photos, making it it your desktop picture and other ideas. Have fun waiting and anticipating.
    Done it all already! Thanks!

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 vs The Loar LM-170 Help, please!

    Hi everybody!

    My mandolin finally arrived! I wrote (quite) a few words about it in a new thread.
    Thanks for your help!

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