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Thread: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    OK... these are not actually Spy photos.

    Saga sent them to me.

    Saga has finally kicked in F-style production at their sort-of-new hand-carved workshop. We have only seen the KM-750 hit the market so far, but there are quite a few F-Models in the works.

    This is the KM-606, which will be released early 2017. All solid, hand carved, retail price $695. Dealers should have them in February.

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    Robert Fear
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I really am glad I'm not fighting it out in the mandolin marketplace. Good for consumers though. No fancy wood doesn't mean a thing for tone. I'll bet they sell a ton of these.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    It is amazing how fast the quality has been excellerating in the mid to low price ranges. I keep thinking that they can't get any better, but then there are small, steady improvements (2-3 times per year) with major jumps in quality every 3-5 years. Mandolins makers are apparently playing a game of leap frog.
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  7. #4
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Km315

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Saga has finally kicked in F-style production at their sort-of-new hand-carved workshop. We have only seen the KM-750 hit the market so far, but there are quite a few F-Models in the works.

    This is the KM-606, which will be released early 2017. All solid, hand carved, retail price $695. Dealers should have them in February.
    I like that simple understated look. It is hard to tell but from the photo — is it possible that it has a radiused fretboard?
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  11. #6

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    It is speced with a radiused rosewood fingerboard

    The photos look like ebony, but this would be a prototype.
    Robert Fear
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I was thinking that Two Old Hippies would start production of the lower end Webers in China. Looks like Kentucky/Saga beat then to it. This bears quite a visual resemblance to the Weber Gallatin. Looking forward to playing one

  13. #8

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I like it.

  14. #9
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Such a great concept that seems long over due. I remember when I started playing mandolin about ten yrs ago, I was always surprised how most of the builders seemed to go overboard with features, inlays, etc. I didn't get why more people weren't making simpler, more affordable instruments with stripped-down finishes, lack of inlays, etc. I get that many people want this stuff, but there are probably just as many who don't.

    Anyway, nice mandolin, and good luck, Kentucky.
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  16. #10

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Agree with Colorado Al - it has the look of the newer style Weber Gallatin. They should sell well as long as they sound good. Kentucky are producing some very nice stuff at a decent price.

  17. #11

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I do think that this will be a great seller once word is out. The street price is going to put this right in a sweet spot with only a couple of competitors. With the KM-150 as an example, I would say the lower models from the new workshop are sounding quite good.


    I thought of the Gallatin when I first saw it as well! I don't see it topping the Gallatin from a quality standpoint, but with the street pricing being around 1/5th-1/6th the Gallatin, it will be hard to ignore!
    Robert Fear
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  18. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Subtitled, "Kentucky Discovers the F-9." Or the Gallatin. At made-in-Asia prices.

    Robert, could you give your opinion of how this would stack up against an Eastman MD-315? Pretty close to the same price point, right?
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  19. #13

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I haven't had a chance to see this in person yet, though I do have the new KM-750 and KM-756:




    I imagine it will be similar to these. Right now the MD315 doesn't have a lot of competition until you bump up in price.

    In this case I think a lot of it will come down to personal preference.

    Slightly slimmer neck on the Eastman (string spacing basically the same). Smaller frets on the Eastman. Both are radiused. Possibly, slightly better tuners on the Kentucky.

    I can almost guarantee the Kentucky will have the more dry Bluegrass voicing (all the current F-hole models do), where Eastman's do their own modern tone thing. Fit and finish... well, this is where Eastman rules. I don't see anyone catching Eastman anytime soon when it comes to fit and finish at the price point.

    What will make it interesting is that this KM-606 will have a significantly lower street price than the MD315. Especially with the Kentucky pricing we sometimes see at the big box stores.

    I had a long talk with Don Moser (product manager for Kentucky) a couple of weeks back. The new workshop is doing well. This has been going since 2012 when they introduced the new version of the KM-150. We slowly saw all of the A model production move there. And now the first F-Models are in full swing. This is important because Saga now has full control of Kentucky Mandolin production, where there were third parties involved before.

    There will be several more Kentucky F-models (with color variations) released in 2017.

    These are currently in the works:

    1. KM-650
    2. KM-656
    3. KM-752
    4. KM-850
    5. KM-855

    Thats all I should say for now.
    Robert Fear
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  21. #14
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    I like that there's a NOT Sunburst option.
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I like that there's a NOT Sunburst option.
    Why would you like a lack of an option, if you didn't want it it is an option

  24. #16
    Registered User MiG-19's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Sweet!
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  25. #17

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    It is amazing how fast the quality has been excellerating in the mid to low price ranges. I keep thinking that they can't get any better, but then there are small, steady improvements (2-3 times per year) with major jumps in quality every 3-5 years. Mandolins makers are apparently playing a game of leap frog.
    I believe a lot of builders have moved to CNC for at least the rough carving and PLEK for fretwork. That increases consistency, speeds production and lowers costs. As time goes on, small improvements in the programming will show up as improvements in the instruments as you mention.
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  26. #18
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    If it sounds half as nice as it looks, it should be a great seller.

    This is exactly why my standard answer to the newbie posting the "what's the best mandolin for $x" is for them to call the site sponsors and ask what they have. Just because you bought a nice mandolin a year or two ago doesn't always mean that there's not a better deal in the stores now.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  27. #19
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Wow... looks nice to me, just like the Eastman MD315 IMO.... What is the case like? Or does it come in a gig bag?
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  28. #20

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Kentucky only bundles cases with the KM-1500 and higher. Any cases you see included with other Kentucky Models are being added by the dealer.
    Robert Fear
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  29. #21
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Caleb, a lot of professional pickers wanted the fancy designs so they would be noticed while on stage, gold plated instruments with fancy inlays and a sunburst finish was the "In thing" years ago, Martin guitars were made looking pretty simple and then they came out with the D-41`s and D-45`s to show all of the fancy inlays etc...I agree that it don`t do a thing for the sound and if instruments were just made without all of those fancy options they could be sold a lot less expensive...In my guitar playing days I played a D-45 and got a lot of attention from the people in the audience , not for the sound but for the looks, same as when I was playing my Gibson Loar copy. people loved the looks, not may people really know what a "good" sound is but they know what looks good, hence the reason for all of the gaudy clothes that the stars wore in the 50`s through the 70`s...

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  31. #22
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Robert,

    Thank you for posting this...it looks like something I can refer beginning students seeking an 'F' model to.

    Any idea what tuning machines those are? I notice that they're worm-over as well (no biggie).
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  32. #23

    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    Nick,

    The tuners are not branded, but they should be of acceptable quality.
    Robert Fear
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  34. #24
    Registered User Robert Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    So Robert Fear,,,,what is your overall evaluation of the KM750 series,,
    tone,,,vol.,, fit & finish,,fret size,,,playability??Really appreciate your input..
    thanks,,,
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  35. #25
    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spy Photos - New Bare-Bones Kentucky F Mandolin

    As an appreciator of a no-frills aesthetic, that KM 606 is right in my wheelhouse (my dream is a Gibson F9, but that ain't happenin' unless I hit the lottery). Are we still looking at February for it being available in stores? Also, is this something likely to show up at the big box stores, like GC? I'm trying to figure out where I might be able to play one of these before purchase.

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