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Thread: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

  1. #1

    Default New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Some of you may remember this being announced last year with an ETA of early 2017. Well, we all know how that goes and here it is mid-2017!

    Anyway, the first shipments of the new KM-606 are on their way to dealers now. I just took what may be the first pics of one of these in the wild.

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    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

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

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Robert,
    Is that their stealth model?

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  5. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Boy, am I not attracted by the color. Black or slate gray?
    Allen Hopkins
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    They should have completed the look with an ebony fret board and black hardware!

    I am definitely with Allen on this one. What were they thinking? Looks like someone bought a can of black Rustoleum and brushed it on. Seriously, those look like brush marks on the picture of the back. Sad thing is, it looks like there's some half decent figure on the back desperately trying to show through that awful black paint.
    Last edited by multidon; May-18-2017 at 6:25pm.

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    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Well, I can't make a full assessment from looking at those pictures on my phone, but I'm digging the aesthetic -- clearly they're going for a Gibson F9 vibe, and I think it's pretty close.

    Most important question: what's the price?

  9. #6

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Here is the thread with photos of what I presume was the prototype:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...13#post1537213

    The photos Robert posted today remind me a little of the Weber Gallatin. Anyway, I was playing my KM-150 for a couple of hours tonight, and if these sound as good and play as well as that, then I would be sold. I love the stripped down look.
    Last edited by Franc Homier Lieu; May-18-2017 at 8:51pm.

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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    A murdered out mandolin. Didn't see that coming.

  11. #8

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Stealth model, I like it!

    I admit to being a bit surprised when I pulled it out of the box!

    It does have some brown to it. It is a little translucent under light, but in dim conditions, the photos are accurate.

    Seriously, those look like brush marks on the picture of the back.
    ...sanding marks. They didn't fine sand this. I reflected light on the back to try to show this.

    Sad thing is, it looks like there's some half decent figure on the back desperately trying to show through that awful black paint.
    haha. At first I was wondering if the wood was poor grade, but in the light it isn't bad at all.

    The photos Robert posted today remind me a little of the Weber Gallatin.
    That was actually my impression! It does have a resemblance.

    -------
    I could have made this look a little better in photos and may add some in better lighting, but I really wanted buyers to be pleasantly surprised versus the alternative!

    For the record, I am with the majority here. It isn't my favorite as far as cosmetics go.

    That said, the other thing I instantly noticed is that this is a very light mandolin. It is far from overbuilt, the finish is thin and my initial strum on it (while it was sort of tuned up) says, it may be the new low cost F-style leader as far as tone goes. The basic build quality is good. Tuners are better than I expected. The bridge appears to be the same thing used on the master models.

    Most important question: what's the price?
    This is where it gets interesting. I guess my take is that it is a nice entry into the price point that is mostly dominated by pressed/dipped in poly F-styles. This sure does present a "unique" alternative!

    List is $695.00 There should be the standard discounted street prices. One other thing is that these are only available to select Kentucky dealers, so they may not be wide spread.
    Robert Fear
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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I think it's cool. After all, does the world really need yet another sunburst F-style mandolin?
    ...

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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I quite like it,but it's not quite 'black enough' for me - although i could be pursuaded !. IMHO - it's nice to have something out of the ordinary come along every now & then,just for the relief !. As Caleb says above - who needs yet another mandolin that looks like all the rest (i don't mean that quite as it sounds). We do like 'sunbursts' etc.,but i'd be very happy sitting behind one of those - as long as it sounded good,
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    This instrument is interesting at this price point. I hope that Kentucky introduces an oval hole instrument in their artist line.

  17. #12
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Well, I can honestly say, definitely not for me. I see what Kentucky is trying to do, and where they are trying to compete. But I feel like some poor decisions were made here. My major turn off is those sanding marks. Some have compared it to the Weber Gallatin. Pray, would somebody please show me a Weber Gallatin with sanding marks like that? Bruce would have been embarrassed to death if something like that left his shop. If that's what they were going for, why not a brown that would show the wood more? The success of the Eastman 315 shows that it doesn't have to be sunburst to sell. More than the Gallatin, I think it would be fair to say this model is going up against the Eastman 315, at approximately the same price point, perhaps a little lower. But the Eastman has brown finish, figured wood that actually shows, and great build quality. Some finish flaws sometimes, but no sanding marks I can see. Roberts points about build quality, sound, and inferior instruments at the same price point are well taken. But I do care what an instrument looks like. Life is too short to play an ugly instrument, I always say! Some say, the sound is the thing. Yes, but why can't you have good sound and pleasing aesthetics, both? Not my cup of tea, but of course it may be yours. If so, enjoy.
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  18. #13

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I like it, but I suspect it's one of those novelty looks that you get tired of after a week. Also, expect it to look like this after a day of playing:

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  19. #14
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    If they were going for a F9 look, why didn't they just do it? I think they would have interested a lot more buyers. I'm talking bout the finish color.

    To me this says, "We were going for the F9 look, but we made it a completely different color so people won't think we were going for an F9 look."

  20. #15
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I have no real issue with the color, but don't understand the sanding marks!

  21. #16
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    +1 on not understanding the sanding marks and definitely not liking the color.

    However, maybe someone will like that rough, unfinished sanding, look? That's the beauty of so many different designs, someone is bound to love it.
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  22. #17
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    ...My major turn off is those sanding marks. Some have compared it to the Weber Gallatin. Pray, would somebody please show me a Weber Gallatin with sanding marks like that? Bruce would have been embarrassed to death if something like that left his shop...
    Yeah, but I can't show you a Gallatin with a $695 manufacturer's list price, either. The Kentucky is a lower-range F-model mandolin, competing with the Rover RM-75, the Eastman MD-315, similar instruments. It seems to be a big jump over the poly-dipped lower-end Washburns, MK's, Epiphones etc.; I'd be interested in putting it up against the new Fender model this current thread discusses.

    Given the popularity of F-models, we should applaud any manufacturer's attempt to add an affordable entry into the field. Still, I can't get by that color. To me, darker solid-color finishes are indicators of trying to hide inferior wood selection; may be unfair, but I still remember a 1970's Martin D-18 I saw, where the top grain took an abrupt "left turn" halfway up the upper bout. Martin put a sunburst finish on it, semi-successfully concealing the top defect, or at least distracting from it.

    Anyway, I wish Kentucky success making a quality affordable F-model, and eagerly await the "gold top" I'm sure they'll add...
    Allen Hopkins
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  23. #18

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I don't look down (price wise) from my Loar and whenever my mind wanders and I find myself looking up (through the classifieds) I picture a nice, solid, almost-affordable-but-not-quite-and-most-assuredly-not-right-now, Gibson F9. The two photos of the prototype in Robert's "Spy Photos" post look better than the matt black stain in the final version. Batman springs to mind.

  24. #19
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    There are a number of similarities with the F-9. I'd compare the sanding marks on the 606 with the rough-sanded neck joint areas under and around the fret board end on the early (~2002) F-9 models. I typically generously call this type of feature "rustic", but compared to many mandolins it is just unfinished.

    For both the 606 and the F-9, the instrument can still sound and play great, and from 10 feet it looks great, but it isn't something you'd want to compare close-up to a boutique mandolin or even to some of the other, more high end mandolins by the same manufacturer.
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  25. #20
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I'm really digging the look of this. I think people are trying too hard to compare (rather unfairly) this low-priced mandolin to much more expensive ones. Seriously, comparing this to a Weber or Gibson F-9....really?

    As far as Eastman, never really cared for their looks or sound, and I really enjoy my KM-950 and my 272. Funny how everyone likes different things huh?

    Give Weber a call and ask them to build an F style mandolin to this one's specs and see how close in price they are...
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  26. #21
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Ok, so maybe comparing this to a Gallatin or an F9 isn't fair. I didn't start that though. Would a comparison to an Eastman 315 be fair? Kentucky 606, list 695, street price? (Is that with or without a case, Robert?). Eastman 315, street price 699 with a gig bag. I've seen more than a few 315s. They have no sanding marks like I see in Robert's pictures. The finish often has tiny flaws like tiny bubbles and such. The workmanship around the scroll is a bit rustic at times. But they use a semi transparent finish that lets the figure of the wood show through. I also know the Eastman shop has a reputation for doing a great deal of work by hand in a workshop setting, while Kentucky uses various "factories", changing them from time to time for a variety of reasons. Not trying to bash Kentucky; I have played many that have impressed me, and owned one at one point. Still, I think those two models represent a fair comparison. The only thing we can compare at this point is appearance, and of the two I definitely strongly prefer the look of the Eastman.
    Don

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  27. #22

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Would a comparison to an Eastman 315 be fair?
    Not based on price. These will be available at prices below the MD315.

    The $695 list is without a case. It is hard to say what the street prices will be. I may be the first to get one. Eastern US dealers should be getting them by the end of next week. I am reluctant to throw numbers out, but around $500 depending on which dealers get them. This prices it below practically every other fully hand-carved F model.

    The competition is more the Rover RM-75 and The Loar LM-520. The question is, how will it do in the market up against the huge amount of better looking pressed mandolins? I'll bet, as a whole, not so well. There should be enough interest though.
    Robert Fear
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  29. #23

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Shoulda gone for Vantablack. It's so black you can't see little defects on the surface. Would've been somewhat more expensive though I imagine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vantablack

  30. #24
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Hello, new member here. The new KM 606 may be made for folks like me. I am a regular at bluegrass festivals and jams and have seen all of the weather extremes that can damage a valuable instrument. I have an '88 Flatiron Performer A that I've owned for nearly 15 years. I'm overly protective of it, so I cringe when the weather outside is too hot or too cold. If the KM 606 sounds as well as other new Kentucky mandos I've heard, then I'll be in the market soon. I'm anxious to hear some reviews about their sound. I don't expect to see one in the music stores around here, I'll have to depend on the internet for info. Tone is the first priority, appearance is not important. The price is certainly attractive!

    Rick

  31. #25

    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Keep in mind these are early examples, and I would expect QC to tighten up on something like he sanding issue. Point is, they have blown the price point for a solid F style right out of the water,and if it is KM 150 or better in sound quality, they will sell a ton. Yes, you can add this or that to make it nicer, but you can do that all the way to master built land.

    May also turn out to be the campfire mando of choice.
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