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

  1. #26
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Count me in the "unimpressed with the color" camp...
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  2. #27

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

    i don't get that auto-fender-repair-black-bondo look on a mandolin. what's the point? spraying some opaque goop over wood grain, most ANY wood grain, is a sacrilege of sorts in my book. just butt ugly. YMMV.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  3. #28

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

    A few good things I like about that mando, it's light with a thin finish (my Weber is very light and sounds fantastic), the price, the radius fret board & no Florida extension. I could defiantly live with the finish color and defects if it plays and sounds good, maybe a perfect 2nd mando you won't have to worry about getting banged up giging with or Jamming. Dose anybody have any specs on it ? I checked the Saga site and they don't even show that mando.

  4. #29

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

    if i wanted a second (or fifth) mando i'd get an lm-310f, pop in a set of jjb prestige-220 transducers and be good to go. oh wait, i did.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  5. #30
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Wow. I'm surprised that no one decided to deride the scroll, because that is usually the default target for the critics on the Cafe. Funny how some builders can go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of the box and everyone is cool about it (Monteleone and Sorenson come to mind among others) while others are far less embraced (Rigel quickly comes to mind). Now here comes Kentucky/Saga, a company that by all accounts has dramatically improved their lower-end line with increased build quality, with an unheard of product/price point combo, and people want to ding them for eschewing a more standard color scheme? Really? I just don't get it. Kudos to Kentucky/Saga for being responsive to the marketplace...at least those beyond the purview of the Tradition Uber Alles division of the B-G Police. I hope they sell like hotcakes.
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  7. #31

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

    there are four prime things to consider about most types of instruments - playability, sound, aesthetics, cost. if the instrument in question plays and sounds like the angels on high, that should be all that matters ... unless there's a personally subjective cosmetic objection, like spray painting a mando hot pink or auto body filler black/gray/brown. for $600, i don't want a mud mando. that's all there is to that and clearly the mileage of some folks sure do vary. nothing wrong with that, either. vive la difference.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  8. #32
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I feeel a little out of step with most people here as it loooks very attractivvee to me. I have three Kentuckys and am a big fan of the brand. At that price I'll bee keeping my eyes open for one to try out. Full black doesn't really do it for me and that colour looks quite distinctive. The overall style also stands out to my eyes as something both unique and retaining a traditional feel. Hope they sell enough to create a ggood secondd hand availability.

  9. #33
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    As someone who started this mandolin journey almost 60 years ago, I find it hard to criticize just on looks. Learning to play on a mandolin that played like barbed wire stretched on a 2 by 4 and sounded about the same looks weren't important. I know that was then and now is now but a inexpensive F stlye, if it plays and sounds good, who cares about some sanding marks?

  10. #34
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I'll drop this back in as counterpoint, maybe it will bring up some enhanced discussion points about this...

    Personally, as an owner of an early F-9 and as an owner of another manufacturer's low cost Pacific Rim solid wood carved F-style mandolin -- and to be fair, as someone who hasn't touched a 606 yet -- I think the visual original F-9 comparison with the original 606 is actually a fair comparison.

    In both cases we have respected manufacturers who were and are trying to to break the low-end price points for their range of mandolin models. And in both cases we do see some similar price-cutting efforts.

    Both appear at least outwardly and by specifications to be well made with accepted standard design features for what could be respectable sounding solid wood carved F-style mandolins.

    Both appear to have had less time invested in finish, but not necessarily less time invested in fit.

    Both have the potential to carry a good setup and excellent playability and the potential to produce good-to excellent tone and volume.

    And both have the player community interest and potential (and the F-9 has proven) to produce a major impact on the low end of the price range for each manufacturer.

    The big questions for the 606 are tone, volume and over time, consistency. Although Robert has answered the tone and volume questions to some extent, I would imagine the first civilian owners of these instruments will provide much more data about that. And as with the F-9, the consistency question is one that can only be answered as we watch the model evolve through the years.

    As an owner of another very low cost Pacific Rim solid wood carved F-style mandolin by a different manufacturer, an owner who has taken the time to set it up nearly identically to my 2002 F-9 and has compared it detail-for-detail in a good light with that F-9, I'd say don't underestimate the ability of the Pacific Rim manufacturers to challenge the big name manufacturers in the USA.

    If a standard design solid wood carved F-style mandolin is mass produced with limited hand finish work, the price and the name on the peghead may not represent that much difference when it comes to tone, volume and playability.
    -- Don

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  11. #35

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

    Cool looking Axe! Sound clip! Sound clip! 😉

  12. #36

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    As someone who started this mandolin journey almost 60 years ago, I find it hard to criticize just on looks. Learning to play on a mandolin that played like barbed wire stretched on a 2 by 4 and sounded about the same looks weren't important. I know that was then and now is now but a inexpensive F stlye, if it plays and sounds good, who cares about some sanding marks?
    your post is interesting from several perspectives.

    newbies to any stringed instrument are at a supreme disadvantage if the instrument either can't play well or can't be made to play well. "well" means action and intonation, first and foremost, but can also include form (size and shape). this is where most newbies are apt to fail without proper guidance and instrument assistance.

    "looks" are cosmetic aesthetics of color and form. "inexpensive" guitars (bottom feeder squiers and other asian "junkers") and mandolins (that $50 rogue "junker") can, for the most part, be made into functioning players, though sound/tone may be anything from "ok" to "ack!".

    sound IS important somewhere down the line, but playability almost always should trump sound. having both is a goal that's reasonably easy to attain. seeking proper guidance is what's needed.

    attempting to play, and improve chops on a barbed wire 2x4 is, well, a huge but common newbie mistake.

    fully excluding the opaque "stealth" spray paint aesthetics, a $600 box with a pizz poor excuse of a finish that includes sanding marks? seriously?? may be fine for others, but totally not for my money.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  13. #37

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

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    ... As an owner of another very low cost Pacific Rim solid wood carved F-style mandolin by a different manufacturer, an owner who has taken the time to set it up nearly identically to my 2002 F-9 and has compared it detail-for-detail in a good light with that F-9, I'd say don't underestimate the ability of the Pacific Rim manufacturers to challenge the big name manufacturers in the USA. ...
    spot on, sir.

    never judge a book by its cover.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

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  15. #38
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Don't think that saying I don't like the finish color, is the same as "dissing" the mandolin. It may be an excellent value for the price, and I do appreciate any effort to produce an affordable solid-wood, carved F-model, given the oft-expressed preference of mandolinists for the scroll and points.

    I do find the somber gray-ish color off-putting, but that's personal taste. I'd have preferred a natural finish; I'm not a big fan of the brown finishes of the Eastman "300's" or the Gibson F-9 either. Would I have liked chartreuse or magenta? Hey, whip one up, Kentucky, and I'll give you an opinion.

    Having said that, I wish Kentucky all kinds of success; the more the merrier, and a $500 (discounted) carved, solid-wood F-model that's not over-built, over-finished, and sounds decent, is a welcome addition.

    Just wish it weren't, well, gray...
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  17. #39
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    As an owner of an Gibson A Jr. in the brown finish, I have no problem with the look. Martin is having good luck with the -17 series with a matte black finish and a rough hewn look.

    Now, if they had it as an A style with an oval hole, then I'd probably need to hide the credit card.

    Hope this is a successful model.
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  18. #40
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Hmmm, that is an interesting angle about a black (or very dark) finish.

    I have a friend with a nice black bodied Martin D40 that played in an impromptu band at a small town fair with us hot one summer day. We were mostly in the shade, but as the sun set it shined pretty hard on that D40 top. The top got warm enough that the glue let loose on the top's middle seam and it started to pull apart. He lowered string pressure, clamped the top downward to keep it together and got it cooled down, but not before the seam was separated enough to put a permanent and visible glue line following that seam through the lower bout. It's been touched up but it won't ever look like new again.

    Black and dark finishes do heat up in sunlight, just like anything else does. Gotta watch that.

    Robert, what is the finish made of on the 606?
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
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  19. #41
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I echo the sentiments above about action and intonation being way more important than looks on entry level mandolins. I think every acoustic guitar I had for the first 15 years of playing sucked in at least one of those categories. And my first mandolin was almost unplayable due to the action. To top it off, one of the tuners was bent, and the rest were very hard to turn. Talk about a bad combo.

    I don't think the color would be my first choice if there was a natural wood finished model next to it to choose from, but I'd still buy it if that was the only color it came in. Kinda reminds me of an industrial strength mandolin.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  20. #42

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

    forgetting sound/tone entirely, spending more than a few minutes, let alone over a decade, with an instrument that had issues with playability makes absolutely no sense (at the very least). what a waste of time.

    imho, a newbie to fretted instruments is best served acquiring professional assistance in making their first acquisition selection. sound/tone is not all that important, for starters. better to start with a very low priced box that has playability tweakability, saving a bundle that'd be used towards a pro instrument somewhere down the road.

    lots depends on a person's disposable cash, and perhaps buying a 606 is chump change to some. the bottom line is that playability is 100% objective, whilst the aesthetics and dollars spent are truly subjective. ymmv.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  21. #43
    Registered User Ausdoerrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Certainly looks "different", but after looking at the close-ups on the site, it's actually not half-bad, IMO.

    Now the big question, of course, is how it sounds. If it sounds great, I'd say it may well be painted in Hello-Kitty neon-pink burst :D
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  22. #44

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

    I like it. If they sound and play well, I'd like to remove the finish from the back. I like the black top, light back motif.

  23. #45
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Greenspoon View Post
    Wow. I'm surprised that no one decided to deride the scroll, because that is usually the default target for the critics on the Cafe. Funny how some builders can go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of the box and everyone is cool about it (Monteleone and Sorenson come to mind among others) while others are far less embraced (Rigel quickly comes to mind). Now here comes Kentucky/Saga, a company that by all accounts has dramatically improved their lower-end line with increased build quality, with an unheard of product/price point combo, and people want to ding them for eschewing a more standard color scheme? Really? I just don't get it. Kudos to Kentucky/Saga for being responsive to the marketplace...at least those beyond the purview of the Tradition Uber Alles division of the B-G Police. I hope they sell like hotcakes.
    As one of the color "haters," (sic) I was surprised by your comment as well. We buy our instruments for many reasons...sound, design, esthetics, finish, affordability, etc. Any one or more of those (and others not mentioned) will serve as a "filter" in making a choice. We have members here who strongly promote one of the least expensive mandolins on the market, and others who revel in the most expensive of instruments. Reading through the Builder's Forum, we can find lots of experimentation with finish, and an equal discussion and reaction to those approaches. Finish is one of my filters. The thing can play like butter, sound like a Lloyd Loar Gibson, and be affordable as a Rogue. But if it isn't attractive to my eye, its not going to get my attention or dollars. Others love the finish. I don't think less of them. Robert shared what he knew, and we are all sharing our reactions. Kentucky should find this useful. Bluegrass police? Nah. Personal taste.
    Last edited by Russ Donahue; May-22-2017 at 9:08am. Reason: wanted to highlight the irony in the use of the word "hater" as I never said I hated it.
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  25. #46

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

    the aesthetics of instruments can all too easily affect playing (not playability). it's a mind game kinda thing. also akin to MAS and the need to constantly remind others of the boxes in their stable.
    Mandolins are truly *magic*!

  26. #47

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

    Great feedback so far! I had several conversations about these with the Saga crew this year and am sure I will be talking to them again now that these are actually out. One take away, was that cannibalization is a serious concern and that is part of the reason that they did not plan to release it to all dealers. This is the second new Kentucky F-style we have seen. The first was the 750 series. Higher model 600 series are in the works and we should also see an 800 series soon.

    To change the color and do some more sanding buffing, shouldn't be a problem, but I can see where they also don't want to make this look too nice and have it eat into the higher models, doing more harm than good.

    Robert, what is the finish made of on the 606?
    These are lacquer (not nitro).

    Certainly looks "different", but after looking at the close-ups on the site, it's actually not half-bad, IMO.
    I did take a look at it in different light to see how accurate the pics were. They are pretty close. Note, I did emphasize the sanding marks to be sure it was quite apparent. These are not so obnoxious in person.

    I do believe, they will need to change the finish to make this one competitive. I am just not sure they want it to be a runaway success.
    Robert Fear
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  28. #48
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I certainly get that they don't want it to eat into the sales of their higher models. But should it be so ugly no one would want to buy it? Is this sort of a loss leader type thing, where you go into the store looking for this and leave with something more expensive? I hope not. I would rather see it with a pleasing color finish and minimalist everything else. There will be those who prefer that and those who want more bling.

    I would compare it to the heyday of the "Kentucky" long rifle (it should actually be called the Pennsylvania long rifle). The stocks were often made of spectacular flame maple (the gunsmiths called it "fiddleback"). Did the fancy ones shoot any better? No. But the reason the gunsmiths used the fancy wood is that, given the choice, the buyers would choose the fancy one every time, and they were willing to pay more. They have nothing to worry about in terms of the bare bones model operating into the other sales, IMHO.
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  30. #49
    Registered User Jeff Budz's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Kentucky KM-606 mandolins are in the wild!

    I love the color on the top, would prefer to see a little more grain on the back and sides, but overall it's a really cool looking mandolin in my opinion. I know I'm not typical, but I am really tired of 99% of the mandolins out there having the same sunburst color scheme. Can't wait for my orange Phoenix to arrive this August!!

  31. #50

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

    Don,

    I would fully agree with you, if not for seeing the power of the KM-150. It has taken a major toll on sales of the mid-tier Kentucky's. The threads here on the Cafe reflect this. How often do you hear about the KM-250 and KM-505 now. In the past, the KM-505 was a major player. The new 250/505 are much nicer than the last generation, yet they are now in the shadow of the KM-150.

    Granted, The KM-150 does have the standard finish and appointments, whereas this KM-606 is not directly competing with the look of the higher models. I can't help but think this was taken into consideration when the model was in the planning stages.
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