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Thread: Kentucky F style KM950

  1. #1

    Default Kentucky F style KM950

    Hi, I'm looking for information about my Kentucky KM950. It was made in 1985, serial '85704, Allen tail piece, gold colored/mop tuners, with pickup. Saga Music confirmed it was made in '85 in Japan. Multiple internet searches don't turn up any matching vintage instruments. Any idea on the value or how to value?
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  2. #2
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    I'd start out with the price of a new one today.
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  3. #3
    Fatally Flawed willkamm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    Quote Originally Posted by stnkydogs View Post
    Hi, I'm looking for information about my Kentucky KM950. It was made in 1985, serial '85704, Allen tail piece, gold colored/mop tuners, with pickup. Saga Music confirmed it was made in '85 in Japan. Multiple internet searches don't turn up any matching vintage instruments. Any idea on the value or how to value?
    A recent check of EBay final sales showed a KM-1500 1991 Japanese made selling for $1600.00 at auction.
    Gibson F5G (Dave Harvey 01/29/2016)
    Collings MT (2017)
    Johnny Adams Cedar Top Two-point #032 (2009)

    Hohner and Seydel Harmonicas (various keys)

    "Me, Billy and George are two of a kind."

  4. #4
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    You really need to know where your mandolin was placed in the Kentucky hierarchy back in 1985 ie.was it bottom / mid way / top ?.
    I suspect that it was pretty close to the top myself. The KM950 model is now an "A" style,so it would have to be compared to one of the other current Ky.builds.

    Maybe somebody who's been selling Kentucky mandolins for a long while could help with a realistic comparison,
    Ivan
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    An F-Style 950? Never seen one like it, not in person, not for sale, not in any Saga catalog. The '70s catalogs I have don't list it, nor do the later '80s catalogs. Must have been a very limited run. Looks like a Dawg-style tailpiece. Looks like Superior basic case from that era... Saga #3720.
    I hope Robert Fear sees and responds to this thread. I'd like to know about that one too.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    Well, never say never. Found another one for sale on eBay from a seller in Japan. https://www.ebay.com/itm/183556942967
    Asking $1986.00 (Asking ain't getting)
    Maybe that model wasn't offered for sale in U.S.?.
    Last edited by FLATROCK HILL; Dec-07-2018 at 9:30am.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  8. #7

    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    One other bit of info. According to Desert Rose (the final authority on these matters), it was not one of the 'hand-built' models from the Maruko shop. From a 2009 Mandolin Cafe thread:


    "The Maruko workshop built the following models

    km-1000 km- 1500 and Dawg models

    THATS ALL, PERIOD

    NOTHING below km-1000 was ever seen inside the building in any way, end of that discussion

    No matter what you may read or what is posted on the internet THIS IS THE TRUTH and there is no negotiating the facts, the Frets article can not be carved in stone on a few points of historical fact

    Sumi took over sole builder role when the Kentucky project stopped the workshop. He built by himself until late 1992, by early 1993 he was making Sumi brand mandolins and acoustic guitars full time

    Kentucky mandolins are not Sumi mandolins unless they were correctly proven to be made in the late 1980s to 1992 otherwise they were just Kentucky custom shop models

    In no way can any mandolin below km 1000 ever be idintified with Sumi, these mandolins and all the rest below it were made at the Kasuga factory hundreds of miles away in a mass production facility

    While most here know already, Ive lived in Japan since 1986, I met Sumi in 1990 and he is my probablymy closest friend in Japan.

    I manage ALL his affairs regarding building and business outside of Japan"

    Scott
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  9. #8

    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    Wonderful quote, really made my day! Sumi or no Sumi, you're KM-950 looks like a winner to me!
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Dec-07-2018 at 12:30pm.

  10. #9
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    Being built in the 1980s by Kentucky, the OPs mandolin is definitely not top of the line from the standard shop.

    I once owned an 850 built about 1985. Among other appointments, it had an extremely wavy maple back and a fern headstock. In this regard, the 850 was fancier in terms of wood and inlay than the 1000 and 1500 Kentuckys' built during that same period in Sumi's shop. 850s are less common than 1000s from that period, and they usually command a higher value than 1000s of that period. They are often higher in price than even a well preserved 1500 of the same period. Saga once emailed me a catalog from that era that showed the 850 as the top of the line from the standard shop.

    My own guess is that your unlisted 950 was an experiment by the Sumi shop to build a more affordable model. That would explain why it looks to be a slight step down from the 1000 built in the same shop. But because its a major step down from the top of the line 850 built in the other shop, I conclude that the higher model number precludes it from having been made there.

    There are lots of threads on the Cafe discussing the 850, as well as the illogical serial numbering order of Kentucky mandolins built in the 1980s.
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  11. #10
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    It may very well be simply the 'wrong label' placed inside the mandolin. ''More affordable'' models were already being built in the Kasuga factory as Scott Zimmerman explained. We know that Pac-rim mandolin model #s come & go with some frequency - so 'when' did the KM950 model arrive on the scene & was it an "A" or "F" style to begin with.

    Anyway,to try to answer this question,i just e-mailed Scott Zimmerman ( i've been in touch with him before) with a link to this thread,so,we may get 'the' definitive answer - it's odd !!,
    Ivan
    PS -I just got this message - "Your message couldn't be delivered to scott@sugiguitars.com because the remote server is misconfigured. See the technical details below for more information."
    Last edited by Ivan Kelsall; Dec-08-2018 at 6:47am.
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Kentucky F style KM950

    I have a Kentucky KM805 that I traded a $600 guitar for (even trade,) that may give you a rough idea of where to start with valuing. I like my KM805 mainly because it's my only F-style, it sounds good but not great (not Collings, Pava, or Weber quality, but it doesn't pretend to be.)

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