Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Trying to make a modest leap...

  1. #1

    Default Trying to make a modest leap...

    I've been playing for almost two years, using a $180 Old Hickory FC100. While an ok starter mandolin, I've finally reached the level where the instrument is holding me back - plus I regularly hear (and feel) its inadequacies. Need to move up, but am limited to $1000ish range.
    'Been driving up and down I-5 looking at Eastmans and Loars (about all that's available). What I'm noticing on various web clips are the Kentucky KM1000 and Kentucky KM756. Both seem like a logical transition up... just wish I could play one.
    So am seeking a perception check: clearly I'm done with the Hickory, but when I play Eastmans and Loars I just don't see the quality leap I expect going from $180 to $1000. Are the two Kentucky models more what a "former novice, current ambitious learner" would look for?
    I play some covers, but a lot of original stuff... somewhere between bluegrass and "americana"... whatever that means at this point.
    Yes, I know the KM1000 is far over $1000... hence the KM756.

    thanks...

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    As you get closer to the $1000 range, the Eastmans and Loars do get better in quality, I can't say the same for the Kentucky or Washburns.
    My first "upgrade" was to an $800 Washburn, but alas I soon found that mando wanting in tone and volume.
    Did you try Jbovier? I recently played one at a jam that I was very impressed with.
    if you see a used Rigel (not the knock off)- even the A models - I always thought those were great mandos.

    having limited exposure before you purchase is always challenging, so if you need a return policy, best going with a dealer or store, otherwise there are a lot of great used mandos out there for well under 1K.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  3. The following members say thank you to tmsweeney for this post:


  4. #3
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,226

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    If you watch the classifieds here you should be able to get a used Kentucky KM-1000 for around $1,000. They're nice mandolins.

  5. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to sgarrity For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Pacific NW, slightly outside BC
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    You could drive up the 5 to my hood and go to Dusty strings, but I think that's not waht you're talking about.

    As a Kentucky 900 owner that upgraded to .080/.043 size frets, I would recommend talking to Mandolin store Phoenix or Folkmusician about 950's and 1050's used models (I think they would take it an instrument back if you decided the sound/playability wasn't for you but ask about that).
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, looking for next one
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    Stage1 pedal steel, some banjos and a dobro don't get played too much

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass, single/double reeds

  7. #5

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    For $1000 or $1200 you could probably buy a silver angel and be done with it.
    Loar LM-370

  8. The following members say thank you to DocT for this post:


  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Cordesville SC
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    First, welcome to the cafe. I'm with you on the quality leap thing. I have noticed that as I improve, I can make an eastman sound better than I used to, if you know what I mean.

    I see many good used ones here on the classifieds for that price:
    Older Breedlove
    Silverangel
    Maybe a Flatiron or an older Kentucky?

    And if you would indulge me, a Morris A-style will change your life.

  10. #7
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,226

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    See classifieds now!

  11. #8

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    $1200 and a little patience will get you a Silverangel A or a Weber Galatin from the classifieds. This is sure to get you what you want to hear.

    If you have to stick to 1k budget, I agree, jump to the classifieds now, an don't think about it. A good 80% of your ideal is there to be had.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  12. The following members say thank you to Br1ck for this post:


  13. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    If you happen onto a used Kentucky KM805 (they are not made new anymore AFAIK,) they are an improvement, I got mine for $600. But I know what you are saying about expecting a significant improvement between $180 and $1000. Good luck in your hunt.

  14. The following members say thank you to LadysSolo for this post:


  15. #10
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    590

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  16. #11
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    803

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    My personal preference puts the Kentucky 900 and 1000 line well ahead of any of the Eastman and The Loar mandolins I've played. I recently had (briefly) a superb KM900 that was a much better mandolin than the price would suggest. I think I paid $750 out of these classifieds for it. I do think the 900 and 1000 lines are a step up from the lower levels even amongst Kentucky branded mandolins.

  17. #12
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,711

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    If you keep your eyes on the classifieds, you can occasionally find a nice domestic A5 in that price range. A few weeks ago, there was a Gibson A9 listed. This week, a Summit A5 was available very briefly. Tonight, there is a Flatiron Performer:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/142521#142521
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  18. The following members say thank you to pheffernan for this post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Many thanks. Will look into Jbovier. And yes, living 120+miles from the nearest large city really limits the hands-on.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    As you get closer to the $1000 range, the Eastmans and Loars do get better in quality, I can't say the same for the Kentucky or Washburns.
    My first "upgrade" was to an $800 Washburn, but alas I soon found that mando wanting in tone and volume.
    Did you try Jbovier? I recently played one at a jam that I was very impressed with.
    if you see a used Rigel (not the knock off)- even the A models - I always thought those were great mandos.

    having limited exposure before you purchase is always challenging, so if you need a return policy, best going with a dealer or store, otherwise there are a lot of great used mandos out there for well under 1K.

  20. #14

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Outstanding - thanks for the recommendations. Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    You could drive up the 5 to my hood and go to Dusty strings, but I think that's not waht you're talking about.

    As a Kentucky 900 owner that upgraded to .080/.043 size frets, I would recommend talking to Mandolin store Phoenix or Folkmusician about 950's and 1050's used models (I think they would take it an instrument back if you decided the sound/playability wasn't for you but ask about that).

  21. #15

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    ha, ok, I'm up to a life changing mandolin - thanks !

    - - - Updated - - -

    Whoa! Thank you!

  22. #16

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Ok - thanks. Appreciate it.

  23. #17

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    I'm gonna say going from a $150ish instrument to a $1kish instrument is a big leap. You won't be disappointed if you get a good one, and that's what the folks are here to help with. :-)

    Also, curious what inadequacies you are feeling. Playability can be had on almost any instument with proper setup.

    What I am getting at is if you get a new instrument and there are still things holding you back, they likely can be fixed. I am a gear-head in that regard (not the only one of course), and freely refret to different fret sizes, recut nuts to adjust action and string spacing, and adjust bridges until I get the feel I want, not to mention the more usual string and pick choices.

    I guess I am saying you can pick an instrument primarily for it's sound, almost anything else can be fixed, although it is nice to get close to what you want to start with.
    Last edited by kurth83; Aug-02-2019 at 12:23am.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  24. #18
    Registered User Mike Arakelian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Eastern N.C.
    Posts
    617

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Absolutely check the classifieds right NOW. There is a Kentucky 1000 and a Flatiron Performer A both for $950 (nfi). Both are excellent mandolins spot on your budget. Good luck.
    2007 Sumi F-5 Deluxe
    1991 Flatiron Performer A
    Martin D-35

  25. #19
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,171

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    Dude/Dudette: Get the Flatiron already. The Kentucky is probably a very nice instrument as well, but I don't think you can wrong with a Flatiron and you should be able to resell it easily if you want.

  26. #20

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    A few years ago, I bought a Kentucky KM-1000 used for $800, and it has been a good one.

  27. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Trying to make a modest leap...

    I agree with a lot of the comments - Flat Iron Performer over Kentucky or Eastman or Loar.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •