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Thread: Narrowed it down to three

  1. #1
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    Default Narrowed it down to three

    Hi all,

    I'm so glad to find this forum.

    I saw on MusiciansFriend that I can get an interest-free for four years for mandos over $500 for the next couple of weeks. I love this and have done this many times with other guitars.

    I've narrowed it down to three:
    Kentucky KM-508 Artist A-Model,
    The Loar LM-520 traditional f-model, or
    Epiphone MM-40L which is an f-type with an oval sound hole.
    OR if there is an incredible intermediate mando I should look at beyond these...

    What would you get? They are all comparable price-wise. I'm still learning on the mandolin but have been playing guitar for 40 years. I would be mostly using it for fun: home recording and playing with friends. I'm not a Musicians friend fan but to pay $15 a month over time is a great deal. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Just plan on getting someone to set it up. If you think you can do it yourself get Rob Meldrums book on setting up the mandolin. You can PM him here and it is free. You can search the forum for his guide. A mandolin does NOT setup like a guitar so beware of that. Most guitar techs don't properly know how to set up a mandolin.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  4. #3
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Those are good terms on the purchase!

    Quote Originally Posted by DevinG View Post
    What would you get?
    Kentucky KM-508 Artist A-Mode
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    I second the Kentucky as per Mark.
    And as per pops1 do not depend upon a guitar tech to set it up. Usually under a $100.00 depending upon where you live.
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Harley Benton A style (grandchildren's learner)

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    Registered User Trey Young's Avatar
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Another vote for the Kentucky.

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  10. #6
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Dittos here, I prefer any Kentucky model over both The Loar and Epiphone.

    The Loar used to be good quality but I'm not a fan of the more recent ones.
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Kentucky

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks pops1,
    I'm in Southern California. I would likely get it set up at McCabes in Santa Monica. Anyone have a So Cal set up recommend? I will definitely reach out to Rob Meldrums. Do you know his user name here?
    Thanks again!
    devin

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Just plan on getting someone to set it up. If you think you can do it yourself get Rob Meldrums book on setting up the mandolin. You can PM him here and it is free. You can search the forum for his guide. A mandolin does NOT setup like a guitar so beware of that. Most guitar techs don't properly know how to set up a mandolin.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks everyone! I will likely go with the Kentucky. If anyone in Southern California has a recommendation of where to get a set up please let me know. I will also reach out to Rob Meldrums for his set up guide. Thanks for your thoughts.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    I had both Kentucky and Loar, I found The Loar sounded and played better.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks, Richard G.

    Which models did you go with in this comparison?
    Best,
    devin

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
    I had both Kentucky and Loar, I found The Loar sounded and played better.

  19. #12
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    https://youtu.be/RavUMQYgnK8

    Check out The Loar 520 in action.
    2020 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks for the video, J Mangio. It looks like a great mandolin. Still, a lot of folks are saying A model and Kentucky are better. I'm still learning.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Yet another vote for the Kentucky. I find them to be consistently good.
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  24. #15

    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Another +1 for Kentucky.

    Eastmans are also very good instruments.

    Every Loar I’ve seen here in the UK has had a really thick neck and very thick varnish, with runs and drips in it. Could have been B stock, of course, but they weren’t advertised as such.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Quote Originally Posted by DevinG View Post
    I will also reach out to Rob Meldrums for his set up guide. Thanks for your thoughts.
    He simply uses his name, Rob Meldrum, on here, no different user name.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  28. #17
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Another vote for the Kentucky. Loar used to make some very nice instruments, but changed their business model a few years back, and their newer offerings are less consistently good than Eastman and Kentucky, IMO. They still put out some winners, but, based on what I’ve seen at our local guitar center, a few more duds than they used to. If ya’ just gotta have an F style, I’d vote for the Eastman 315. I bought one to use as a “beater” about 5 years ago that I only recently sold during a downsize move. It compared favorably to a Collings MT that I owned. The Collings was definitely better and more complex tonally, but the Eastman had maybe 85% of the tone at 1/4 of the MT’s price. I chose to keep my better mandolins over the Eastman, but if finances dictated that I could only have one mandolin under $800, I would have been happy with the Eastman.

    Just food for thought. My keepers were a Skip Kelly A5 and a Rigel CT-110, so I’m not a “gotta have a scroll” guy, though I’ll probably get one eventually...
    Chuck

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  30. #18
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    A lot of it comes down to personal preference. You didn’t ask “which should I buy” (no one should tell you that ) but you asked “What would you get?”

    I would get the Kentucky, because I’ve played “The Loars” and don’t like them compared to the Kentucky 500 series. Also not a fan of the Epiphone mandolins, though I have owned and loved several of their guitars over the years. I’ve owned Eastman, and I dislike their neck profiles.

    if I couldn’t play and compare the individual instruments in person, I’d have to go for the Kentucky on faith.
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  32. #19
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Hi pops1,

    I found him and received the pdf. It's doesn't look too complicated. Much appreciated.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks, Chuck.
    I will see if I can find and Eastman 315 locally to try it out.

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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Thanks again, Mark.

    I might not be able to see them in person. May head out tomorrow if there's anything nearby.

  35. #22
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    I would go with the Kentucky. If both are new instruments and are priced comparatively the same, I cannot imagine that the F style is of the same quality as the A model. In the Kentucky line there is roughly $600 difference in comparable A models and F models. I'm not very familiar with The Loar but I seen and played a lot of Kentuckys and Epiphones; the Kentuckys were superior to the Epiphones.

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  37. #23
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Im not sure I would use McCabes for mandolin setup.
    They are more Guitar centric.
    Im sure they would be able to do it, but there are others with more experience with mandolins.

    I have used Nowell at Livingtree Music.
    He are in the San Fernando Valley.
    He is really good with Mandolins.
    Excellent even.

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  39. #24
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I’ve owned Eastman, and I dislike their neck profiles.
    Can you tell me a little more about the difference in the neck profiles between the Kentucky vs. the Eastmans? Is this consistent up into the higher-end models?

  40. #25
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    Default Re: Narrowed it down to three

    It’s a feel for me. I think the Eastman has a more “C” shape neck, but honestly I never spent time actually comparing the profile cross sections, the comparison for me is in the feel.

    When I bought the MD315, the first thing I noticed was an inability to catch some notes cleanly on tunes I was very familiar with, so I checked scale length and nut widths on my other mandolins and ruled that out. So I decided that I would play nothing but the Eastman in order to adapt to it. I played it for about a year before I got a Collings. Collings was fantastic.

    So I decided to sell my Washburn beater and go with a Collings and the Eastman. I pulled out the Eastman and the Washburn, restrung and cleaned them, and played them. That’s when I fully realized that I hated the way the Eastman felt compared to both the Washburn and the Collings. So I sold the Eastman and kept the Washburn.

    I’ve since sampled other Eastman mandolins of various price points and octaves and I don’t care for the feel. This puts me in a small minority here.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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