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Thread: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

  1. #1
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    Default Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I'm looking at several entry level Kentucky mandolins, and the Kentucky KM-252 A model has my attention. Has anyone played this before, or do you have another recommendation? I am only interested in Kentucky mandolins at this time.

    Other instruments I play: piano, lyre, ukulele, guitar, tin whistle (and probably a few more).

    Thank you

    Oh, and I really like playing European folk music/Celtic/Nordic, etc... if that helps.
    Last edited by Melonie; Nov-09-2020 at 9:39am. Reason: Add what type of music I like to play

  2. #2

    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    You will find the Kentucky KM-250 models, and the Eastman 300 models have a stellar reputation for entry level mandolins. I’m a big fan of both brands. For your style of music, I’d recommend looking at the oval hole models (KM-270’s, Eastman MD-304). They would be my preference for Celtic music. You can’t go wrong with a KM-252, though.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Is there a reason you are "only interested in Kentucky mandolins"? I mean, based on what you play and the fact that you are already a musician, I'd recommend looking at a nice flattop. The Kentucky should be fine and there's nothing wrong with going that way, I'm just trying to understand your thinking.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I have a Kentucky 252 and an Eastman 515, got the eastman from mandolin store They did a great setup on it and it plays awesome.... The kentucky I got from Guitar center no setup, the 252 plays ok but it needs a setup. The mandolin with a good setup plays easy and sounds good, with a good setup the 252 could be a good instrument.
    Eastman MD515
    Kentucky KM-180S
    Kentucky KM-252
    Rogue RM-100A crash test dummy mandolin,

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I just like the brand, and it seems to have a large following. As I'm new to mandolin, what is a flat top and who makes them? Thank you.

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    A flattop has - wait for it - a flat top rather than an arched one. Less carving means lower cost for a quality instrument. They tend to be made by individual builders rather than big companies like Saga, the owner of the Kentucky brand. You usually get more of a folky, old-timey sound from a flattop oval hole than from a carved-top f-hole mandolin such as the KM-252. Howard Morris has one in the classifieds for $650. I don't know if that's within your budget, but if it is, you'd be getting a handmade instrument that could be a lifetime keeper. I'm not trying to talk you out of the KM-252, but I think you might consider oval holes (arched such as the Kentucky KM-270 and 272 or the Eastman 304, or flat) given the music you're interested in playing. If you wanted to play bluegrass, I'd think the 252 was a fine choice.

    You asked who makes flattops. Besides Morris, there's Mike Dulak of Big Muddy mandolins, Red Valley and Crystal Forest. All should be listed in the builders database here. Flatiron (no longer made) was well known for flattops, and they turn up in the classifieds and instrument stores occasionally. At the higher end of the price spectrum, Peter Coombe makes some gorgeous-sounding flattops. I'm sure there are other makers I've not remembered or don't know about. Anyhow, good luck and have fun with it, whatever you decide.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I purchased this mandolin last month ( Km 256 ...same instrument) . As a very happy long-time KM 150 owner I was looking at the radius neck and the slightly longer scale of the Km 250 series . In this respect it delivered . Its a very playable , finger-friendly fretboard and I found to be superb. Ultimately , however , my issue was with its tone ..even after setting it up , which it needed little of BTW . I found it overall warm but thin , if that makes sense to you . It doesn't have that Eastman shrill ( to my ear ) top end ...its warmer . But overall it seemed the sound was having difficulty finding its way out of the instrument . In this respect my KM 150 is amazingly open and loud and seemed so from the get go ..so perhaps I was expecting the same from the 256 . In any case , after several weeks of playing it VERY regularly it opened up very little and I reluctantly returned it . This is not a negative review of the instrument . If I hadn't played a few Km 150s and become familiar with their amazing sound I'd have most certainly kept the KM 256 I purchased and hoped the sound would improve . As it was , I had better tone and more-than acceptable playability in my KM 150 flat fretboard . best of luck . I think you are on the right path looking at Kentuckys.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    $650 is quite a bit out of my spending range at the moment.
    I really admire the 252, and it would not exactly hurt me to broaden my horizons and learn some bluegrass. There are a few people in my area who get together for informal sessions. Maybe I'll start hanging by and see what I can pick up.
    I really appreciate you passing the names of some of the flattop oval hole builders. Thank you.

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    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Keep your eye on the classifieds here. You never know what will turn up in your price range.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    My first mandolin was a KM 254. I bought it used from the Cafe. It was a great introductory instrument. I have upgraded several times. Most recently to an Ellis A. If you like the Kentucky it will probably not be your last!

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melonie View Post
    I'm looking at several entry level Kentucky mandolins, and the Kentucky KM-252 A model has my attention. Has anyone played this before, or do you have another recommendation? I am only interested in Kentucky mandolins at this time.

    Other instruments I play: piano, lyre, ukulele, guitar, tin whistle (and probably a few more).

    Thank you

    Oh, and I really like playing European folk music/Celtic/Nordic, etc... if that helps.
    I have a Kentucky KM-250 that I bought here in the classifieds. I am quite happy with it. The construction seems good although the finish coloring seems a bit cheap. I also have a J. Bovier f-style mandolin. I can't say one sounds "better" than the other but they do sound different with the Kentucky seeming to be louder in the bottom end. Both of them sound way better than the cheap Ibanez mandolin I started out with

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    I have a Kentucky KM-250 that I bought here in the classifieds. I am quite happy with it. The construction seems good although the finish coloring seems a bit cheap. I also have a J. Bovier f-style mandolin. I can't say one sounds "better" than the other but they do sound different with the Kentucky seeming to be louder in the bottom end. Both of them sound way better than the cheap Ibanez mandolin I started out with
    It's interesting you mention the cheap Ibanez. It was the first mandolin I tried to play, and I remember thinking "this can't be right." Anyway, I ended up selecting the KM 252. It arrived fully set up. All I had to do was tune it a few times, then it started holding a tune and the sound is nothing short of heavenly. I know there are far better mandolins out there, but for the price and quality and the fact I'm a newbie on a tight budget, I am more than happy with this one. I love its tone, the finish, everything.

    Only thing is, I tried attaching a strap, using the end pin for the bottom connection to the strap. I think the strap hole was cut too light for the size of the pin, and me fiddling around with it made the pin pop out. I followed some advice from the forums and put on a thin layer of clear nail polish and let that dry, then pushed the pin back in and it is very sturdy now, but I don't want to attach a strap there ever again. Looking for alternatives places/ways to attach a bottom strap now.

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Congratulations on your new mandolin!

    Happy picking!

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I am having a blast so far! thank you

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    I would still attach the strap there, but Mike Edgerton has a picture of the Hans Brentrup safety for the strap. I am sure he will weigh in and post the pic. Here I just found it read this thread.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...p+safety+strap
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  23. #16
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Less than a week between posing the question and getting the mandolin might be a record for around here. Enjoy your new instrument!

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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Haha! Well, I wanted it for my birthday, and that was November 10, so I got 'er done fast

  25. #18
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melonie View Post
    Haha! Well, I wanted it for my birthday, and that was November 10, so I got 'er done fast
    Man, I wanted that A2Z for my 30th.... That was nearly 5 years ago! I'm impressed by your (MAS)motivation 🤣

    Or perhaps, "MAS-otivation".

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  27. #19
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    Default Re: Kentucky KM-252 A model anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melonie View Post
    It's interesting you mention the cheap Ibanez. It was the first mandolin I tried to play, and I remember thinking "this can't be right." Anyway, I ended up selecting the KM 252. It arrived fully set up. All I had to do was tune it a few times, then it started holding a tune and the sound is nothing short of heavenly. I know there are far better mandolins out there, but for the price and quality and the fact I'm a newbie on a tight budget, I am more than happy with this one. I love its tone, the finish, everything.

    Only thing is, I tried attaching a strap, using the end pin for the bottom connection to the strap. I think the strap hole was cut too light for the size of the pin, and me fiddling around with it made the pin pop out. I followed some advice from the forums and put on a thin layer of clear nail polish and let that dry, then pushed the pin back in and it is very sturdy now, but I don't want to attach a strap there ever again. Looking for alternatives places/ways to attach a bottom strap now.
    When I first got the Ibanez, I didn't know any better and it sounded OK at the time. Nonetheless, I learned to play on it and it got into mandolin enough to want something better. Once I got the Kentucky I immediately realized how much easier it was to play and how much better it sounded. I tried to sell the Ibanez a few times but no takers.

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