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Thread: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

  1. #1
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    Default New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Hello!

    New player here. I was checking out the instrument recommendations over at mandolinlessons.com. He recommends purchasing a Kentucky KM-150 from Elderly Instruments. The Kentucky KM-150 is, he says, a decent student-grade instrument that ships with a gig bag, and before shipping Elderly Instruments does a free set up on the mandolins they sell.

    As I was looking over the store site, I saw that the Kentucky KM-250 is only $50 more than the KM-150. From what I've been able to find out the Kentucky KM-250 uses slightly better wood than the Kentucky KM-150, and has a radiused fretboard as opposed to a flat fretboard.

    So as someone who doesn't play mandolin and won't have an opportunity to play these instruments before purchase, is it worth it to pay the extra $50? Will I actually get anything for my money?

    I'm already paying extra because I'm purchasing an arm rest and a Tone Guard. Also a leather mandolin strap, capo, strings, tuner, Mandolin From Scratch by Bruce Emery (I love his guitar & ukulele books), and First 50 Songs You Should Play on Mandolin from Hal Leonard. So paying a little bit more for the instrument won't be a bother, provided it actually IS a better instrument.

    Thank you in advance for the feedback, and see you all at the next bluegrass festival.

  2. #2
    Old Guy Mike Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Seeing as how you (I think-Acoustic Guitar Forum) helped me out on my GS mini, I'll do my best here. Either of the two will serve you well to start out. A set up is way more critical on the mandolin than the guitar imho. Any of the "Cafe" sponsors are good to buy from and generally do set ups prior to shipping. Radius vs flat fretboard is a preferential thing. I have Both and neither is a big deal to me - at least. I have played a couple of KM150s and was impressed. I owned a KM272 (oval hole version of the 250) so different. Of those 2 the 250 should be marginally better, but then there's the individual instrument variable to consider as well. I think as memory serves, I liked the 150 better, but probably a function of ff holes vs oval. You can read about the differences between the two. I will throw in another option - Eastman 305. I had one and personally preferred it to the lower model Kentucky-YMMV. Any of these will get you going. Then you'll figure out what neck shape you like, tonal differences, etc. You may place a phone call to Dennis at The Mandolin Store and seek out his advice. He's always helped me out........

    Good Luck on the search!
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  3. #3
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    You seem to be assuming that the KM-250 won't need a set-up? That would be an additional $100, less or more, depending on quality of work, your location, etc.

    BTW, virtually all factory-built stringed instruments need at least some set-up work, the higher-end ones "to accomodate the purchaser's individual requirements", the lower ones to avoid the last hour or two of precision hand labor. Custom instruments, of course, have the purchaser's needs built into whatever specs were agreed upon.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    You seem to be assuming that the KM-250 won't need a set-up?
    Hmm... Not sure how I gave that impression. Elderly Instruments does a setup on ALL their mandolins before shipping, included in the purchase price.

    So a Kentucky KM-150, with setup, selling at $475, vs a KM-250, with setup, selling at $525. Does anyone know what I'm getting for the extra $50?

  5. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Here's folkmusican.com's take on your question, which you may already have read, judging by the language in your post.

    Only difference I see, other than cosmetics, is the radiused vs. flat fingerboard. If you're already playing guitar and ukulele, chances are you have instruments with each type of fretboard, so which did you like better?

    Fifty bucks isn't much of a difference, and the 250's a bit "nicer" in terms of wood figuring and finish. Your decision as to how much you value that.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    I just ordered the KM-250. And an gig bag, arm rest, Toneguard, strings, capo, leather strap, harmonic dampeners, and some other accessories.

    And now the waiting....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    On reflection, I wish I had gotten the KM-252.
    Kentucky KM-250 Mandolin

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Is it too late to change your mind? Has it already shipped?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Yes. Oh well. The only difference is the color.
    Kentucky KM-250 Mandolin

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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    I just ordered the KM-250. And an gig bag, arm rest, Toneguard, strings, capo, leather strap, harmonic dampeners, and some other accessories.

    And now the waiting....
    The kM250 was my first decent mando, bought here at the Cafe. Still play it and use it for travel. Enjoy your Kentucky

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    My wife just texted me and said my new mandolin was delivered by FedEx. I’m so tempted to bail early from work.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Waiting is painful.
    The Loar LM 310f
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    I enjoy walking barefoot and playing my mandolin, and if I can do both at once, you'd be hard pressed to find a happier soul.

  13. #13
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    My wife just texted me and said my new mandolin was delivered by FedEx. I’m so tempted to bail early from work.
    Do it!

    It's your first mandolin.

  14. #14
    Registered User Willi Bahrenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    I like how you immediately changed your signature to your KM-250! That's the spirit!

    BTW, I just recently set up my new The Loar LM-310F-BRB and tonally it compares surprisingly decent to my Weber Yellowstone. Seeing that your Kentucky has even better "Stats" you should have made a good choice for a first mandolin!

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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    I hope you are enjoying your new mando! Before you dive in to those books, what about learning by ear? If you know some tunes from guitar (per Mike Scott’s comment above) just try finding them on the mando. If you don’t know some tunes already, try a website like mandolessons.com or PegHead Nation, where you can learn from videos (and learn by ear in the process).
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    The KM-150 is a solid mandolin for the money. I used to teach in a music store and once in awhile we'd get one in that was amazing for the money. That CNC cut was just what that wood needed to sound it's best.

  17. #17
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    On reflection, I wish I had gotten the KM-252.
    Well, send it back, along with the things you don't need, and get the 252. Arm rests and tone guards are waaay down the road for a beginning player, and the capo is for some other instrument I guess.

  18. #18

    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Congrats on the new Kentucky! I went with the KM-150, and it seems like a pretty decent instrument-certainly all I'll need for quite some time.

    Your username reminds me of Phideaux, a song by Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband (incidentally, the group that inspired me to take up the mandolin), but I wish you better fortune than that Phideaux had.

    https://youtu.be/68Sm5Hz1fJM

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Phydaux was the name of my favorite musician's dog. Larry Norman, God rest is soul. I spend all of the 80's listening to his five albums over and over.
    Kentucky KM-250 Mandolin

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Player - Kentucky KM-150 vs KM-250?

    Quote Originally Posted by phydaux View Post
    Phydaux was the name of my favorite musician's dog. Larry Norman, God rest is soul. I spend all of the 80's listening to his five albums over and over.
    Larry Norman, wow. I don't have a turntable any more right now, but I still have a couple of his albums. Saw him perform back in the late 70's when I was in college. It was at a college in Boston (can't remember which one) and about 5 of us packed into a VW bug to go. Thanks for that blast from the past.

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