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Thread: Kent 836

  1. #1

    Default Kent 836

    I recently picked up a beuatiful Kent 836. Some checking but no belt rash and original stickers still on it. Got it with a vintage Harmony 415 amp. Should it be strung and tuned as a mandolin or mandola. Seems like it is between a mandolin and mandola size wise. I'm a uke player but when I saw this at an estate sale , I had to pick it up. Still trying to figure it out. Thanks.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Kent 836

    Hi Sharacab,

    It's a very cool looking instrument for sure. What is the scale length, nut to bridge saddle. Is it fully hollow-body? Do all of the knobs and controls work? Other than a very early acoustic encounter, I have no experience with Kent mandolins. You should post some pictures of the Harmony 412 amp. Thank you!!

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    I have a vague memory of being told that Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown played one of these. Can't find any evidence to substantiate it, though.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    To answer your question, measure the distance from the nut to the 12th fret.
    If it is 7" or less, it was meant to be tuned as a mandolin.
    If it is nearly 8" or more, it should be tuned as a mandola.

    I haven't seen a Kent in many years. It reminds me of my first electric guitar, which was a Winston.

  5. #5
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    I’ve seen a few Kent mandolins for sale over the years,and know someone who has one sitting in a closet and won’t sell it.I had a Winston and a Kapa guitar,long gone….

    - - - Updated - - -

    He tuned it as a mandola.

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    Cafe member Marin Stillion owns and maintains a site dedicated to electric mandolins. The section on Kent can be found here. There are links to other Kent specific pages on that page.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Kent 836

    wild stuff!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    Even tho I don't play electric mandolin, I would have bought that too. Cool looking mandolin.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  9. #9
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    You can tune a Kent 836 as a mandolin using ultralight strings. But even then, the tension on the unwound strings will be high and the E strings will break frequently. It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer.

    Mandola tuning or EBF#C# blues tuning will be much more practical for the scale length. You will want nickel steel, ball end strings. This instrument was not made for standard loop end mandolin strings.

    The 836 is really cool, and harder to find than its cousin, the 744. If anyone has a photo of Clarence Gatemouth Brown playing this or any other mando, let me know. He does have a mandola credit on his album Black Jack (1977) but I don't have any other info about the instrument.
    Last edited by mrmando; Jun-20-2022 at 11:38am.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    I have a Kent mandola but not that shape -more of a lop sided SG( the model 744) in sunburst, anyway it has great tone and sustain and is a joy to play, I think for solid body electric they are great instruments, I use traditional viola tuning C G D A ( the gda are the same as mandolin)
    I have not attempted to change the strings on it yet, chicken in a way but I did buy a few sets of electric guitar strings , just got to decide to do it, I am thinking
    .012- A
    .016- D
    .028- G
    .040- C
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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  11. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    .012- A
    .016- D
    .028- G
    .040- C
    I wouldn't go that light on the C ... more like a 44 or 46. But let us know if it works for you.

    You need a screwdriver to remove the tailpiece cover and change the strings on this thing. That can be a drag, and I've come across many old Kents that are missing the cover — I presume owners decided it was more convenient to leave the cover off for string changes, and eventually the cover got misplaced.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Kent 836

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ID:	202023 here are some pictures of the Harmony 415 amp. Looks all original inside with the Jensen speakers and Harmony Tubes intact. Turns on and works. I will probably sell tho since it is so large and heavy. Too much for just playing at home but I see they are quite collectible as well. Thanks for the info.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Kent 836

    The knobs all work.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Kent 836

    If the filter caps are original I wouldn't turn it on. They have a shelf life, and even not used deteriorate. If you blow one, and it shorts, it can take your power transformer and power tubes. If you want to play it before you sell it have a cap job done, or at least have someone check to see if they are original. Should be a cool sounding amp.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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