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Thread: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I too had an 850 mandolin bought from Elderly in the early 80's. I traded in a KM750 that I ordered from Saga new. The 850 with fern looked and played great. I've got a great Daley,Stanley, and Gibson MM today but I will always believe that 850 had the tone and cut that kept you in the jam. I have some old Elderly catalogues, if I can find them, so I can post their new 80's prices.
    Dusty Oliver

  2. #27

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Thanks for the heads up about this topic by someone who alerted me to it.

    AGAIN I will explain the real lay of the land.

    Sumi was a TEAM member at the Maruko Kentucky workshop, he was NOT in charge in any way. The sole person in charge was the master Tahara san.

    Sumi never built a complete mandolin until late in the history of the team workshop. He was by far the most talented member but still a member, and probably the only member to build a complete mandolin by himself

    The Maruko workshop built the following models

    km-1000 km- 1500 and Dawg models

    THATS ALL, PERIOD

    NOTHING below km-1000 was ever seen inside the building in any way, end of that discussion

    No matter what you may read or what is posted on the internet THIS IS THE TRUTH and there is no negotiating the facts, the Frets article can not be carved in stone on a few points of historical fact

    Sumi took over sole builder role when the Kentucky project stopped the workshop. He built by himself until late 1992, by early 1993 he was making Sumi brand mandolins and acoustic guitars full time

    Kentucky mandolins are not Sumi mandolins unless they were correctly proven to be made in the late 1980s to 1992 otherwise they were just Kentucky custom shop models

    In no way can any mandolin below km 1000 ever be idintified with Sumi, these mandolins and all the rest below it were made at the Kasuga factory hundreds of miles away in a mass production facility

    While most here know already, Ive lived in Japan since 1986, I met Sumi in 1990 and he is my probablymy closest friend in Japan.

    I manage ALL his affairs regarding building and business outside of Japan

    I own Sumi mandolin 93-003

    Scott

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  4. #28
    No natural talent Dave Hulse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEE View Post
    Here is another picture of the back and another question. Notice the ridge that runs up the back seam all the way to the button? Does You KM850 have that type back, Colo Dave?
    My 850 has a raised portion just at the top of the back but it does not extend beyond 3 inches or so.
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  5. #29
    No natural talent Dave Hulse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I think the lack of "ears" is interesting also. I always thought it was because it was not a true Loar copy. Is that piece of wood on the side of the fret board extension an anchor for the pick guard TEE? My pick guard has two pins the fit directly in the side of the fret board.

    As far as numbers of KM-850's out there. I have not seen another one and they do not come up on ebay very often.
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  6. #30

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Yeah, Colo Dave my pickgaurd was glued to that little block of wood on the side. I still have the pickgaurd I just prefer it with out.

    Yes, your back is exactly like mine it has a ridge about three to four inches long then blends into the back. I always thought that was a cool little design feature.

    I don't think I have even seen a picture of another KM850 until yours.

  7. #31

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    This is my 850. Fingerboard shortened before I bought it. Pick-guard is present but not installed. Anything you see that could help ID year of manufacture or value would be appreciated. Original tailpiece is also still with the instrument. I am thinking of selling. Has Superior rectangular case.
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  8. #32
    Registered User banjer23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I too had a 850 bought locally in the early 80"s,,,wish I'd kept it,,I traded it to Elderly towards a Stiver,,it was a great lil mando,great sound,I'd really like to find another one.
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  9. #33
    No natural talent Dave Hulse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Hello RCB, I have S/N 17603 purchased through my mandolin teacher in December 1989. That should give you a pretty good idea of the year of manufacture. Don't know about value. It looks like the tail piece has been upgraded also.
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  10. #34

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    RCB,
    I bought your KM 850 from Elderly, and love it. I see the serial number in your photo and it matches. It's the best mandolin I've had, and I've had a bunch, in and out of my house, looking for the right one. I never imagined I could like an import, but was I wrong. What a coincidence, seeing it on this forum, which I just joined....I'm just trying to find out the year it was built and where.

  11. #35

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    All Kentucky models lower than KM-1000 (as well as just about every other mass produced Japanese mandolin) were essentially copies of what Gibson was making in the 70s. The KM-1000 and 1500 were modeled on the original Loar Gibsons of the 20s. Gibson itself did not attempt recreations of the original F-5 models until the late 70s. I remember seeing scores of Japanese F-5 copies in the late 70s that looked an awful lot like 70s Gibson F-5, all without the "ears".

  12. #36
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I have a Kentucky KM-850 I just bought...I did notice on mine on the head stock it just says KENTUCKY and on some others it says THE KENTUCKY....I dont know how old mine is or wher it was made but the number is 9544....I do not know much more other than it souds great and I can not put it down.










  13. #37

    Question Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I have a kentucky km850 s/n 14943 ,found it hanging on the wall in a recording studio. I,ve had to refret it , I also took the pick guard off and the sound improved considerably. Currently looking at a Loar lm600> Does anybody have any experience with these?::

  14. #38

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Looks really good too Ray, thats actually the burst I want on my homemade build. Nice.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

  15. #39
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I have a Kentucky KM-855 ... Does that count?
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  16. #40
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Unfortunately, NO! The KM-850's were a completely different instrument and were of much higher quality when they were made in Japan. I'm not trying to dis your mandolin (Kentucky's of today are still better than a lot of other imports) but few of the Kentucky's today are as good as the Japan models. Even the factory assembled models were beautifully made instruments.

  17. #41
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon View Post
    I have a kentucky km850 s/n 14943 ,found it hanging on the wall in a recording studio. I,ve had to refret it , I also took the pick guard off and the sound improved considerably. Currently looking at a Loar lm600> Does anybody have any experience with these?::
    I did the same thing on with my pick gaurd and took it off,and it sounds to me like the sound improved considerably...I am still dont know much about mine like I said abouve the SER # is 9544 and it seams like it should have at least 1 more number than just 4 numbers.Unless it was one of the older ones before they added another number to the SER#. If anyone has any ideas or info let me know.
    Ray Cantu

  18. #42
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBeerGoCubs View Post
    Looks really good too Ray, thats actually the burst I want on my homemade build. Nice.
    Thanks COLDBEER iam pretty proud of it.
    Ray Cantu

  19. #43

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I would be too, I've been staring at those photos and am surprised at how good the thing looks. Makes most of the modern kentuckys look like a step back in comparison.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

  20. #44
    Registered User Robert Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I'm confused.....i paid $650.00 for my km850 in 1979. The km1000 was at least $200.00 more. My cat. From bucks county folk in 1977 shows the km 850 for $575.00,,the km1000 for $725. Mandolin bros. 1985 cat. Shows $745.00 for the km850,,$1195 for the km1000. The 1995 cat. Shows $1528.00 for the km850,,,$2073.00 for the km1000. I wonder how there seems to be a thought that the km850 was priced higher than the km1000. The 1985 cat states "factory made" for the 850 and "hand made" for the 1000. Just curious. SEE PICS.
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    Last edited by Robert Mitchell; Jan-07-2011 at 1:34pm.
    MITCH

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  22. #45

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?


    [/QUOTE]

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  24. #46
    Registered User Robert Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I'm not questioning the fact that there are price differences. I just don't understand the "flip flop" between the km1000 &km850. The prices i show are from the n.y. And p.a. Area. At the period from the 70's to the 90's. Certainly one can pretty much go by the mandolin bros. Listed prices. And yet as shown by tee,, just the opposite is listed.
    By other dealers.
    Still confused.....
    MITCH

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  25. #47
    Registered User mandobassman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    I purchased my KM-850 used in 1985 for $400. The gentleman I bought it from told me he bought it new one year earlier for $800. He didn't say where he bought it but I always assumed that was somewhere around list price. It surprises me to see that it actually listed for much more. It was a fine mandolin that I played for nearly 17 years. I still wish I had it.

  26. #48
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainmaster View Post
    I'm confused.....i paid $650.00 for my km850 in 1979. The km1000 was at least $200.00 more. My cat. From bucks county folk in 1977 shows the km 850 for $575.00,,the km1000 for $725. Mandolin bros. 1985 cat. Shows $745.00 for the km850,,$1195 for the km1000. The 1995 cat. Shows $1528.00 for the km850,,,$2073.00 for the km1000. I wonder how there seems to be a thought that the km850 was priced higher than the km1000. The 1985 cat states "factory made" for the 850 and "hand made" for the 1000. Just curious. SEE PICS.
    Even at $575.00 in 1977 you know that $575.00 in 1977 had the same buying power as $2,133.52 in 2010.

    Annual inflation over this period was 4.05%.
    Ray Cantu

  27. #49
    Poopsidoo poopsidoo1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    MY KM 850 serial number 16785 bought new in 1988. Saga told me it was mfg in Japan in 1985, Great mando.

  28. #50

    Default Re: Anyone else have a Kentucky KM-850?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colo Dave View Post
    Hello RCB, I have S/N 17603 purchased through my mandolin teacher in December 1989. That should give you a pretty good idea of the year of manufacture. Don't know about value. It looks like the tail piece has been upgraded also.
    That's amazing...I have S/N 17604, and 17605 is pictured above! Mine is a very nice instrument which I've considered selling, but have no idea where to set the price!

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