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Introducing the KM-950 and KM-1050 Kentucky Mandolins

By Mandolin Cafe
June 30, 2013 - 5:00 pm

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L-R: KM-950 and KM-1050 Kentucky Mandolins

L-R: KM-950 and KM-1050 Kentucky Mandolins

San Francisco, Calif. — Saga Music, creator of Kentucky Mandolins has announced the launch of two new models, the Kentucky Master Model KM-950 A model mandolin and Kentucky Master Model KM-1050 F model mandolin.

The new KM-950 features a compound radius fingerboard with larger frets and scooped extension over the body and a wider nut and bridge saddle spacing than traditional vintage instruments.

All of these player-friendly features were first pioneered in the late 1970's and early 1980's by Kentucky on legendary mandolins, produced in collaboration with the world-renowned New York luthier, John Monteleone, and players such as David Grisman.

While most traditional Bluegrass players prefer the authenticity of a flat fingerboard with the small frets conforming to the 1920's vintage originals, Kentucky wanted to also please the younger players of contemporary mandolin music who have been asking for a little something more. In every other respect, the new KM-950 conforms to our ever-popular KM-900 with its hand-carved and graduated solid spruce top and hand-carved and graduated solid figured maple back, sides and neck.

At first glance, the new KM-1050 shares similar specifications to the KM-1000 but with several Pro-level, player-friendly features.

Each instrument features a highly polished ebony fingerboard with a compound radius for increased comfort and improved playability, a wider nut and saddle for more comfortable string spacing, larger frets that are taller and wider than those usually found on vintage instruments, and a skillfully scooped fingerboard extension with delicately inlaid nickel-silver fret markers to retain that traditional look.

Like all Master Model Kentucky Mandolins, the KM-1050 features a hand-carved and expertly graduated Adirondack spruce top, and a back, sides and slim, v-shaped neck carved from a single piece of select Northern Maple assure the best tone possible.

Additional information

Kentucky Master Model KM-950 and KM-1050 Mandolins

KM-950 and KM-1050 Master Model Mandolins


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Reader Comments

Ron McMillan
June 30, 2013 05:10 PM
Great looking instruments at affordable prices. I like the sound of the specifications - wider nut, fatter fret wire, radius fretboard. Put a James tailpiece on the 950 and I'd likely be a very happy man. Hmmmmm
June 30, 2013 08:52 PM
I'm glad to see they didn't put a gold-plated tailpiece on the 1050. I wore the plating off my KM-505 the first six months I had it. I picked up a heavily used KM-650 from the late 80s. It had a corroded tailpiece, which I had replaced with a Bailey. It sounds really great now.
I've been vacillating between getting a KM-1000 or a vintage KM-1500. Now I have to do more research.
July 01, 2013 03:21 PM
I own a 950 and LOVE IT!! The radiused neck is smooth and plays fast.
Tom Cherubini
July 01, 2013 03:31 PM
I like the fact that the octave frets are not over the body.
Wonder why the F-(sound)holes are so much larger on the KM-1050? Their area looks about twice that of the A-model. Is the A-body that much more resonant?

Scott Tichenor
July 01, 2013 05:32 PM
Tom, I re-sized those images for our format. I tried my best to make sure they were handled accurately. Just for good measure I'm going to post the two originals that were sent to me with the information published. You have to realize when instruments get photographed they may get resized and edited themselves in Photoshop before they're even sent out with press releases so hard to get a real feel for it unless you see them in person. These could have been edited twice then, at least. I don't have an opinion one way or the other on your observation but here are the raw files as I received them below just to add to the information.

July 01, 2013 06:17 PM
Wider nut? Bigger frets? Radius-ed fingerboard? Is it true?
Ron McMillan
July 05, 2013 11:28 PM
I really look forward to a Cafe member's detailed review of the 950

Eric C.
July 06, 2013 01:02 AM
[QUOTE]I really look forward to a Cafe member's detailed review of the 950

ron End Quote

Mine will arrive on Wednesday.
July 18, 2013 02:43 PM
Quote from Ron McMillan: I really look forward to a Cafe member's detailed review of the 950

ron End Quote
Hey I picked up a 950 a few months ago from the Mandolin Store and I think it's the best deal out there,I was blown away with the tone,craftsmanship and playability the neck is perfect. However I wasn't satisfied with the 14in radius and made the leap and had the fret board radiused to 10" and it's incredible well worth the $300 cost.The only other thing I would do to the mando is add a pickguard because the finish is rather sensitive to finger nail nicks.My next purchase is going to be the KM1050 and can't wait.
Capt. E
July 19, 2013 09:14 AM
The 950 looks like an early '30's Gibson A-50, even down to the fleur de lis headstock.
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