For entry to intermediate level musicians, Kentucky mandolins offer a high level of quality for an affordable price. The Kentucky mando brand is owned by Saga Musical Instruments in San Francisco, CA, but their instruments are made in China.
The interesting thing about this company is that they have something to offer for everyone. They have everything from very affordable entry level instruments up through the lower end of the high-end mandolins. Their cheapest models are still a couple hundred dollars, so you end up with a much nicer instrument compared with a really cheap brand, such as Rogue.
Among the most high-end mandolins from this brand, the KM-1500 has elegant features that deliver both a stylish look and a superior sound clarity and volume.
The top is hard carved from Adirondack spruce with the sides, back and neck being made from flamed Michigan maple. The fingerboard is made from ebony to provide a sleek look with this longer lasting material.
Below the Kentucky logo, you can also find traditional abalone pearl inlaid, something that you simply won’t find on lower end instruments.
One of their higher end models, the KM-1000B is from their Master Series, which are inspired from 1920’s mandolin designs that are considered the best in the world.
These instruments are hand carved red spruce tops and flamed maple back and sides with a maple neck that is in a single piece. Ivoroid bindings give it a sophisticated look.
A truly impressive model, especially for it’s price point, because it rivals other brands that cost two to four times as much.
An excellent entry level instrument that honestly does not sound like it – it is more comparable to a $1,000 – $1,500 mandolin.
For this reason, it is also preferred by many intermediate players on a budget.
Hand carved with solid spruce tops and maple back and sides.
Very clean and bright sound.
The beautiful KM-300E is great for gigs because it is electric with a chrome pickup, volume and tone controls.
It features a solid body made of basswood as well as a solid maple neck.
It’s a great mandolin for musicians that typically have trouble reaching the higher frets because it has a deep cutaway on the underside allowing for easy access to those notes.
Since most mandolins are 8-strings, this 4-string setup makes for easy note fretting that a lot of players prefer.
One of their most affordable models, the KM-140 also makes for a great beginner mandolin.
This model was recently upgraded with a solid spruce top and other features.
It was already one of their most popular before those upgrades, but the price hasn’t increased. In fact, if you get the package that includes a carrying case, it’s actually even cheaper!
Want to see more? Take a look at more Kentucky mandolin models here.