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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: kentucky KM 254 mandolin

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radioniwde - Posted - 11/10/2013:  06:53:17

Good morning all, I have been toying with the idea of trying my hand at playing a mandolin.

There is one for sale close's a Kentucky km 254, about 16 years old. The owner want close to $ 600.00 c/w case. is this a deal?? am I over my head for a started mandolin.



Mobob - Posted - 11/10/2013:  08:13:58

For a beginner, I would check out the Eastman 305 or 315, costs less and IMO better sounding. NFI

DeamhanFola - Posted - 11/10/2013:  08:50:02


Originally posted by Mobob


For a beginner, I would check out the Eastman 305 or 315, costs less and IMO better sounding. NFI

There's a brand new Kentucky KM 254 for sale at Elderly instruments for $415. You'd save money (and get whatever warranty the manufacturer offers): 

No financial connection to Elderly, just a satisfied customer on many occasions.


I'll second Mobob's advice as well: Eastman does have a good reputation for entry-level mandolins.



radioniwde - Posted - 11/10/2013:  10:00:10

now down to 499.00 with case books and tuner. Does the fact that it is about 16 years old have any merit in the sound.

This Mandolin was bought at Elderly's and he still has bill of sale...

the shipping to Canada from Eldery is $ 100.00 plus tax plus exchange onU.S. /Can. dollar. sooooooo what do ya think...


fiddlinsteudel - Posted - 11/10/2013:  12:48:08

One thing I would check is the frets. A mando could have  A LOT of playing done if it's 16 years old and the frets could be worn down. And it might not be worth spending the money to refret it. Are you buying in person or over the internet? Cause I would go play it, I would never feel comfortable buying an instrument unless I'd play'd it.

blockader - Posted - 11/10/2013:  19:33:05

I bought a KM-254 of about that vintage off the FHO classifieds earlier this year for my wife and kids to play. For $200. It has been great and my daughter really took off with it. Its one of the "Made in Japan" era Kentuckys, which are supposedly the best, followed by Korea. The new ones from china are sposed to be decent starter mandos too though. $500 is too high, you can find a better deal than that! 

SamY - Posted - 11/10/2013:  20:29:28

In that price range I would go with this.  I have a friend who got one and it sounds really good.  You can return it within 2 weeks if you don't like it.



Mojohand40 - Posted - 11/12/2013:  04:10:53

the km254 is a good mandolin, but 600 is a little high.  You can get one with a case for 399 here:

I play an Eastman f style, and Eastmans are good, but the solid wood, carved Kentuckys (like the 254) sound and play pretty darn good to.

Anyway, shop around or ask that fellow to lower his price. 600 bucks can get a good mid range A style mandolin a lot of places. Also check the classifieds at the Mandolin Cafe site and the Mandolin Hangout.

My advice on buying a first mandolin,

1) you get what you pay for, those 100 buck cheapies (Rogue, Stadium, Johnson, etc,) are usually not that great to learn on.

 2) You want a solid top, as a minimum, all solid wood is better.  Some have laminate sides and back, doesn't mean they are going to be awful, as I've seen some decent mandolins constructed this way, just saying all solid wood is a little better. You also want at least a hand carved top. The really cheap factory ones are stamped, not carved.  If an online seller of new instruments doesn't say it's "All solid wood" and "hand carved", then it probably isn't. 

3) In the mandolins in the price range you are looking at there is no difference in sound from an "A" style to a "F" style. You will get a lot more mandolin for you money if you get an "A" style.  The scroll will cost you more.  In other words a 600 dollar A model, will usually be a lot better then a 600 dollar F style.


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