Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin Review

Today we review the A-model mandolin by Kentucky. This stringed instrument is made of solid wood for crisp and bright tone, with a tonewood fingerboard for smooth playability.

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The most common styles of mandolin we see nowadays will either be the F-style or A style. both styles were developed by Gibson in the early 1900s, based on older Renaissance bowlback models. The mandolin experienced a great resurgence of popularity in the late 1890s after the Paris World Fair, after the performance of a mandolin orchestra. We then saw a decline in the instrument’s popularity during the two World Wars, but interest grew again in the 1960s as we saw the rise of folk music.

Mandolin adds a rather medieval, magical tone to music with its acoustic duotone ringing, usually played with tremolo, setting it apart from other stringed instruments like the acoustic guitar. The mandolin has four pairs of strings: G, D, A and E.

Mandolins can be composed of either composite or solid wood. Solid wood gives a better tone, as with the KM-150 model by Kentucky. This mandolin is composed of solid german spruce that gives clean articulation and a crisp, bright tone from the strings.

The solid Alpine maple back and sides give an extra punch of sound. When the instrument is made from solid wood, it ensures higher quality of sound, because the notes are working with one piece of material and its nuances, rather than being integrated or absorbed by different woods that have been layered together.


The neck on this mandolin is slim and also made of solid Alpine maple, like the back and sides, and this allows for comfortable, easy action. The fingerboard, made of choice tonewood, ensures a very smooth playability. The body features a high-gloss sunburst finish for traditional beauty and luster.

This particular mandolin gives the best value available, being all solid and traditionally designed. This A style instrument, referring its tear-drop or A-shaped body, combines period-correct vintage specifications with an affordable price point. It excels in tone and playability. Solid German spruce is used for the top, while Alpine maple is used for the back and sides to achieve the best tone and volume possible.

The solid Alpine maple neck with tonewood fingerboard uses a traditional snakehead-shaped peghead, and is attached to the body with a dovetail neck-body joint. These stylistic features give the mandolin an authentic look and provide a comfortable shape making it easy for the user to play this instrument.

The tuners are open-geared and accurate. The tonewood bridge is adjustable. Combined, these features make for an easy and accurate tuning with perfect intonation each time. This mandolin is set far apart from others on the market for its superb value and quality.

 This mandolin is standard size, measuring 29 by 13 by 4 inches and weighs 2.9 pounds. It is acoustic, with no possibility of electric activity. It ships fully assembled with strings attached. You will have to tune the strings upon receiving the item, as weather conditions etc. may affect the strings in transport. For example, extreme cold or warmth will change the tuning.

You will also have to set the bridge, which is held in place by tension of the strings. You can look up an online tutorial for both of these actions.

Please note this is designed for a right-handed player. It does not come with a case, but you will want to purchase one, preferably one with a hard shell. The hard shell case will provide an easy mode of protection while transporting the mandolin, as well as provide a good home for it while not in use. This prevents dust and other debris settling on the instrument or falling inside the F holes of the body.

The good quality of sound is evident in the sustain. When you play the mandolin you will feel the bowl vibrating against your belly and hear the sound resonating over and over again inside the body.

It comes shipped in perfect packaging that protects the instrument during its journey from Kentucky Instruments to you.

This is a great beginner mandolin that comes at a good price, and offers perfect tone and easy playability. We say beginner as it is an unbelievably good price, so it is ideal for someone looking to start playing mandolin without investing a lot of money at the start. 

You can adjust the pressure on the strings by adjusting the bridge. All sound is customizable according to your preference. The sound of this mandolin is beautifully clear and bright. You will get right to playing and be pumping out Simon & Garfunkel tunes in no time!

Kentucky brand mandolins are cleverly designed with the user in mind. Their woods are high quality and solid for a great sound, and the instruments themselves are in such a design that is comfortable for the user and provides easy playability.

 This mandolin sells for around $350.

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