After playing this instrument on and off for a few years now, here’s my Kentucky KM-150 Mandolin Review
Ah, the Kentucky KM-150! I love this Mandolin. A pure all-American mandolin that became a popular workhorse in recent years. KM-150 is a great mid-range instrument capable of surprising the most demanding musicians.
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I’ve played this model numerous times over the years, and I want to share my experience with this unique instrument to help potential buyers with any doubts they might have before buying the Kentucky KM-150.
I’m a big mandolin enthusiast and a music producer with several scores under my belt. I really enjoy exploring the different mandolin models and brands, as each one brings its own flavor and characteristic sound.
Join me as we dive deeper into this beauty of a mandolin made by the renowned Kentucky brand.
Kentucky KM-150 Review: About the Kentucky KM-150
The KM-150 has a long history of improvements over the years. Depending on the year of production, the overall quality can differ quite a bit. Older models were made from pressed solid wood, which made it cheaper but reduced the overall sound quality of the instrument.
But in 2012, with the introduction of a new construction method and a brand new factory for the Kentucky brand, the quality of the KM-150 started to surpass all other mid-range competitors.
This is when this model started its rise to fame, as it caught the attention of many mandolin players for its high-quality build and low price.
Nowadays the KM-150 stands as one of the most unique and interesting instruments in its price range. It’s safe to say that the KM-150 helped the Kentucky brand to become one of the most trustworthy mandolin producers in the world.
Kentucky KM-150 is a perfect mandolin for beginner, intermediate, or even professional players, as you won’t find anything better for this price. KM-150 is a bestselling mandolin with thousands of positive reviews from satisfied customers all around the world.
Although this model is inspired by country and folk styles, its unique and versatile sound can adapt to almost any musical genre.
This model is made of a high-quality solid German spruce for the top and solid Alpine maple for the back and sides, which gives it an extra punch and definition on the higher notes.
Overall, this model has a very sturdy construction, which you can feel as soon as you hold this instrument. I personally noticed great attention to detail in its construction and finish.
The KM-150 comes with a wide neck made of Alpine maple, which makes for easy and fast action up and down the fretboard. This model might not be as slim or as fast as other models, but it certainly provides a great deal of comfort and precision when it comes to strumming.
I personally really enjoy this type of neck, as it could be easily played by any entry-level musician.
The fingerboard is made of choice tonewood, which is pretty common for most mandolins in this price range. The silky smooth surface of this fingerboard will give you the necessary speed and grip for any type of performance.
Most Kentucky mandolins have a very classic and traditional design and finish. The most common color pattern you will find is the classic sunburst, with a few variations here and there.
Overall I find it pretty interesting that this brand centers on sound and material quality over visuals, which I respect a great deal, as you can find thousands of pretty looking mandolins with a quite bland and flat sound.
What I Like & What I Don’t Like
Kentucky KM-150 Review: My Experience with the Kentucky KM-150
The first time I played the Kentucky KM-150, the sound quality of this model really caught my attention. With its crisp and punchy sound, the KM-150 can cut through any acoustic ensemble, no matter how big or loud.
This mandolin has its own unique all-American style and flavor, which certainly attracts many country and folk players.
I also really liked the sturdy construction, as this model really feels high-quality when played. After testing it for a while, I got a feeling that this model would last for many years. It might require some minor upgrade over time, but nothing big really.
Here are some of the negative and positive points I found while playing this instrument:
- The all-solid body provides a great sustain and tone. It’s a quite loud instrument with a punchy sound.
- The overall design and finish are elegant and simplistic, which I personally really like, as it gives this feeling of a full-on combat duty instrument, ready to be played and abused for any given period of time. The quality of the finish is decent, with some small defects here and there, but it’s not a deal-breaker really.
- Most of the hardware is nothing special, to be honest, and it certainly could be improved by changing some of the parts.
- Something to keep in mind is that you might need some setup to get the most out of this instrument, as often happens with mid-range mandolins. But soon after that, you’ll have an amazing mandolin that will provide years of enjoyment.
- The instrument is very easy to play, as it has a wide neck and large frets. This is certainly a bonus for beginners and intermediate players, as it will help you have more precision all around the spectrum.
I personally think this is the best mid-range mandolin on the market, and I recommend this model for any type of player, as it won’t disappoint even the most demanding musicians.
Kentucky KM-150 Review: The Sound
Kentucky mandolins are famous for their traditional philosophy when it comes to sound quality. Here you’ll find the typical country sound, bright and crisp, which will cut through any type of arrangement.
Although this model lacks definition on the lower notes, in my personal opinion it really does compensate for this with its clean and punchy high and mid-range tonalities.
Kentucky KM-150 Warranty
Most retailers offer a 1-year warranty for the Kentucky KM-150, which extends to defects in materials and construction, but doesn’t cover player abuse.
Where to Buy the Kentucky KM-150
The Kentucky KM-150 is quite a popular model, which means that it can be found at almost any store and online retailer. The price tag can vary quite a bit, depending on the store and the country you buy it in.
The KM-150 will cost much less if you buy it in the United States, as the shipping costs will be much lower.
Amazon offers the biggest selection of instruments, including many different models of mandolins. With Amazon, you will get trustful customer support and low prices for almost any item.
I personally really like to check the customer reviews to see if the instrument is really worth it and if it has any defects.
Although Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, sometimes you might find some models out of stock, which can certainly be applied to the Kentucky KM-150.
But fear not, as there are more options to explore.
There are many different online retailers nowadays to choose from. Some of them might offer exclusive deals with world-famous brands such as Gibson, Eastman, Rogue, and Kentucky.
Here at Into Strings we highly recommend Fiddlershop.com, Sweetwater.com, and GuitarCenter.com, as these websites offer the best selection of specialized instruments for you to enjoy.
Your Local Store
In your local store, you might not find the biggest selection of instruments, but you can always try out any model they have in stock. This way you can see and feel for yourself the craftsmanship behind each instrument.
Trying the instrument yourself is probably the best way to know the instrument and to see if you really like it, which will make your purchasing decision so much easier.
Overall, the Kentucky KM-150 is probably the best mid-range mandolin currently on the market. I personally find this model quite unique, as it really stands out with its all-American style and design, as well as the punchy and crisp tonality.
For me personally, this model is the most comfortable and crisp-sounding mandolin I’ve ever played, even compared with more expensive and professional models.
I can’t recommend this model enough. You won’t get any better deal for this price tag. With an all-solid construction, elegant finish, and great sound, this mandolin model has it all!
I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the Kentucky KM-150. If you liked this article or have any doubts, feel free to drop a comment or share this article on any social media of your choice.
Stay safe, and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!