Table of Contents
KM-855 is simply amazing for the price it sold at. This is a very robust mandolin that will provide hours of entertainment for anyone willing to pay the price.
I am a music composer with several years of experience producing rock, folk and soundtrack music. I am also a huge mandolin buff, as this instrument has a special place in my heart. Mandolin is so delicate and adds so much to any track if played correctly.
Join me as we explore Kentucky KM-855 with all its pros and cons. Buckle up!
About The Kentucky KM-855
Kentucky is a relatively young brand, but in a few years their mandolins earned their place as one of the most unique and reliable mandolins on the market. Owned by Saga Music, Kentucky introduced several series, from KM-150, which became a best-selling between novice players to high-end KM-1000 series which are currently used by many professional mandolin players.
KM-855 stands in the middle group between the most expensive and relatively cheap Kentucky models. This mandolin is a good option for players that are looking for a high-mid range instrument for a reasonable price.
Most Kentucky mandolins are made with huge inspiration from Bluegrass and Country style mandolins. KM-855 has a minimalistic finish but with its own personality and style with that signature Kentucky feel and look.
This model is made of specially selected mix of tone woods that adds that signature Kentucky bright bark. This is a well-known formula for Kentucky mandolin that made them famous all around the world.
The KM-855 stands in between cheaper series like KM-150 and KM-250 and high-end gamma models such as KM-1000. KM-855 has its own cons and pros, as some players described the sound as dull compared to the KM-1000 series.
Some of the defects that have been found by some players are slightly curved necks and bad neck joints. Be wary of this when buying this model, and if you can try it out in person to make sure there are no noticeable defects or chips.
But overall KM-855 is a solid mandolin with high-quality hardware and amazing sound.
Kentucky KM-855 has a solid carved German spruce for the top and solid flamed Alpine maple for the back and side. The design is very classic in style of old mandolins of the 1920s but with a Kentucky spin to it.
The build is very robust, as it happens with many Kentucky mandolins. I would say from personal experience that Kentucky mandolins are the most reliable and solid instruments currently on the market.
As with most high-end mandolins, you will certainly need setup to get most out of this model. Some retailers offer a professional setup from the factory for those who don’t want to meddle too much with the hardware.
Kentucky designs have a very unique natural and pure style to them. I think Kentucky mandolins represent the beauty and calmness of the American prairie with its simple but noble design .
Kentucky KM-855 has a high-gloss Amberburst finish. Most Kentucky mandolins have darker and more classic finish to them. But this model is quite unique with its bright colors.
The varnish is very minimal with most Kentucky models. Which adds a better sound but little protection. But this may vary depending on the specific model.
The neck of the KM-855 is very slim and is made of one-piece Alpine maple. The fretboard is flat with very little distance between frets. This might be problematic for players with big hands or those who are used to thicker necks.
After some setup, I found this neck very smooth and comfortable, perfect for fast action, typical of Bluegrass music.
Overall, it plays well and is quite comfortable to use.
Kentucky KM-855 has a vintage-style ebony bridge with adjustment wheels. It’s a robust and very decent bridge that will require little setup to play.
KM-855 comes with high-quality gold plated Gotoh tuners. They maintain tuning very well and are very sturdy. One of the best tuners I have seen on a mandolin. Well, at least my KM-855 had a very good set, as it might vary depending on the model and the year of production.
Pros & Cons
My Experience With The Kentucky KM-855
I am personally a big fan of Kentucky mandolins. In my opinion they are made to be simple but powerful instruments. Kentucky found a perfect balance between sound quality and robust construction, without any unnecessary luxury decorations.
I bought my KM-855 many years ago and still maintain its original finish and sound. I would say it even sounds much better right now. The wood takes time to settle down and get additional harmonics and tonalities.
Some Kentucky mandolins have a long difficult learning curve, as their thin necks take time to get used too. But if you are willing to push thought, you will get a loyal companion that will perform at the highest levels anytime you play it.
KM-855 is very easy to maintain, although you might need a professional setup at first. But this is no biggie, as this can be applied to any other high-end mandolin.
One of the best mandolins I have ever bought, for sure!
Kentucky KM-855 Review: The Sound
Kentucky KM-855 has a crisp and bright sound with extra punch and bark. The specially selected Alpine maple really adds to the chop and projection of this model.
KM-855 has a perfect and almost impeccable sound, with its own Kentucky personality and style.
Something you can do to improve the sound is changing the strings, as the default strings are normally of lower quality. This upgrade will certainly add more punch and richness to the sound.
As expected, this model is perfect for Bluegrass and Country but could be used for many other styles. I personally got great results recording my KM-855 for a folk project, but I understand that it might not fit every musical style.
Kentucky KM-855 Warranty
Kentucky offers limited lifetime warranty. But this may vary depending on a particular vendor.
Where To Buy The Kentucky KM-855?
Many cheaper Kentucky mandolins are very easy to find nowadays. But it can be a little bit tricky with more expensive models, such as the KM-855. Let’s see the options we have here.
Amazon is one of the most important companies of our time. Created in 1994, Amazon had an amazing growth in recent decades. All of this is probably because of the smart decision to invest in online retail and make it really accessible and secure.
Amazon offers a huge variety of products, including acoustic instruments, such as the mandolin. As of today, you can find numerous mandolins from brands like Kentucky, Gibson, Eastman and Ibanez.
If you are looking to spend a lot of money on an instrument, don’t forget to check out the customer reviews, as here is where you will see the honest opinion of actual owners of the mandolin.
Some online retailers offer a more specialized selection of products. This is applicable to online music retailers. Here is where you can find some models that are impossible to find on Amazon.
Kentucky brand can be specially tricky, as you might find a better selection of models on certain websites and almost none on others.
Your Local Store
In your local store you might find a limited selection of instruments, and much smaller stock of mandolins. But if you are lucky enough to find some models, you can take your time and try it out in person. This way you will know what you like and what not about the instrument.
This is more so when it comes to more expensive instruments, such as the Kentucky KM-855.
Kentucky KM-855 is a very durable mandolin made to stand the pass of time. This model is an easy choice for professional players, as Kentucky brands stand as one of the most trusted mandolin brands in the world.
KM-855 might cost too much for some players, but I personally never regretted spending that much money, as it has an amazing value for that price.
Overall, Kentucky KM-855 is a solid workhorse with almost no noticeable defects or cons. I personally think that KM-855 is a perfect mandolin and a must-have for any mandolin lovers.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you liked this read, and if you did feel free to drop a comment or share this review on your favourite social media.
Stay safe and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!