The Kentucky KM-1500 Arch Top Mandolin (1984)

The Kentucky  KM-1500 Arch Top Mandolin  (1984)
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$2,000.00 + shipping
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Item # 9048
Prices subject to change without notice.
The Kentucky KM-1500 Model Arch Top Mandolin (1984), made in Japan, serial # 84.5.49, sunburst finish, flame maple back, sides and neck, spruce top, ebony fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This is a very nice example of what is generally considered the finest Japanese-made mandolin of its era, the Kentucky KM-1500. In an era when instruments from Japan were just coming into their own as professional grade, this mandolin was a standard bearer. Handmade of high-grade materials in small workshops (not mass-market factories) and distributed by Saga in San Francisco, the KM-1500 was regarded as a fully professional grade Loar Fern-style Bluegrass mandolin at a time when the choices were far more limited than today. The KM-1500 listed at $1,495 plus case in 1982. Relatively few were made in Japan due to the limited availability of the select seasoned woods sourced in the U.S. and the amount of hand labor required to build and finish each instrument.
 
Overall length is 27 1/2 in. (69.8 cm.), 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 14 in. (356 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/16 in. (27 mm.).

This mandolin has seen some use but remains in excellent-playing condition. The finish has some small scratches, dings, and dents, but no major wear. The top has one small repaired crack off the bass side of the neck joint, which is fairly inconspicuous. The tuner buttons have been replaced (the originals are in the case, with one cracked) as has the pickguard. The frets show some wear, but the instrument is an excellent player with a powerful and nicely mellowed-in sound. This instrument is far superior in tone to the average imported mass-market mandolin available today, a testament to the quality available from the best Japanese builders 35+ years ago. Overall Excellent Condition.