Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Used Kentucky Mandolin

Hello all!,
Im thinking about getting a used Kentucky KM-200S i know of and was wondering if anyone knew when these were made, quality, things to watch for and such. Ive checked with saga instruments and mandolin cafe searches but not found anything yet ( as far as production times). Im still not sure if I want to get it or something new. Id like to be able to know any bad sound is my playing and not a subpar instrument fighting with me. It will be my first mandolin.

As far as I can tell they were originally made in Japan, and then moved to Korea, and now they’re made in China. I can’t find specific dates for each of these, nor how serial numbers map to dates. It does look like the 200S was only made in the 90’s, and the company relocated to China around 2001, so you’re looking at Japan or Korea for yours. From what little I did find, it sounds like the Japan made ones are a little bit better.

It’s surprisingly hard to find much detail about this Company, especially considering how popular they are.

Edit: Should be a sticker on the back of the headstock that indicates the Country the instrument was made in. And I also found posts (this is all coming from the mandolincafe by the way) that indicate they made the 200S in the 80’s as well. This is some tricky business.

Thanks Jim! More info than I could find. Appreciate it.

You’re Welcome. Here are the links I had found, right from the horses mouth, maybe you can tease a little more information out of them: … S-Mandolin … ky-KM-200S … ky-KM-200S … 200s-value

I messed around with cheap mandolins and was always disappointed. I have a Kentucky 505 A model I love. Any I have played were easy to play and sound decent. I own much more expensive ones but…I think they represent the entry point for a Kentucky someone will keep and most of all play. Breedlove makes a crossover mando that is another entry level choice and it has a wider neck than the 505. Both have radius necks and play like Mondos costing a whole lot more. Setup will also have a lot to do with any Mandolin.