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Product 515357

Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole   

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In the early 20th Century, mandolins like these revolutionized the way music was created in America. As an orchestral Instrument the mandolin enjoyed...Click To Read More About This Product

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This Kentucky mandolin is sweeter than black-strap molasses.

In the early 20th Century, mandolins like these revolutionized the way music was created in America. As an orchestral Instrument the mandolin enjoyed an unprecedented popularity and the instrument of choice was the flat-backed, oval hole mandolin, most often constructed in the A style configuration. Most of those mandolin orchestras are no longer with us but the popularity of the instrument has not waned.

Oval-holed mandolins are a bit less percussive than their f-holed counterparts and produce a warmer quality of tone. It is this richness of tone that has drawn so many artists to the KM-170 Series Kentucky Mandolin. In keeping with tradition and design the neck joins the body at the 10th fret. The slim, fast neck is constructed of a single piece of maple and is re-enforced with an adjustable truss rod. The neck is attached to the body with a complex dovetail join for maximum security and sound transmission. The bridge is adjustable for easy adjustment of string action. Tuning is quick and precise with the M-120, 14:1 ratio Gotoh tuners. The snakehead peghead shape is overlaid with Indian rosewood then inlaid with pearl and abalone in the unique arrowhead design.

  • Solid, hand-carved and graduated spruce top
  • Solid, hand-carved and graduated flamed maple back & sides
  • Solid one piece maple neck adjustable truss rod
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer finish available in three color options
  • Rosewood headstock overlay with mother-of-pearl Inlays
  • High quality, nickel-plated Gotoh tuners with engraved plate
  • Traditional rosewood bridge and bone nut

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
KentuckyKM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



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  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 5 customers

Displaying reviews 1-5

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needs a trip to a luthier

By Bald Old Man

from Decatur, IL

About Me Novice


  • Good Quality For Cost
  • Good Tone
  • Very Good Volume And Tone


  • Needs Pro Set Up To Play
  • Poor Fret Instalation

Best Uses

  • Concerts
  • Practicing

Comments about Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole:

The frets were poorly installed which required work by a luthier. Though this is not uncommon at this price point it does mean that you will need to budget extra money to make this instrument playable which could add to the overall cost.
However, once set up properly it has very good volume and tonal quality that really impressed my teacher. I would still call it a good buy.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Nice Sound-Bad setup

By donnyguitarreed

from Idyllwild, CA

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer


  • Good Tone
  • Sounds Very Old Timey


    Best Uses

      Comments about Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole:

      Nice looking, sounding and value. Horrible setup with tarnished strings, very high action, (here's where it will cost me $) high frets at 12th fret causing bad notes on G string above 12. Wish I wouldn't have added a strap button or I would return it!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


      nice oval hole for not much money

      By Duane Strevell

      from NJ

      Comments about Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole:

      sounds and plays as nice as a lot of old Gibsons I have played, a good setup is highly advised, a cheap way to get that old timey oval hole sound
      basic mandolin, tuners work well, finish is cleaner than I would expect from a cheap Chinese mandolin, tone is great! Sounds much better than the Eatman oval holes I have played, mine is very loud, dry and woody
      needs to be professionally setup, mine needs some minor fret dressing, buy from a shop that will set it up for you if you are not able to do it yourself, construction looks clean
      a lot of mandolin for not much money, it's not a Collings but very good for a couple hundred dollars

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


      Kentucky KM-174: You might need to return a few of these before you get a good one.

      By Robert Pennington

      from vancouver,wa

      Comments about Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole:

      This rating is for manufacturer quality control. This mandolin left the factory with an obvious construction problem. If anyone at the factory had inspected this instrument (especially the person that crushed the fret in the first place!) they would have seen the problem.

      I think you would probably get a good instrument if you don't mind getting involved in the return process.
      A properly constructed KM-174 would be a nice instrument for its price range.
      My KM-174 arrived with a crushed 11th fret. The instrument was playable in first position and in positions above the 11th fret. Middle of the neck positions were unplayable.
      I really wasn't able to evaluate the tone or volume of this instrument. After I noticed the crushed fret, I gave up and repackaged the instrument.

      (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


      Good dawg for the price.

      By LeeLW

      from Garland , Texas

      Comments about Kentucky KM-174 Standard A-model Mandolin with Oval Soundhole:

      I have been playing the mandolin for a while. I own a moderately priced F Style mandolin for playing bluegrass. I wanted a second mandolin at a price that wouldn't break the bank. A mandolin that had a good sound and was made of all solid woods with a nitrocellulose finish coat. A mandolin that would play at gigs and jams. A mandolin that would be better suited for celtic and old time music. The Kentuky KM 174 was just the right instruement for the need. The sound has very good sustain with a throaty low string, a balance mid and high range. The quality of the materials are acceptable. An Oval hole mandolin does not have the bark of a good A or F style mandolin but celtic and old time music does not need that bluegrass bark. I recommend this mandolin for someone that does not care about a lot of fancy frills but wants an instruement that plays and sounds decent, the KM 174 does that for me. I do recommend that you make sure that the mandolin is professionally set up when you buy it. This will make all the difference. Buy it and enjoy it.

      Displaying reviews 1-5

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