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The mandolin reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

89 reviews in the archive.

Kentucky: KM-174

Submitted by jazzrambler on 7/28/2013

Where Purchased: eBay

Year Purchased: 2013
Price Paid: 200 ($US)

Sound

I like it! It plays good and the sound is full and richer than any of the new instruments available in stores around Jacksonville, Fl. Previously I owned a Breedlove Quartz OM. It was great, but I felt it was a better mandolin than I was a player. I sold it to buy a Dobro. With the surplus, I purchased this mando. I own a 1981 Flatiron SB-1. I judge all other purchases by it. The Kentucky KM-174 sounds better.

Sound Rating: 8

Setup

I had to do some tweaking, as with any used instrument. Some of the slots were uneven, one fret was high. It was a couple of easy fixes.

Setup Rating: 5

Appearance

I like it simple. The previous owner had taken the gloss off the finish with steel wool. I have done the same thing on at least one instrument. I really like satin finishes. It ain't pretty. I didn't buy it to hang on the wall as art. I like a vintage look.

Appearance Rating: 8

Reliability

The instrument is solid, the hardware is functional. It is dependable.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

N/A

Customer Service: not rated

Components

The instrument is solid, the hardware is functional. The grain is showing under the finish, I can only assume that means the sound is too.

Components Rating: 8

Overall Comments

I really like this mando. I have played bluegrass, swing, country and rock stuff at jams, gigs, and hanging out. Every time, someone makes positive comments on the sound of my mando. It ain't because I'm some great player. Judging from the serial number the mando is a 2001. Age and playing really affect the sound of an instrument in my opinion. I can't vouch for every KM-174, but this one is a keeper.

Overall Rating: 10

Breedlove: Quartz OF

Submitted by jazzrambler on 3/14/2011

Where Purchased: New Old Stock Vendor

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: (trade) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I played several brands and nothing came close for the money. I was interested in something completely different, either an 'A' oval hole or an 'F.' The playability and tone took me by surprise. It has a really nice 'chop' as well as a mellow tremolo and rich single note volume.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was great except somehow the outside E string had gotten set too close to its partner. It was an easy fix. Some thrasher probably wonked it trying it out. The fretboard is as nice as I have encountered on guitars like Lowden. I walked through the intonation with a digital tuner and it is as accurate as can be.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Satin finish, beautiful sunburst and nicely figured maple on the back. The non-traditional headstock takes a bit of getting used to. Overall, the appearance is 'classy' but not 'fancy.' It is a straightforward and simple design.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I think it is built like a tank. The tailpiece is black so I don't know what it is made of besides 'metal.' It is nicely designed and solid. The tuners are open geared. They are nothing to write home about but they are smooth and hold tune.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Before I bought it, I called and talked to one of the guys in the shop. I don't remember his name but he was friendly, polite and informative. It is under warranty and the warranty terms seem really fair.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything seems cool. It came with an outstanding hard case. It is a delight to play and has allowed me to become a better player in the 2 weeks I have owned it.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend Breedlove instruments based on this mandolin.

Overall Rating: 10

Breedlove: Quartz OF

Submitted by jazzrambler on 3/14/2011

Where Purchased: New Old Stock Vendor

Year Purchased: 2011
Price Paid: (trade) historic exchange rates / currency converter

Sound

I played several brands and nothing came close for the money. I was interested in something completely different, either an 'A' oval hole or an 'F.' The playability and tone took me by surprise. It has a really nice 'chop' as well as a mellow tremolo and rich single note volume.

Sound Rating: 9

Setup

Set up was great except somehow the outside E string had gotten set too close to its partner. It was an easy fix. Some thrasher probably wonked it trying it out. The fretboard is as nice as I have encountered on guitars like Lowden. I walked through the intonation with a digital tuner and it is as accurate as can be.

Setup Rating: 9

Appearance

Satin finish, beautiful sunburst and nicely figured maple on the back. The non-traditional headstock takes a bit of getting used to. Overall, the appearance is 'classy' but not 'fancy.' It is a straightforward and simple design.

Appearance Rating: 10

Reliability

I think it is built like a tank. The tailpiece is black so I don't know what it is made of besides 'metal.' It is nicely designed and solid. The tuners are open geared. They are nothing to write home about but they are smooth and hold tune.

Reliability Rating: 10

Customer Service

Before I bought it, I called and talked to one of the guys in the shop. I don't remember his name but he was friendly, polite and informative. It is under warranty and the warranty terms seem really fair.

Customer Service: 10

Components

Everything seems cool. It came with an outstanding hard case. It is a delight to play and has allowed me to become a better player in the 2 weeks I have owned it.

Components Rating: not rated

Overall Comments

I would highly recommend Breedlove instruments based on this mandolin.

Overall Rating: 10

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