Kentucky KM-300E 5-string, late 1980s. $750.
I bought my first electric mandolin in December 1989, with money I had earned from a week’s worth of busking Christmas carols on the viola in downtown Seattle. It was one of these: a Kentucky KM-300E 5-string, imported by Saga from Japan. I pressed it into service in the college jazz ensemble/pep band; I remember playing licks from "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" on it during basketball games. Ah, those were the days.
     Somewhere along the way I let that instrument go, and it was almost 20 years before I found another one. As an avid buyer & seller I’ve had a handful of them across the threshold in recent times. They’re not going to replace my beloved Bacorn in my affections, but they are worthy axes nonetheless. Neck and comfort-contoured body are solid ash. Nickel hardware, including a Tun-O-Matic bridge, standard Gibson-style tailpiece, and closed-gear tuners. Black/white pickguard with tone and volume controls. Single-coil pickup. Standard mandolin scale length of 13.875 inches, flat rosewood fretboard. Attractive tobacco sunburst finish.
     The KM-300E was discontinued not long after I bought mine. Examples of them are thin on the ground. Please don’t confuse this mandolin with the 4-string Kentucky KM-300E currently sold by Saga. That’s an inferior, entry-level instrument; this one has 5 strings and is, in my humble estimation, a better mandolin.
     I have the following KM-300E in stock:
  1. It's in good condition, with minor player wear and a few small nicks and chips, and comes with its original hardshell case with electric blue lining. This example is from the later batch of KM-300Es, with the lighter sunburst and the fret marker in its correct place on the 10th fret (rather than the darker burst and 9th-fret marker used on the earlier batch). Pots are somewhat scratchy. It appears to have all of its original hardware except for an after-market tailpiece cover.
         See more photos, hear a sound clip, or for more information. $750 plus shipping. 48-hour approval period.