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 two KM-300Es in stock:
  1. This one is 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. $700 plus shipping. 48-hour approval period.
  2. Also from the later batch, this KM-300E is in very good condition, but it's not all original. The pickup has been replaced with an after-market lipstick pickup, the pots have been replaced (original pots included with the sale), and it has white chickenhead knobs in place of the originals. The remaining hardware is original, including the tailpiece cover. Original hardshell case with electric blue lining.
         See more photos, hear a sound clip, or for more information. $750 plus shipping. 48-hour approval period.