Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Kentucky KM-140 Standard A-model Mandolin


  • Great quality build
  • Easy setup
  • Nice sound, articulation, and tone


  • Not the best strings
  • Might be a bit pricey for beginners

Kentucky mandolins have been around for about 25. They are known for quality tonewood, great craftsmanship and astounding sound that cannot be mistaken for anything else. The company’s mandolin choice ranges from mid-range to high prices but the price does not change the fact that their models are some of the best ones on the market nowadays. The KM-140 is one of their more affordable models that sell under $300. It would be a great addition to an intermediate player looking for a quality, durable instrument or an amazing start for a beginner.


If you are new to mandolins let me tell you that when it comes to the choice of tonewood and construction, there are few that compare to Kentucky’s quality. With this more affordable model, they still went with quality materials such as solid spruce top, maple back, and sides. This helps with the solid construction, comfort and, as you will see once you pick up the instrument, the sound.

The sleek maple neck has a bound rosewood fingerboard with M.O.P. dot inlays and a solid joint with the body (dovetail). This ensures that your mandolin will feel like an actual mandolin and not a toy you are too scared to hold in fear of breaking it in two pieces. The fingerboard is very nicely polished and provides stunning smoothness and playability. All of this is completed with a high-gloss sunburst lacquer finish that lets your instrument shine and age beautifully.


Moving on to hardware, Kentucky has equipped the KM-140 with an adjustable compensated rosewood bridge and truss rod. You get full control and can adjust the action to your liking. Apart from that, you will notice quality Gotoh Deluxe tuning machines and nickel-plated hardware. The tailpiece is easy to remove if you need to change the strings. Speaking of, you will probably need to change the strings because they are not that great in quality and don’t bring out the best sound in this instrument. Overall, the setup is pretty easy and the final product is a very well-rounded, durable instrument with nice hardware.

Kentucky KM 140 Sound

The solid spruce top with narrow grains combined with solid back and sides produce a very crisp, punchy sound. The volume on the KM-140 is very impressive while not taking away from nuances tonal range. While this instrument might not be the most affordable one in comparison to other beginner and intermediate models, after playing it or listening to this model, it becomes quite clear that the quality cannot be bought for cheap. Close-to-perfect resonance and articulation and woody sounds are just a few things that describe this versatile instrument that looks, sounds and feels like one of the best mandolins I have tried out in a while.


When picking up a Kentucky KM-140 Standard A-model mandolin I did expect a good quality instrument, after all, it is Kentucky. But I definitely did not expect as much as this baby brings to the table. Crisp, sweet sound, quality build, and nice hardware prove, once again, that paying a little bit more always pays off.

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