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Thread: Is my new mando trash?

  1. #1
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    Default Is my new mando trash?

    Iíve been playing a Kentucky km-150 for a bit now. Itís been great. Itís loud, it has a nice ďbarkĒ, I enjoy the sound of my chops on it, etc. I saw an ad for a loar lm-600. I read a lot about how people liked them and the price was really good so I said to hell with it, letís get it. I HATE IT. It feels heavier than my Kentucky, it sounds kinda quiet and I feel like itís just got this dry boring almost tinny tone. Is this how these just are? Itís had a setup and itís comfortable to play but aside from that Iím scared to invest into a new bridge and waste money if it does nothing for the mando. Does anybody think a bridge can do THAT MUCH for a situation like this? Do I need to just cut my losses and put it back out into the wild? Iím trying to convince myself that itís ok and maybe it needs to ďopen upĒ 😂 or maybe itís a good tone and just something Iím not used to. Maybe my expectations of it sounding like a better version of my Kentucky have skewed my thoughts?
    The Loar lm-600
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  2. #2
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Just a quick thought, Lee. Is it a new or used instrument? Have you tried changing the strings? Even on a new instrument it can be in store for a long time and the strings could be past their best. If it's had a set-up I guess that it maybe has had new strings fitted, but then again, maybe not?
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    It had some flat wound strings on it originally but after the setup I put the ol’ reliable j74s on it. Could it be that this thing just doesn’t like j74s?
    The Loar lm-600
    Kentucky KM-150
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  4. #4
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    If you had it set up I doubt a new bridge will make it speak to you, if your not happy with the tone, into the wild it goes.
    2020 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

  5. #5
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Short answer: No, I don't think your new mandolin is trash.

    I remember playing a LM600 at a Guitar Center once. It was in dire need of a setup but still I thought it was a nice instrument. It sounded thin like most The Loars do to me. Most Eastman's, Kentuckys sound thin to me as well.

    My suggestion, if your going to keep it, would be to play it.... lots and see if it opens up, which is something I do think can happen. It did on my tight, compressed sounding Weber and I cant explain how.

    Congrats and happy picking!

  6. #6
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    You should have it examined by good player and take your KM as well. In many cases the low end Kentucky or similar have the tubby plywood tone that skews beginners image of how mandolin should sound. I've played several The Loars and some were really tinny, but it's hard to say if your is such or Your Kentucky is one of the better ones ...
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    I'm not the most knowledgeable, but I changed from a non-ebony (rosewood?) to an ebony bridge once with a noticeable increase in volume.

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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Funny I had just the opposite experience, I had a Kentucky KM-150 that I thought sounded "tinny" lacking any warmth. I sold it and bought a The Loar 590 and thought it sounded much richer. I now have a Weber of course a different class altogether.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    KM150s are hard to beat in their price range or somewhat higher.

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
    Funny I had just the opposite experience, I had a Kentucky KM-150 that I thought sounded "tinny" lacking any warmth. I sold it and bought a The Loar 590 and thought it sounded much richer. I now have a Weber of course a different class altogether.
    I wonder if the satin finish of the 590 is better (thinner, not compressing the volume) then the Nitrocellulose finish of the 600???

  12. #11
    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    It's a bit unfair to say it's trash, I think. It's a prettier instrument than a KM-150, and F-bodies are harder to build and those both increase the price.

    But, it simply may not be to your liking, nothing fundamentally wrong with that. If you got a good deal on it, sell it along and get your money back, and find something that really excites you. Life is too short, save up a little more and try some other mandolins until you find one that really knocks your socks off.
    -Dave
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Put it on the classifieds and say it's the best sounding mandolin you have played ! Just kidding ! I see some ads posted like that !!
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Get it set up by a competent luthier. It could make all the difference.

    There is no reason, from the make and model, that one would think that mandolin could not be someone's forever mandolin.
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheets View Post
    It's a bit unfair to say it's trash, I think. It's a prettier instrument than a KM-150, and F-bodies are harder to build and those both increase the price.

    But, it simply may not be to your liking, nothing fundamentally wrong with that. If you got a good deal on it, sell it along and get your money back, and find something that really excites you. Life is too short, save up a little more and try some other mandolins until you find one that really knocks your socks off.
    Fair enough, I was pretty harsh by calling it trash. It’s not, it’s just not sounding how I thought it would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Get it set up by a competent luthier. It could make all the difference.

    There is no reason, from the make and model, that one would think that mandolin could not be someone's forever mandolin.
    I can take it to a really reputable luthier to double check the work
    The Loar lm-600
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    It’s funny you say that. I stopped at a local shop to see if there where some different strings I could try and they had a 590 sitting there. It really did almost seem nicer because of that thin finish. Mine looks like it was dipped in a whole barrel of nitro compared to that thin satin finish...
    The Loar lm-600
    Kentucky KM-150
    Martin D-16GT
    65í Gibson LG-0 x braced
    Recording King RDH-26
    W.N. Burkard 1890s openback

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    If you hate it, send it back. If you're not sure, if it looks, feels, and sounds different it might be worth keeping and experimenting with different strings, picks, etc., etc. "Might" is the operative word, though. Generally when a new instrument arrives people are excited and can't put it down.

    You may be the person who lucked into getting one of the best KM-150s and one of the worst LM-600s out there.

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  20. #17

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    See if you can slip a piece of paper under any part of the bridge feet. If you can then fitting the bridge may help it a lot.

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  22. #18

    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Get a thin piece of paper and try to get a corner of it anywhere underneath the bridge feet. If you can the bridge is not making full contact. Check that the whole bridge is not cocked forward towards the peghead and needs to be pushed back upright. Try GHS Silk & Bronze strings.
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  23. #19
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Just my own opinion, with no recent real-world experience to back it up: The Loar tends to put its effort into looks while, comparatively speaking, Kentucky puts it effort into sound. YMMV.
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Looks like Carl and Fretbear are on the same "page".

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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fretbear View Post
    Get a thin piece of paper and try to get a corner of it anywhere underneath the bridge feet. If you can the bridge is not making full contact. Check that the whole bridge is not cocked forward towards the peghead and needs to be pushed back upright. Try GHS Silk & Bronze strings.
    Bridge is fitted superbly. No tilt forward and all parts of the feet are making contact with the soundboard. I ordered 3 different types of strings last night, ghs, elixir, and j75s as well as a Cumberland bridge. I hate to spend the money with possibly no results but Iím also not ready to give up.
    The Loar lm-600
    Kentucky KM-150
    Martin D-16GT
    65í Gibson LG-0 x braced
    Recording King RDH-26
    W.N. Burkard 1890s openback

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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Id say your first perception the best. Dont try to like it if it isnt what you like.

  28. #23
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Manufactured instruments have a large spread on quality. Some are excellent some are trash. Most are somewhere in the middle and with work may be made into their best. Putting money or time into bringing out an instruments best is a gamble. You may or may not like what you get from your investment. Less expensive instruments are likely to show less overall change than their more expensive kin. Keep in mind the more expensive instruments are not likely to have the problems effecting the "cheaper" varieties. Materials are a large factor in this. Fit, finish and hardware follow closely in importance during manufacturing. So you pays your money and you takes your chances. Good Luck and Play on !
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  29. #24
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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Agree with trying out some different strings/picks, etc, and would play it hard for a few days. Especially if it's new you may notice an improvement with some play. My Kelley (which I realize is a different animal altogether), continues to mature and get louder the more I play it, and I probably adjust to it to get the best out of it the more I play it as well. You may also notice a change with EJ75 gauged strings as well. I started on a Kentucky 675-S that was overbuilt and heavily finished (it was built shortly after they moved production to China, and is in no way reflective of the instruments they're producing now). The heavier gauge strings drove the top much better, producing much better volume than 74s.

    All that said, if you're not happy with it, I wouldn't sink a ton of cash into it. Move it along, and save for an A style in the 1000-1500 range, which is more likely to be a major upgrade than the lower end F-styles. No offense intended (I love F-styles, too, and am glad those options exist for those who've just gotta have a scroll), but a used Silverangel Econo, Ratliff, Bulldog, etc, will excite you from the first strum. If you've gotta have a scroll, consider saving for a used Kentucky 1000 or 1050, or see if you can find an Eastman 315 to try. I used to own one of those, and it was a very good mandolin, especially considering the price.

    Good luck. I've bought a couple of mandolins through the years that just didn't turn my crank. Especially when buying online, and especially in the sub-1000 range, where quality varies from instrument to instrument even from the same manufacturer, it can happen. All of those mandolins found new homes with people who were very happy with them...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Is my new mando trash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    If you hate it, send it back. If you're not sure, if it looks, feels, and sounds different it might be worth keeping and experimenting with different strings, picks, etc., etc. "Might" is the operative word, though. Generally when a new instrument arrives people are excited and can't put it down.

    You may be the person who lucked into getting one of the best KM-150s and one of the worst LM-600s out there.
    Good observation and indeed that may explain it. Some time ago, popular mandolin vendor Robert Fear wrote that he'd sold Loar LM 600s to a lot of touring pros.
    ďMandolin brands are a guide, not Gospel ď
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