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Thread: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

  1. #1
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    Default Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Iím very happy with my Ratliff Country Boy F-style mandolin but I want to get an oval hole A-style for old time and Irish sessions. Iíve played the Kentucky KM-505 briefly and if it was available in an oval hole model Iíd have one in a heartbeat. So, do any of you have suggestions for something akin to what an oval hole KM-505 would be? Iím considering a Northfield Calhoun and a Morris A-style but Iím enamored of carved tops for no defensible reason beyond, ďI like Ďem!Ē My MAS needs sustenance!
    Finished my rookie year and still determined to learn!
    Ratliff F-style Country Boy
    Eastman MDO-305 Octave Mandolin
    Kentucky KM-272

    I donít know what I want to be when I grow up.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    I’m a huge fan of my new Morris A4, carved top oval. There’s a recording of it on my NMD post about it. It’s my favorite sounding mandolin I’ve played.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Eastman 504 if you can find someone who's got one in stock.
    Or save a few hundred more and get a Gibson A or A-1. You might want to budget for a set of modern frets.

  4. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    You might like this....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/187649#187649

    Or look for an Eastman 504 model.

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  5. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Morris in the classifieds....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/187535#187535

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  6. #6
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    I know youíre looking for an A style, but maybe a Kentucky KM-670 would work for you.
    https://reverb.com/item/52530171-ken...gbag-sunburst8

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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Thank you, all!

    The oval hole is essential and the carved top A-style is my preference. Fortunately, I am in no special hurry to buy. I’ve been playing mandolin less than a year so the folks I sit in with are still willing to be forgiving of my bringing an F-style to the party. I’ll peruse the classifieds daily and stop in at every acoustic music store I encounter. I’ve no doubt that what I’d like will eventually and magically appear.
    Finished my rookie year and still determined to learn!
    Ratliff F-style Country Boy
    Eastman MDO-305 Octave Mandolin
    Kentucky KM-272

    I donít know what I want to be when I grow up.

  8. #8
    🎶 Play Pretty 🎶 Greg Connor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    I just bought an Oval Hole Mandolin made by Bruce Brockman, a luthier in Arizona. It was surprisingly affordable.

    I made a short video when I first got it. Here is the video, his website is listed in the description:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh4wvfN5-oc

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  10. #9
    Registered User Cary Fagan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    I also like an oval hole for old time and Irish and save my F for bluegrass. I think it's worth taking various factors into consideration. There's a difference between the hybrid oval holes (Morris is one) with the same neck joins as an A5 and the 'shorter' neck oval holes in the old Gibson style (Eastman). There's a difference in how they sound and in how they feel. I myself prefer the Gibson style but I have a friend with a Collings MTO which I believe is actually in between (one fret difference in the join, out of your price range, I know) who loves it and it is a very nice mandolin. All oval holes are not the same.

    For what it's worth, I had an Eastman and eventually sold it. If I was looking now I'd probably hope for a less expensive pumpkin top Gibson, perhaps earlier than 1918 when they seem to get more expensive. But I'd be careful to really make sure there is no top sinking, neck bowing, or other problems. Or I'd go the other way and give that used Morris a try; it certainly looks pretty.
    Cary Fagan

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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    The Kentucky KM-272 might be an option you would like for an oval hole, A-style. I enjoy mine.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    I played that Morris A4 oval hole last weekend and it was awesome! I ended up buying the F5 he had instead but if I hadn't I would have definitely gotten the A4. Morris is a great guy and a great builder, you won't find a better deal anywhere.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    I played that Morris A4 oval hole last weekend and it was awesome! I ended up buying the F5 he had instead but if I hadn't I would have definitely gotten the A4. Morris is a great guy and a great builder, you won't find a better deal anywhere.
    If I hadn’t just bought the blue one a couple of weeks ago I’d be all over that one in the classifieds. It’s a fantastic deal. And yes, Sonny is a super nice guy.

  14. #13
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    All good suggestions (and leads!) above.

    Here's another direction you might think about. When I decided to try an oval, I waited for an old Gibson snakehead that I could afford to come around.

    Got it. Love it. The birch back and sides take all the chill out of the sound. Loud and musical. Did I say I love it? Love it.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    The Kentucky KM-272 might be an option you would like for an oval hole, A-style. I enjoy mine.
    I may go that route. Itíd be a wholly serviceable stopgap while I press on with my search and thereís no reason that it couldnít go long term. Iím 71 so ďlong termĒ is less rigid a concept than it was a few decades ago. Iím looking at a wide variety of instruments: Morris A4, Northfield Calhoun, Fylde Signature Touchstone, Pava A4 (let me dream!), among others.

    Ya gotta love free time and disposable income!
    Finished my rookie year and still determined to learn!
    Ratliff F-style Country Boy
    Eastman MDO-305 Octave Mandolin
    Kentucky KM-272

    I donít know what I want to be when I grow up.

  16. #15

    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    If you can find a good deal on a Collings MTO—lowest used price seems about $2k US, I’m not thinking of any particular ad anywhere-you ultimately won’t regret it. I played mine at a Cape Breton fiddle session the other night and got some good reviews for it.

    In some ways it took me awhile to adjust; a bluegrass-style Mando is just fine for oldtime/Celtic styles and suits some players best, if you like to drive’er pretty hard. (And your preference for carved-tops, whatever the soundhole configuration, favours that playing style too.) When you do get your oval- or roundhole, don’t be discouraged with it if it doesn’t feel quite natural right away. I always find there’s a considerable break-in period for me as the player as well as for the instrument. I like to work with it for awhile, trying different strings and sometimes tweaking the truss rod, and then finally getting a pro setup done when I have a better sense of how I want it. I once bought a handmade carved-top oval hole because I thought that was what I needed; it wasn’t, and I ended up selling it after I got my Eastman 505, which actually suited me much better in the Celtic lots-of-fiddles scene; it doesn’t have the sustain of an oval hole, but volume and responsiveness more than made up for it.

    Most interesting post I see in the classifieds today is the 1922 Martin “Beltone”, all-Koa, offered at a quite decent price. Those little Martin bent-tops are worth a look, they have a particular chimey charm that is not often found in similar-seeming instruments.
    2009 Eastman 505
    2011 Collings MTO GT
    2008 Toyota Sienna
    2018 Sawchyn mandola

    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble óThe Oxford Companion to Music

  17. The following members say thank you to Bill Cameron for this post:

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  18. #16

    Default Re: Oval hole mando comparable to a Kentucky KM-505?

    If you can find one the Paris Swing John Jorgenson (MS-140-BK) is a lovely mandolin.

    It's essentially a Gibson snakehead with Gypsy Jazz styled soundhole (petite D) & cutaway and F-5 style tone bars instead of ladder bracing. The tone is loud and focused without any tubbyness. Solid carved woods, ebony board and bridge. (Mine has a custom fingerrest with electronics - they come with a see-through acrylic pickguard.)

    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

    - ---==< V >==--- -

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