New versions of the Kentucky KM-500 and KM-505 became available for 2015/2016. These are entirely different mandolins than those made in the previous years. They are upgraded in almost every way, but especially in the area of tone. In short, the newer versions sound better. While the basic specs look the same on paper (or a webpage), the newer versions have better tonewood, improved carving and graduation, and thinner finishes. The result is mandolins that are more resonate and louder.
For these new versions, the KM-500 is now a color variation of the KM-505. The KM-500 mandolin has a traditional sunburst finish, while the KM-505 mandolin has a lighter Amberburst finish. This is a case where you can choose based solely on appearance. The KM-500 is no longer a “lower model”. This did not hold true for the previous years. In the past, the KM-505 was in fact a higher model.
So how do you tell the old and new version apart? The older Kentucky KM-505 had a much darker finish. The older Kentucky KM-500 was actually a little lighter than the newest version. The older KM-500 had a simple headstock inlay, the newer version shares the same inlay as the KM-505. The simplest way to tell them apart is the pick guard. Both models now have pick guards, previously they did not.
If you happen to be shopping the used market or find shops that still have the older model in stock, the older version of the Kentucky KM-505 is still a very nice mandolin and you don’t need to feel like you are compromising by playing one. It is only when compared to the new 500/505 that you might be a little envious.
Comments will be approved before showing up.