Kentucky 300e Electric Mandolin Overview: Price-Quality Ratio

ModelRatingWeightScale lengthOur topCheck
1Kentucky 300e Electric Mandolin 5 pounds13-3/4″1 Check

2Ibanez M510 Mandolin 2.5 pounds13″2 Check

3Loar LM-520 2.9 pounds13-29/32″3 Check

Kentucky 300e Electric Mandolin
Weight5 pounds
Scale length13-3/4″
Our top1
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Ibanez M510 Mandolin
Weight2.5 pounds
Scale length13″
Our top2
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Loar LM-520
Weight2.9 pounds
Scale length13-29/32″
Our top3
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The Kentucky KM-300e mandolin offers great value for money. The Kentucky km 300e is characterized by its style and its sound offering a large number of tonal possibilities, Blues, Country, Jazz, and Rock.

Kentucky KM-300e

This mandolin is available in modified F-style body shape made of basswood. The bound maple neck with a radiused rosewood fretboard is beautiful aesthetically but does not affect the sound. The Kentucky KM-300e also has an adjustable truss rod most mandolins in this price range. The sound of this instrument is warm and does not disappoint for what is its price range, it also offers a good volume thanks to the combination of basswood and maple. The hardware present is great for the price and free of tuning problems.


  • 3 Ply tortoise pickguard;
  • Nickel Plated Brass “Deco-style” tailpiece;
  • Style Bridge: Tune-O-Matic;
  • Chrome-plated volume and tone control knobs;
  • The Mandolin is available in 2 colors, high gloss tobacco sunburst;
  • Vintage style ivory body binding.

The electric mandolins with magnetic pickups must mount string wound in ferromagnetic material (steel, nickel) avoiding the bronzed ones, on pain of a net loss of volume and body on the third and fourth string.

The structure of the resonance body of the mandolin is the element that allows its identification and establishes its location within the family of the plectrum instruments. The organic evolution of plectrum instruments in some ways is comparable to that of string instruments; however, unlike the violin, the mandolin has not crystallized into a single model since the architecture of the so-called Neapolitan mandolin has been flanked by numerous stylistic and structural variations aimed at increasing the sound volume, optimizing the tonal yield and increasing the versatility of use.

A really lovely mandolin that has a very different sound to my Ovation mandolin. The strings, of course, are different but the 4-string (rather than 8) system makes for easier fretting. The strings are a little cheap as they de-tune quickly but that’s a weakness in all new mandolins and replacing them is always the first action one should take. I use my Mando in blues, jazz and ambient compositions and this electric one fits neatly in my studio set-up. A great price for a great tone. Zosh

The results of these experiments, united by constructive styles that differ decisively from the basic morphology, over the course of time have been very flattering to the point that currently, alongside the classic mandolin traditionally known as Neapolitan mandolin, other types have been used in common use constructions whose evolution in terms of shapes, thicknesses and proportions reflects the resulting acoustic components.

A large number of tonal possibilities, Blues, Country, Jazz, and Rock
The sound of this instrument is warm
The tuners will keep the strings well
This mandolin also has a compensated bridge which ensures a good pitch of the instrument
Easy to play
The strings are a little cheap as they de-tune quickly

Plectrum for mandolin

The mandolin is an instrument that must be played using the plectrum, just like the guitar. The plectrum is a triangle-shaped or drop-shaped plate that acts as a guitarist’s fingernail, that is, it serves to pinch the strings. It should be kept in the right hand of the musician: bending the index finger at a right angle and holding the plectrum between the tip of the index finger and the thumb. This type of “grip” allows a great mobility of the wrist, which is the secret to playing the mandolin well.

The acute timbre, in fact, and the type of instrument brings the sound of the mandolin to be very short and bright. That’s why, in order to perform a song, the duration of the notes is prolonged, and this happens through the use of the “tremolo”, that is, pinching the strings very quickly from top to bottom and vice versa. This technique is quite typical of the mandolin and is its main unmistakable characteristic.


The tuning of a mandolin instrument is very similar to that of the violin. Starting from the bottom, from the thickest string that emits the most serious sound, we have Sol, Re, La, Mi. The electric mandolin is an instrument tuned and played like a mandolin and amplified similar to an electric guitar. There are different variations of electric mandolin. The most common form is a convex body instrument with 4 orders of two strings each (similar to a traditional mandolin), in which a pick-up is inserted, similar to what happens with the archtop guitars.

Generally the study of the mandolin joins the study of the guitar, since its execution technique is very similar. Even in private music schools there are mandolin courses. The cost of this fascinating musical instrument is very variable and depends on the quality of the mandolin, more or less from 300 Euros upwards.

Other Mandolins with the best ratio of price and quality

The Ibanez M510 mandolin

The Ibanez M510 mandolin is made of laminated wood that is not the best to have a total quality resonance. However, the back and sides are made of mahogany and spruce.

The tuners will keep the strings well. And even if you do not get a much better sound than the economic models, surely you have to justify the higher price because of the better quality of construction.

This mandolin also has a compensated bridge which ensures a good pitch of the instrument. In addition, this mandolin comes with a truss rod that allows you to adjust the neck to improve the playability.

It offers great value for money
Still offering high vitreous and crystalline without missing a good volume
Good price
It features a compensated bridge
It is made completely from laminated woods, which unfortunately does limit the total resonance

The Loar LM-520

The Loar LM-520 is based on the projects introduced by Lloyd Loar which in turn was based on the famous Gibson F-5 mandolin.

Loar has managed to offer a convenient and good quality mandolin. The mandolin F-Style offers great value for money.

This model combines teak wood, using the maple for the back and sides and spruce for the top. With its style F it has the parchment that improves its aesthetics without affecting the tone. The hardware offered is just what you would expect in this price range. The tuners behave well; the bridge is in ebony and is offset while the fretboard is in rosewood.

Excellent value for the money
Construction Quality, automated process, is quite good
No sloppy glue joints
A little brighter than an “A” style mandolin
Wooden strap pegs may need to be reset or replaced
No finish at all on the inside of the scrolls

Although this mandolin has a better tone than other cheaper models does not yet come to be compared to a high-end instrument still offering high vitreous and crystalline without missing a good volume.

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