Where Are Kentucky Mandolins Made

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Kentucky Mandolins, a name synonymous with high-quality and craftsmanship in the world of music. For over a century, this small company from Kentucky, USA, has been creating some of the most beautiful and sought-after mandolins in the world. In this blog post, we will explore the history of Kentucky Mandolins, where they are made, and what makes them so special.

History of Kentucky Mandolins

The history of Kentucky Mandolins dates back to 1918 when John Dopyera, a Czech immigrant, and his brothers established the National String Instrument Corporation in Los Angeles, California. The company quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality and innovative instruments, including the first commercially successful resonator mandolin. In 1925, the Dopyera brothers left the company and formed the Dobro Manufacturing Company, which continued to produce resonator mandolins.

In 1935, the Gibson Guitar Corporation, one of the largest and most respected instrument manufacturers in the world, purchased the Dobro Manufacturing Company. Under Gibson’s ownership, the company continued to produce resonator mandolins, and in 1960, they introduced the Kentucky Bluegrass mandolin, which quickly became a favorite among bluegrass musicians.

In 1973, Gibson sold the Kentucky Bluegrass mandolin line to the Flexible Guitar Company, which later became the Kentucky Mandolin Company. Today, Kentucky Mandolins continues to produce high-quality mandolins in its factory in Morehead, Kentucky.

Where Are Kentucky Mandolins Made?

Kentucky Mandolins are made in the small town of Morehead, Kentucky, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The factory, located at 101 Industrial Park Road, is open to the public for tours, where visitors can see firsthand the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each mandolin.

The factory is a testament to the company’s commitment to quality and tradition. The craftsmen at Kentucky Mandolins use many of the same techniques and tools that have been used for over a century, ensuring that each instrument is of the highest quality.

What Makes Kentucky Mandolins So Special?

There are several factors that make Kentucky Mandolins so special.

1. Craftsmanship: Each Kentucky Mandolin is handcrafted by skilled artisans who have spent years perfecting their craft. The result is an instrument that is not only beautiful but also incredibly well-made.
2. Tone: Kentucky Mandolins are known for their rich, full tone. This is achieved through a combination of the company’s proprietary bracing pattern, the use of high-quality woods, and the craftsmen’s attention to detail.
3. Playability: Kentucky Mandolins are easy to play, with a comfortable neck profile and a smooth, fast fretboard.
4. Tradition: Kentucky Mandolins are steeped in tradition. The company’s roots can be traced back to the early days of the resonator mandolin, and the instruments they produce today are still made using many of the same techniques and tools that were used over a century ago.

Types of Kentucky Mandolins

Kentucky Mandolins offers a wide range of instruments, from entry-level models to high-end, professional-grade instruments. Here are some of the most popular models:

1. Kentucky KM-150: This is the company’s entry-level model, and it’s a great choice for beginners. It features a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard.
2. Kentucky KM-250: This model is a step up from the KM-150 and features a solid spruce top, flamed maple back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard.
3. Kentucky KM-655: This is a professional-grade instrument that features a solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, and a bound ebony fretboard.
4. Kentucky A-Style Mandolin: This is a traditional A-style mandolin that features a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard.
5. Kentucky F-Style Mandolin: This is a traditional F-style mandolin that features a solid spruce top, flamed maple back and sides, and a bound ebony fretboard.

Kentucky Mandolin Tours

As mentioned earlier, the Kentucky Mandolin factory in Morehead, Kentucky, is open to the public for tours. The tours are free and offer a unique opportunity to see firsthand how these beautiful instruments are made. Visitors can see the craftsmen at work, learn about the history of the company, and even try out some of the instruments.

Looking to learn more about where your favorite musical instruments are made? Check out our articles on Savannah banjos, Loar mandolins, banjos, Jameson banjos, and Morgan Monroe mandolins to discover the origins of these instruments!


Kentucky Mandolins are some of the most beautiful and well-made instruments in the world. With a rich history that dates back over a century, these instruments are steeped in tradition and craftsmanship. From the entry-level KM-150 to the professional-grade KM-655, there is a Kentucky Mandolin for every player and every budget. And if you ever find yourself in Morehead, Kentucky, be sure to stop by the factory for a tour and a chance to see these beautiful instruments being made.

About the author

Country Music Singer, Tayo Reed, grow up listening to Country Music as a child in sweet home, "Alabama". "I am authentically a true country girl at heart. I have only desired to sing one style of music. I have never wavered, in spite of disappointments, delays, rejections, and detours."

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