PO Box 882, Elkins, West Virginia 26241
Phone Hours; 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturday.
Mandolins, contact us...
Page Updated 9-2-2023
Please Visit our Home Page for links to our banjos, guitars, fiddles and more.
1953 Gibson Florentine (EM-200) Solid Body Electric Mandolin. OK, we'll get this detail out of the way early. You ask "Gibson didn't introduce the Florentine Electric Mandolin until 1954. Why do you claim this one is a 1953?" When this instrument was made, the potentiometers received a stamp that indicated the electronics manufacturer, the year, and week the pot was manufactured. Both pots in this instrument are dated the 20th week of 1953 (see pictures). With as fast as Gibson was making electric instruments, it is my opinion the parts were used as fast as they could be delivered and this mandolin could have easily been assembled in 1953 ahead of the 1954 general release date. Regardless of the specific year this mandolin is in excellent, mostly original condition. The solid carved top body is mahogany, as is the neck. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has a the standard 13-7/8" scale length. Frets are original and in excellent condition. The peghead sports the block, postwar Gibson script and the "crown" inlay between the tuners. And those tuners are gold plated Kluson's with pearloid knobs that are still in great condition. The only two alterations I can see; The bridge has extra slots filed, presumably for narrower string spacing. And a strap button was added at the heel. Not too bad for a 70 year old (or is it only 69?) instrument. The $2,600 price includes a well-fitting 1960's Gibson badged rectangular Florentine electric mandolin case. The exterior of this case is gray, when a 1954 example would have likely been brown. Photos
New Kentucky KM-250. Here Is a mandolin with many appealing features. Carved top and back, thin nitrocellulose finish, attractive inlay, and amazing sound. One construction detail that is an issue is, in my opinion, the factory fretting is not up to the quality of the rest of the instrument. So, here are SFI we take care of that problem with a professional fret dress . The best of all worlds in a good looking, superior playing and sounding mandolin for $500. Comes with a sturdy gigbag. Photos
Kentucky KM-252. The yearly music merchandise trade show rarely holds surprises for me. Always on the prowl for great sound & playability in a good value, most of the exhibited instruments don't catch my eye. This mando is one that kept me coming back. A traditional F-hole A style instrument with an amber finish. The color and finish of the instrument was attractive enough, but the tone was consistently great in all the examples I have tried. Other details include solid carved curly maple back with matching sides sides, solid carved spruce top, a radiused rosewood fretboard and a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Price with a Kentucky logoed gigbag made of Nu-Hyde is $600. Photos
Kentucky KM-272. This mandolin has the same appointment details as the KM252 listed above, but with a major difference that is has an oval soundhole instead of F-holes. That change brings sweetness to the tone that makes this model exceptional for folk song accompaniment, old time, and Celtic tunes. What about Bluegrass you ask? Well, some of the early bluegrass performers like Curly Seckler. Everett Lilly, and Red Rector are famous for using oval sound-hole mandolins. Of course this mando will suit that playing style as well. Like the 252 it has solid carved curly maple back with matching sides, solid carved spruce top, a radiused rosewood fretboard and an amber color nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Price with a Kentucky logoed gigbag made of a leather looking material called Nu-Hyde is $550. Out of stock. Photos
New Kentucky KM-140. Because it's my job and because it's the law of the land that instrument dealers list "specs" and "facts" on their website, I'm going to give you a full rundown of this KM-140. But I could save you a lot of trouble and just say, buy it. Close this browser window, get out your phone, call us, and buy it. Still want more? Fair enough. We really couldn't be more pleased with Kentucky's line of budget priced mandolins, and this charming A-Model is no exception. It has a spruce top with dark sunburst finish, and mahogany back & sides. Fingerboard is rosewood and scale is 13-7/8". Outfitted with Gotoh 4-on-a-plate tuners, and a 1920s style stamped brass tailpiece, it also comes with an attractive, high quality leather gigbag (see photos). Tone is punchy and full. Yes indeed, it'll chop, slice, and julienne with the best of them. At $450, this is likely one of the best deals in the mandolin market today. If you're not shopping for one right this moment, keep checking back here, as we plan to continue stocking these models for the foreseeable future. Photos
1921 Vega Style L Whyte Laydie Mandolin Banjo. Like the Tubaphone listed above, this banjo needs a neck reset to be a playable banjo mandolin. But with original Whyte Laydie banjo rims being in demand for converting to 5-string instruments, this one is an ideal candidate. The 10-1/8" diameter rim has a calf skin head and most of it's original metal parts. The tailpiece is a replacement and its maker is unrecognizable. The $800 price includes the original hard case that appears to have been coated with an epoxy of some sort. Photos
Late 1980s-Early 1990s Gibson F-5 case. If your late 80's-early 90's Gibson F-5L is minus its original Gibson branded hard case, look no further. This case is in excellent condition, with the only issues being a missing rivet on one of the corner stops, a couple small nicks and marks, and a torn tab on the bass side accessory compartment. The interior is a lush, fluffy red that brings to mind the wall carpet of a late 80s-early 90s casino in Atlantic City, though without the smell of years of absorbed cigarette smoke, spilled cosmopolitans, and sin. This mandolin luggage proudly retains the authentic smell of a late 1980's-early 1990's instrument case. $300. Photos
We ship most of our instruments via UPS. Cost to ship a mandolin is $20 to $40. Cost to ship a guitar or banjo is $25 to $60. The cost of insurance is extra. We will be happy to quote before shipping.
Small goods like banjo heads and other parts cost $9 per order for Priority Mail shipping in the continental US no matter what the order size. Micro orders weighing less than 12 ounces and valued less than $50 are usually shipped via first class mail for $6. The cost of orders headed out of the continental US will be quoted before they are shipped.
We are legally obligated to charge 6% West Virginia sales tax on anything purchased here at the shop or shipped within the state of West Virginia. We do not charge sales tax on orders sent out of state.
Call us at 304-636-6710. For payment we accept checks, wire transfers and MasterCard & Visa. If you prefer Paypal, please send us an email requesting a Paypal invoice.
Occasionally a customer will let us know that the "Contact Us" button will not work on their computer. If you have that problem, please use sfi<at>smakula<dot>com You will have to change the <at> and <dot> to @ and .