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Thread: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

  1. #1

    Default Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins


    I bought two mandolins a long time ago and they are like new. One is a 526 model that is wine coloured and the other is a 527 model that is tobacco coloured sunburst

    Any experts on Ibanez mandolins out there that can provide a value or website for further info


    Bill Kemp

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Jun 2005
    High Peak - UK

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    Welcome to the forum Bill.

    Bought one of those myself in 1976 - not played it for years. There was a site, based in the UK, but that disappeared a few years ago. You might like to have a look at this site for basic info -

    No idea of prices in the US but I suspect that they aren't increasing in value as much as some other makes/models.

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    40.191N -74.2W

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    While you're waiting for answers you might scan through these threads.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    Hi Bill. These mandolins were the only option in their day if you couldn't afford a Gibson or such. Some people have valued them way above what I would. Some of them look pretty but that's as far as it goes for me. They did all the cosmetic stuff wonderfully well but the ones I had had no volume at all. plzyed a good few. Always wnted the F4 style but never ever saw one in he flesh.

    If one came up locally I couldn't see my self paying more than 250--300 at most simply because the ones I played did not deliver what most people need. i.e. Decent amount of volume. No doubt others will argue about all the adverts for "lawsuit copy". That's just drivel Bill. It's to make them appear more rare and valuable. They don't sound any better than a 150 Savannah F5 although cosmetically they can be eye catching.

    Best of luck.


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  6. #5
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Jun 2014

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    Hi , I'm a big vintage ibanez lover, I have found a few that sound really well. I have watched many auctions on eBay for the F styles , most are way over priced for me, which most are price $1000 us or higher , but I haven't noticed any selling at that price. Most of the ones I bought were for $100-200 us. I have also bought a few that the tops were collapsing and had to return them. I plan on buying 526 and a 527 one day
    Ibanez 70's 2 511's,2 512's,3 513's,2015 522
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  7. #6
    Registered User Dan Cole's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    Billings, Montana

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    I have an Ibanez 524 that I've had since new. Its a good starter mandolin theses days, its pretty with its fancy inlaysand its held up well. That said, it can't hold a candle to my X braced Weber Big Sky in volume or tone.
    Go Vandals!

  8. #7

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    I had an Ibanez #526, bought new in 1976, for many years.

    When I first got it, I took it to Mandolin Brothers (in NYC) for a new bridge and some adjustment. Even after a new bridge, it never sounded very "full", always on the thin side.

    Eventually I sold it. The buyer immediately put it on ebay for twice the price he paid me. I don't know whether it ever sold or not.

    These may have been "alternatives" to Gibson at the time (just about any alternative would have sounded as good or better), but they weren't great then, and (unless one found a good-sounding example, which I'd consider to be doubtful), aren't good buys now.

    There are plenty of other, better choices for the money.
    My opinion only.

  9. #8
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Almeria, Spain
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    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    I've had a couple of these pass through my hands at various times... also a 'Jethro' style double cutaway model. None of them had any volume and to be quite honest, in the tone department, a recent Kentucky KM-150 would leave them in the dust, never mind the higher Kentucky or Eastman models. Things I recall: very plain back/sides with a pronounced central 'ridge' on the back plate. Very thick finish. Heavily built. Fancy headstock 'overlay' (thin-cut pearl slices under lacquer). If you can pick one up cheaply, fair enough, but no way are they worth what some seem to think they are...
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
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    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  10. #9
    Registered User
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    High Peak - UK

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    In the UK at least, in the '70s, half decent mandolins were even harder to come by than they are today (there was no TAMCO!). Admittedly, the Ibanez wouldn't win any prizes in the volume stakes but, back in the day, they were like a breath of fresh air and you could even get them in tune!

  11. #10

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

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    Thanks for all the info. Here is a photo of me and my daughter with the 526. She is about 5 years old at that time. Now she is 17. The mandolin still looks like it does in the photo

    I might take some more pictures of them and put one of them on eBay

    There are always collectors out there looking for minty all original instruments

    Last edited by Bill Kemp; Jan-08-2018 at 7:29pm.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Ibanez 526 and 527 Mandolins

    Here are some photos of both the mandolins. The wine colored 526 does not have a label in it or a serial number stamped on the back of the peg head. The 527 does have the label and the serial number stamped on the peg head.

    They both have very ornate inlays on the peg head but are slightly different from each other.

    Both have their original cases and are in wonderful condition. Thought you guys might like to see some photos. Taken with my iPhone just now


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