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Thread: Ibanez Bowlback 805

  1. #1
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    Howdy,

    I was checking pawn shops for mandolins yesterday and found an Ibanez bowlback. It was an 805 model and it had the old style logo. It said something about 1908 on the label but it wasn't the patent or date of origin as far as I could tell. It looked like the anniversary model someone posted not too long ago, but it didn't have the new logo on the label. My guess is this is an old one. It needs a little work.

    The wood was separated a little on one of the seams on the bowlback but wasn't really noticable. You could see on the inside what looked like felt paper coating the inside. It was torn a little where the crack was. One of the tuners is missing the button (or whatever you call it)...I tuned the other strings around this string (they didn't have it tuned, didn't know anything about the mandolin, didn't know how to tune it, how to change strings, etc.). I tuned it and played it a little bit and they said they would go buy new strings (these were soooooo old).

    Now the thing that makes me think this might not be as old as it looks is that the tailpeice is covered by a black plastic piece that is curved around the bottom of the mandolin. I didn't know if they had those kind of peices back in the time when the originals were made.

    The pawn shop is asking $300...I think it is over priced regardless of original or remake...even so, I would like more information and I would like to know what the value would be of something like this. Can you make a recommendation?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    maybe it was an 809 and not an 805, sorry but I don't remember for sure

  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Pictures help, of course, tho I imagine it might be difficult to do that in a pawn shop.

    I seem to remember that Ibanez bowlbacks and Suzukis are similar, if not identical and may be made by the same manufacturer.

    Here's one Suzuki style 808 I owned a while ago.

    Jim



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  4. #4

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    Scrutinize the action too. Whatever mystery wood they used on that era of entry-level, mass-produced Japanese bowlback was rather soft and prone to warp if ever subject to strings of too high tension.

  5. #5
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    Japanese bowlbacks of this quality are generally overbuilt, with the exception of the neck, which tends to warp, as mentioned. Also the probability is that it has been strung with strings that are too heavy for this type instrument. Also you have tuner buttons missing and cracks.

    I'd say a hundred bucks is not out of line, but I myself would pass it by at half that. Look for a decent Vega or Lyon & Healy, or even an Italian instrument. I just got an Italian bowlback off ebay for 113. It also has cracks and setup problems, but once it gets repaired it will still be worth what I have in it.

  6. #6
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ibanez Bowlback 805

    Another pawn shop, another Ibanez bowlback. I saw an ad for this one here in Victoria, and went down to take a look. It's a pretty different model from anything I've seen from Ibanez or Suzuki, and curiosity impelled me to make the 10-block trip.

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    I expected a heavy body with a terrible sound, and maybe a warped neck. Turned out the weight was reasonable and the sound quite decent for a cheap mandolin ($220 Canadian, tax in), but the neck was indeed badly warped. I tuned it up, thanked the man, and hit the road.

    There's almost no cant to the top, and the bowl seems to be one solid piece (of wood?), with thin white stripes added for effect. Model number on the label is just a smudge. It looks brand new, but I can't see any evidence on line for any current production of such a beast. Has anyone here seen this type before?

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