Late ’70s Ibanez 518 Mandolin

This is a nice, all-solid A style mandolin made by Ibanez in the late 1970s.

This Ibanez A style mandolin has a sold spruce top, and solid maple back and sides. It is pressed, not carved, and features and very handsome violin finish and gold tuners and tailpiece. It was the top of the line A style mandolin (as seen below in the 1980 Ibanez catalog, after the headstock shape became more like the snakehead mandolins.)

This has been my main mandolin for the past two years, but I did have to do some repair to get it up and going. When I got it, the back was partially detached and someone had tried to glue it back on with Elmer’s glue. I spent a few days carefully cleaning all the glue out of the joint, and then I removed the back completely so I could make sure all the glue was off the glueing surfaces. I then built a jig to hold the sides in place while I put the back on again.

The back lines up pretty well with the sides, but it isn’t bound and therefore isn’t perfect looking. The outer layer of finish cracked around where the back came off, but it isn’t something that is that noticeable unless you’re really looking closely.

The mandolin has some light playwear on either side of the fretboard on the top. It appears to mostly have affected the finish, and it’s pretty hard to see normally as well as hard to see in the photos below. The board has small dots, and it has a nice rosewood adjustable bridge and narrow frets. I currently have it strung up with D’Addario Monels.

It comes with the original hard shell case. There is a small spot of the lining coming loose, and an Elderly Instruments sticker and some old sticker or glue on the outside, but otherwise the case is in fantastic shape.

Here’s a sound clip of my terrible playing:

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