6/26/2013

c.1970 Ibanez Model 526 Electric Mandolin




This Ibanez (label in the stylized "f-hole") electric mandolin definitely has an edge up on the usual 60s/70s import e-mando fare. It's sturdier, has a better-sounding (and more balanced) single coil pickup, Gibson-y depth neck and scale length (13 7/8"), and excellent fret access with a join at the 15th fret. It's also quit clean and doesn't try to be some electrified, wonky knock-off of a regular acoustic A-style mando.

This is another instrument from the "Skanktone Collection," and I must've busted at least 45 minutes of "shop time" sitting around playing this after I finished setting it up.


Work on this guy included a light fret level/dress, slightly better bridge-fitting, and setup. It plays effortlessly with the 28w-8 extra-extra-light gauge strings installed and the "spot on" low action. I like to use "mando-banjo" gauge GHS strings on electric mandolins since their super-light gauges mimic the lighter gauges I tend to expect on electric guitars these days.


The neck is a 3-piece maple build with a cute headstock shape. These tuners work better than normal and hold pitch quite well.

Everything on this mando is original to it.


Bound, rosewood board with pearl dots.


I've adjusted the pickup lower on the treble side and cranked up the high E polepiece to balance out the sound (usually the A course on e-mandos is too loud). The wound strings are phosphor bronze but the pickup seems to not mind, though you'd get slightly more output out of nickel or steel windings.


Compensated, rosewood, adjustable bridge = good intonation.


All electronics are good to go.

While this is a hollowbody design, it has very little acoustic volume due to big old laminate top, back, and sides for feedback suppression and strength.







That strap button's in the right place!




It comes with a (period) chip case, too.

This mando was originally part of the Skanktone Guitars collection. Skanktone was run by Joe Schenkman of right-here-in-Rochester, Vermont, and specialized in fun, funky, wonky, and wild old guitars (among other things). He amassed a very cool personal collection that's been off-and-on stored for a number of years and now a fair number of the quirky and fun vintage items are being sold through Antebellum. Thanks for sharing the toys, Joe!

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