Bill Monroe and Ibanez mandolins

An Ibanez model 527 from 1977, the rarest and most costly of the Ibanez mandolins. Only two examples have been documented to date.We’ve been in contact this past weekend with the administrators of a new web site devoted to the Ibanez mandolins made in Japan during the 1970s. publishes exclusive editorial content that explores the history of the mandolins and is compiling a serial number database and a collectors journal online.

These mandolins – and a companion line of four and five string banjos – were marketed worldwide, and endorsed by Bill Monroe himself, the definitive creator of bluegrass mandolin. The Ibanez instruments were based on classic designs and mixed styling of then-contemporary and vintage Gibson products. would also like the help of mandolin and Bill Monroe fans worldwide… is currently seeking information on Bill Monroe’s Ibanez Mandolins and Ibanez endorsement details for a future article. Anyone with pictures of Bill playing an Ibanez mandolin, pictures of Bill’s personal mandolins themselves (from a museum or auction display), or first-hand accounts of the events related to his endorsement deal and the current whereabouts of these instruments is encouraged to contact

They are also interested in having any owners of Ibanez mandolins visit the site to contribute photos and details about their instruments.

The site operators also sent along a few Ibanez posters from 1975 that featured Bill Monroe, and images of the Ibanez model 527 mandolin. This was the most costly of the vintage Ibanez Mandolin catalog, of which they tell us only two examples have been documented so far.

Ibanez poster circa 1975 Ibanez poster circa 1975 A rare Ibanez model 527 mandolin from the 1970s

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.