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This article was originally published in issue #33
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Although flat-top guitars with mahogany necks, backs, sides and round-hole, x-braced tops aren’t uncommon, you’ll rarely come across mandolins with the same construction features. This Ibanez mandolin is one of these rarities, with the only non-mahogany parts being its rosewood fingerboard and the adjustable floating bridge.
It is certainly a good-looking instrument at a very attractive price, with its chrome tuners with pearloid buttons, black body binding and a clear, thin-skin, open-pore satin finish. Construction quality is good and, although the initial set-up could use a bit of work on the nut in particular, it is basically playable straight out of the box. You’d ideally want your retailer to set up your purchase and you really should budget for a mandolin gig-bag to protect it.
The all-mahogany body gives this mandolin a quite a bright, mid-rangey tonality, very different from that of a classic spruce and maple roundhole mandolin where warmth and depth are more often the dominant features. I could see this mandolin being popular with Celtic musicians where its penetration would work well against tenor banjos, bodhrans and the like.