A Japanese company that makes a wide variety of musical instruments including the mandolin is Ibanez. The company Hoshino Gakki owns the Ibanez name. They were founded in 1908, although the actual brand name didn’t start until 1929 and the company didn’t officially begin until 1957. Their mandolins are manufactured in China.
For musicians, they should consider Ibanez mandolins to be entry-level and good for beginners on a budget. They produce a good sound, but there have been some issues with quality control. However, since you can typically return these products, even through online retailers, you should simply inspect your new instrument before deciding whether to keep it (ensure there aren’t any manufacturing defects like warped wood, cracked wood or sloppy binding).
Like most new mandolins, you should take an Ibanez to your local music shop to have it properly set up before you play it. The bridge and strings need to be adjusted, plus it can be a good idea to have higher quality strings replace the stock stings. After this “tune up”, these mandolins can be a great first-time instrument with a nice sound that is affordable and will work for the first couple years of playing.
The M510DVS is an A-Style mandolin that has sides and back made of mahogany and a spruce top. It also has chrome-plated hardware and pearl fret board inlays. Holds a tune very well and sounds good, especially considering the price.
This is actually one of their most affordable mandolin models, which makes is a preferred choice for a complete beginner that wants to learn how to play. This particular model is available in Dark Violin Sunburst and Brown Sunburst designs.
A slightly more expensive A-Style from this brand is the M510E-DVS. The difference is that this model is electric and the previous one is acoustic. Since mandolins aren’t very loud, the electric model is great for anyone that wants to play in a band because acoustic mandos will usually get drowned out by other instruments.
Just like the previous one, this is also recommended as a beginner instrument to use while you are getting started before you decide progress to something more expensive. An added bonus is that this also sounds great whether you are playing it electrically or acoustically, so it is quite flexible no matter what your needs may be.
The M522SBS is an F-Style from Ibanez. It has a typical F-Style body shape but without a lot of the ornamental designs that cause other F-Styles to cost thousands. This model has a spruce top, mahogany neck, rosewood bridge and flamed maple sides and back. Ultimately, this is a great way to get an F-Style for a very affordable price.
The instrument sounds great, but you do get what you pay for with some imperfections in the manufacturing process. Be sure to thoroughly check yours after purchasing to ensure it doesn’t have anything drastically wrong with it that will affect the playability.