Dan Cole Interview
Dan Cole is a mandolin enthusiast with a very unique distinction. He is the original owner of a vintage Ibanez mandolin, which he purchased new from an Idaho music store in 1977 and still owns today. He has agreed to share his story, and pictures of his mandolin, with IbanezMandolin.com.
IbanezMandolin.com: What kind of Ibanez Mandolin do you have?
Dan Cole: I have a 1977 Ibanez 524 mandolin, I am the original owner.
IbanezMandolin.com: How did you find out about Ibanez Mandolins?
Dan Cole: I first saw a guy playing an Ibanez at a jam when I was about 15 or 16. I thought the brand name on the headstock was “Hanez”. I was a novice mandolin player on my Harmony Monterrey.
IbanezMandolin.com: What made you decide to buy the Ibanez?
Dan Cole: My dad and I thought it was a great dollar value and was a beautiful instrument. Honestly, I really wanted a Gibson. After all that was what Bill Monroe played, but a Gibson was simply out of my budget. I did find a poster of Bill playing an Ibanez. I still have it somewhere and I guess that legitimized my new mando. If it was good enough for Bill Monroe, then it must be OK.
IbanezMandolin.com: How did you obtain the mandolin?
Dan Cole: My dad took me to the music store in Boise and I ordered the Ibanez. What I ordered was a model 524 in Antique Violin finish. I bet it took 6 months to get it. So long in fact, I actually looked at a Gibson A and almost canceled the order, but eventually it arrived.
IbanezMandolin.com: How much did it cost?
Dan Cole: Cost $550 as I recall, a lot for a teenager! I flipped a lot of hamburgers at McDonalds to pay for it. But I guess that’s why I still have it, is the work it cost to get.
IbanezMandolin.com: What did you think when you opened the case?
Dan Cole: It was the most beautiful mandolin I had seen! I really loved the fancy inlay on the fret board. Other than the peg head inlay, it was exactly the same as “the Gibson”. I had a pretty big smile on my face.
IbanezMandolin.com: So then you stopped playing mandolin for a while?
Dan Cole: I didn’t play it for about 10 years while I was away in the Navy. During that time it developed a crack below the tail piece, which I found out was too expensive to have repaired. Also, the binding has yellowed over time.
IbanezMandolin.com: Do you play much these days?
Dan Cole: I rediscovered my love for the mandolin during a period of unemployment. So much in fact, I sold off a bunch of collectables and bought a new Weber Big Sky mandolin. To keep my connection to the past, I put the Ibanez’s pickguard on the Weber.
IbanezMandolin.com: What’s your take on your Ibanez 524 Mandolin?
Dan Cole: It is still a good mandolin, much better than most imports available today, although it’s not as loud and as my Weber. That could be because the top isn’t as deep, and I think the top is fairly thick. What I mean by that is if you look at the thickness of the top at the f-holes it looks thicker in some spots than others. I have always been curious how consistently it is carved.
IbanezMandolin.com: Thanks for sharing your story with our readers.
Dan Cole: My pleasure. I was lucky as a teenager to have such a great mandolin to learn with, and parents that helped and encouraged me to get the Ibanez and to play it. I’m excited to learn how many are still out there and still being played. Thanks for building the web site.