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1978 MC500 DS.png
MC500 Dark Stain (early 1978) (more images) Red copyright sprite.png

The MC500 is a Musician series solid body electric guitar model introduced by Ibanez for 1978. It was made in Japan by FujiGen with production starting in late 1977.

Like most Musician models, the MC500 features neck through body construction. It has body wings made up of a maple core sandwiched between two layers of ash with a carved top on a seven-piece rock maple and black walnut neck with an oversized headstock to enhance sustain and a 24-fret ebony fingerboard with abalone dot position markers. Components include a pair of Ibanez Super 88 humbucking pickups mounted in integrated plastic covers, a Tune-o-matic style Gibraltar bridge mounted in a sustain block recessed into the neck, a Gibraltar slotted tailpiece with scalloped "cloud" ornament, a bone and brass nut, rubberized Sure Grip control knobs and VelveTune machine heads.

The MC500 has active electronics consisting of a master volume control, a 3-way pickup selector mounted on the upper horn, a preamp gain (boost/ cut) control, a 3-band EQ (bass, mid and treble), a pair of Tri-sound switches to allow each pickup to be coil split or reverse phase, and an EQ on/off toggle. Ibanez refers to this configuration as the EQ Tone System.

Several changes were made to the MC500 over its three-year production run. In mid 1978 the body shape was modified slightly with smaller horns and a symmetric waist and lower bout, mounting blocks were added under the pickups, holes for the pole pieces were added to the integrated pickup covers and the pickup switch tip was changed from cream to brown. Around August of 1979 a 9-piece rock maple and black walnut neck was introduced, a master tone control was added along with an LED indicator for the EQ Tone System, the output jack was moved from the front of the guitar to the side, the battery was moved from the control cavity to a separate battery box, the cavity cover was changed from gold to black and a new style of knob for the EQ pots was introduced. In mid-1980 a heelless neck joint was introduced, the neck was changed back to a 7-piece construction and the tailpiece was redesigned with angled slots.

The MC500L is a limited production left-handed version. The MC400 is a similar model with a mahogany core and a flat top.

Production numbers for the MC500:[1]

1978 1979 1980 Total
Dark Stain (DS) 291 513 340 1144
Natural (NT) 104 138 25 267
Antique Violin (AV) ? ? ?
Black (BK) ? ?
Total 395* 651* 365* 1421*

                * plus an unknown, but very limited number of Antique Violin and/or Black examples

The MC500 was discontinued after 1980 and replaced by the similar MC550.


Specifications for MC500
Year(s) produced: 1978–1980
Sold in: Worldwide
Made in: Japan
Finish(es): Antique Violin (AV) 1979–1980 / Black (BK) 1978 / Dark Stain (DS) / Natural (NT)
Body type:
Solid body
Body material:
Ash/ maple/ ash wings w/ carved top
Neck joint:
1978–1980: Neck-thru w/ smooth heel1980: Neck-thru (heelless)
Gibraltar w/ sustain block
Gibraltar w/ "cloud" ornament
Knob style:
Sure Grip (gold)
Hardware color:
Neck type:
Neck material:
1978, 1980: 7-piece rock maple/ black walnut
1979–1980: 9-piece rock maple/ black walnut
Scale length:
628mm/ 24¾"
Fingerboard material:
Fingerboard inlays:
Abalone dot
24 / VelveTouch
Half bone/ half brass (1 23/32" /43.7mm)
Machine heads:
VelveTune II w/ pearloid buttons
Electronics/ Strings
Pickup configuration:
Bridge pickup:
Ibanez Super 88 (H)
Neck pickup:
Ibanez Super 88 (H)
1978–1979: Single volume / 3-way toggle pickup selector / Preamp boost/cut / 3-band EQ (bass/mid/treble) / 2 Tri-sound switches / EQ toggle
1979–1980: Master volume / master tone / 3-way toggle pickup selector / Preamp boost/cut / 3-band EQ (bass/mid/treble) / 2 Tri-sound switches / EQ toggle w/ LED indicator
Output jack:
1978–1979: ¼" mono (mounted on top)
1979–1980: ¼" mono (mounted on side)
Factory tuning:
1E,2B,3G,4D,5A,6E (E Std.)


Additional finishes/ details
1980 MC500 AV.jpg
Antique Violin (1980)
1979 MC500 DS.jpg
Dark Stain (1979)
1978 MC500 NT.jpg
Natural (1978)
1978 MC500 end view.png
End view
HH 3-way tri-sound.png
Pickup switching diagram
1978 MC400-MC500 controls.jpg
Controls layout (w/o master tone)
MC550 EQ-Tone-System.jpg
Controls layout (w/ master tone)
1978 MC500 wiring.jpg
Wiring diagram (without master tone)[2]
Musician Tri-sound switches.jpg
Tri-sound switches
1978 Musician neck-thru.png
Details of construction
1978 Musician sandwich body.png
"Sandwich" body
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  1. The Ibanez Musician MC500 in the course of time, thetom on Ibanez Collectors World (forum), accessed September 2020
  2. MC400/ MC5400 wiring diagram, Ibanez Vintage, archived July 2003