All things considered, the Epiphone-DR500MCE Masterbilt Acoustic-Electric Guitar comes with good breeding and a stellar reputation. Furthermore, ask any owner, myself included. It has a lot to offer as a standalone instrument compared to other brands. In addition, popular opinion places it near, and some say it at the top of the list for guitars at this price point.
The original Masterbilts from the 1930s were very impressive back in the ’30s. As a matter of fact, today’s Masterbilts have been built to equal that standard, perhaps even surpass them.
Epiphone DR500MCE – What’s it like?
A few crucial specs that matter.
The first thing to say is this guitar is a quality build. The guitar is constructed using solid wood. In addition, Mahogany is used for the back and sides, along with a solid Sitka spruce top. Furthermore, the back incorporates a beautiful strip of center parquetry that divides the back of the guitar.
- A Solid Sitka Spruce top with an elegant soundhole rosette.
- A rosewood bridge
- Bone nut
- Machine Heads Grover Sta-Tites vintage style 18:1 ratio
- Scale Length 25.5″
- 20 medium frets
- Two input jacks: Input one for a blend of both pickups. In addition, Input two splits both pickups.
- A tuner is built-in the electronic control panel. Furthermore, the sound mutes when input is being used.
Epiphone Masterbilts beginnings.
The Epiphone Masterbilt series began with the De Luxe, debuting in 1931. As a matter of fact, the name Masterbilt was a take on Gibsons Mastertone and Master Models. Another key point, Epiphone was a significant competitor back in the early 20th century. As has been noted already, today’s Epiphone Masterbilts series reflects the instruments built in the 1930s. However, today’s Masterbilts use the traditional construction techniques and instrument finishes of the time.
As a consequence, a brand new Vintage instrument. Furthermore, it offers all the tonal and visual appointments used in the 1930s. Again, some other guitars in the price range use artificial woods with pressed back and sides. The DR500MCE does not.
Unplugged, the all-solid Mahogany back and sides combined with the Solid Sitka Spruce top produce shimmering highs and sweet trebles. Furthermore, it has beautiful rich deep lows and a well-balanced midrange. Plugged in, the Shadow’s NanoFlex NanoMag and under-saddle pickups allow for plenty of versatility.
In addition, the control panel allows any potential feedback to be nulled with the press of the phase switch. Furthermore, the control panel has controls for stereo blend for two pickups and tone controls. However, the limitations are no individual controls for the treble, bass, and mids. Also, the two-pickup system offers plenty of versatility for playing in any acoustic environment or amplification system.
The neck and body
The DR-500MCE is a dreadnought single-cutaway acoustic-electric with a scale length of 25.5″. Furthermore, the satin-finished mahogany neck is constructed using Epiphones “SlimTaper D profile.” Indeed, the neck is fast and very comfortable. In addition, the neck meets the body at the 14th fret. Equally, important is a compound dovetail joint glued to the body.
Guitar Finish and appointments
Equally important, the guitar is adorned with subtle, minimalistic vintage-style appointments. In essence, they complement an overall stylish vintage look.
- The choices are vintage sunburst or natural.
- A rosewood fretboard
- Fretboard markers are Pearloid split diamond inlays.
- The pickguard is a classic imitation tortoiseshell.
Back and sides
Additionally, the guitar features all-solid back and sides construction.
Machine Heads Grover Sta-Tites vintage style 18:1 ratio
Two input jacks: Input two split both pickups. Input one is a blend of both pickups.
In short, the guitar lends itself to all popular playing styles. In particular, Flatpicking, fingerstyle, light, and aggressive strumming also.
Furthermore, Epiphone has upheld its original Masterbilt quality assurance and promise to build a high-quality instrument. Moreover, it also has “Epiphone’s Limited Lifetime Warranty” and Shadow’s 5-year warranty for the electronics.
|Top||Solid Sitka Spruce|
|Neck||Mahogany; 1-piece plus heel|
|Neck Shape||SlimTaper™ “D” profile|
|Neck Joint||Glued-In, Dove-Tail with hiding glue|
|Fingerboard||Pearloid Split-Diamond Inlays|
|Neck Pickup||Shadow NanoMag™|
|Bridge Pickup||Shadow NanoFlex™|
|Electronics||eSonic-2HD™ Stereo Preamp|
|Controls||eSonic2™ preamp with a built-in tuner, stereo output, Master Volume Pot, NanoMag™ EQ Pot, NanoFlex HD™ EQ Pot, Phase “Anti-Feedback” Switch, Electronic Tuner Activation w/Output Mute Switch|
|Nut width||.68″ | 1 11/16″|
|Machine Heads||Epiphone vintage style 18:1 ratio|
|Colors||Vintage Sunburst (VS), Natural (NA), Gloss Finish|
|Typical Weight||(+/- 5%) 5.1 lbs|
|Strings||D’Addario® 12, 16, 25, 34, 41, 53|
The first thing to remember is this electric acoustic is a gig-ready instrument. Overall the eSonic-2 Stereo preamp system delivers when plugged in. In addition, acoustically, the excellent tone is typical of the mahogany and spruce tonewoods combination.
Another critical point is the dreadnought body size, and long scale length may be too large and cumbersome for some players. For that reason, I won’t recommend the Epiphone-DR500MCE for kids and adults who are smaller in stature.
All things considered, this is a quality guitar at an affordable price point. Given these points, it’s hard to say anything negative about this instrument.
In conclusion, the vintage Masterbilt DR-500MCE is an incredibly versatile quality acoustic guitar. In addition, it lends itself to almost any playing situation. Furthermore, you can take it camping, on stage, and play it acoustically or plugged in. Overall, this is a guitar that lives up to all the hype. It does deliver and won’t empty the bank account. I love mine; it’s a keeper.
In addition, the Epiphone is perceived to be a budget brand. However, few would argue that they offer excellent value for money. All things considered, If you are shopping for an acoustic or electric guitar. Epiphones should be on your list of guitars to roadtest. The Epiphone Casino is another prime example of an iconic guitar made by Epiphone.
Lastly, if you would like an instrument case for Epiphone dr500mce, you must buy one separately.
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1. Epiphone | History. Epiphone.com. https://www.epiphone.com/History. Published 2015. Accessed July 3, 2020.
1. Epiphone | Wikiwand. Wikiwand. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Epiphone. Published 2020. Accessed July 3, 2020.
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