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Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar  

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Product #423559
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Overview

  • Top material: solid sitka spruce
  • Body material: solid mahogany
  • Side material: solid mahogany
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $999.00
  • Your Savings:
    - $400.00
  • Your Price:
    $59900
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    $599.00 Top Rated

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Epiphone

When it comes to acoustic guitar tone and quality, nothing performs like an all-solid wood instrument.

The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE guitar combines traditional construction methods and features with premium all-solid tone woods to bring you a new-vintage electric guitar with deep, rich lows, shimmering highs, and just the right amount of mids. While many other guitars in this price class use pressed backs, spliced neck joints, and even artificial wood backs and sides, you can be assured that this Epiphone guitar holds true to its all-solid wood promise.

It features a solid Sitka spruce top, hand-scalloped Sitka spruce braces, mahogany kerfing, a 25-1/2"-scale rosewood fingerboard, and a rosewood bridge. Players looking for vintage tone and vibe will appreciate the handcrafted dovetail neck joint and hide-glue construction. The Epiphone DR-500MCE guitar has a solid mahogany back and sides, as well as a 20-fret, hand-shaped mahogany neck that joins the body at the 14th fret, which is adorned with carefully cut, split-diamond pearl fretboard inlays. As with all Masterbilts, the Epiphone electric guitar features a vintage-style offset headstock with a stickpin inlay.

While the Epiphone DR-500MCE sounds great unplugged, it really comes alive when plugged in—thanks to the eSonic2 preamp system. Made in cooperation with Shadow Germany, the eSonic2 preamp features a built-in, easy-to-use tuner. When engaged, the Epiphone guitar's output is automatically muted—with no popping noise—making it a perfect choice for stage use. You can even push in the tuner button and unplug the guitar without a loud pop. Other controls on this state-of-the-art preamp include Master Volume, NanoFlex Tone, NanoMag Tone, Stereo Blend, Low Battery indicator, and a Phase switch to help eliminate unwanted feedback. The preamp uses two 2032 lithium watch batteries that are not only lightweight, but provide significantly longer life than old-fashioned, heavy 9V batteries.

Under the bone saddle is Shadow's proprietary NanoFlex, a low-impedance pickup. Not a piezo, this unique flexible sensing material features integrated active electronics into the Epiphone electric guitar that not only pick up string vibration, but also top and body vibrations for a truly acoustic tone without the harshness of piezos. Complimenting the NanoFlex is the revolutionary NanoMag pickup mounted at the harmonic-rich, end of the fingerboard. Exclusively from Shadow, the NanoMag features 3 Samarian-Cobalt magnets and an integrated active circuit to capture all the highs and lows, including a wide range of harmonics. With your choice of either a 1/4" mono output blending both pickups, or a 1/4" stereo output splitting the two pickups, the Epiphone Masterbilt guitar pickup gives you incredible flexibility and the opportunity to create the perfect acoustic tone live.

Other features on the Epiphone Masterbilt acoustic electric guitar include quality vintage-style Grover Sta-Tite 16:1 ratio machine heads; bone nut and saddle; imitation tortoise pickguard; nickel hardware; and a bound body, neck, and headstock.


Check the drop-down menu to the right to select colors and/or other options.

Features

  • Top material: solid sitka spruce
  • Body material: solid mahogany
  • Side material: solid mahogany
  • Neck: mahogany, 1-piece plus heel
  • Neck shape options: SlimTaper "D" profile
  • Neck joint: glued-in, dove-tail, hide-glue construction
  • Scale length: 25-1/2"
  • Fingerboard: rosewood with mother-of-pearl split-diamond inlays
  • Neck pickup: Shadow NanoMag
  • Bridge pickup: Shadow NanoFlex
  • Electronics: eSonic-2 stereo pramp
  • Controls: eSonic2 preamp with built-in tuner, stereo output, master volume pot, NanoMag EQ Pot, NanoFlex EQ pot, phase anti-feedback switch, electronic tuner activation with output mute switch,
  • Binding: 6-ply body, 1-ply neck, 3-ply headstock
  • Fingerboard radius:14"
  • Frets: 20, medium
  • Bridge: rosewood
  • Saddle material: bone
  • Nut width: 1.68"
  • Nut material: bone
  • Hardware: nickel
  • Machine heads: Grover Sta-Tite, 18:1 ratio

Gorgeous, radiant solid-top tone and Masterbilt quality. Order now!

 
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
EpiphoneMasterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
 
4.6

(based on 47 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (38)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Beautiful finish (3)
  • Tone (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (19)

      Most Liked Positive Review

       

      Good But Had Issues

      Okay - I have been torn between giving the DR500MCE a higher score than I did. Here's the reasons. (1) There were certainly issues with the one I ordered and received. And...Read complete review

      Okay - I have been torn between giving the DR500MCE a higher score than I did. Here's the reasons. (1) There were certainly issues with the one I ordered and received. And I read some reviews that mentioned these issues as well. (2) Out of the box, the DR500MCE was not very playable at all. Action was incredibly high. The bridge saddle was pivoted toward the neck due to it being 3/32" instead of 1/8" wide. This meant that the bridge saddle slopped around and with string tension leaned forward - which throws the intonation way off. And the intonation was way off due to this. I lowered the action (sanding the bottom of the bridge saddle properly). In addition, all marketing photos I have seen show a compensated saddle. This was not. After a call to Epi customer service, it was necessary to order a good TUSQ compensated saddle of the correct width from Stewmac. (3) Frets were leveled, except for the last 4 closest to sound hole were not. The frets were not finished or polished. A rough fret surface on every fret. I removed strings and used a solid wood block with 800 grit wet/dry and got the frets dressed, then polished. Made a huge difference. Edges of frets also needed to be finished, as they were very sharp. Epiphone needs to keep a better eye on this stuff! (4) Bridge pins are terrible. Holes for bridge pins are slightly to large. Ordered TUSQ bridge pins from Stewmac. (5) Lots of debris inside body. Easy to shake out, but should not have been there in the first place. (6) Neck had way too much bow. Easy to fix, so not really a problem. Overall, I would hope that Epiphone would take care of at least some of these issues. OKAY, that is it for the negative. Now to the positive. Yes, lots of positive. I don't want to imply this is a bad guitar. Some of the above issues can be found in much higher price guitars. For the most part, they can all be handled easily. After all the fixes, I tested several brands of high-quality strings. I ended up with Martin MSP4100 strings. Huge difference over the stock things that came with it. Huge difference. At this point playability was great. Really great. Absolutely beautiful sound and projection. I would actually put this DR500MCE up with one or two of my Martins now. Really. Build quality is very good. Sure, there are a few things I noticed build-wise, but don't think most players would notice or care. Although the neck is slightly fatter than I expected, it is still very nice. Fretboard is nice. I'm not a big fan of Grover Sta-Tite tuners, but they are good and provide precise tuning. The electronics are superb. Built-in tuner is very good. Through amp or PA it sings wonderfully. Bottom line is that this is a great players guitar (after the fixes I had to make to mine). Sound and tone are excellent - period (good strings make a big difference). Don't get to hung up on the negatives I've indicated. The plus side outweighs the negative. I would recommend the DR500MCE to anyone on a budget. Solid woods, etc. The DR500MCE is probably the best acoustic guitar on the market in it's price range. you really can't go wrong.

      VS

      Most Liked Negative Review

       

      Too Much Buzz

      I just received my guitar after waiting over a month. I was really excited to play, but was greatly disappointed upon first strum. The buzz was just too much. I am considering taking...Read complete review

      I just received my guitar after waiting over a month. I was really excited to play, but was greatly disappointed upon first strum. The buzz was just too much. I am considering taking it to a local guitar shop to see if they can make adjustments, but I think I'm just going to exchange it for another one and take my chances. Hopefully, there will be no problems with an exchange, and the new one will meet my expectations.

      Reviewed by 47 customers

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      2.0

      not a Final review

      Pros

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

            This was a Mint, used guitar.
            the neck was apparantly no good. The buzz in several strings could not be removed by stress rod adjustments. I was not going to take it to a luthier. I sent it back. I have a NEW one on the way. We'll see how that one does.
            I will say the musicians friend was great to work with and gave me a great deal on the new one... no complaints there.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            The nicest at any price

            By Blue Suede Buick

            from San Luis Obispo

            Pros

            • Modern Technology
            • Nostalgic Detail
            • Perfect Set Up Got Lucky
            • Superior build quality
            • Vintage Styling

            Cons

            • Satin Neck
            • Satin Neck Preference

            Best Uses

            • Giging Recording

            Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

            All guitars have a unique tone. One can fall in love with the sound of any of them.
            The thing about this one is that it plays itself. Hard chords go off without any effort. It is everything I have ever wanted in an instrument, Better electronic blending, pride of ownership solid wood construction and flawless fit and finish. One day they will stop making them because it is easier to make laminate guitars. Ive seen a few of these come off the boat messed up and set up to smash on stage. The thing is, you Cant find one at guitar center because they blow out so fast. Must gamble and order one. Sometimes you have to go through one or two to find a good one. When you do, its really good!
            Luckily MF accommodates this without a hassle. the customer service is state of the art.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Comment on this review

             
            5.0

            tone, quality, looks

            By cliffmac

            from canada

            Pros

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                  The best all around guitar I've touched in a long time. Hard to find the total package but this is it.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Comment on this review

                   
                  5.0

                  untouchable at this price

                  Pros

                  • All Solid Wood
                  • All Solid Woon
                  • Excellent stereo sound
                  • Stays in tune well
                  • Stereo

                  Cons

                  • Fret Edges A Little Sharp
                  • Tuner Is Fair

                  Best Uses

                  • Great For Soloist

                  Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                  I checked out a lot of acoustic/electrics a grand. Nothing has this much going on it plays so easy feels vibrant and has sweet warm harmonic overtones.The electronics are exceptional with a powerful shadow nano-mag at the neck and multi sensor Nano-flex under the bridge it sounds amazing especially in stereo. Even if you never plugged it in it would still be a great deal. The Master built is like the elitist in their electric line of guitars it is Epiphone's best.

                  Comment on this review

                   
                  5.0

                  All solid with beautifull tone!

                  By ericthered

                  from small town NE

                  Pros

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        I looked for 2 years for an acoustic. I liked taylor 314, some martins but the ones i liked were to much. 2 years of testing and testing,because I am kind of a stiff. I admit, I didnt buy from MF, and the reason is sweetwater shows the exact guitar you are going to buy with better pics etc. Review.
                        10/10 Looks amazing. grovers, bone, mahog it has it all.
                        9.5/10 Neck. The neck is almost perfect. The only reason why its not 10 is because I own a Parker, and only people that havent played a parker dont know that the parker neck is the only true buttery neck there is. Almost perfect, but not a parker.
                        10/10 Tone. This is one of those beautifull tone machings that makes you just want to play and play. amazing sounds from the body etc. Ive tested. Its as good as my beloved taylor 314. For a third of the price.
                        10/10 Action. I bought from sweetwater, so they set the action low for me already, no buzz, just low action.
                        10/10 Electronics. Its shadows best. Mag and piezo, mix match and sep eq for each, what more could you need?
                        sooo 9.95/10 I could not be happier! Put some elixer strings on the guitar and you are set!

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Comment on this review

                        (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        which amplifie you use for this guitar?

                        By jjoollaa

                        from Sweden

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        Hi..i just got this guitar today and i love it..
                        Its sounds god both acoustic and plugged..
                        But i have a question about amplifiers you use for this guitar.I have ibanez troubadour 30w and i have just one input for guitar..does it means i need to get another aplifier with 2 inputs instead?( well im not very good to understand aplifier things as i use to play unplugged but now its time to know :) )
                        So what for amplifies you guys use?

                        Comment on this review

                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Wonderful guitar, excellent value

                        By Gordon

                        from Morganton, NC

                        Ask me a question

                        Verified Reviewer

                        Pros

                        • Build quality and sound

                        Cons

                        • none

                        Best Uses

                        • Practicing Or Performing

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        I have owned a couple of laminate acoustics and was ready to step up to a higher quality guitar. After some research I bought the DR500 MCE during one of MF's 15% discount sales. I've owned it for about seven months. The guitar is perfect in every respect: craftsmanship, finish and great sound. I have a cousin who has played for about 30 years. He owns a Martin D-1. He didn't say he liked the Masterbilt more than his own guitar -- but he didn't say he liked it less, either. He just kept marveling at how good the guitar was. I thought the Epiphone was easily in the same class as the more expensive D-1. Bottom line, I'm very happy with the guitar and expect to keep it for as long as I live. It plays effortlessly and sounds wonderful both plugged and unplugged. For the price, it's hard to go wrong with the Masterbilts. If I had it to do over again I would probably spend the extra money and get the rosewood body, since I play it so much acoustic. I had figured with an amplified guitar the more expensive tonewood might not make a lot of difference.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Comment on this review

                        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Excellent...eventually.

                        By David Jahn

                        from Florida

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Beautiful finish
                        • Decent electronics
                        • Excellent Playability
                        • Rich Full Sound

                        Cons

                        • Quality control issues

                        Best Uses

                        • Pro Or Home Use

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        I returned the first DR-500 to Musician's Friend for pickup issues. The second one came with the same issues (lots of noise and low output from the Nanomag). I sent this one to Gibson for warranty repair. (I liked the guitar that much.) Believe it or not, it was worth the hassle. An amazing sounding guitar. Acoustically stunning and, finally, great sounding electronically too.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Comment on this review

                        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        exceeds expectations

                        By Jonathan

                        from Pembroke, Maine

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Good Value
                        • Playability

                        Cons

                        • Strap Won't Hold On Bolt

                        Best Uses

                        • Inexpensive Gig Guitar

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        I feel compelled to weigh in on this guitar as I was sold largely on other owners comments, which I reviewed here and elsewhere carefully.

                        Played a wide range of Martins and Taylors, some of which were certainly more "playable" but cost three or four times as much. This is tremendous bang for the buck, and while there may be some variation from one to another, I received a keeper and could not be more satisfied.

                        One observation on the negative side: the strap bolt on the bottom (which doubles as the cord input) is not designed to hold an ordinary strap--it really wants to pop off. (It is a few millimeters too short, it seems.) Will return the comfy suede strap for an ugly nylon strap with a locking mechanism to avoid an onstage accident.

                        It's not the Gibson J-45 that I dreamed about, but the price was right and sounds nearly as good.

                        Suggest replacing the Masterbilt strings with Elixirs or DRs

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Comment on this review

                        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Great guitar in this price range

                        By Oldguy

                        from Valencia, PA

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Beautiful finish
                        • Full Dreadnought Sound
                        • good acoustic sound
                        • Great Electric Sound
                        • Knowledgeable Sales

                        Cons

                        • Documentation
                        • Nut Saddle Spacings
                        • Tuning Peg Holes

                        Best Uses

                        • Fingerpicking
                        • Performing
                        • Practice

                        Comments about Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        The sound is full via the dreadnought design but lacked highs due to the factory strings. I've changed those and am now getting the clarity.
                        The electric sound is exceptional with any strings.

                        Documentation is lacking on the eSonic2. Basically, you plug a standard cord into the strap hole and get a combined sound. This also turns the preamp on. Plug in a second standard cord into the second jack and the signal is split from each pickup. I run the nanomag through a Line 6 POD HD500 and then to a channel on the mixer. The nanoflex goes directly to a seperate channel on the mixer. The variety of sounds are impressive.

                        Fingerpicking acoustically is normal but, electrically, you can dial in the response you like. Any style of fingerpicker should be happy with the results of the eSonic2.

                        The nanoflex straight to the mixer gives a standard acoustic sound with control over the fingerpicking touch (tactile) via the on-board nanoflex equalization.

                        I run the nanomag through my effects board (POD500) and can get any sound/amp combination. The nanomag is not just an electric guitar option although it certainly performs well in that function. I would even rate it's fingerpicking attack better for some songs than the straight nanoflex but that depends on the effects/equalization you run it through. The more you experiment with it, the better you will like it.

                        The phase switch works as advertised. As with any amplified acoustic guitar, as the volume goes up, so does the low-end feedback. Turning on the phase eliminates the feedback instantly. A great value.

                        I will be making a replacement nut since the string spacing is tight for my fat fingers and the spacing is not uniform. The saddle spacing is also off but that is repairable. Nice bonus - this one shipped with the compensated saddle. Both nut and saddle are bone.

                        Action is slightly high. I left it there because I now have ultra-lites(10s) on and it does not buzz. It came with 11s and felt very stiff for some reason. For me, it works better with 10s.

                        The relief is perfect.

                        The tuning peg holes are slightly too large. I am careful not to push the pegs down snug as they are then in too deep and are difficult to remove later. Just leave them up slightly. The string tensions hold them tight anyway.

                        So, there are some fit and finish issues but for the materials and electronics, this guitar is still a great value.

                        Musician's Friend has great salespeople. My salesperson was Tom. Tom took the time to find out my playing style, experience(45+ yrs), and genre. I was ready to order another brand of acoustic-electric but he showed me this model based upon my playing style. I'm sure glad he did because the quality of this guitar beats the one I was ready to buy. Tom also helped me get a great case and humidipak(both definately recommended). This is my second major purchase from them and I would definately buy from them again.

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