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Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar  Vintage Sunburst

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Epiphone's Masterbilt DR-500MCE acoustic-electric guitar incorporates decades of acoustic guitar building know-how with premium tonewoods. This ensur...Click To Read More About This Product

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  • Vintage Sunburst

    $649.00 Top Rated

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OVERVIEW

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

Epiphone's Masterbilt DR-500MCE acoustic-electric guitar incorporates decades of acoustic guitar building know-how with premium tonewoods. This ensures a well-balanced tonal range with rich, resonant bass, clearly defined mids, and transparent treble with crisp articulation. Despite its modest price tag, the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE acoustic-electric guitar is built with solid tonewoods unlike the laminates used by other makers in this price range. The solid Sitka spruce top has hand-scalloped Sitka spruce braces, mahogany kerfing, and a rosewood bridge helps transmit the guitar's rich tonality. Epiphone handcrafts the dovetail neck joint for maximum tone transfer and uses traditional hide-glue construction, giving the instrument the look and feel of a vintage classic. The solid mahogany back and sides produce a mellow, round tone with ample projection. The 20-fret, hand-profiled mahogany neck is set into the body at the 14th fret while the fretboard sports traditional split-diamond pearl inlay work. The DR-500MCE comes equipped with the eSonic2 preamp system that's manufactured in collaboration with Shadow Germany and includes an intuitive tuner. When in tuner mode, the guitar's output is muted for silent tuning onstage. Pressing the tuner button lets you connect and disconnect the guitar cable noise-free. The preamp has a full suite of controls to fine-tune your sound, including settings a Master Volume, NanoFlex Tone, NanoMag Tone, Stereo Blend, and a low battery alert. A phase switch helps fight feedback. Its use of two ultralight 2032 lithium watch batteries delivers much longer life than the usual 9V battery used in other preamps. 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.

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
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
EpiphoneMasterbilt DR-500MCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
 
4.7

(based on 81 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (65)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good audio (9)
  • Stays in tune (8)
  • Good feel (6)
  • Fun to play (5)
  • Tone (5)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Jamming (8)
  • Practicing (6)
  • Recording (5)
  • Small venues (5)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (42)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (6)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Love at first sight

The sound, feel and quality of workmanship of the DR-500 Masterbuilt is A one. I expected less and got more. I have one entry level guitar for learning when I started to...Read complete review

The sound, feel and quality of workmanship of the DR-500 Masterbuilt is A one. I expected less and got more. I have one entry level guitar for learning when I started to learn. Playing the Epiphone is much easier to play I gave the other guitar to my grandson. Recommending this Epi to anyone who is serious about learning to play and enjoys the challenges the come with it. I am 79 so you're never to old to learn.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Nice guitar with bad preamp

I read many great reviews, so I decided to get one online, so I didn't try it first, as I should have.
I'm a professional musician, and I've been playing guitar...Read complete review

I read many great reviews, so I decided to get one online, so I didn't try it first, as I should have.
I'm a professional musician, and I've been playing guitar for 20 years now. I owned Taylors, Gibsons and Martins, and I have to say this guitar is pretty well built, and is a very nice sounding acoustic. The woods are great, satin neck feels great, the action was good, but I lovered it some more, and had to correct a small bow on the neck...but I don't consider it to be a problem. My main guitar is still Martin DC16GTE Premium(also mahogany), and it looks like that's not going to change any time soon. Comparing those two: the sound on Epiphone is somehow more on the treble side (brighter), definetly a bit louder, but Martin still has more defined tones.
Plugged in, there's no comparison, Martin is a monster (Fishman Prefix Premium Blend preamp). The preamp on Epiphone is small, with thin and tall potentiometers that are just not so convenient for quick on stage use...and turning the volume knob produces some kind of static noise, and now I'm in the process of exchanging the preamp wit a new one from Epiphone. But even then, I think I will just get a Fishman preamp, and install that one, but they are so expensive. The sound coming out of the Esonic2 preamp is just terrible. They say it should be more natural, something like combining piezo pickup and internal mic (which I have on Martin), but as I said, it's not even close. The nanoflex pickup is just bad, the eq knob does very little change to the sound turned all the way down, and up. It doesn't pick up any knocking on the wood, or any of that vibrations that internal mic, or even piezo would pick up. And the nanomag is in my opinion totally useless piece of equipment on acoustic guitar. Maybe I just have a bad working preamp, but I'm doing this review based on what I got for my money.
So, just two eq knobs that do very little change to the sound, and I can't seem to find any usable sound setting.

Reviewed by 81 customers

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(16 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Love at first sight

By Jake

from Washington state

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Attention to detail
  • Quality of workmanship
  • Superb sound

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Personal Enjoyment

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

    The sound, feel and quality of workmanship of the DR-500 Masterbuilt is A one. I expected less and got more. I have one entry level guitar for learning when I started to learn. Playing the Epiphone is much easier to play I gave the other guitar to my grandson. Recommending this Epi to anyone who is serious about learning to play and enjoys the challenges the come with it. I am 79 so you're never to old to learn.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (16 of 18 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Good But Had Issues

    By 52Tele54Stratman

    from Ormond By The Sea, FL

    See all my reviews

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

    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.

    (11 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Diamond in the Rough

    By John Anderson

    from Upper Black Eddy, PA

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

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

    I bought a Taylor 100 series and after plugging it in to a Bose L1 system I realized I had to take it back - sounded terrible. I was planning on getting a Martin but decided I would not let name brand sway my decision (I lived 5 minutes from the Martin factory). I was in GC for 4 hours playing everything in my price range and couldn't find one that had it all. The salesaman came in and said they just got an Epiphone Masterbilt in and brought it over. I had reached Nirvana. All solid wood, great electronics, and a bit of a rare bird. I bought the natural which is more orange (aged look) than blonde but that makes it even more unique. While I hated the idea of feeding the Indonesian economy, I couldn't resist. These are hand-made start to finish by one luthier. That's $3000 plus if it's done here. It plays great, sounds great, and you won't see 5 other ones at every open mic or gig. This is a diamond in the rough, folks. Don't let the name fool you, this is a top quality guitar - regardless of price. They are hard to find, I just lucked out.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Really nice guitar but ended up disappointed

    By Steve B.

    from Ohio

    See all my reviews

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

    All in all this guitar is a fine one. The only issue I had was that Musicians Friend web sight listed it as having a 1.725" nut and it actually is a 1.68". The primary reason I purchased this guitar is for that reason. I have large fingers and play mostly fingerstyle and need the extra space between strings. The action, out of the box was 1/4" high at the 12th fret to the bottme of the strings. I'm sure this could have been adjusted but with the narrow nut I sent it back. Really hated to because it really is a nice guitar and if I had skinny fingers I would have definetly kept it.
    As always Musicians Friend took care of me and I ordered a Masterbilt EF-500MCCE that is for certain a 1.75" nut, should get it today.
    I really like the eSonic2, the solid woods all around, the neck shape and feel. The built in tuner seemed to work ok but if you're going to record with it you better double check it with a better tuner.
    Everything looks and feels great. The craftsmanship is much better then expected at this price. But in my opinion to many guitar manufactures let guitars out of the shop with way to high string action. This one is no exception. Had 1/4" between the 12th fret and bottom of the strings.
    For all you get with this guitar I feel it is well worth the price. I have played much more expensive guitars that didn't sound and look this good, including Martins and Taylors.

    (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Wonderful

    By Elliott

    from Washington DC

    Pros

    • Setup
    • Sound
    • Style
    • Tone

    Cons

    • none

    Best Uses

    • Everything

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

    I'm a drummer and this is my first acoustic guitar. I was looking for a good mid-priced guitar to pick up. My choice was between a low level Taylor/Martin or this highest level Epiphone. After much research I couldn't be happier. Straight out of the box it was set-up great. The playablity and tone are comparable to my friend's Martin. The tone sounds great plugged in during a live show as well. The pick-ups and tuner are awesome.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Great!

    By twizzler

    from Hollywood, FL

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Affordable
    • Beautiful finish
    • Built-in tuner
    • Great sound
    • Reliable Pickups
    • SMOOTH NECK

    Cons

    • Flimsy Pickguard
    • should come with a case

    Best Uses

    • Playing Live
    • Practicing
    • Recording

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

    This is a really great guitar. I was a bit skeptical of Epiphone at first but am glad I took the chance. I would recommend trying the guitar out first and then buying to see if you like the sound, feel, etc. The guitar has an extremely warm sound (which I love) but some may find it... "too warm, muddy, dark." This is not a Taylor or Yamaha which are usually very bright. While it sound great acoustically...plugged in it sound even better. The pickups need to be EQ'd but after that...people won't believe it's an Epiphone.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Great guitar in this price range

    By Classless

    from Pittsburgh, PA

    See all my reviews

    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.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A Fine Guitar

    By Dave R

    from Crawfordville, FL

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Verified Reviewer

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

    The Cons are: RESTRING! Lowered the saddle just a touch for better action above the 5th fret.

    The Pros are: This Guitar sticks to my hands. I've played em all, Taylors, Martins, Guilds, Gibsons and in my view this instrument will rate right along with the best of the best for sonic quality at a better price. I played both finishes, they both had the same quality sound. I chose the Vintage Sunburst.

    The DR-500MCE is a Good Guitar and I am a Good Guitarist...Highly Recommended!!

    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Features!!!

    By Anon97007

    from Portland, OR

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

    Just got this one and love it. The dual pickup system works really well through a P.A. or an acoustic amp. Bone nut and saddle. Solid top, back, and sides. Just a great guitar and a really nice price point. Not quite as balanced as a Taylor when unplugged, but the pickups and preamp sound better than a Taylor once plugged in. It does have a bit more bottom end than, say, a taylor 214 or 314, and it has that same treble punch that Taylors often have. In my opinion, and I base it on the fact that I tried MANY guitars out over the last month, this guitar is the BEST one you can buy for under $1,000. If it didnt have this particular pickup/preamp system, Im not sure I'd still say that as, in my opinion, the pickups/preamp really make this thing sound great plugged in.

    (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great Guitar for the Price

    By DANIEL ROGERS

    from Arizona

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

    I wanted an acoustic-electric guitar. I went a major music shop to find one. I checked out all the major brands except Epiphone. I thought Epiphone was Gibson rejects and I own a Gibson acoustic. I didn't want to spend a lot of money but I couldn't find anything in my price range. Then I picked up the DR-500MCE and was surprised at the sound. I was trying to get the sales guy to come down on the price but he wasn't going for. He said, "Wait, a minute. This display model has been played so much that it needs new strings. I have a new one in the back with new strings. Let me get that one for you." He did and I was blown away by the sound. It is great. I sounds better than my Gibson. The DR-500MCE is now my favorite guitar. I love it!!!

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