The Epiphone Masterbilt line of acoustic-electric guitars continues Epiphone's long tradition of producing high quality, masterly crafted instruments, built with the finest materials and workmanship. These gorgeous, all solid wood guitars feature updated, state-of-the-art electronics to deliver truly stunning tone, whether played plugged in or au naturel. While the Epiphone brand may be well known today as the maker of lower-cost import versions of US-made Gibson guitars like the Les Paul electric or the J-200 acoustic models, Epiphone's history actually dates back to 1873, and includes some of the finest archtop acoustic and jazz guitars ever built, as well as a variety of mandolins, banjos and other instruments. The company's origins can be traced back to present-day Turkey, where Greek luthier Anastasios Stathopoulo began building fiddles and lutes, emigrating to New York in 1903. When he died in 1915, his son Epaminodas, or Epi, took over, eventually naming the company Epiphone, a play on words combining his own name and phone, the Greek word for"sound."
Epiphone established a reputation for building instruments of outstanding quality, entering the expanding guitar market in 1928, with the Masterbilt line of carved-top archtops debuting in 1931. Epiphone guitars were then considered to be among the finest in the world, but after WWII, following Epi's death, the company's fortunes began to falter, and it was eventually sold to Gibson in 1957. Since then, the Epiphone brand has been seen on a wide variety of guitars, from entry-level student models like the SG Special, to pro models like the Casino electrics the Beatles used from the mid-sixties onward, or the Texan acoustic that Paul McCartney used to play Yesterday on the Ed Sullivan Show, and now, once again, the Masterbilt line. Crafted with all solid woods and traditional touches like body, neck and headstock binding, dovetail neck joints and hide-glue construction, the Masterbilts offer rich, full-bodied tone, excellent playability, and, thanks to the innovative eSonic2 preamp and Shadow non-piezo pickups, sound fantastic when plugged in, with lush, natural-sounding acoustic tone without the harsh, brittle sound typical of piezos. The Shadow preamp features a built-in tuner that automatically mutes the output, and can even be used to silently unplug the guitar cord without damaging your speakers. The NanoMag neck pickup features samarium/cobalt magnets and an integrated active circuit to deliver a full range of tones and harmonics, and the non-piezo NanoFlex bridge pickup senses top and body vibrations in addition to the string vibrations to deliver a full, natural and rich-sounding acoustic signal to your amp or PA. Several models are available, including the DR-500MCE with mahogany body and Sitka spruce top, or the fingerstyle-friendly EF-500RCCE, all boasting high-end features, at an unheard-of price for guitars of this quality. While many guitars in this price range are built using laminated plywood or synthetic composite materials for the back and sides, the Masterbilts rely on the traditional materials and building methods that established their reputation as world-class instruments almost a century ago, complemented with modern electronics that make them favorites of such current pros like Alex Lifeson of Rush. Check out an Epiphone Masterbilt today!
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