The Epiphone-DR500MCE Masterbilt Acoustic-Electric Guitar comes with good breeding and a stellar reputation. Just ask any owner, my self included. As a standalone instrument, it has a lot to offer. In comparison with other brands, popular opinion places it near, and some say the top of the list for guitars at this price point.

The original Masterbilts from the 1930s were very impressive back in the ’30s, today’s Masterbilts have been built to equal that standard, perhaps even surpass them.

A few crucial specs that matter.

(more detailed specs at the end of this review)

The guitar is constructed using solid wood construction, solid Mahogany back and sides. The back incorporates a beautiful strip of center parquetry the 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. Input two splits both pickups.
  • A tuner is built-in the electronic control panel. The sound mutes when input is being used

Epiphone Masterbilts beginnings.

The Epiphone Masterbilt series began with the De Luxe in which made its debut in 1931. The name Masterbilt was a take on Gibsons Mastertone and Master Models. Epiphone was a significant competitor back in the early 20th century. Today’s Epiphone Masterbilts series of guitars is a reflection of the instruments built in the 1930s.

Today’s Masterbilts use the traditional construction techniques and instrument finishes of the time. The result is a brand new Vintage instrument that offers all the tonal and visual appointments used in the 1930’s. While some other guitars in the price range use artificial woods and utilize pressed back and sides, the DR500MCE does not.

Image below: Epiphone Masterbilt DeLuxe Acoustic Archtop 1931.

Epiphone DeLuxe Acoustic Archtop

Epiphone-DR500MCE features

Tone Quality

Unplugged, the all-solid Mahogany back and sides combined with the Solid Sitka Spruce top produce shimmering highs, sweet trebles, beautiful rich deep lows, and well-balanced mid-range.

Plugged in, the Shadow’s NanoFlex NanoMag and under-saddle pickups allow for plenty of versatility.

The control panel allows any potential feedback to be nulled with the press of the phase switch. The control panel has controls for stereo blend for two pickups and tone controls.

The limitations are no individual controls for the treble, bass, and mids. The two-pickup system allows for plenty of versatility for playing in any acoustic environment or amplification system.

DR500MCE Electronics control panel

The neck and body

The DR-500MCE is a dreadnought single-cutaway acoustic-electric with a scale length of 25.5″. The satin-finished mahogany neck is constructed using Epiphones “SlimTaper D profile”. Which is fast and very comfortable. The neck meets the body at the 14th fret. It is a compound dovetail joint, glued to the body.

Epiphone-Masterbilt-DR-500MCE

Guitar Finish and appointments

The guitar is adorned with subtle, minimalistic vintage-style appointments that 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.
DR500MCE Fretboard

Back and sides

All solid back and sides construction.

DR500MCE all solid woods construction

Machine heads

Machine Heads Grover Sta-Tites vintage style 18:1 ratio

DR500MCE Machine Heads Grover Sta-Tites vintage style 18:1 ratio

Input jacks

Two input jacks: Input two splits both pickups while Input one is a blend of both pickups.

https://guitarplayers.online/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Epiphone-DR500MCE-Inputs-300x200.jpg[

Playability

This guitar lends itself to all popular playing styles, Flatpicking, fingerstyle, light, and aggressive strumming.

Warranty

They have upheld their original Masterbilt quality assurance and promise to build a high-quality instrument with "Epiphone's Limited Lifetime Warranty" together with Shadow's 5-year warranty for the electronics.[/fusion_text]

Epiphone-DR500MCE Specifications
Top Solid Sitka Spruce
Body Solid Mahogany
Sides Solid Mahogany
Neck Mahogany; 1-piece plus heel
Neck Shape SlimTaper™ "D" profile
Neck Joint Glued-In, Dove-Tail with hide glue
Truss Rod Adjustable
Scale Length 25.5"
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
Fingerboard Radius 14"
Frets 20; medium
Bridge Rosewood
Saddle material Bone
Nut width .68" | 1 11/16"
Nut material Bone
Hardware Nickel
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 verdict

Pros

This electric-acoustic is a gig-ready instrument, the eSonic-2 Stereo preamp system really delivers when plugged in. Acoustically the wonderful tone is typical of the mahogany and spruce tonewoods combination.

Cons

Dreadnought body size and long scale length may be too large and cumbersome for some players—particularly kids and adults who are smaller in stature.

Conclusion

The vintage Masterbilt DR-500MCE is an incredibly versatile quality acoustic guitar that lends itself to almost any playing situation. Take it camping, on stage, and play it acoustically or plugged in. This is a guitar that lives up to all the hype, it really does deliver, and won't empty out the bank account. I love mine, it's a keeper.

If your interested in this guitar, check stock and the current price at amazon.

Start a new post about the DR500MCE in the acoustic guitars forum

References

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.