For the past few years, Epiphone acoustic guitars have been associated with cheap Gibson imitations. However, this is unfair to Epiphone as this fabled guitar manufacturer has produces some high-quality instruments, such as the Masterbilt DR-500MCE. The original Masterbilt was manufactured in 1931 and left a big mark on the contemporary music scene. Check out our other acoustic guitar reviews too.
The Epiphone DR-500MCE features an all-solid wood design that gives it a full retro sound. Other than that, Epiphone has used old-school construction techniques, like hand scalloping its bracing, to make the DR500MCE sound and feel more like the original 1930s Masterbilt.
These days, most guitars in the DR500MCE’s price range use spliced necks and laminate bodies, which means that you will rarely find an all-solid wood one. Luckily, Epiphone made this possible with the DR500MCE by using real bone nut and saddle material that not only gives the guitar a vintage look, but also adds a bright tone that rings out slowly.
Even though its SlimTaper D-profile neck allows for modern playability, this doesn’t change the fact the DR500MCE is mostly a vintage guitar. Some of the other modern features in the build of this vintage guitar are a powerful preamp system, as well as an adjustable truss rod for fine-tuning the string action to your liking.
The fingerboard and the bridge of this guitar are made of Indian rosewood. This material together with the stylish pearloid inlays highlight the 20 frets connecting at the 14th on the guitars neck. Following in the footsteps of its 1930s older brother, the DR500MCE measures 25.5 inches in length.
Epiphone DR-500MCE Features
Epiphone DR-500MCE Electronics
Inside its body, the Epiphone DR500MCE is fitted with an eSonic-2HD stereo preamp. Under the bridge and the neck position, this vintage guitar boasts of NanoFlex and Shadow NanoMag pickups respectively. Apart from the main volume knob, the DR500MCE also has a blend slider for choosing between and balancing each pickup’s signal and an EQ dial for each of them. Epiphone also designed this guitar with a button that can be flipped to counter the issues of feedback and phasing.
On top of that, the DR500MCE has a built-in tuner and two output jacks that allow you to play in stereo.
To sum them up, this guitar has great features that help you in producing a tone that is rich and natural, and can be easily customized.
The Epiphone DR500MCE is available in natural spruce or stylish vintage sunburst finishes both of them featuring a glossy topcoat that adds strength and shine. Its classic combination of a tortoiseshell pickguard and a deep sunburst gradient gives it a timeless look that is perfect acoustic for blues, country, and jazz, or any other genre.
When it comes to ergonomics, nothing stands out about the DR500MCE other than its easy playability. Playing fast and complex licks or chords is easy along the whole fretboard courtesy of its deep cutaway and slim, hand-shaped neck. The DR500MCE is the ideal guitar for you if you are a player who fancies flatpicking and fingerstyle guitar.
When you visit the manufacturer’s website, you will notice that they claim this guitar is “Plek’d for ultimate playability”. This means that Epiphone used a Plek, which is a special machine that scans, files, and sets up a guitar to make it nothing but perfect for the user. On the DR500MCE, this machine was used to file its frets, scan its neck, and set up the whole instrument. As a result, this guitar plays in tune and has no buzzing frets.
The Masterbilt DR500MCE produces a thick, authentic old-school sound partly thanks to its solid mahogany body. The quality of its sound is sweet with rich lows and clear highs that bloom as the notes resonate. Its sound is bold and clear whether you are flatpicking, fingerpicking, or strumming.
- High-quality electronic
- Thin neck for speed and comfort
- Affordable price
- Gorgeous vintage design
- All-solid tonewood
- Its EQ range is limited
- It is a little bit heavy
In terms of cons, there isn’t much to talk about with this guitar. Its weight can be a bother but it is something that you should expect with all-solid guitars as they tend to weigh a bit more than laminate ones.
The Epiphone DR500MCE has many great features for an acoustic under $1000 that it is hard not to fall in love with it. You’ll fall deeper in love with it after playing it and hearing the sound. For this reason, we highly recommend it. Epiphones are good guitars!