Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar Review 2019 – is the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE acoustic guitar worth the money? Review of features, pricing, design, sound and more.
- 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
The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar is one of the most popular guitars on the planet. Quality is nothing new for Epiphone. Its designers have pooled decades of their guitar-making craftsmanship and applied what they’ve learned down through the generations. They seemed to have taken a stance to build a guitar for the musician instead of the other way around which would be to try to force a musician to love what they’ve made. Although the DR-500MCE has been well received by most, not everyone sees its finer points. Look at what this electric-acoustic guitar is all about and then form your own opinion.
Product Features and Model Information
The DR-500MCE has a beautiful dreadnought body shape. The large bottom and square shoulders help give the guitar its rich tone. The top of the guitar is made of solid Sitka spruce, a flexible, lightweight, yet strong wood well-known for its acoustic qualities.
The braces are hand-scalloped as well. The guitar has solid mahogany sides, back, and neck. The dovetail neck joint strengthens stability and adds tone reliability. The design of the DR-500MCE is a throwback to the classic acoustic guitars made in the 30s.
An immaculate satin finish in vintage sunburst is one of the most sought-after designs of the DR-500MCE. This distinctive gradient pattern ranges from the richest deepest dark hue to a soft, warm brown shade. While that color option is certainly a pleasure to view, some may prefer the guitar in a solid natural tint, also available.
The long bridge is made of rosewood in the classic reddish brown. The saddle that sits on the bridge is made of bone. Featuring a generous 14-inch fingerboard, the DR-500MCE also has twenty frets on its neck. That’s one fret more than the standard classical guitar. Stunning split diamond pearl inlaid markers are attached on the fretboard at the 14th fret.
The scale length is 25 ½ inches, long enough to accommodate professional and beginner guitar-playing adult musicians. The stickpin inlay on the headstock adds the historic distinctive character of the Epiphone brand. The nut width is standard at 1.68 inches which rounded is 43 mm. This is ideal for playing guitar solos and chords.
The Pro’s of the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar
All new DR-500MCEs come with a 5-year limited lifetime warranty. This should serve proficient musicians and dedicated learners well when considering whether to invest.
The quality of the build and the guitar’s beautiful sound are often mentioned in rave reviews given about the DR-500MCE. Another pro is the fact that the guitar is a combination of an acoustic and electric guitar, the best of both worlds. Users like that the DR-500MCE can be played as a stand-alone acoustic. Alternatively, plug it in and experience its new Shadow E-Sonic System Preamp for an energetic electric vibe. The preamp features the phase, tuner, flex equalizer, and mag equalizer controls to blend unique sounds for the guitar’s nanomag flat pickup.
Many reviewers say that the DR-500MCE has a good feel, rich tone, and is consistent in how it plays. A positive frequently heard about the guitar is that it stays in tune. Users find the guitar good for jamming, practicing, recording, and gigging. One reviewer loved the guitar so much that he gave his old one away. Someone else didn’t expect much, but got a welcome surprise when he found the DR-500MCE was easier to learn. He found he could stick with the same guitar as his skills advanced.
The Con’s of the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar
A reported con of the DR-500MCE is that although it’s a blend of an acoustic-electric guitar, the acoustic sound it generates may indicate more of an electric quality when a user might prefer a basic, natural acoustic tone. In addition, when plugged in, the very low preamp, electric amplifier noise is difficult for some users to adjust to, especially if they’ve just started to switch from playing an acoustic to an acoustic-electric.
One reviewer stated that the neck had too much bow, however, he also mentioned that it was easy to fix. That same reviewer didn’t care for the bridge pins either and complained that they were too large. He added that the frets needed polishing too. He ended up replacing the strings and made other customized adjustments. That same reviewer had some positives as well though. In the end, he said the pros for the DR-500MCE outweighed the cons especially after he fixed what he didn’t like about the guitar.
How the Guitar Compares to Other Acoustics
The price point is one of the best things about this guitar that reviewers seemed to like when it comes to making a value-driven purchase. Although there are many options from which to choose in the lower price-points range, users were adamant about purchasing an affordable guitar. They noted that they liked that the DR-500MCE wasn’t the most or least expensive. One reviewer pointed out that the DR-500MCE has a better tone than the pricier Martins and Taylors he has tried.
Research showed that the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar sells for under $1,000 and may include a hard shell case. Common sale prices for it in 2018 were around $700. Martins cost about $1,000 or more unless they’re on sale. An entry-level Taylor guitar may be available for a few hundred dollars on up. By comparison, the DR-500MCE is priced either the same or a little more but it’s for everyone, both novice, and veteran. Regarding Gibsons and comparing prices, in 2018, it was easy to find an acoustic Gibson for under $1,000 but not an acoustic-electric Gibson for that price. This makes the DR-500MCE a great value for under $1,000.
Overall, the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Guitar is a crowd pleasure. No matter what level the musician, both newbies and experienced professionals are excited about the DR-500MCE. It’s a guitar that’s built to last, made by manufacturers who have made versions of the Epiphone since 1931. They utilized their decades of guitar making experience to develop a guitar made for everyone. Since the DR-500MCE retails at a medium price point, it’s affordable. But that’s not all. The tone, the beautiful design, and the acoustic-electric playing guitar capabilities let users choose how they want to make music day-by-day.