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Acoustic Guitar of the Day: Epiphone DR-500 MCE


In 1931, Epiphone’s original Masterbilt catalog stated that, “the possessor of an Epiphone instrument has the assurance that every possible precaution has been taken to build instruments for lifetime performance and pleasure.” That promise still resonates (pun intended) with Epiphone today and is no more clearly displayed than in the Epiphone DR-500 MCE, an instrument with vintage soul and modern updates that are way beyond its price range.

All Epiphone Masterbilt series acoustic guitars feature solid spruce tops with hand-scalloped sitka spruce braces and solid mahogany back and sides with a rosewood bridge and bone saddle. The DR-500 MCE is a dreadnought body shape and the wood combination gives it all of the classic earmarks. The booming bass, midrange projection, and ringing highs have made dreadnoughts a favorite among musicians across many decades and musical genres. Unlike those classic guitars, the DR-500 MCE’s cutaway allows for easy access to upper frets. Vintage Sunburst finish and classy rosette help keep the vintage style. The DR-500 MCE is also available in Natural.

The one-piece mahogany neck is cut into a SlimTaper “D” profile and has been plek’d by Epiphone for excellent playability. It also features a hide-glued, dove-tailed neck joint, as seen in all classic ’30s era acoustics. The bound, rosewood fingerboard has 20 medium frets and pearloid split-diamond inlay. A bone nut gives way to a historic off-set-style headstock with stickpin inlay, 3-ply binding and Grover Sta-Tite machine heads.

Shadow’s NanoMag neck pickup is mounted on the end of the fingerboard and features three Samarian-Cobalt magnets and an integrated active circuit to capture the guitar’s natural highs, lows, and harmonics. The NanoFlex bridge pickup’s unique flexible sensing material picks up not only string vibrations, but top and body vibrations as well, unlike the harsh piezos found on many guitars in this price range. The output jack automatically blends the output of the two pickups when a mono plug is inserted or splits their outputs when a stereo plug is used, allowing for maximum flexibility when creating your perfect plugged-in tone.

The eSonic 2 stereo preamp features master volume, pickup blend, EQ for each pickup, and a phase switch to eliminate unwanted feedback. When engaged via the tuner button, the built-in tuner mutes the guitar’s pickups with no audible “pop.” Lithium button batteries ensure longer battery life and decreased overall weight.

Backed by Epiphone’s Limited Lifetime Guarantee, the DR-500 MCE is sure to make good on Epiphone’s original assurance of an instrument built “for lifetime performance and pleasure.”

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