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Epiphone MM-50E Professional - Vintage Natural Reviews

3.5 stars based on 12 customer reviews
Questions about the Epiphone MM-50E Professional - Vintage Natural?

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  • David H. Bailey
    from Nashua, NH, USA September 26, 2013Music Background:
    Pro musician, private music teacher, instrument repair technician, band director

    Excellent mandolin for the price!

    I really love my new mandolin -- why did I give it only 4.5 stars instead of 5? Because as others have pointed out, the "fit and finish" is less than perfect. And because despite the setup procedure that Sweetwater claims to do on this instrument (it's listed right on the description page for this mandolin) the bridge was out of place so the octaves were out of tune (how could someone setting it up miss that simple point?) With that said, it took me very little time to adjust the bridge location and was playing very soon after getting it out of the box. I had read reviews, which had been mixed about this mandolin, and was a bit leery of the built-in pickup, but when I play it through a tube amp, it sounds just like I was standing in front of a microphone and not at all the "electric mandolin" sound that others had claimed.

    I would definitely recommend this mandolin as a first mandolin for anybody to play -- the action is great, the bridge is adjustable for height as well as for location and the tone is very nice. I don't have another mandolin to compare it to, but it's a sweet tone that my violinist wife really likes and my pro-trumpet-player son and my pianist daughter both like also.

  • John Jaques
    from Bradenton, Fl February 28, 2012Music Background:
    I just play with friends for the fun of it.

    The MM - 50 E

    After the many reviews I'd read of this mandolin I was a bit confused. Most people had problems with it,but after some adjustments some really liked it Janet Davis sent the one back that they ordered for me saying iy was junk.I prayed hard that the one I ordered from you might be the exception,and it was. It looked nice, played well,and to me and others it sounded great !! My only complaint was if you don,t take the batteries out of if when you're not using it,theygo dead.At seven bucks a pack that could get expensive.I'll try putting some wax paper between the batteries when they're not in use.I can live with that. All in all i'm very happy with the Epiphone.

  • Peter Scott
    from Richmond, KY USA January 18, 2011Music Background:
    performer/song writer

    One out of the Box

    Had this for a couple of weeks now, out of the box was a long way from perfect, just about sent it back. Set up with new strings, the buzz removed from the raised 8th fret and the intonation adjusted (out a half step)
    It is fantastic, the plugged in sound is first rate and better than any amplified mandolin I've played or heard.
    My only criticism is the poor set up from either Sweetwater or Epiphone C'mon fellas you can do better than that,
    There is no comparison between the MM50 and the MM50 E, they should have renamed it

  • James Jones
    from Miami, FL April 9, 2014Music Background:
    hobbyist, worship leader

    The Shadow Pickup Makes the Difference!

    I am revising my previous review upward to add this important information.What makes this mandolin stand out is the Shadow pickup under the pickguard. Even though the neck is thinner than I would like, the Epiphone MM50e sounds GREAT when amplified for live performance and GREAT when recording. With treble and bass controls along with a volume control, the tone can be adjusted to sound its best. This is a great advantage, especially for those performing live and anybody wanting to record.

  • David Fralix
    from Culleoka, Tn. USA December 15, 2013Music Background:

    Epiphone MM-50E professional Mandolin

    By David Fralix from Culleoka, Tn.
    December 15,2013
    Excellent mandolin for the price
    After tuning the mandolin the sound was good
    I should have gotten a adjustment tool for the coils and a tool to
    take off the string cover behind bridge.
    I'm pleased with the mandolin, Thanks to Sweetwater,

  • John Henry Raskin
    from Simi Valley, CA November 26, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Artist, Singer-Songwriter

    Old Timey cool

    The vibe of this mandolin is authentic backwoods elegant and it has that sprucey smell and slightly hand-made inconsistency in the appointments which I think adds to the authenticity of the effect. Good playability and tone. Couple that with state of the art electronics that sound great amplified, and it is a really nice performing instrument. If I had any criticism it would be the plastic pick guard which is a bit anomalous to the overall look of the instrument. By and large though... I dig it.

  • randy becker
    from newark, de, usa November 5, 2013Music Background:
    professional studio muscian/ recording engineer

    MM-50E mandolin

    well, the electronics are really incredible, I agree with the others, the tuning could be upgraded and still have a very reasonable price. Of course some of the cost have been put into the f style, would love to see a tear shape where that money is put into the neck. but overall a very nice instrument to start with and get ya way down the road.
    randy becker

  • khalid barzanji
    from NY June 1, 2012Music Background:

    Great BUT

    This Mandolin worth 5 stars But If they did better Finish Better strings action
    It Sound worth 5 stars in natural or plugged... both are great
    the Pickup system Is so wonderful
    I love it But until I Blown away I have to Do a lot of works to get it play easier

  • S. Dale Pridgeon
    from Mt. Pleasant, mich. January 7, 2015Music Background:
    Hobbyist ( mandolin, guitar & fiddle) intermediate level

    MM 50 E overall rating

    As noted in other reviews, fit and finish leave much to be desired. Definitely not up to Epiphone standards. As to playability, after re-setting the bridge, I am quite well pleased. Love the pickup system and ease of adjusting volume, bass & treble. Would readily recommend this instrument, but be sure to examine it closely for fit and finish flaws. Kind of makes it look home made.

  • James Jones
    from Miami, FL April 7, 2014Music Background:
    hobbyist, worship leader

    Tone and projection was lacking

    I bought this mandolin because I really like the Epiphone line and have owned four of their guitars. This mandolin is a copy of the iconic Gibson F-5 model, updated with Shadow pickup system underneath the pickguard. Out of the box, the "fit and finish" was fine. I was able to adjust the saddle for the intonation. All of the frets were good, and there was no buzzing. I was able to tune it, despite some stiff tuning knobs, which is typical with new mandolins. The action was low and could be adjusted easily with the bridge screws. The pickup functioned well and that was a major reason for my decision to buy this mandolin. However, there were two concerns I had. The neck at the nut, is thin, only 1.06 " wide, which makes playing solos more difficult. The major concern I had, however, was the tone. Although chop chords sounded good, the mandolin neither projected strongly with individual notes, nor did it have as good tone as my Ibanez M522, which cost half the price. Possibly a change of strings to Elixer might have helped, but the factory strings were new and I didn't see the need to replace them.

  • Bruce Gombrelli
    from Santa Barbara, CA July 7, 2016Music Background:
    Professional Composer, Producer

    I hate to say this but...pass

    I was surprised although I read some of the other reviews. it's RARE that I leave such a low mark. I've heard good things about the electronics and a few people complain a little about the build but I tried it anyway thinking it would be ok and sound great. But the kicker, the build was so astronomically low quality I was completely beside myself, my low end Fender A Style electric made it look like it was someones 2nd attempt at building a mandolin and the A style look like a 2K mandolin. Honestly, I never got around to even listening to it, because I couldn't get past the build; as an aside, it didn't play that well either. Sweetwater returned it promptly without question except why. I can't recommend it. I did get another mandolin from them which I should receive soon. That's my honest opinion.

  • Marc Lee
    from April 23, 2015


    I bought this and the fit and finish is very poor. Arrived dry as a bone and had problems from poor stain work to joints being glued in a matter that I have never seen from even the bargain basement brands. In the scroll work it looked like someone had done the job with a blunt object

    Pickup sounded good so I decided to keep it as I had an immediate gig that required this feature. I had to rub it out and apply lots and lots of a citrus based oil to get it to moisten up. In the end I am sure that I will be able to live with it for my uses. Not a recording instrument.

    My Sweetwater Engineer was more than willing to return this but like I said, I will live with it.

    Nice case though!


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