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Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE - Vintage Sunburst Reviews

5.0 stars based on 47 customer reviews
Questions about the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE - Vintage Sunburst?

Questions about the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE - Vintage Sunburst?

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  • from Newark Ohio March 26, 2017Music Background:
    guitar for35 years play for fun

    Great new guitar with an old fasioned sound

    First of all I want to thank Sweet water for the great service your company was everything the reviews said it would be. First class service with care and that means so. much to me personally. thank you Matt you are the greatest. led me in the right buying direction. thanks again. Secondly the guitar was set up perfectly. I have purchased other instruments that were setup badly or not setup at all. This alone will bring me back to buy from Sweet water again. Now the guitar I wanted what they call retro sound. I am old enough to have played some of the 1930s Gibsons Martins and Epiphones so I knew what i was looking for. To say the least I found it. The Epiphone 500 masterbilt fit perfect for what i wanted and i can not put it down It plays so smooth and sounds just like the old Gibsons and Mattins I used to play when i was young. So the 2plus years i spent looking for the perfect sound was well worth it. the bonus is sweet water and their easy payment plan and service thanks again gang 5 stars all the way.

  • from San Antonio, Texas February 16, 2017Music Background:
    Texas Country

    Amazing tone

    I'm amazed at how great this guitar sounds. Unplugged or plugged in this thing sounds amazing. The 2 pickups give you some great options you won't find in guitars that are twice the price. If you play leads you will love the bright tone the mahogany will give you. Try playing this next to a $2000 guitar. You are going to save some cash. If you scratch it you won't cry. No laminate B.S either. It's real wood.

  • from February 7, 2017

    Loving this Masterbilt DR500MCE

    Im not a big Epiphone fan but I was looking for another acoustic to buy but all wood. I do have a Martin D16GT, Martin Custom X Series and an Ibanez AW54CEOPN. I played the Epiphone Masterbilt DR500MCE and man I could not put it down. I read many reviews and decided to try one out. Great guitar for the money. I ordered the Vintage Sunburst man it looks hot.. If you're looking for a very good all wood guitar buy this one. Epiphone nailed this one and I'm glad I got one.

  • from NY February 4, 2017

    Great Guitar

    Superior quality , superior sound... beautiful guitar and a great price. My first dealings with Sweetwater your customer service is also 5 star. Thanks for the great experience it won't be my last..

  • from Kingman, AZ February 1, 2017Music Background:
    Hobbyist, small venues

    Great Guitar

    I have had this guitar for a couple of months now and I am very happy with it. Easy to play and has a nice sound to it. For the money it is an exceptional value, and is only going to get better with age.

  • from Mississippi January 19, 2017


    We purchased this guitar for my daughter for Christmas! It is AWESOME! It came VERY well packaged and was ready to play right out of the box! My daughter's guitar instructor was equally impressed. This is a beautiful guitar and has an amazing sound!! Thank you Sweetwater and Dave for ALL your help!!

  • from Coeur d'Alene, ID October 12, 2016Music Background:
    Weekend warrior

    Epiphone Masterbilt 500 DR 500MCE

    If you're contemplating purchasing this guitar don't wait any longer. I just purchased one and it's every bit as sweet as all the other reviews, maybe better. It's that good man.....

    Also Sweetwater is AMAZING and I'll never buy from Guitar Center again. They know their product, delivery is smooth, their follow up is awesome and their 2-year warranty and super positive attitude when you need help has made me a loyal customer moving forward.

  • from woodlawn, TN June 12, 2016

    Epiphone Masterbuilt DR-500MCE

    Great guitar sounds great it well built

  • from SoCal June 6, 2016

    WOW - beautiful to the ears and eyes...

    BEST guitar of it's type for twice the price! My Opinion. Beautiful - more glossy than I expected and I like it. Great tone, electronics are wonderful, every detail is perfect. This is a Gibson for 1/8th the cost. I may change the strings and lower the action just a bit but know I'll have this one for years. I'll hang it next to my 1967 Gibson Classic.

  • from Lacey Washington May 21, 2016Music Background:
    I gave up the music 50 years ago.

    Masterbuilt DR500MCE Natural

    This is my second Epiphone, The first one I got in 1964 That one was a cortez. This one is great on tone, as well as workmanship. However the neck is a bit more fat. All in all I'm impressed with off shore construction. I give it a 5
    . Way to go Gibson.

  • from woodlawn, TN May 15, 2016Music Background:
    guitar player/musician

    Great Masterbuilt

    I did my research for months and tested one out at a place in Nashville the feel and playability are great sound is even better I even got $ off for buying at sweetwater with a multiple order Mike Winebrenner really helped me out on a lot of tech questions you cant beat it for the price and service is Awesome at my door in less than 3 days I would recommend to any musician to try this out.

  • from Danville, IL. March 3, 2016Music Background:

    Amazing for the price

    This is my second guitar bought from Sweetwater, and one could not ask for better customer service from my sales guy, Arron!
    After anxiously waiting for 5 hours to open up my new guitar, I was pleasantly surprised as this guitar was much prettier in person than the pics.
    I have 2 Martins and the quality of this guitar matches.
    Can't say anything that hasn't already been said except that I'm very happy with it!

  • from NC February 1, 2016

    Epi DR500MCE

    This is a fine guitar for the money if you are looking for a guitar that sounds great plugged in or not this is the one you want. Thanks Geoff

  • from Grayson, GA January 19, 2016Music Background:
    Non-Pro; Been playing guitar for 30+ years

    Great Value

    It has been almost 2 years since I bought this guitar. My first ever Epiphone Masterbilt. And since then, I have bought 2 more Masterbilts. And this is what I can tell everyone about this guitar. All the 5-star reviews are all true. Do not even for a second think that just because this guitar is Made in Indonesia, this is inferior in quality. This guitar can go toe to toe with any of the highest of the high ends. Samick Music Corporation (formerly of Korea) manufactures the Masterbilt line for Epiphone. The value that you get from this guitar is off the charts - all-solid tone woods, beautiful high-gloss finish, dual pick-up and stereo pre-amp system by Shadow Electronics of Germany, multi-layer binding all-around, real bone nut and saddle, Grover Sta-Tite 18:1 ratio tuners (that are found in top of the line Gibson guitars), D'Addario strings, etc. I went to my local Guitar Center to try out the other brands, I left GC that morning with a big smile on my face knowing that my Masterbilts do feel and sound just as good if not better. If I am going to own just one acoustic guitar in my lifetime, it is going to be a Masterbilt. With the 3 models that are available right now (and I have all 3 of them), this is the ONE that I am going to choose. The ONE with the most value. If you are still thinking whether to buy this guitar or not, do yourself a favor. Just get this. And besides, in the unlikely event that this guitar does not meet your expectations (which I strongly doubt), Sweetwater will work with you. Believe me, they will. Now, if Epiphone will just come up with a Masterbilt version of the iconic Gibson Hummingbird and/or the Gibson Dove, I will be the first in line!

  • from Northern Indiana January 3, 2016Music Background:
    Serious guitarist for over 35 uears.

    Very Impressed!

    I've had this guitar for about 3 weeks now, and I'm very happy with it. I've played all the Martins, Taylors, Gibsons, and Guilds. I'd put this guitar up against any of them, especially considering the price. Workmanship is wonderful. The guitar is even more beautiful in person than in the pictures, and it plays better than any acoustic I've ever owned. Don't hesitate to pick one of these up. You absolutely will not regret it.

  • from New Jersey January 3, 2016Music Background:
    been playin' for 50 years

    Can't go wrong...

    Since all the reviews on this instrument are 5 stars there's nothing more to say. I like the fact that it has 2 pickups. I have the piezo plugged into a Fishman Loudbox and the sound hole pickup plugged into an old Trace-Elliot acoustic amp. Sounds unbelievable. The guitar comes plek'd which is great. Intonation is spot on. The built in tuner is accurate and doubles as a mute button. Plays easy.

  • from San Diego ,Ca December 16, 2015Music Background:
    Part time gigs and recording, 40 yrs experience.

    Sweet fiddle

    This guitar has the best playability I have seen for an acoustic. No buzzes , perfect intonation , with very low action. Fit and finish is perfect. The sound is great also. With the slider pickup selector you can get the full strumming sound or get a brighter cutting sound , or anywhere in between. I highly recommend ! Competes with guitars two to three times the price.

  • from Buckley, WA December 13, 2015Music Background:

    My first Guitar

    This is an amazing guitar, the quality and sound is phenomenal. I am just learning again after 70 years, I have always like quality in everything I purchase. I have 3 Epiphones and use them all daily in my half hour of practice. After all isn't that how we learn any new challenge.

  • from Tennessee December 3, 2015

    Great Build

    Solid build. Great aging potential. My third Masterbilt. Craftsmanship is evident throughout.

  • from washington c.h., OH October 16, 2015

    Service/ and Guitar

    I ordered the wrong guitar by accident. And then decided to just take a 3 hour trip to the store to exchange.
    The service was awesome!!The place in general, was unbelievable!! They pulled the guitar I wanted, and when I left, the set up on it was great!! Who has a place so big they have a cafeteria???lol
    I will always do my business there from here on out. Even for just strings, picks, etc. If you are looking for a full day of something to do, check this place out. Every single associate was eager to help, and done a fantastic job!! The price is great, the Sweetwater Card is awesome!!!

  • from October 7, 2015Music Background:
    Mostly playing to myself since the 60's

    Awesome acoustic

    I have been looking at this guitar for a while now and had tried it out (several times) at a brick and mortar store near my home and had fallen in love with it. There was nothing that came close to it in the under $2000 range I was looking at. I had considered the Martin and Taylor lowest priced all wood guitars as well as the pretty impressive Seagull Maritime model but this one seemed to beat them all in one way or another. It has that vintage vibe that I really like so it called out to me.

    It took a 'deal' to get one in my hands. Sweetwater, my favorite place to buy things unseen and untried, had a Vintage Sunburst one as a demo and I jumped on it right away. As usual it arrived in less than 24 hours and, as with the Epi Dot I had bought a couple of years ago, was absolutely flawless! Was this actually a demo? I could see no evidence that it had ever been touched except for the 55-point inspection card in between the strings.

    Aside from Sweetwater's obvious awesomeness the guitar itself is a masterpiece! Very well constructed, flawless, and beautiful. I strummed it without a pick as I had not even scrounged one up yet and the sound was loud and beautiful. I finger picked it for probably about twenty minutes before locating a pick. About two hours later I wondered how the electronics sounded and was treated to a really close rendition of the unplugged guitar through my acoustic amp. A while later I ran the nanomag through my pedal chain and Marshall and discovered that I could switch to lead by engaging an overdrive pedal pretty easily. I'm still working that out but I can see that potential in this eSonic 2 system.

    I have since unplugged it as the natural unplugged sound is awesome and loud enough for playing in and around the house. I also compared it to my solid wood 1974 Guild dreadnaught and it is as loud and actually sounds a little mellower, although both are constructed of the same solid woods. Now I have the old Guild tuned down to D standard for songs I can't sing in E and this one is in E for everything else.

    Everyone else is saying the same things about this guitar.Get one! You will not be sorry.

  • from Virginia Beach, Va October 3, 2015Music Background:

    Beautiful Guitar!

    I love this guitar, I can't put it down. Sweetwater had it to my house within two days and I have been enjoying it since. Very high quality, love the feel, look, and smell of this guitar as i'm playing. I was looking at many high end acoustic guitars and saw this one in a local shop and fell in love. I wanted one that had never been played so I ordered from Sweetwater as I have always received top-notch service. Thanks Mark Stein from Sweetwater and Epiphone for the great guitar.

  • from Seattle September 16, 2015Music Background:
    Musician since birth, it feels like

    It Writes The Songs...Not Me!

    After several days of going through page after page of guitars in my price range and slightly outside it, I finally decided to buy the Epiphone DR500MCE/VS from Sweetwater, selecting the exact model by serial number that I wanted.

    For the money, this guitar has few equals. With the exception of other Epiphone guitars, I could not find another brand that featured solid tonewoods, a one-piece neck joined with a dovetail joint and hide glue, dual pickups (including unique designs in both), preamp with tuner, and fine detail work throughout. As all of these Masterbilt series are Plek'd from the factory, mine was no exception and bore the seal and certificate of service.

    The tone of this guitar out of the box with stock strings was superb. Sweetwater puts each outgoing guitar through a 55-point inspection prior to shipping, including tuning the guitar. Other reviews claimed their guitars were in tune and played chords with no obvious intonation issues, buzzing, or odd tonal issues; my guitar sounded each chord I played with natural sonority and brilliance. Checking the actual tuning of each string, the guitar was perfectly tuned to play D, meaning the strings either relaxed equally during transit, or the tech liked D tuning. I have yet to connect it to an amp to sample the sonic2 from Shadow. Action at the top of the fretboard is nearly as light and easy as near the nut, and the cutaway makes for a nice reach for those higher notes.

    Absolutely pleased with this guitar, and am very impressed with Epiphone in general. They have resurrected an old line, gave it new life and breathed inspiration into their designs. The result is a line of fine guitars at reasonable prices. I questioned why Epiphone did not include a quality hard case with a guitar this deserving of one; while comparing cases for the guitar, I realized that quality and price vary greatly, and some customers might only be able to afford just the guitar. I bought the Epiphone dreadnought case as I thought it too precious to put in a gig bag or soft case; other reviews confirmed it was the right case for this guitar.

    I would highly recommend this as a solid purchase, but the guitar needs no pitchman, just a vocalist to sing along.

  • from Michigan February 24, 2015Music Background:
    At home musician.

    Epiphone DR-500MCE - Vintage Sunburst

    This guitar exceeded all of my expectations. There isn't one thing that I don't like about it. Fit and finish were perfect. Excellent playability. This guitar has the sound I've been searching for. For me it's the perfect guitar. An overall steal. I couldn't be happier.

  • from February 4, 2015Music Background:

    Great Guitar

    Fantastic guitar, sound well balanced, crisp and clean, excellent built quality.

  • from North Carolina January 27, 2015Music Background:

    Epiphone DR-500MCE Vintage Sunburst

    My DR-500MCE arrived on Friday and I spent the weekend exploring the features and sound. This is one awesome guitar. The fit and finish is superb. I've been playing guitar for several years and this particular one is exceptional. Hard to imagine the sound will improve over time. This guitar definitely rates a full five star review. My sales engineer, Dave Walent handled my purchase..Working with him has been a very pleasant experience. Especially after I made two changes to my original order. His experience and pleasant personality are greatly appreciated. I look forward working with him regarding advice and future purchases. Thank you for the fast, friendly, professional service.

  • from Fenton, MI January 26, 2015Music Background:
    45 year music hobbyist

    No need to try it, just buy it.

    This guitar is that good! I tried many higher priced guitars the day I
    bought this guitar, and for the price you won't go wrong. You also
    don't see any bad reviews on this guitar.

  • from Dalzell SC September 28, 2014Music Background:
    Lyricist, songwriter,poet, drummer,acoustic guitar noodler

    Ex-drummers pick guitars for perhaps the wrong reasons

    Ex-drummers pick guitars for wrong reasons. At least I did. My personal exposure to high end flat tops is nill. The two best sounding acoustics to capture my ears, before obtaining my Epi, was my friend’s $200+ (1973 pricing) Epiphone, and a $500+ (late 1990s) Alverez borrowed from my bro-in-law. My first guitar, bought from a local mom and pop music store, is a Fender beginner’s guitar: DG7. Got it because the thought of squeezing a rubber ball for my f**ked up knucks was just plain boring. It was a display model placed too close to the store front window. The fret board was sun chalked, but I didn’t mind because it gives the instrument a kind of a veteran look. I’ve had that flat top for- going on 14 years now. The fret board, still chalked in some places, but polished between the most played frets. It’s a beater, but it sounds great. It even sounds warmer than my second guitar, a Fender Sonoran SCE, which I recently bought from a different local music store. I Bought it just because it looked so damn cool in Olympic White. The Sonoran is brighter and crisper,than the DG7, but lacks on the low end. Run through a 20 watt Fender Champion with Black Face voicing, it sounds like a... well, a Fender electric.

    I stumbled onto Sweetwater while searching articles and reviews on my two guitars. I googled: “Fender Sonoran Olympic White.” Hyperlinking images and articles brought me to Sweetwater. I discovered, among many things, that I payed just a little too much for my Fenders. I got caught up searching the sight, comparing guitars and my buying options, and came across what was going to be my third acoustic guitar: the Epiphone Masterbuilt DR 500MCE.

    From my crash course in “guitar-ology” I’ve learned things about solid wood vs laminated and plywood: thus my interest in the Epi Masterbuilt. Sweetwater’s description and pricing had me sold! I can’t imagine an acoustic guitar sounding better than the DR 500MCE- maybe just as good, but not better. And because it is of total solid wood construction, it’s only going to sound better with age. As a just plain acoustic, the thing is incredible. The Esonic preamp with the Shadow pickup system is a very nice frosting on a perfect cake.

    My sales engineer is Zach Neels. He called me to verify everything before shipping. Packaging, quality and set up of my guitars were above and beyond what I’ve read about the competition. I’m hooked.

  • from Norfolk, VA September 26, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist (8 Years)

    This Guitar is PERFECT!!!

    I bought this guitar because 1) I have 3 great electric guitars and two acoustics: one of which is a $100 3/4 size guitar given to me by my older brother, and the other being a $100 starter fender guitar from SAMs Club, so it was about time I stepped up my acoustic game. 2) I was moving into a small apartment for college and I needed a quality, yet affordable guitar so I could bring it to jam sessions but not have to worry about losing a several thousand dollar guitar (not that I could afford an expensive guitar as a college student in the first place). My go-to for quality and a good price is Epiphone. They are essentially an affordable line of Gibsons for your every day people not making a ton of money to spend on guitars, but want a guitar from someone whose been around for a while and know a quality guitar. I stumbled upon this Masterbilt and fell in love right away. There aren't many all solid wood guitars out there at this price. After reading the reviews and talking to Stuart Niven from the Sweetwater team (absolutely awesome to talk to and very customer service based) I decided to pull the trigger on the purchase. When I got the guitar, everything was perfect. It looked sounded great right out of the box, and I played it until I couldn't take the pain in my fingertips anymore (keep in mind I mostly played my electric guitars). The action comes set very low, minimal to no fret buzz, I think fairly easy to play. It is everything it is advertised to be. I play some Martins and Taylors at Guitar Center that I wouldn't trade my Masterbilt for. I would also like to say I'm so glad I went through Sweetwater for my purchase. I always request to speak with Stuart, but if he isn't available, I still get very friendly service from anyone I speak to. Unless Sweetwater isn't carrying the item I'm looking for, I'll probably never buy new from anyone else.

  • from United States June 11, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Garage Band for the last 50 years.

    This is the Guitar you have been wanting to play

    I looked at several different guitars with all the best reputations, Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Seagull, Breedlove ect... When I looked at the Epi Master Built and for the difference in price, I just had to try it. Solid wood, the electronics, built in tuner, plek'd so I ordered it and when she arrived I new by the feel she was going to play great and make me feel good about this purchase. I wanted a really nice guitar for once and you can believe this Epi is it. This guitar does it all, Jazz, Blues, Rock and just plain beautiful acoustic. You will not be disappointed you have Sweet water's return policy if you are, but I doubt that you will. So go ahead and order her.

  • from Fort Worth Texas May 20, 2014Music Background:

    Bang for your Buck

    I bought the DR500 MCE vintage sunburst about a month ago and I'm loving it. The sells rep was great and very knowledgeable, really helped me in making a decision. I must admit that I purchased this guitar without ever playing one, a risk I know. But my local guitar shop did not have any in stock so I played all kinds of other big brand name guitars that cost twice as much as the Master built. But after reading all I could and watching as many video reviews that I could find I was determined that this was the guitar for me, and now I know that I was right. Out of the box ready to play the set up was great, not sure what brand of strings are on it but you can tell they are quality strings. the tone of this guitar is rich and warm and the ease of play is unbelievable. So if you are like me and can't afford a 1,200/1,400 dollar guitar and you won't Bang for your Buck get an Epiphone Master built you won't regret it.

  • from Mooresville, NC April 6, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Teacher


    Tried out several Martin Performing Artist models in a local store and while I liked them, I was not overly impressed - not at $1400. Tried out a Gibson J45 and was overly impressed - but couldn't do $2200. Then I tried out this Epiphone - playability and sound were hard to distinguish from the Gibson. Received my Sunburst model from Sweetwater yesterday and it's even better! Setup was perfect out of the box. High E seems to get out of tune easy but the tuners probably need some breaking in. Wood and finish look beautiful, neck the same. The two pickup system is really cool, especially playing through two different amplifies. My sale engineer, Jake, was extremely helpful as well. Nothing to complain about at all.

  • from Florida, USA March 26, 2014

    Really can't go wrong. Easy 5 stars.

    I own two dr-500mce guitars and one ef-500. These masterbilts are about as good as I've come across for the money. I'm no expert, but I love mine. All solid woods, beautiful pickup sound plugged in, very playable. I'd recommend it, but I'm afraid they are going to stop making these and I don't want sweetwater to run out of stock... Honestly, you probably can't get a better acoustic for the money.

    As for sweetwater - as always the customer service was fantastic, guitar arrived quickly, and came "plek'd". I'd choose SW over any other online dealer. Plus you can pick the model and serial number. If you are smart you can do the research and find the year/factory of the models they display here and pick the one you feel most comfortable with. Mine are 2013 from Indonesia.

  • from Grayson, GA USA March 26, 2014Music Background:
    Non-Pro; Praise & Worship Band; been playing guitar for 30+ years

    Believe the 5-star review

    It has been a week since I got this guitar from Sweetwater. Prior to that, I search the internet for a good but affordable acoustic-electric - going over guitar specs, guitar magazines' and owner's reviews and comments. And finally settled on this one - the Indonesian-made Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE in Vintage Sunburst. And honestly, I could not be happier. It is beautiful. classy and well-crafted with premium components. Mine came Plek'd too. The tone that comes out of this all solid wood guitar is unbelievable. And the playability is absolutely exceptional. Since I got it, I have been playing until 3 in the morning or until my fingers are sore. I cannot get enough of this guitar. I cannot believe it. Did I just get a good one? I have only tuned it once and it still stays in tune. I have only tried the eSonic dual Shadow pick-up system using its mono output hooked up to my Line 6 Spider IV 75 electric guitar modelling amp. And the sound is already natural, balanced and sweet., at least to my ears. And it says this guitar really comes alive when used in stereo mode. Wow! That is another plus that I can look forward too. But, for now I am very happy that I decided to go for this Epiphone Masterbilt. This guitar will be with me for life. In fact, I am so happy, that I am already thinking of getting another one - either the DR-500MCE in Natural or the EF-500RCCE. I just need to get another one before they stop making them. To Epiphone and to the highly-skilled luthiers and craftsmen out there in Indonesia my sincerest THANK YOU! And also to my personal sales engineer, Dave Brow. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • from Olive Hill KY. March 25, 2014Music Background:
    Formally trained musician with 25+years experiance.

    Glad i chose this guitar!

    first of all i take an instrument very serious. it takes quite a lot to impress me and my ear. this guitar really does.i was blown away from the minute that i first touched this guitar! i normally do not do "import instruments", but i will be keeping this one. i do not care for the electronics, they are probably good but thats not why i like this guitar. i like it because of the tone and playability. it truly does sound wonderful...at least mine does. also it is so easy to play on all the frets. they could not make this guitar any better! absolutely zero issues and zero complaints about quality!!! i just wish they offered it in a non-electric version. this is my only import guitar but like i said, its a keeper. better get one while you can! thanks sweetwater!

  • from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (USA) March 11, 2014Music Background:
    semi Pro Musician

    Epiphone DR-500MCE Vintage Sunburst

    This Guitar amazes me every time I play it The fit the playability, sound
    and the great finish of this Guitar just blows me away. This is a keeper
    I will never sell this one!

  • from Green River Wyoming February 28, 2014Music Background:
    Play as much as I can, whenever I can

    Very nice guitar!!!!

    I sold my Parker P8E to buy this guitar, and I really loved that guitar. This Epiphone is a very nice guitar, Especially for the price. We'll built and the playability and tone are great. And Sweetwater has great service! Plugged in this guitar sounds great as well. I highly recommend giving this guitar and Sweetwater a try you won't be disappointed!

  • from Texas February 17, 2014Music Background:
    Pro for 39 years, Jazz, Classical, R&B, Pop.

    Great Guitar, Great Value

    Knowing I could return it made it an easy decision and this guitar is a keeper! ( I sound like a salesman.) The tone both acoustic and amplified is beautiful, lots of low end but not boomy, warm with a crisp top end but not nasal in the midrange. Read the instructions on the pre-amp though for the tone controls especially.
    But the kicker is the action. It is perfect. Even with the 12 set it plays so easily, it's a dream. The strings just lay down, I can't believe it. The set-up is perfect, no buzzes anywhere. Condition of the guitar was 99%, there was a minute blemish not visible from a distance or from most angles and the jack was a tad loose. Other than that, perfect. I would recommend this to anyone.

  • from Berrien Springs Michigan January 3, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Tommy Shaw wannabee.


    When I was a kid my Grandpa gave me a Gibson J45 and it was very vintage then, this was around 1965. I proceeded over the years to trash that guitar like a fool as I had no clue what I had. I always wanted another but the cost kept me away. After many years of not even looking at a guitar I decided at age 53 I wanted to take it up again. I have an old 12 string Texan from my younger days and I purchased a 1956 Les Paul Gold Top reissue with P90's as my electric and love it. Epiphone makes awesome guitars. I decided I wanted a good 6 string electric and decied on the Masterbuilt. I ordered site unseen from Sweetwater and had a short wait. I was not disapointed. I have played this back to back with a Taylor, Martin and of course a trusty J45. It is right there with them. The salesman at Sweetwater was excellent and there customer service just as good. This one gets a 10 out of 5!!!!!!

  • from Philadelphia, PA USA August 4, 2014Music Background:
    Recording engineer, composer, arranger, performing musician

    I love a bargain

    Most of my life I've played borrowed or cheap acoustics. The best acoustic I ever owned was a Takamine and that was stolen about 6 months after I bought it. My current acoustic was getting a little road worn, so I was needing a new acoustic for gigging and recording. I wanted to buy a GOOD acoustic guitar. I checked out the usual suspects (Taylors and Martins). In doing so, I concluded that, as much as I liked the grand auditorium body style visually, sonically what I was looking for was a dreadnought. I also needed a cutaway for upper fret access. I also felt that guitars in the price range I was looking at ($1300 to $2000) lacked certain features that I considered essential. And, to be honest, I was not that impressed by some of the models I checked out. Somewhere along the line I stumbled upon the Epiphone Masterbilt series. I researched it and what I learned seemed impressive enough, so I took it to the next step and checked out a few at a nearby "instrument center". Because this store does not take good care of their display guitars (ironically), a decent evaluation was not possible, but it was easy to tell this was a very well made instrument. With help from my Sweetwater Sales Engineer Ben Porter I was able to purchase one of these. In my mind, this guitar is an incredible buy. Real, solid tone woods top to bottom. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge (not synthetic material). Real bone nut and saddle. Kerfing. I got the vintage sunburst finish, which I think is gorgeous and to me is a nice fit with the vintage Masterbilt aesthetic. The electronics were a bit of a problem, but the folks at Sweetwater took care of me in superb fashion. The eSonic2 system sounds great, and the tonal options available by mixing and EQ-ing the two pickups offer lots of fun potential. One thing, the neck is not for the faint of heart; it's pretty beefy. I have big hands, so I can manage it, but I would have preferred something a little smaller. However, the bottom of the neck has a nice smooth flatness to it that feels right after adjusting to it. The guitar has been "Plek'ed" ( frets dressed using an automated system) and you can really feel it. It feels perfect, I guess because it is. The finish is not perfect, particularly around the neck joint. But the way I feel about it is I'm getting a lot of guitar for the money, so if the finish is not museum quality, but everything else is great, I'm OK with that. The unamplified sound is very smooth, balanced, and clean - no harsh overtones. Your choice of pick can greatly affect the sound; a Fender medium yields brighter highs, while a thicker pick will yield a slightly but noticeably smoother, darker tone. Overall, this guitar looks, feels, and sounds like a much more expensive guitar. I would not hesitate to put it up against a Taylor or Martin costing 3 times as much. Oh, and as always, Sweetwater service cannot be beat!!!

  • from Mid-west April 17, 2014Music Background:
    Active amateur

    Great sound right out of the box

    I chose the DR-500MCE because of the specifications. All solid wood, big, nut width, cut-away. I chose Sweetwater because of the value added. They actually touch, feel and inspect each instrument. Also liked to talk to the sales guy who offered to get my S/N from the warehouse and play it for me. Shipment and packaging was seamless. The guitar played very nicely right out of the box. After a month I took it to my luthier to look over. He is going to do a set up including level 3 frets, rework the nut height for each string, crank the neck a bit etc. I liked the guitar when I opened the box and will love it after a personal set-up. Also great to have a knowledgeable sales rep guide me to the right case. This is a big guitar with a big smooth sound. it sounds good unplugged, & sounds the same plugged in.

  • from November 30, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-Retired Pro


    Great value. Versatile. Great tone and playability. I'm working this into gigs.

  • from Los Angeles December 9, 2016Music Background:

    Outstanding Sound .....However

    This is an outstanding sounding guitar - bright and booming bass at the same time. The pick-ups sound excellent in a band setting - better than Takamine or Taylor if you're in a group. However.... the saddle was too thin for the slot so I had to replace, and the input jack is really cheap - many owners report crackling and battery shorting. There is a Fishman replacement but it's a bear to replace. Once you make the fixes it's outstanding.

  • from west Tennessee February 9, 2015Music Background:
    Been playing guitar for over 50 years.

    A great sound at a good price.

    Great instrument. I was initially a bit disappointed at the factory setup. String height was a bit on the high side and the strings were mediums at the very least. A trip to the local shop for a setup and new strings (Elixir Custom Lights) and the action is now on a par with my electrics. This is a large dreadnought with a 25.5 scale. If you have smaller hands it might not be the one for you.

  • from Western Nebraska March 18, 2014Music Background:

    Very playable

    I bought this guitar as a second guitar. I wanted to use it for drop tunings so that I didn't need to switch back-and-forth from the standard. I like this guitar a lot. It has very good playability. Excellent base, with warm tones throughout. Fit and finish are good. I really like the onboard tuner. It does tend to have feedback issues when amped even using the phase switch. I need to attenuate the EQ at 100hz to solve it. I am very pleased with this guitar and find myself choosing to play it over my Taylor.

  • from middle of Alabama April 10, 2017Music Background:
    lifetime student of music and rhythm

    Epi Dread

    Timely arrival, as always with Sweetwater.
    Beautiful guitar. Two tiny chips in the finish on the lower inside edge of the sound hole; tiny disappointment but no big deal. The action could be a little lower but it came out of the box set up well enough to suit me.

    Ya know, very often in these reviews, one of the first things people say they do is change the strings; I chose not to do so because, even though the strings did have some localized corrosion (probably left by a sweaty hand), they played beautifully. Did not change them until I had played the guitar every day for over a month.

    The DR-500MCE has remarkable intonation. One likes the access provided by the cutaway when getting up on the top of the fretboard. That alone makes it worth every penny, in my opinion. Some reviewers have mentioned it has a "balanced sound". Seriously, the tone of this guitar is almost too civilised for a dreadnaught. Play one, you'll see what I mean. Tone and sustain in abundance. The neck shape and nut width are just right for my hands and ya gotta love those crafty Germans for inventing Plek technology, no buzzing anywhere.

    Despite the hyperbole of some enthusiastic reviewers, this is not a Gibson and I don't care how you slice it, it never will be a Gibson. There is a reason some guitars cost thousands and it is about much more than being made in U.S.A. That said, it is a fine guitar, nontheless, and I feel it's value definitely exceeds the cost.

    I do have a couple complaints. It appears the "master luthier" who built it went to lunch and the apprentice installed the nut, pins and bridge. The saddle sits rather loosely in the bridge. The nut FELL OUT when I removed the original strings (unhappy about that, wouldn't you be?). The holes for the bridge pins seem to be too large for the pins and not all the same size at that. Lastly, it does not stay in tune nearly so well as I had expected, especially in light of the (very nice) 18:1 ratio Grover tuners.

    Satisfied, but saving my coin for that top shelf guitar in my future.

  • from Dallas, TX June 8, 2016Music Background:
    Intermediate, semi-pro

    Nice Guitar but not for me!

    So, for the right person this maybe a good guitar, it is well made and very solid, but I just could not justify keeping it at over $700, when it did not sound or play as well as my $450 Ibanez AC400CE-DVG in Dark Tobacco Sunburst. I am an intermediate player and am a strummer and sing leads. I think if you are a picker or finger style player you may enjoy this guitar. The neck is a v style and is not rounded off, and a bit wider than my Ibanez. The pickups and the Epiphone case are phenomenal, but the thin body and playability was just so-so and sounded a bit hollow acoustically. Plugged in it sounded much better as the two pickups do give you a lot of tonal control through an amp or PA. The Ibanez however has a much fuller sound and very musical overtones acoustically and is much easier to strum chords to me. Plugged in to an amp the Ibanez sounded better to me with good bass and sparkly high end. All the materials and build was well done on the Epiphone. My biggest "little" issue with this guitar is the strap pins are really in the wrong part of the neck and a typical leather strap is almost impossible to get on the front or back. I do not have this issue at all on my Ibanez. Why pay Moreno for less? I just could not justify keeping this guitar and sent it back. Sorry, but I just can't recommend this guitar at the price point being asked.

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