Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Review – 2021 Overview

Craig
| Last Updated: March 12, 2021

Though some may view Epiphone as a discount counterpart to Gibson, their 100+ years of industry experience means they know how to make a solid instrument.

Currently based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Epiphone has created a guitar that will satisfy both beginner and experienced players with the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500 MCE.

This acoustic-electric dreadnought comes at a fair price, without compromising on quality.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Solid Sitca Spruce top for better resonance
  • Made with a solid mahogany body for durability
  • Equipped with D-shaped neck for easy movement
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Epiphone DR-500MCE Acoustic/Electric (Dreadnought), Natural

PROS

  • Great playability
  • Affordably priced
  • Built-in electronics
  • Great build quality

CONS

  • Limited EQ range
  • May need adjustment

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Specs

Type of Guitar: Acoustic-Electric

Body Type: Dreadnought

Body Size: 15 Inches

Number and Type of Strings: 6

Tonewood: Mahogany

Orientation: Right-Handed

Scale Length: 25.5 Inches

Color: Natural

Weight: 2.2 pounds

Pros

Let’s explore some of the features that make this model shine:

Great Build Quality

This guitar has an overall strong build quality, despite its low price point. Its solid wood design provides an excellent sound, and its vintage styling gives it a great aesthetic appeal.

You’ll enjoy the great look of this guitar’s solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a bone nut saddle that works to give it a rich tone. The Masterbilt DR-500MCE also features a solid mahogany neck with rosewood frets and Pearloid diamond inlays for a vintage look and comfortable play.

This model comes in both natural spruce and vintage sunburst finish, with a glossy topcoat and tortoiseshell pickguard that gives it a unique vintage look. No matter your genre, this guitar has the aesthetics to stand out and shine on a stage.

Built-in Electronics

As an acoustic-electric guitar, this Epiphone model is great for both plugged and unplugged play. The Masterbilt DR-500MCE features an eSonic-2HD Stereo pre-amp that makes for a bright, natural sound that can give other eclectic guitars on the market a run for their money.

If you’re one to regularly gig, the electronics in this guitar won’t let you down! You can expect some great sound output from this versatile guitar. With two output jacks, you’ll be able to play this guitar in stereo without issue. Plus, as a bonus, this guitar features a built-in tuner.

Affordably Priced

Perhaps the biggest plus for this guitar is the price. It’ll be hard to find a solid wood guitar as good as this one at such a low price point. This pricing would make this a great choice for a beginner or a solid addition to an experienced player’s collection.

Price is a large factor to consider when looking to invest in a new guitar. If you’re looking for a quality instrument at an approachable price point, you can’t go wrong with this Epiphone model. Whether you’re a first time player on a budget or a professional looking for a backup performance instrument, this model won’t let you down.

Great Playability

This guitar was designed with easy playability in mind. Out of the box, many users find this guitar holds a solid tune. Its thin neck design lends to easy playability for users, and many report this model having great action out of the box. This model design is great for any kind of player, including those who love to partake in fingerpicking.

Cons

Now that we’ve explored some of the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the cons you may encounter with this instrument…

Limited EQ Range

Though this isn’t the biggest deal for all players, some reviews have noted faults with the EQ range of this guitar. Some users have discovered that there are limitations to the EQ on this instrument, meaning you won’t be able to make any drastic changes to your tone.

 However, despite the limitations, the tone of this instrument still comes off great. Though you may not be able to adjust as freely, you can still be assured that this instrument can produce a beautiful tone.

May Need Adjustment

You might need to budget for some adjustments to your guitar when investing in this model. Epiphone's website claims that the Mastebilt DR-500 MCE comes Plek’d. Some reviews online say that this model did need some fine-tuning before it was playable.

Other reviews have also noted that issues can be encountered when customizing this guitar. Buzzing and other feedback noise issues can occur when replacing the original strings on this instrument.

Before making any adjustments to this instrument, do your due research to ensure you don’t run into any issues. Take your instrument to a reputable retailer or repair shop if you’re wary of making changes on your own.

What Are the Components of the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE?

Let’s learn more about the components that make up this instrument:

Body and Neck

As mentioned above, this guitar's body is primarily formed out of mahogany, with a solid Sitka spruce top. This guitar also features a mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard and bridge.

With a mahogany body, you can expect a nice warm timbre and good tone out of your instrument. Though this material is usually reserved for bass bodies, its use in guitars is great for a nice, balanced sound! Mahogany will provide a smooth, sustainable low and can complement the Sitka spruce hardtop well.

Machine Heads & Nut

The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE features six Grover Sta-Tite nickel machine heads, adding to the vintage aesthetic appeal. These machine heads feed the guitar strings through a real bone nut saddle, a high-quality component considering the low price point of this instrument. These two components combined work to provide a bright, authentic tone.

Bridges

The bridge on this model is made of rosewood, a favored material for making a good quality bridge. Rosewood is known to provide good tonal character, generating great highs and lows with an element of warmth. This wood pairs well with the rest of the instrument's look and feel, aiding its great sound.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Best For?

If you are worried that this instrument may not be suited for your specific genre, have no fear! The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE offers a rich, versatile tone that can be utilized across many different kinds of music.

Old-School Sound

The solid mahogany body and old school construction techniques on this instrument make it well suited to play old-school blues. Many users say this instrument sounds remarkably retro in tone.

Modern Playability

Though it may have an old school sound, you can still use this guitar with a more modern approach! The truss rose and strings can be easily adjusted to your liking. Plus, its pre-amp system makes it suitable for adjusting the sound to your preference.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Suitable For?

The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels!

Its low pricing makes it a great contender for first-time players looking for a first instrument that won’t break the bank. It’s acoustic-electric built makes this instrument an extremely versatile choice for all kinds of play. Plus, its slim tapered neck design can make it a great choice for younger players who want to grow into their instrument.

The built-in electronics make it suitable for players who like to gig, making it a solid addition to the collection of more experienced guitar players or those looking to start playing shows for the first time.

What Makes the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Stand Out From the Competition?

The biggest thing that makes this instrument stand out from its competitors is the price. This instrument is a very high quality build considering its price point. It’s hard to find a guitar with built-in electronics, solid wood, nickel, and bone components, at this price range.

Plus, it's guaranteed to arrive Plek'd and ready for play out of the box, which removes some of the additional set up and tuning fees one might consider. You will be hard-pressed to find a guitar that gives you more bang for your buck than this model from Epiphone.

Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE vs Taylor - Comparison Overview

To better highlight the features of the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE, let’s compare it to a popular Taylor model, the Taylor 214CE.

Guitar Overviews

The Epiphone Masterbilt DR500MCE is a solid instrument. This guitar has a solid mahogany body, Sitka Spruce top, and rosewood fretboard and bridge. An acoustic-electric dreadnought model features some impressive built-in electronics (an eSonic preamp) that make it a perfect choice for plugged and unplugged play.

In comparison, the Taylor 214CE is an acoustic-electric guitar with similar features. This instrument has a rosewood body and sides, with a Sitka Spruce top. The neck here is made of Sapele, with an ebony fretboard. It also features Taylor’s professional-grade preamp for easy transitions between plugged and unplugged play.

Playability & Sound

Both of these guitars offer great playability! The Masterbilt from Epiphone has a nice slim neck for a comfortable hold and has an action that's great for flatpicking. It has solid stock strings and a rosewood neck and mahogany body for a solid tone.

The Taylor offers similar playability, with solid stock strings, a great body tone, and a comfortable ebony neck. However, unlike the Masterbilt, the Taylor model does feature an adjustable truss rod, allowing for more nuance in adjusting the playability of the instrument.

Price

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two models is the price. Taylor is a trusted guitar brand known for its durability, but they come at a much higher price. Taylor guitars tend to run more expensively. As the discount counterpart to Gibson, you can expect most Epiphone models to be at a lower price point.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to invest in this model, go for it! The Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE is a solid guitar with great built-in electronics and a solid tone that makes it suitable for all experience levels. If you want to invest in a high-quality instrument that won’t break the bank, this model would be a wise choice.

People Also Ask

Still, have questions about the Epiphone Masterbilt DR 500MCE? Read on for the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions. Having as much info as possible will help make your purchasing decision much easier.

Is the Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE Hard to Play?

In short, no! This Epiphone model is easy to play, with a slim neck and great out-of-the-box action that lends to immediate playability.

A built-in tuner can help you maintain this instrument's tone, and its electronic system is easy to use in most gig contexts. You should have no issue approaching this instrument.

How to Care For an Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

To care for your Masterbilt DR-500MCE, it’s best to employ basic guitar care measures. Use a microfiber cloth to regularly wipe down your strings/neck to keep them free of grime or debris. Wipe down the body as well, and use polish from time to time to keep it pristine.

When storing your instrument, keep it in the base, and avoid drastic temperature change. Keeping away from humidity and dampness is best.

How to Date an Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE

To date, your Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE, look for its serial number! All Epiphone models have a stamped serial number on the headstock that will allow you to date your exact model.

Who Plays an Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500MCE?

This guitar model is a favorite among newer guitar players and those who choose to regularly gig! It’s electronics and low price point make it a great backup instrument for anyone who plays gigs regularly.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.