Confusing changes to discontinued Masterbilt Acoustics, DR-500MCE

Discussion in 'Epiphone Guitars' started by Green Manalishi, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Green Manalishi

    Green Manalishi New Member

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    After following the popular Masterbilt line for several years, I was finally ready to jump, buy a new DR-500MCE. Epiphone's top of the line acoustic!! at least one of them! TONS of positive reviews, on this guitar over 10+ years... a great story, I think these were re-introduced around 2009?

    Anyway I learn the DR-500MCE was discontinued. Like a year ago? Why. Same with the 400. Most or ALL of the Masterbilt line, was produced in Indonesia by expert Luthiers... they really take pride in hand crafted woodworking there. I see various reports about other models, maybe AJ-45, or Deluxe's or Jumbo Texan's.

    So... I was very confused, and disappointed, to learn the "current stock" being sold by G-C, and M-F, and maybe others, is... Made In China. B-stock? This is very recent. Tons of glowing reviews over 10+ years, all a bit outdated at this point... :confused:

    IS this China made Masterbilt, still being Plek'd out the door, on the Gibson Plek machine? That was part of Epiphone's promotion. You're getting a super high quality, hand inspected, solid wood, acoustic guitar that is comparable to Martin's and Taylor's costing 2X or 3X as much!!

    Seeing just a few reports of these "Final Production" models, being cranked out in China. This is AFTER M-F had them On Sale around Xmas for $499. Many reports from buyers just a few months ago, Dec, Jan, Feb, say they received a Indonesia made Masterbilt WITH the older ESonic2 pickup system. So evidently the Sale, was a blowout of remaining Old Stock?

    See other threads for confusion on electronics. Two pickup, ESonic2 system? Stereo jacks? OR a newer single pickup Fishman? Or a Fishman 'Presys Blend' which is more expensive. Are these FINAL Made In China, DR-500MCE's still being Plek'd from the Factory ?? :rolleyes: Any info appreciated... thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  2. Paruwi

    Paruwi Kraut-Rocker

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    Bankruptcy of the Mothership Gibson :hmm:
     
  3. Jeffytune

    Jeffytune Well-Known Member

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    I see there available to GC for 699.99, it reads made in China.

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Epipho...stic-Electric-Guitar-Natural-1273888006671.gc

    With that said, the new owners found there was allot of "unsold/unsellable" inventory being stored in warehouses.
    With the Gibson's, for example you will find that Gibson has their own Reverb shop, most of these were unsold models that had that horrid "automatic tuner" on them, They have techs removing then and installing new standard tuners. Since they can not sell them as new, they are selling then as "Demo Models" with a two year warranty.
    I have not seen them doing this for leftover Epiphone stock, I suspect they don't have as much of that piled up. I believe they will use Musicians Friend/Guitar center (If you didn't know, their the same company) to sell the Epiphone inventory.
    But I am only theorizing.
     
  4. Old Woody

    Old Woody Active Member

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    I believe the inspired by Gibson acoustics and the newest Masterbilts are still being made in Indonesia my EPI Excellente was built in 2020 those and the masterbilt Frontier and Texans were released in 2020 so as far as right now I honestly don't know if the inspired by line is the new thing for that shop.
     
  5. DigitalDreams

    DigitalDreams Well-Known Member

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    FWIW my 2020 J200 was also made in Indonesia as well.
     
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  6. Mr.Moto

    Mr.Moto New Member

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    Hi Green,
    I can tell you what I know, if it helps at all. You already seem to have most of the answers.
    The DR500MCE had quite a production run with the made in Indonesia, Esonic2 dual pickups and being Plek’d.
    Towards the end of the run, they were still made in Indonesia, plek’d, dual pickups but used the ESonic HD preamp. Which was just a modified version of the Esonic2, a couple less features.
    The last production run, was made in China, not Plek’d, and just a single pickup with. A Fishman preamp.
    The last one I have seen so far that was with the dual pickups and Plek’d was from September 2019. Maybe someone else has a later one, but I have never seen one.
    As I was informed, the problem they were running into with having the guitars Plek’d was that so many were damaged in the process with carelessness or workers going to fast for production. I have never seen so my guitars sold as refurbished as this model.
    Be very careful when purchasing one. If it has that copper label or similar covering up the original serial number, know that it was rejected at the factory and sold to a outside vendor for resale.
    That means if you call Epiphone and ask for information on the serial number inside a refurbished one, they will tell you it’s not theirs and it carries no warranty. The back of all those refurbished ones will also have USED stamped into the wood.
    Hope this helps.
    I love this guitar BTW, I own 3 of them all from Indonesia, I also have the DR400MCE made in China I believe.
    Bob
     
  7. RR-Ramblers

    RR-Ramblers Active Member

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    I have a 2019 Epiphone EJ-200SCE with the dual jack output and E-Sonic preamp & pickups, Indonesia.

    Not sold on the E-Sonic or the dual jack, sill a good guitar.
     
  8. Mr.Moto

    Mr.Moto New Member

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    Hi RR,
    Many feel as you do, I on the other hand like the flexibility it offers. Using the main output for either pickup or having a mix of the two. The dual output is great when I want to spread the sound out with two amps or a PA. I also like the flat type of batteries it uses, they last it seems forever. Just my opinion, and everyone prefers different things.
    Bob
     
  9. Kevin Lyons

    Kevin Lyons New Member

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    I bought one in December of 2019. One of the final 'good' ones with the dual jacks and no Fishman electronics. Incredible guitar. Great feel, easy to play, solidly built and the craftmanship was well defined all the way around. I recently fell in love with the Takamine P series guitars and went with a P3DC six and P3 DC twelve string versions. They are richer and tonally better to my liking, so I sold my Tak. The guy who bought it said he has been looking for one for a long time. Well, he got it and he loves it. I'm sticking with my Epi ES-339 though. Love it and can't foresee trading it for any other model.
     
  10. Mr.Moto

    Mr.Moto New Member

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    Hi Kevin,
    Are you sure it was made in December of 2019? I believe that would be very unlikely. Would you please check it again? I would be very interested, I have never seen one past September. Also, did it come with the eSonic2 or the eSonic HD.
    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  11. jbo

    jbo New Member

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    Bought my Epi 500 in 6/20 from Sweetwater with the Fishman Presys on it and stamped "Made in Indonesia" on headstock... so I question that the Fishman pu means it's China made? Also stamped inspected in USA...
    By the way excellent guitar and pu... Too bad it's discontinued!
     
  12. IGRocker

    IGRocker Well-Known Member

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    I don’t have any input for the rest of it, but I wouldn’t get worked up over whether it’s been plek’d or not.
     
  13. Bill Strummer

    Bill Strummer New Member

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  14. Bill Strummer

    Bill Strummer New Member

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    Hmmm? I purchased a DR400MCE at G-C in December 2019 on sale for 349.00. I’m looking at the SN which starts with 1807 which I assume means a manufacturer date of July 2018 ? It has a sticker on the headstock which says Made in China, so they’ve been built in China for awhile.
     

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