Hand-made from solid tonewoods since 1931
Since 1931, the Epiphone Masterbilt Collection has been the House of Stathopoulo's premier line of acoustic guitars recognized around the world for beautiful sound and classic design. Today, the Epiphone Masterbilt Collection features the DR-500MCE, EF-500RCCE, and the stunning new AJ-45ME, recently voted into the 2015 Hall of Fame by Guitar Player magazine. Today's Masterbilts are made just like the originals with all-solid tonewoods and construction methods like dovetail neck joints, bone nut and saddle, and hand-scalloped bracing--the same methods perfected by the first generation Epiphone luthiers. Plus, today's Masterbilt guitars also feature Grover® Sta-Tite™ 18:1 ratio machine heads for superior tuning and are set up and tuned by the state-of-the-art PLEK process for perfect intonation and ready-to-play set up.
The Epiphone Masterbilt Story
The House of Stathopoulo Shakes Up New York
Today's Masterbilt instruments are a direct descendent of the original Masterbilt Series introduced by Epiphone founder Epi Stathopoulo in 1931. During the height of the Great Depression, Epiphone built a new factory on 142 West 14th St in Manhattan that included a street-level storefront where the best jazz players in New York would come to jam. Inspired by their feedback, Stathopoulo set out to create the Epiphone Masterbilt Series, an affordable but professional line of guitars made for and inspired by working musicians.
Epi also included a label inside all Epiphone Masterbilt instruments that promised: "The possessor of an EPIPHONE instrument has the assurance that every possible precaution has been taken to build instruments for lifetime performance and pleasure."
The new Epiphone AJ-45E is the latest to the historic Masterbilt line and is inspired by the legendary J-45 "Jumbo" first introduced in the early 30s.
The Masterbilt 2015 AJ-45ME features a solid Sitka Spruce top in a Vintage Sunburst Satin finish with solid Mahogany back and sides. The top is supported by hand-scalloped Sitka Spruce braces and is set off by Mahogany kerfing along with a Rosewood bridge and a bone saddle. The hand-shaped Mahogany neck has a 1-piece heel and is attached to the body with a hand set dovetail joint. The Rosewood fingerboard has pearloid dot inlays, a 14" radius, and 20 medium jumbo frets. Plus, the AJ-45ME has a shorter 24.75" scale length for a more powerful tone and a more "loose" feel with less string tension, which makes the AJ-45ME easier to play. The AJ-45ME was honored by Guitar Player Magazine in the Acoustic Guitar "Maximum Gear" category.
"The GP editors selected the award-winning products from gear we've tested, reviewed, gigged with, and/or experienced at trade shows between the December 2014 and November 2015 issues of the magazine," announced Guitar Player's Editors. "All Maximum Gear awards are unanimously selected by the GP editors to celebrate the past year's products we feel are transcendent, awesome, top of the tops, and totally deserving of the magazine's most prestigious Hall of Fame honor. We all felt this wonderful piece of gear exemplified our goals for the 2015 GP Hall of Fame Awards."
The 2015 AJ-45ME sounds great "unplugged," but really comes alive when plugged-in, thanks to the Shadow® state-of-the-art Sonic™ preamp system with the revolutionary under-saddle NanoFlex™ low-impedance pickup. Discretely mounted inside the sound hole, the preamp features easy-access controls for Volume, Treble and Bass. The NanoFlex™ pickup is the only pickup that senses both the vibrations of the strings and the movements of the soundboard simultaneously. It's like having a microphone mixed with an under-saddle pickup! ...read more
The Masterbilt DR-500MCE dreadnought features a solid Sitka Spruce top, hand-scalloped Sitka Spruce braces, solid Mahogany back and sides, and Mahogany kerfing, plus a superbly shaped cutaway. Like all Masterbilts, the DR-500MCE comes with a Rosewood bridge and bone nut and saddle. The 25.5" scale Mahogany neck joins the body at the 14th fret for superior resonance and is adorned with carefully cut "split-diamond" pearl fretboard inlays.
For great sound when plugging in, the DR-500MCE comes equipped with the Shadow eSonic2™ preamp system featuring a built-in, easy-to-use tuner along with Master Volume, NanoFlex™ Tone, NanoMag™ Tone, and stereo blend controls plus a low battery indicator and a phase switch to help eliminate unwanted feedback. Under the bone saddle is Shadow's proprietary NanoFlex™ low-impedance pickup, which uses unique flexible sensing material that picks up string vibrations and top and body vibrations for a truly acoustic tone.
Complimenting the NanoFlex™ is the revolutionary NanoMag™ pickup mounted at the end of the fingerboard featuring 3 Samarian-Cobalt magnets and an integrated active circuit to capture all the highs and lows, including a wide range of harmonics. With your choice of either 1/4" mono output blending both pickups or 1/4" stereo output splitting the two pickups, you have incredible flexibility and opportunities to create the perfect acoustic tone live. ...read more
The Masterbilt EF-500RCCE feature the classic "orchestra" body shape with a generous cutaway and a Solid Cedar top along with Abalone inlay around the soundhole, solid Rosewood back and sides, hand-scalloped Sitka Spruce braces, bone nut and saddle, and a Mahogany "C" style neck that's perfect for fingerpicking. The neck joins the body at the 14th fret and the headstock is adorned with the historic Epiphone "stickpin" headstock inlay.
Like the Masterbilt DR-500MCE, the EF-500RCCE features the eSonic2™ preamp system with a built-in tuner and controls for Master Volume, NanoFlex™ Tone, NanoMag™ Tone, Stereo Blend, Low Battery indicator, and a Phase switch. ...read more