Epiphone Masterbilt Century Collection
Function: Acoustic Guitars
Overview: I purchased my first “serious” acoustic guitar when I was 18, my father helped me put up the cash for a gorgeous, all natural Epiphone Masterbilt DR-500M that I still have to this day. In the early 2000s, Epiphone had gotten a reputation as having poor quality control and the “cheap, knock-off Gibson”, but the Masterbilt series changed everything and pushed Epiphone into a class of its own, offering quality at an affordable price. The Century Collection continues the tradition of Epiphone’s extreme attention to detail in the Masterbilt line and offers some of the most exciting and best sounding acoustic guitars I’ve ever heard.
The Lineup: The Masterbilt Century Collection features three guitars: the De Luxe, Zenith, and the Olympic. The De Luxe and Zenith come stock with traditional sound holes but can be purchased as the “classic” version of either that comes with F-holes instead of soundholes. Marketed as the “first collection of archtop acoustic/electric guitars designed to be played and amplified as true acoustic instruments, each of the acoustic guitars are modeled after the original 1930 Epiphone Masterbilt archtops. Besides looking gorgeous with the classic look and vintage, 1930-style tuners, the guitars feature solid Spruce tops and low impedance acoustic pickups. De Luxe has the iconic large-body archtop design, while Zenith is a medium-body, and Olympic is a small body f-style archtop.
Sound: Quite frankly, I was blown away when I first picked up one of these guitars! The warm, woody tone is exactly what I hear in my head when I imagine an archtop guitar, but most of the time when I play at archtop, I’m disappointed. Definitely NOT the case with the Masterbilt Century Collection. The definition and articulation make these guitars perfect for fingerpicking, while also providing the power and midrange punch to cut through any band situation. The tone on the guitars immediately reminded me of 40-50 year old guitars I’ve heard on recordings and in the studio. To top it off, the guitars sound amazing acoustic and amplified!
More: Great sounding guitars at a great price
Less: Not much