Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Epiphone DR-500MCE


  • Woody sound
  • Affordable
  • Good sound


  • Might be too big for beginners
  • Needs string changing

We have talked about affordable, mid-priced and higher-priced acoustic-electrics guitars. They are all very different (and I do not just mean the obvious price difference) and are good for different purposes and people. Nevertheless, Epiphone guitars have been in all those lists. There are two reasons for that. The first is that Epiphone is very diverse in their production and the second is that… well, it is Epiphone, they know what they are doing. That is why their DR-500MCE is not a model that should be missed by anyone looking for a new acoustic-electric guitar under 1000.


The DR-500MCE is a vintage acoustic-electric model with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. The “concoction” of these materials yields warm, woody sound that only gets better with time due to high-quality tonewood that was treated well.  The SlimTaper “D” profile neck is made of mahogany and is beyond comfortable. Once you hold this guitar in your hand it will be impossible to put down. It is basically going to become an extension of your body.


Let’s talk a bit about the hardware. The DR-500MCE features real bone nut and saddle which is always a big, big advantage over a lot of other guitars that have plastic/synthetic materials (no hate for those but when I have the choice between the two I will always choose the real bone). The rosewood bridge has Grover Sta-Tite nickel machine heads (18:1 ratio). That along with the adjustable truss rod makes this guitar easy to use. So even if you are a beginner you won’t have to be intimidated by this vintage beauty.

Epiphone DR500MCE Sound

Every manufacturer has its recipe for the sound. Of course, it varies with the budget spared for the model BUT if the company has a lot of experience it knows which materials work the best together. I guess Epiphone has been through a lot of trial and error times because what they have achieved sound-wise is definitely not a result of the first attempt. Whether plugged or unplugged the DR-500MCE has an astounding acoustic sound that is almost unmatched in its price range. The solid-body created a bright and clear sound with good lows.


When you get the sound that is as good as on the DR-500MCE you cannot really risk-taking that and ruining it with bad electronics. That is why Epiphone equipped this guitar with eSonic-2 Stereo Preamp and integrated tuners. On top of that, the Shadow NanoMag neck pickup and NanoFlex bridge pickups (I know, that’s a handful) provide enough flexibility and control over the sound so that the guitar sound amazing not only unplugged but plugged as well.


Sometimes it takes time to choose the right acoustic-electric (or any kind of ) guitar when you have a limited budget. You have to sift through hundreds of models and finally stumble upon a gem that you thought you would never be able to find. Or maybe you will be lucky and find it within a day. So if you browse through different options and DR-500MCE comes up maybe you are one of the lucky ones to realize that this is one of the best vintage guitars in this price range. The build, hardware, and electronics all come together perfectly to deliver superb sound plugged as well as unplugged.

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