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Masterbilt vs Taylor (Yes, I said that)

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I played a Taylor 414 for many years. After my daughter took an interest in playing, I gave it to her as a graduation present (she earned it). Anyway, I went without a decent acoustic for a few years until I picked up my DR500MCE three weeks ago. I've been extremely happy with this guitar but didn't realize how much until now.

 

Yesterday my daughter came home and brought my old 414 and I had a chance to play both side by side. Well, I'm not going to sit here and say the Epi is a better guitar than the Taylor. But it's darn close. The Taylor may be a few hundred dollars better but it's not $1K better. In fact, I actually prefer the neck and sound of the Epi. It's not a better sound, but more suited to my taste and style.

 

These Masterbilts are seriously nice guitars, I have no doubt that I'll own another one in the fairly near future, especially considering that my son is already claiming the Epi as his. Good thing my middle daughter is a lefty or I'd be out of guitars!

 

Just thought I'd share my comparison with the Epi fans on here. Consider me a convert, at least on the acoustic side.

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Thanks for sharing this. I also have a Masterbilt DR-500MCE, as well as an AJ-500M, and an AJ-500R. Many people become furious, and accuse me of lying, when I tell them that I prefer my three Masterbilts to any, and all, of my other Martins and Taylors and Gibsons..(5 Taylors incliding the 900 series for $3000, and 5 Martins including the HD-28 and the $3500 Martin J-40.) I sold all those off. why? The answer was simple. My Masterbilts all sounded better and gave me more joy. My DR500-MCE..I would have to describe it as butter cream in tone...so refined, pure, smooth, and delicious to hold, touch and hear. My Masterbilts initially left me scratching my head...wondering how could this be??...IMPOSSIBLE!!....or so I thought! But the Masterbilt line, and particularly if you get a good one, they are, and will remain legendary. Selling off my old stock of fancy name guitars gave me over $20,000 in return...meanwhile I replaced them with all three Masterbilts which cost less than $1400 taxes and delivery included ...for ALL THREE.!! I in the guitar world a deal like that is like finding three 10 carat diamonds in a cow pasture! Congratulations on your Masterbilt DR-500MCE...if you are like me...you will never be satisfied with a Tayor again. Because your DR-500MCE is a first class guitar!msp_thumbup.gif

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I will have to admit that I though Guitar Light was er...exagurating a little myself until I played my DR right after my new Martin 000-18 golden era 1937. I was shocked how good it sounded when compared with an instrument of that caliper (and without electrnics mind you). So why did I buy the Martin? I wanted a shorter scale 000 size instrument and the L00 Pro was a little too small. These Masterbilts are amazing. My wife told me I was not going to play the Epi once I got the 000 but she's dead wrong. I feel like I have two professional instruments in my line up (well three if you count the AJ)

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The way I see it is I do own guitars like a 1942 Gibson J-50. I have yet to play anything out there that can touch it. But the day I no longer get a kick out of playing my Epiphone or Harmony or Galiano will be the day I should probably hang it up because I will no longer be playing for the pure joy of it.

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Thanks for sharing this. I also have a Masterbilt DR-500MCE, as well as an AJ-500M, and an AJ-500R. Many people become furious, and accuse me of lying, when I tell them that I prefer my three Masterbilts to any, and all, of my other Martins and Taylors and Gibsons..(5 Taylors incliding the 900 series for $3000, and 5 Martins including the HD-28 and the $3500 Martin J-40.) I sold all those off. why? The answer was simple. My Masterbilts all sounded better and gave me more joy. My DR500-MCE..I would have to describe it as butter cream in tone...so refined, pure, smooth, and delicious to hold, touch and hear. My Masterbilts initially left me scratching my head...wondering how could this be??...IMPOSSIBLE!!....or so I thought! But the Masterbilt line, and particularly if you get a good one, they are, and will remain legendary. Selling off my old stock of fancy name guitars gave me over $20,000 in return...meanwhile I replaced them with all three Masterbilts which cost less than $1400 taxes and delivery included ...for ALL THREE.!! I in the guitar world a deal like that is like finding three 10 carat diamonds in a cow pasture! Congratulations on your Masterbilt DR-500MCE...if you are like me...you will never be satisfied with a Tayor again. Because your DR-500MCE is a first class guitar!msp_thumbup.gif

 

 

I completely concur, I can’t get over how amazing my DR-500MCE sounds, it gives me the tingles at times when I play her. Another thing about her I love so much is how it’s so nice to pick her up after playing my 2015 Gibson Les Paul Trad Ltd Ed Japan and it feels like I’m playing on the same neck, the only difference is the string gauge, it’s perfect! I’ve never been one to get too attached to any of the axes I’ve bought over the years. Most are just wood, steel, plastic and perhaps some bone once in a while, but my Epi Masterbilt and Gibson Les Paul I now own pictured in my avatar here will be with me until I can’t pick them up any longer because I’m a pile of ashes, then they’ll be passed down to my girls.I couldn’t be happier with them, I absolutely love them!!!

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Anyway, I went without a decent acoustic for a few years until I picked up my DR500MCE three weeks ago. I've been extremely happy with this guitar but didn't realize how much until now.

 

Well, major congrats on your new acquisition! So you like the cutaway version? I had several of the EF500 line from the 2003-2010 production run - including a couple of the rare ones - the rosewood RAVS and a maple PNS.... Yep, they are excellent guitars. I really enjoyed them. Then I got more into 12-strings, and had to have a Guild. Then I got Guild's top of the line jumbo 6-string - an F-50R built in New Hartford - and just wasn't playing the Masterbilts much anymore. That doesn't mean they weren't remarkable sonic instruments, and it's great to hear you're enjoying the heck out of yours! msp_thumbup.gif

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I completely concur,

Couldn't agree more. I bought an AJ500M a few years ago, and as I noted in another Masterbilt thread on this forum, it's Taylor/Martin quality at a fraction of the price.

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I enjoy playing my AJ-500mns, DR-500PNS and AJ-500rns as much if not more than my 06 Martin DC Aura ($3,600 new) and Takamine GB7 ($1,500 new).

 

To me the first 5 years of Masterbilts were the best. Higher figured woods for the necks and backs. I had another AJ-500mns from 2010 and the back and neck were very plain. Still was a great playing guitar.

 

The AJs have a slimmer neck profile than the Maple DR, but not too thick and the maple is so much brighter.

 

It's a shame their Archtop series are not all solid wood. Returned the Deluxe I ordered. It felt too light and cheap in my hands. I just could not bond with it. And at that price, I would go with the Loar 700. Solid wood construction and real flame maple sides and backs.

Edited by mgrasso

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The OP is a couple years old.

 

But I agree with the masterbilt being fine guitars.

 

I don't know how much better the first five years where, but my 2017 AJ-45ME would be really hard to beat.

 

I liked it when I bought it, but now months down the road I love it. One of my grand kids with one day have it.

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The way I see it is I do own guitars like a 1942 Gibson J-50. I have yet to play anything out there that can touch it. But the day I no longer get a kick out of playing my Epiphone or Harmony or Galiano will be the day I should probably hang it up because I will no longer be playing for the pure joy of it.

 

I fully agree with GuitarLight about the comparison and how well Masterbilts stack up against Martins and Gibsons. Haven't played any Taylors but My 2008 AJ500RE was as good to my ears as my brother's Martin HD-28 and his 69' Gibson Hummingbird when I played them side by side!! I did get a good one and understand his point about the varying quality of Masterbilts…..a good one is a keeper and irreplaceable!! My son's AJ500R (a 2011) doesn't sound anywhere near as good as mine. It doesn't even have the same dimensions or shape...

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Comparing guitars is bad business though. There is nothing objective about it. There are only two kinds of guitars out there - those you like and those you do not. I might choose a Masterbilt over a Taylor but that is because I have never met a Taylor I would take home. Might also prefer one to a '69 Hummingbird because with their railroad tie bracing they are far from the best of the breed. On the other hand, if I ran into a Masterbilt and a Kay K-24 hanging on the same shop wall I more than likely will walk out with the Kay. Welcome to the world of guitars where time and logic do not apply.

Edited by zombywoof

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Comparing guitars is bad business though. There is nothing objective about it. There are only two kinds of guitars out there - those you like and those you do not. I might choose a Masterbilt over a Taylor but that is because I have never met a Taylor I would take home. Might also prefer one to a '69 Hummingbird because with their railroad tie bracing they are far from the best of the breed. On the other hand, if I ran into a Masterbilt and a Kay K-24 hanging on the same shop wall I more than likely will walk out with the Kay. Welcome to the world of guitars where time and logic do not apply.

 

Well said...there is only what catches your emotions.

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