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Masterbilt AJ500M Back in production again?


GuitarLight
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Thank you very much for the update. I wish it was the glossy version, but I will still definitely call tomorrow. I don't imagine used ones show up often?

 

These show up from time to time at GC and at the price mentioned.....I could be wrong but this 500M APPEARS to have a gloss top, not sure. My 500M is not gloss and this one seems to have a shine on top that mine does not have.They will tell you that if you call the location, and they will send you more pics to your email box usually if your request them. Ask them to look it over and give you an honest evaluation on it. GC is usually co-operative and will eyeball it for neck and action if you ask them. Good luck!

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Ya, I feel like I saw them selling them on Guitar Center and thought it was just a mistake. Now however, they are not available to purchase anymore. I may call and ask anyway. I would just buy a new Masterbilt, but I don't like cutaways.

 

The new masterbuilt cutaways are just fine and in a lot of cases as good if not better than most dreds, tone, volume all as good as my friends d-28 but he prefers my epi for volume and the action. Not to mention the electronics far better than most.

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Called in, they will call me back when the luthier is done with it. The bridge is coming up apparently. I'll have to find out more later. I am pretty inexperienced with guitars in general, but hopefully my buddy can help me out a little.

Cody, this is just me personally, but if the bridge is coming up on that particular guitar, I would not accept it, nor would I pay that price for it even if GC fixed it.. There is better out there. For a little more money there is the brand new Epiphone Masterbilt DR500MCE which is translated...(dreadnought, 500 MB series, Mahogany, cut away electric) ...all wood...all high gloss finish...vintage sunburst or regular, electric pick up, the wonderful smooth slim taper D neck, and plays like a $2000 guitar. And it is a beauty. They cost $599...at Musicians Friend, GC, Sweetwater and others. Good luck either way!

 

....and one more suggestion for you if I may...there is also an.... Epiphone AJ220S guitar....laminated mahogany slope shoulder no cut away, just like the MB you are looking at for just $199...is it a good guitar?..you bet it is! I own it and have it next to my Gibson Hummingbird. it's reviews are wonderful the world over...also all gloss, and available in regular, or vintage sunburst. Don't let the laminated back and sides fool you...the top is solid Sitka and the guitar plays and sounds REALLY good. ...also at most retailers. In fact I recommend this for you above the used MB you are looking at. Mine plays like butter, and the tone and volume is out of this world for the mere price of $199....truth be told.. I own TWO of these 220 guitars...the regular slope 220S non electric...and the cutaway slope electric 220SCE. Both are excellent.

 

There is also the Epiphone Texan for about $399 which is a dream guitar as well.....Epiphone guitars today are really hot.

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Codys, That's great that they caught the bridge problem. I bought an AJ500 RC 12 Fret from a guitar center in California (I'm in PA) and it was a bit of a back and forth with sending them photos of the bridge and them thinking it was an easy fix. Finally their luthier looked at the photos and determined it needed to be removed and redone. But in the end they repaired it for free and thankfully the LR Baggs pick up in it worked perfectly when I got it back. It is truly my new favorite guitar (well new to me) lol and now my son wants me to find him one. Which I know won't be easy. I found one but its so far away, not sure how to go about getting it to me.

 

So back to the AJ500M, I have been watching this guitar for weeks on GC website thinking it would price drop and give me a reason to spurge but it hasn't and I've decided to be satisfied with my AJ500RC. There is an AJ500M in the wrong place. It's listed as a DR500 M and it comes with a case for $379. It looks to be in great condition and it comes with a case which might even be the masterbilt case. I tried to paste the link to it here but I'm on my iPad and couldn't get to work for me. It's at the sugar land store in Texas, maybe you can give them a call and they can look at the bridge and make sure it's in good condition before you purchase it. ~CO

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So let me add my two cents worth... I love the sound of my AJ 500RE, but it's far from my favorite guitar. Having said that, it has that distinctive Gibson thump and well worth the $400 I paid for it. For the music I play, I love my DR 500MCE with the gloss finish. Everyone raves about the AJ (and rightfully so) but for me, my favorite guitar (hands down) is the DR. The action and neck are pure butter. It has a different sound from the AJ (and the DR maple). I've been seriously thinking about selling the AJ and getting another DR, they're that good.

 

As usual, Guitar Light has imparted sound advice. The Texan has gotten some rave reviews and I know has many fans on here. Has anyone heard anymore about the AJ-45 release date?

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Honestly, I think if I had known about the bridge lifting before I purchased the guitar, I probably would not have purchased it. Now looking back, I'm glad I didn't know because the guitar sounds amazing. It truly is a great guitar. That being said, I totally agree with what was said about the DR500M. My son has a DR500MENS made in 2005, which has a few cracks and dents and it still sounds extraordinary. He plays it at church and people are always complementing him on how great that guitar sounds. I gotta say it's a beautiful thing!!!

 

I personally am not a fan of dreds, which is why I went with the AJ body. I haven't personally had a chance to play a regular AJ masterbilt so I can't speak of that guitar but I have played the AJ200 and the AJ220 and they both are pretty nice guitars. As with all guitars, there is no guarantee against getting a dud. I played a Texan at GC and I wasn't impressed at all. Strings and a proper set up make a huge difference too. The good thing about buying it from GC and even if it's used, you have 30 days to decided. Good luck, I hope you find a good one of whatever model you choose. ~CO

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Dennis... I totally agree with your words on the DR500. " but for me, my favorite guitar (hands down) is the DR. The action and neck are pure butter."

 

I wouldn't give up my DR500 for any other guitar no matter what it is or who made it.

 

I am considering an original Texan 1964 model but I'm not completely sold on it yet because I enjoy my DR so much I'm not sure getting another guitar will do anything to change my playing choice.

 

I've had so many guitars in my life and most of them are now gone since I got my DR500. This still amazes me to no end but I can't deny the truth.

 

I'm waiting on an outside opinion on the Texan before I decide to pull the trigger

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So knowing that the bridge is lifting, would you guys be weary? I guess I can always just return it if it isn't satisfactory, I just don't think the AJ shows up often.

 

Also, I was curious if there are regular acoustic and acoustic electric models of the AJ. If you look online, in some of the images they have a pickup and some not.

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So knowing that the bridge is lifting, would you guys be weary? I guess I can always just return it if it isn't satisfactory, I just don't think the AJ shows up often.

 

Also, I was curious if there are regular acoustic and acoustic electric models of the AJ. If you look online, in some of the images they have a pickup and some not.

 

Cody...here are some things to ponder and consider on the present AJ500M which you are considering buying from GC which I generally like as a business.....First there are no current acoustic electric AJ Masterbilts anymore unless new ones are introduced. Should you decide to buy this GC guitar, make sure it is returnable..and that you are not charged for bridge repair should you decide to return it. Older models may have pick ups in them. I have seen used AJ500M's at least 5 times in the previous year in GC. Those were mostly satin finish however.... The gloss finish was usually found only on older models, and the gloss was later dropped at some point in place of the satin finish. I own the satin finish of both the AJ500M and the AJ500R...and it is easy to keep them clean, looks nice, almost feels velvety smooth, never fingerprints to be found...so I can touch them, caress them as I play...glide my hands all over the body with no smudges or smears. Many people claim the satin finish produces more tone as it is not sealed tight with the gloss finish, but the looser, thinner, more open satin finish.

 

If you buy the guitar..have it checked thoroughly by someone who knows what to look for in bridge repair...and make sure the top does not show excessive belly bulge (swelling wood) below the bridge area..a small amount of bulge is normal but the bridge pulling up could indicate other internal bracing problems not seen from the outside...also check for a straight neck with no hump or bend at the 15th fret where the neck joins the body...which could indicate expensive neck re-set costing more than the guitar is worth to fix.

 

A properly fixed bridge can be fine if it is done right, and was not caused by other weakening internal bracing problems or weak top wood. Some of the older Masterbilt models were know to have bridge pull up because they were glued down incorrectly over the gloss top instead of the bare wood..which make them pull up as they age. It could also easily indicate the guitar has not been properly humidified..which often causes bridge pull, and loosening internal braces and warping.

 

And one final note to consider...GC indicated that the guitar was in "great condition"...In my opinion, I do not consider a guitar which has a bridge pulling off the top to be in great condition....and neither do they. While it may be a good guitar...Many of these things would turn a red light on for me. But the decision is yours and I know you will think it over and do what your heart tells you. I wish you all the luck in the world. ...GL

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I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the great input, as a novice with guitars it is very very helpful and I've learned quite a bit just from your responses. I am a little uncertain now though about this guitar and whether I want satin or gloss aside from the bridge flaw. How exactly does Guitar Center work? If I decide I want to check this guitar out, do I have to buy it before they will ship it to me or will they ship it at which point I can decide if I want to buy it?

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I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the great input, as a novice with guitars it is very very helpful and I've learned quite a bit just from your responses. I am a little uncertain now though about this guitar and whether I want satin or gloss aside from the bridge flaw. How exactly does Guitar Center work? If I decide I want to check this guitar out, do I have to buy it before they will ship it to me or will they ship it at which point I can decide if I want to buy it?

 

GC works very easily and simply...its one reason why so many musicians love GC and return to it over and over.....GC will require that you buy the guitar first before shipping. After they have sent it, and you receive it, you usually have up to 30 days to return it, no penalty, no questions asked. And any GC location in the entire country will take it back no matter what location you bought it from if you have the receipt.. So if they fix the bridge and send it to you and you don't like it...for any reason, it may be returned to any GC location near you. I am not sure how return by mail would work...they could tell you that..if there is no GC near you. Good luck!

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They still haven't contacted me about the guitar. I have a bunch more questions though.

 

-Is there any better way to go about my search for this guitar than typing in masterbilt aj 500m in google and limiting the results by date? It seems like there are so many sites selling used equipment, not even including ebay, craigslist, etc., that it is complicated.

 

-On some of the 500s, the model number may be 500me or 500rens, what does the e stand for?

 

=This might be related to the previous question, but how many of the aj's are accoustic/electric? I really don't want one with a pickup etc.

 

-What is everyone's opinion about buy refurbished guitars? They have some on ebay.

 

-What is the difference between the aj 500m and dr 500m?

 

-What is your opinion on this site/guitar: My link

I guess I am getting desperate, but this seems like everything I want, assuming the dr model is about the same as the aj, and they don't appear very often.

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They still haven't contacted me about the guitar. I have a bunch more questions though.

 

-Is there any better way to go about my search for this guitar than typing in masterbilt aj 500m in google and limiting the results by date? It seems like there are so many sites selling used equipment, not even including ebay, craigslist, etc., that it is complicated.

 

-On some of the 500s, the model number may be 500me or 500rens, what does the e stand for?

 

=This might be related to the previous question, but how many of the aj's are accoustic/electric? I really don't want one with a pickup etc.

 

-What is everyone's opinion about buy refurbished guitars? They have some on ebay.

 

-What is the difference between the aj 500m and dr 500m?

 

-What is your opinion on this site/guitar: My link

I guess I am getting desperate, but this seems like everything I want, assuming the dr model is about the same as the aj, and they don't appear very often.

Cody, the link you show seems to be a very nice looking guitar. It is a dreadnought body not an AJ...both body shapes are excellent.

here is a new link to an AJ500R (rosewood) I own one of these..excellent guitars, in rosewood instead of mahogany. You will need to act fast on any Masterbilt if you are to get it. Just decide which one you want and GO for it!..Buying any used..or new guitar online is always a small risk...but GC is my favorite...GC takes returns within 30 day..no questions asked with a full refund. There is nothing to lose. Here is the GC AJ500R link http://www.guitarcen...836-i3794710.gc

 

And here is another GC Masterbilt dreadnought with gloss top ( call for details on wood etc on both first, the number is there in the GC location link.) http://www.guitarcen...073-i3956704.gc

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I don't really have any experience with slope shoulders, what are some of the differences between it and a dreadnaught?

 

A dreadnought is a guitar that's larger than an 00 size, but smaller than a Super Jumbo. A dreadnought can be either square shouldered or slope shouldered. All Epiphone DR and AJ models are dreadnoughts. The DR models are square shouldered; the AJ models are slope shouldered.

 

The vast majority of slope shoulder guitars are Gibsons or Epiphones. It's kind of a visual trademark of Gibson's.

 

In the early 1930's, Martin introduced what was at the time the largest acoustic guitar, the D-1. This was the square shouldered design that has arguably become the classic acoustic guitar silhouette. Very common today, but very unusual at the time. Since it was so much bigger than other acoustics of the time, it and the models that followed (like the famous D-28) were given the name "dreadnought" because they were big like a battleship (battleships were often dreadnought class vessels). The "D" prefix in a Martin guitar's name stands for "dreadnought".

 

In response, Gibson introduced a model just as big, but with sloped, not square shoulders. They sloped the shoulders partly as way to be visually distinctive from Martin and the many other manufacturers that copied the Martin design, but also because Gibson instruments traditionally had very round contours.

 

This first slope shouldered dreadnought was called the Jumbo, and it had a body that was virtually even in depth from shoulder to lower bout (neck to strap button, in other words). Shortly afterwards, they introduced a model called the Advanced Jumbo that was also slope shouldered, but had a depth that tapered at the shoulders, producing a slight curve in the back. This body style became the template for many Gibson models that followed, and is why Epiphone (which was purchased by Gibson in the 60's) gives the AJ prefix to many of its slope shouldered guitars, as their body shape is inspired by the Gibson Advanced Jumbo's.

 

Red 333

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A dreadnought is a guitar that's larger than an 00 size, but smaller than a Super Jumbo. A dreadnought can be either square shouldered or slope shouldered. All Epiphone DR and AJ models are dreadnoughts. The DR models are square shouldered; the AJ models are slope shouldered.

 

The vast majority of slope shoulder guitars are Gibsons or Epiphones. It's kind of a visual trademark of Gibson's.

 

In the early 1930's, Martin introduced what was at the time the largest acoustic guitar, the D-1. This was the square shouldered design that has arguably become the classic acoustic guitar silhouette. Very common today, but very unusual at the time. Since it was so much bigger than other acoustics of the time, it and the models that followed (like the famous D-28) were given the name "dreadnought" because they were big like a battleship (battleships were often dreadnought class vessels). The "D" prefix in a Martin guitar's name stands for "dreadnought".

 

In response, Gibson introduced a model just as big, but with sloped, not square shoulders. They sloped the shoulders partly as way to be visually distinctive from Martin and the many other manufacturers that copied the Martin design, but also because Gibson instruments traditionally had very round contours.

 

This first slope shouldered dreadnought was called the Jumbo, and it had a body that was virtually even in depth from shoulder to lower bout (neck to strap button, in other words). Shortly afterwards, they introduced a model called the Advanced Jumbo that was also slope shouldered, but had a depth that tapered at the shoulders, producing a slight curve in the back. This body style became the template for many Gibson models that followed, and is why Epiphone (which was purchased by Gibson in the 60's) gives the AJ prefix to many of its slope shouldered guitars, as their body shape is inspired by the Gibson Advanced Jumbo's.

 

Red 333

 

So is it prevailing wisdom that it is the slope shoulder design that gives Gibson guitars their classic "thump"?

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So is it prevailing wisdom that it is the slope shoulder design that gives Gibson guitars their classic "thump"?

 

That may be part of it. Scale length and bracing are surely big factors, along with the narrowness of the waist in relationship to the position of the bridge. I think this latter factor is why Epiphone slopes (with their typically wider waists) rarely exhibit the Gibson Thump.

 

Red 333

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Just an update, I have purchased the one in my link after further consideration.

 

Congratulations! Oh, that one from Reverb? The DR, made in 2012. That is a super guitar. Excellent condition, nice natural satin, with (newer) Epiphone case. Great buy! I thought Reverb only sold refurbs; I guess I was wrong. I prefer non-refurbs, but some guys are perfectly happy with "good" ones, which might just have a small blemish... and a lower price tag.

 

You realize, of course, that we now require photos of this new acquisition. [cool]

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