I'm hearing from many musicians, people who run instrument shops, etc. that Epiphone uses cheap Asian wood. I know that the company is not the same it was when it was American with Greek luthiers, but is the wood really that bad?
And my sense too is that the Masterbilts use good wood. My acoustic DR500 -- w Sitka spruce top and solid sides and back -- and sounds like a lot more expensive than it is. Have these people just not gotten the news?
Thanks Mike for the clarification.
I'm reading and researching on the internet every day now and I'm trying to go each weekend and play a variety of guitars to start narrowing down to whether the next one will be a Masterbilt or a Taylor. I have narrowed it down to basically those two makes and I know I want a smaller body and 1 3/4 nut.
It may be 6 months before I buy but I will have done my homework when I do and find that one that I just can't live without. :)
PS: Anyone that likes smaller body guitars, please check out my group for smaller body guitars. Thanks.
Tho I've only had it a few weeks, I'm very happy w my Masterbilt and it's won over some skeptics who distrust recent Epiphone...
I also quite like smaller guitars. I fell for a smaller Eastman acoustic not long ago, but could not afford it.
Re Taylor vs. Epiphone: Taylors are of course wonderfuil guitars, a little to a lot more expensive, with a brighter sound and higher tone on at least some strings. Wasn't for me but many love em.
I think Eastman make a great guitar though they are not widely recognized just yet, but I think more and more people are becoming more aware of them and their quality. I've played several of them during my previous search for another guitar, but ended up getting the Martin when I got the great deal on it.
The Masterbilt is higher on my list right now than the Taylor. But I'm trying to give both a fair shot and do my homework. I've got more time than money with which to make my decision.
Masterbilt is a great guitar, but you owe it to yourself to check out a Seagull Maritime. It's comparable to a Martin at the price point of a Masterbilt
I LOVE posts like this one, Ruth! In addition to many other kinds of guitars, I own an Epiphone AJ500M, as well as the "blingy-er" AJ500 RA and the EF 500R-CCE. I love ALL three of these guitars! If I have to sell my collection, my other guitars would leave before my Epiphones. Seriously!
I agree they are great guitars. You'll see in the post above I was looking for a Masterbilt back in June.
Well I traded my Epiphone Dot Semi-hollow which I never played for an AJ500MNS Masterbilt about a month ago and really like it. I gave $25.00 difference and I play the Masterbilt everyday where as my Dot sat in the case for a year.
I play the AJ500 and my mini jumbo Seagull more than any of my other guitars, though my Martin is still my favorite, I just keep it in the case when not playing it so it's not as handy to just grab up and play.
But my AJ500 sounds great and is a beautiful guitar.
I can tell you that when Epiphone was the original company in NY they were about the only competitor to Gibson and their quality and prices reflected it! Then the name was bought and they were Asian made and they were horrible...BUT then Gibson bought them and even though they were still Asian made, the quality went up ten-fold! I have played many of the Masterbuilt models and I can tell you from experience that whenever someone asks me my opinion of an affordable acoustic, i send them there first! The Guitar Center salesman I know at the GC near me probably wants to give me a cut of the profit for the Masterbuilts for the number of people I have sent to him! I think you made the right choice! Edward
Here is a pic of my 1948 New York made Epiphone Zenith archtop...it is really a fine example of the instruments they made at that time...
Epiphone Model#: Zenith Archtop Year: 1948
Description: I received this guitar as a gift from a friend whose Uncle had left it to him and he did not play. He intended to give it to his daughter to learn on, but she had her heart set on an electric guitar. He said it was broken and asked if I wanted it. I had to replace one of the tuning buttons and the bottom of the tailpiece. It was also missing the pickguard, so I had to fashion a new one for it. The guitar is in overall good condition and plays great. Remarkably, it came in the original faux alligator covered case!
Oh, Edward you have such great guitars. You need to post a video of you playing some of them! Or are they out there and I don't know it?
Well, owing to the fact that Epiphones are built in asia it's a given that they use cheap Asian wood. Gibsons, on the other hand, are built in America using cheap American wood! For 8 TIMES THE PRICE.
I think the wood is as good as one can expect . Depends on what you want to pay for a guitar and what you can afford.
I doubt if the wood EPI uses is scrap wood from old crates. Even on their low end models like the EPI AJ-100 I got in 2009 the wood looks fine to me .
I doubt EPI wants to end up with all sorts of guitars returned and a bad reputation .