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mrjop1975 10-12-2019 05:45 AM

I noticed that Zzounds has the Epiphone Masterbilt century archtop lineup (Olympic, Zenith and De Luxe) considerably marked down. The De Luxe right now is $499 whereas it is just under $1000. Any idea what in the world is going on?

Steve DeRosa 10-12-2019 07:46 AM

They've been bombing on the market for a couple years now: not a value-per-dollar like the Godin 5th Avenue or Loar LH-300 (or even the Eastman 600-Series), lacking the historical accuracy to make them appealing to the vintage Epi fans (FYI they have the hardware/trim to do so - they already use it on a number of other models), iffy electronics, an acoustic tone that's neither fish not fowl, and an unwieldy neck profile. FYI a couple years ago one dealer told me (off the record) that they knew they blew it, and that they were considering a cosmetically/structurally more-accurate lineup (meaning either carved tops or all-carved depending on model) aimed at the successful Eastman lineup and competitively priced, once they discontinued/cleared out the substantial existing stock (and, I presume, offset the considerable cost of tooling); whether or not it comes to pass is up in the air as of now - personally I'm holding out for a non-cut '41 Emperor similar to the '39 Epiphone produced in Japan about 25 years ago - but massive price cuts are generally a sign of imminent discontinuation...

mrjop1975 10-12-2019 08:09 AM

I kind of thought so but it is odd that a few big box stores still are selling them at full price.

I do wish they had offered a tenor guitar in this lineup but that is another thread for another day :)

roylor4 10-12-2019 09:44 AM

The smallest one (Century) is listed at $399. If MF ever runs them as a SDOTD I might bite. :)

Steve DeRosa 10-12-2019 10:48 AM


Originally Posted by roylor4 (Post 6184831)
The smallest one (Century) is listed at $399. If MF ever runs them as a SDOTD I might bite...

FYI $399 represents an additional $100 off the already heavily-discounted $499 current street price, so for all practical purposes it is a SDOTD - and even at that price I suspect they'll have a hard time getting rid of them, for the reasons I cited above. FYI the top-of-the-line Deluxe is being dumped at $499 (against an original MAP of $1K) and a blem can be had for $439 - I'm thinking below cost in both cases - so it looks like they're really anxious to unload these dogs...

BoneDigger 10-23-2019 05:37 PM

As much as Steve hates these, there are some among us who enjoy these guitars. Mine is set up more for rockabilly playing. I took out the under saddle pickup and added a filtertron and it sounds quite nice with the right setup and strings. It's a joy to play! The tone, as noted earlier, really isn't standard archtop, nor is it flattop. It kind of has it's own thing going on. Those prices are quite good for what you get. I paid more than that used for mine.

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