Epiphone Masterbilt Texan Acoustic Guitar Review

The acoustic guitar used by legendary musicians gets a modern electric-acoustic makeover

Cost: $699.00, for more details check out Epiphone.com.

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Overview & Final Score: 8.1

The acoustic guitar made famous by Paul McCartney and Peter Frampton, Epiphone’s Texan acoustic guitar isn’t just a cheap knockoff of a Gibson. It is one of Epiphone’s own designs that has been popular for some time, and was once a serious competitor to Gibson’s own models. The newest Texan is an acoustic-electric guitar, sporting a Fishman Sonicore pickup with Sonitone preamp system. You can plug right into the strap lock at the base of the guitar and rip through as many coffee house sets as you need to get a free coffee!

This model is the Antique Natural Aged finish, and it looks and feel like a broken in classic. Solid Mahogany back and sides hold a Solid Sitka Spruce top. A Mahogany neck and Indian Laurel fretboard give the guitar a 25.5″ scale length with 20 medium jumbo frets. Graph Tech’s NuBone nut and mother of pearl parallelogram inlays add a few more top notch features to the spec sheet. 3 on a side Wilkinson tuners lead the strings to a bone saddle and advanced jumbo belly bridge.

Sound: 8

I was incredibly impressed with the unplugged, traditional acoustic tones from the Texan. I prefer my acoustics to be pretty snappy and responsive, especially because I tend to dig into them pretty hard. The Texan did not let me down in that regard, with some real sparkle and resonance depending on how I picked/strummed the strings. Epiphone did a great job capturing that classic Dreadnought tone as well, creating a very full sound that is far richer than budget and entry-level acoustics. At the same time, this Texan doesn’t have quite the “magic” of a more expensive Gibson or Martin acoustic. However, in Epiphone’s defense, it’s really close for the money and likely due to the differences in tone woods selected to build with.

Once plugged in, the Texan quickly shows off one of its highlights. This thing is just a workhorse. It’s super comfortable and responsive to playing, making it great for live gigs or coffeehouse sessions. I’ve played the Sonitone pre-amp system on just about every acoustic-electric I’ve reviewed, but the Sonicore pickup is a first for me and I’m very impressed. This Epiphone Texan and its Sonicore pickup did a killer job amplifying in the natural tone of the guitar, not just electrifying it. A lot of the annoying buzzing I often find in this price range of acoustic-electrics was gone, which really got me excited about this as a live instrument. Overall, it’s a well above average sounding acoustic, and a good bargain for the price!

Playability: 9

I think the best thing about the Texan was just how fun it was to pick up and play. The fretwork was excellent, as was the finish on the back of the neck, which helped me glide around the fretboard with ease. It was also really well balanced in terms of neck to body weight ratio, meaning I never had to fight with the neck while playing it sitting down or standing up. Tuning stability was not a problem either, something I was very pleased with considering my own go-to acoustic’s issues. This is certainly a very gig-friendly acoustic-electric, and I get the sense it would feel right at home in a rock or blues setting. It would certainly be hard for this to disappoint anyone though, thanks to superb feel and action right out of the box.

Finish & Construction: 8

Overall, the Masterbilt Texan was an impressive specimen. There were really no flaws or issues that I could find on the model sent to me. The only construction criticism was that they didn’t use true top of the line tonewoods, like Rosewood instead of Indian Laurel. However, that’s also what keeps this really great sounding, reliable guitar under $1000. I’m also a big fan of the Aged Natural finish job here, it felt and looked like a worn in, well loved acoustic. That’s actually one of the major themes across all categories here: it feels worn in and reliable, like your favorite old acoustic guitar. Not much more I can say, I’m very happy with the guitar I held in my hands!

Value: 7.5

The $700 price tag is not exorbitant, and overall is an above average value. The Mahogany wood used and phenomenal set up are major highlights. But the Sonitone pre-amp system is commonly found in many acoustic-electrics that are far more affordable. I’m not sure if the Sonicore is a huge upgrade in of itself, but the same Sonitone system was in the far more affordable Orangewood acoustic-electrics I reviewed. So while the feel and natural sound of the guitar are a big improvement, I feel like I want better electronics on the spec sheet. On the other hand, this feels like acoustic really suited for electric guitar players, providing more classic rock feel than singer-songwriter vibe. Any Epiphone/Gibson electric guitar player should be quick to turn to the Masterbilt Texan if they’re looking for their first quality acoustic guitar.

Good for: Electric Guitar Players, Rock Players, Blues Players, Gigging Musicians, Fans Of Pricey Gibson Acoustic Guitars

Published by Matt Dunn

Guitar and music journalist for Ultimate-Guitar.com and Guitarsforidiots.com as well as a contributor for Guitarniche.com and Stringjoy.com. Reach out to talk about guitars, commission a partscaster, or ask for a review.

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