There is no shortage of inexpensive acoustic guitars on the market. And among the variety of options available, not every guitar is good enough even for complete newbies. So how would you be able to find a good acoustic guitar among this broad range of instruments?
To possibly help you with that, we’ve decided to showcase the Epiphone DR-100 review, an affordable acoustic guitar.
Epiphone Songmaker is a pretty darn inexpensive instrument if you equate it with its main brand’s premium production, Gibson acoustics, so it could be a good choice for you if you are starting. But is it going to be the right instrument for you? Let’s proceed further to find out that.
Complete Epiphone Songmaker Dr-100 Review
In this Epiphone Songmaker Dr-100 acoustic guitar review, we have gone through the detailed feature and examined what Epiphone has offered in this budget-friendly instrument. Check it out here.
The first thing to catch the eye in the Epiphone DR 100 acoustic guitar is its square shoulder classic dreadnought shape body. This is a classic design, but to be fair, it looks rather good in this acoustic guitar.
The appeal of the DR-100 guitar somewhat comes from the color schemes offered by Epiphone. All 3 color options – ebony, natural, and vintage sunburst –look spectacular, mainly due to the beautiful gloss of the body. But in our opinion, the vintage sunburst color looks the best among the three.
The black pickguard may also add some appeal to this guitar for some people, but we’d actually prefer this guitar to have no pickguards. But this is a beginner’s guitar, after all, so the pickguard is going to be more important than aesthetics.
With this pleasing material appearance, Dr-100 can be more likely called similar to another Epiphone model, PR-4E. But you will mostly find the difference in Epiphone Dr-100 price.
If you are interested in an electro-acoustic guitar, Check out the full review of Epiphone PR-4E here.
Laminated Spruce Top & Mahogany Body
The component that impacts a guitar’s sound the most is its body& top. Namely, what matters is what kind of wood they are made from. In DR-100 the top is made from spruce, while the body is made from mahogany.
Mahogany is a popular wood in guitars, mainly thanks to its deep and well-balanced sound with vibrant midrange tones. The balanced sound makes mahogany suitable for both newbie and seasoned players and musical styles. Plus, being a hardwood, it imparts plenty of structural strength to the guitar.
Spruce, on the other hand, has a crisp character that contributes to the overall volume of the guitar. This wood combines nicely with mahogany, bringing clarity to its tonal quality and produces rich and full sound.
The top and body of this guitar are both laminated, so the sound of the guitar won’t improve with time, as it would happen with solid woods. For amateur players, this should be completely alright though. There’s no issue with the overall build quality and craftsmanship.
The wood, a guitar’s fretboard is crafted from, impacts the fretboard’s sounding as well. The fret board of DR-100 is made from rosewood, which is a very common wood in fretboards. It is heavy and durable, first of all.
Aside from that, rosewood imparts bright and warmer tones to the guitar, albeit its effect isn’t as noticeable as with the top & body.
Mahogany or Okoume Neck
The neck of Epiphone Songmaker DR 100 is made from mahogany, the most commonly used wood for acoustic guitars. Since the tension of the steel strings can put a lot of pressure on the neck, mahogany is a good choice for its strong but light characteristics.
The neck profile also features a 1960’s slim taper neck. This C-shape neck with medium jumbo frets makes playing guitar more comfortable for beginners and even for small hands.
It is mentionable that Epiphone Songmaker DR 100 is the upgraded version or new model of DR 100. Both guitars are almost identical in appearance and specifications, but one significant difference is in the wood used for the neck building. Since Epiphone DR 100 (previous version) is currently unavailable at most stores. So before buying, it would be wise to check whether the neck material is Okoume or Mahogany.
The neck of Epiphone DR-100 (previous version) is made from Okoume wood, which is a much lighter wood than others typically used in the neck like maple, mahogany, or rosewood. It is often viewed as an alternative to maple due to its similar light and bright tone.
Okoume isn’t as durable as its heavier alternatives, which means that you’ll need to be careful with this beginner guitar. It doesn’t resist impact well, and even the smallest crack may be detrimental to the guitar’s sound. And besides, you certainly won’t be able to use some heavier string gauges with such a neck.
So, here Epiphone has done a great job by changing the neck wood to mahogany for the newer Songmaker version. It has increased the overall quality and sturdiness of this cheap guitar a bit more.
Adjustable Truss Rod
A remarkable feature of this guitar is that it has a truss rod adjustment mechanism. This guitar has a 2-way adjustable truss rod running through its mahogany neck that combines further strength against the tension of the steel strings.
Not every guitar has it, and not every guitar player needs it.
However, that extra amount of adjustability available in this guitar should allow you to avoid any buzzing and receive a clear sound.
But when it comes to the actual adjusting, you’ll probably need to address a professional or contact your local guitar shop, unless you know how to do it. But since this guitar is designed for beginners, it is unlikely that its owners are going to know how to adjust it.
The D’Addario light-gauge strings included in this guitar will probably limit its potential a lot. If you wish to get the best of thick lows and complex highs from the given string set, you would be disappointed.
Sure, you won’t be getting mind-boggling sound from DR-100, but you could improve it by adjusting the string height and swapping out the stock strings for something better.
Pros & Cons
We assure you, Epiphone Dr-100 review, not only focuses on the beautiful sides of this good beginner guitar but we also found out the bad fret buzz you want to know before buying. Let’s have some of the pros and cons side by side.
- Inexpensive Great value for an entry level guitar.
- Beautiful dreadnought design.
- Warm mahogany tone combined with the clarity of spruce.
- Pretty lightweight.
- The truss rod can be adjusted.
- Fret ends might be a bit rough in some cases.
- It may develop some fret buzz when you switch string gauge or brand and you may need to do a truss adjustment.
- For older version DR 100, the Okoume neck isn’t very impact-resistant.
Check out the excellent video of Epiphone DR-100 Dreadnought Review:
Summary of Epiphone Songmaker DR-100
- Easy to play C-shape slim neck.
- Low action with medium jumbo frets makes the guitar play comfortably.
- It delivers mellifluous sound for the budget price.
- A standard rosewood bridge with a compensated synthetic saddle.
- Premium Die Cast tuning machines.
- Variety of colors to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the DR-100 have an electric pickup built in it?
No, this guitar doesn’t have a built-in electric pickup. This is a basic acoustic guitar without any electronics that can amplify its sound. But you can install a soundhole pickup to convert your acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric guitar. It will let you plug your guitar into an acoustic amp, mixer, or PA system.
Does the DR-100 come in a left-handed version?
Epiphone Songmaker has released only a left-handed version in a natural color variant which is also not within easy reach. However, hand orientation for this guitar is ambidextrous, and it means that the guitar body is equal on either side. So, physically it can be reversed and played left-handed. You need to remove strings and put them back in the opposite order for a right-handed player.
Does the DR-100 come with a carrying case?
No, DR-100 doesn’t come with any gig bag or cases. Epiphone EDREAD case is the recommended one for this guitar, but you need to purchase the case separately to house it and protect the guitar.
How suitable is the DR-100 for someone completely inexperienced?
Being a very inexpensive guitar – albeit not the cheapest out there – Epiphone DR-100 is a good option for completely new guitar players. It has quite a balanced tone that suits the majority of playing styles, so it can serve as a good baseline for most people. But, as you progress, you would most likely need to switch to a better guitar. If you stay satisfied with its sound though, you won’t need to get a better instrument
Alternatives of Epiphone DR-100
- The perfect first guitar; Combining quality woods and outstanding tone at an outstanding value
- Solid spruce top with Nato (Eastern Mahogany) back & sides
- Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
- The acoustic guitars need a professional setup out of the box to achieve the player's preferences
- Classic Epiphone Dreadnought with select spruce top
- Mahogany Neck
- 1960's SlimTaper Neck Profile
- Solid sitka spruce top
- Nato back & sides
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Rosewood bridge
Epiphone guitars made good quality and better-sounding affordable acoustic guitars in the low price segment than other manufacturers. The main reason for this outcome is due to Epiphone’s experience, knowledge, and application of proper materials.
It turns out that the Epiphone DR 100 acoustic guitar offers good durability and sound tone, but there are some things that may hold its potential back. It’s a very nice guitar with solid construction that sounds good but not a perfect guitar.
It can be potentially close to a much more expensive guitar to some extent but you’ll get what you pay. So don’t expect a great guitar at such moderate pricing. We still think this guitar is an appropriate choice among many beginner guitars available in the market due to its cheapness and tone balance.