Epiphone DR 100 Review (2021): Is It the Best Budget Acoustic Guitar?

Epiphone is among the most reputable guitar brands in the acoustic scenario, and DR-100 is one of their best selling guitars of all time. Whether you are a beginner just starting out, or an experienced guitarist looking for a cheap backup option, this acoustic guitar is a solid choice thanks to its amazing sound and value for money.

So, what is it that makes DR 100 such a compelling option to those on a budget? In this Epiphone DR 100 Acoustic Guitar Review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the guitar and talk about some nuances that come with it. Let’s get right into the review, shall we?

Epiphone DR 100 Acoustic Guitar Review

Epiphone DR 100 Review

Specifications:

  • Body: Laminated Mahogany
  • Top: Select spruce
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale: 25.5in (648mm)
  • Nut width: 43mm
  • Neck profile: SlimTaper
  • Hardware: Nickel
  • Inlays: Pearloid dot

The Good:

  • Great choice of tonewoods.
  • Solid build quality and sound for the price.
  • Stays in tune for multiple sessions.
  • Decent action which can be easily adjusted.

The Not-so-good:

  • No cutaway.
  • Not the best stock nut/saddle and strings.

Build and Aesthetics

There is a lot going for this Dreadnought. It has a select spruce top with laminated mahogany for the sides and body. This is a popular tonewood choice you’ll find on budget guitars and it helps produce rich sounds and clear tones while keeping the price so low. The guitar has a classic feel to it and the dot inlays add to the beautiful aesthetics of it.

It’s neck is made from mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, which is the most common choice for fretboards This neck meets the body at the 14th fret, which does make reaching higher frets difficult, but we’ll talk about that later. The neck also features a SlimTaper profile, which really helps if you play a lot of thumb-over-the-top like me.

The DR 100 comes in three variants – Ebony, Natural and Vintage Sunburst all of which feature a glossy finish. It won’t win any awards when it comes to the looks but so is the case with any other low-cost acoustic guitar. I always tend to like natural on most acoustic guitars but hey, that’s just me and looks are mostly personal preference. Other than that, the guitar looks solid and seems well built, but don’t expect anything revolutionary when you first see this guitar. 

Playability

The first thing you notice on the Epiphone DR 100 is the lack of cutaway, which obviously means it’s harder to hit frets beyond a limit. That being said, the slim taper rosewood fingerboard makes it smooth and extremely easy to move around. The 25.5 inch scale might be a bit of a stretch for some people, but it’s right on-point if you are used to a dreadnought body.

The classic dreadnought size and weight might be a little too heavy for kids or smaller adults, but the low action and jumbo frets make for that in some way. In general, we found it to be on-par with many $300-$400 guitars in terms of playability, which speaks for itself. You will be able to easily play it for hours every day without having to worry about fatigue. It’s low action makes it easy to get clear notes even for a beginner but it’s enough to avoid buzzing.

Sound

There is a misinformation about laminated woods and how it sounds dull and doesn’t age very well. That’s not completely true. Although laminated tops will nowhere sound as good as a solid top guitar, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good laminated top guitars out there. In our case, the DR 100 has a very clear tone, great projection and is very playable. The Mahogany-Rosewood combo definitely plays a part in that.

You generally expect a cheap dreadnought body to be really loud and boomy with too much mids. The DR 100 surprisingly doesn’t follow the same suit. It’s clear and bright while sacrificing a bit on the low-end punch we see on the budget Yamaha dreadnoughts. This isn’t necessarily a downside, as it helps it achieve a thick and warm tone with clear articulation at any volume.

We did find it to be slightly on the metallic side out of the box, although not harsh by any means. We are not the biggest fan of it’s stock strings, and found that putting a fresh set of medium elixir strings really carve out the shimmery and fuller tone, and this is what we would suggest you do as well. Overall, if you’re coming from a cheap guitar, you’ll be really impressed by the sound quality and voice it offers. This is one of the best sounding guitars for $100 and is unlike the muffled and boxy woodblocks you’ll typically find at this price.

Hardware and Maintenance

Hardware is one area where budget guitars tend to make a lot of compromises – low-quality nuts and tuners that’ll go out-of-tune while you’re midway in your favorite song. The thing we want to bring up in this Epiphone DR 100 review is that it’s nothing ‘premium’, but it still manages to keep an above-average standard among its competition.

The guitar sports a rosewood bridge, synthetic nut and saddle, and a set of nickel die-cast tuners. The stock tuners hold the guitar in-tune very well, and the guitar comes set-up out-of-the-box with proper string action and intonation. If you want, you can upgrade the tuners and nut/saddle but we don’t think that’s necessary.

We already mentioned that the stock strings are nothing interesting, and they will corrode easily and quickly. We suggest keeping a spare set of strings (preferably 11-gauge or lower if you’re a beginner) and changing them immediately if it comes with rusty strings. The truss rod on a new guitar is also subject to humidity and temperature changes, and you might want to adjust it when you receive the guitar.

The Epiphone DR 100 comes with Limited Lifetime Warranty and the company will repair or replace your guitar if the problem is from the manufacturer’s end. Epiphone is a company that values its reputation, and they will honor your warranty in case something goes wrong. Having a superfluous number of positive customer feedback only backs that up.

Who should buy the Epiphone DR 100?

If you are a beginner who wants to step up your playing skills without spending a fortune on a premium guitar, the DR 100 is perfect for you. You’ll get the quality and trust of a leading guitar manufacturer and a sound that inspires you to play more. A dreadnought size might not be suitable for small kids, but if you’re an adult then you’re all set to take advantage of the fuller sound that comes with a classic dreadnought guitar.

Even if you are a professional looking for a backup guitar, the DR 100 won’t disappoint you. It offers better quality and sound than many other similar priced guitars, and then some. Besides that, you won’t have to worry about damage given the price. The low string action makes it suitable for electric guitarists who want to try their hands on an acoustic.

Conclusion: Epiphone DR100 Review

We hope you liked our Epiphone DR 100 Review as much as we liked the guitar itself. At the price of about $100, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a guitar that matches the quality of the DR 100, let alone surpass it.

It’s very-playable and nice-sounding that any beginner won’t find the need of upgrading for many years. Yet it’s so inexpensive that any experienced player might have it as a backup guitar without worrying about getting knocked or bumped.

Are you planning to buy the Epiphone DR 100? Or do you already own one. Let us know what you think about this guitar in the comment box below!

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