EPIPHONE DR-100 Review
Though Epiphone leaves out all solid wood and electronics, the DR-100 is a capable beginner acoustic guitar that sounds surprisingly good and gives you a decent instrument-level experience.
The Epiphone DR-100 is a beginner-level acoustic guitar without any built-in electronics. This means it's good for basic practice, in-home jamming, or microphone recording. We should first point out that some reviewers we've seen recommend this as a beginner or professional acoustic, which we'd strongly disagree with.
This is a strictly beginner's acoustic, with only a basic level of functionality and tone quality that we wouldn't recommend outside of that context.
We'll get into our reasoning, and the details, via our Epiphone DR-100 review, in full.
Let's start with a simple comparison.
Read more: Best acoustic guitars overall
In this section we've listed the Epiphone DR-100 alongside several other acoustic guitars to help you get a feel for other alternatives that are similar in cost and scope. Use the COMPARE buttons to look at pricing and basic spec info for each one.
Also keep in mind that we link to Sweetwater products as a way to support our site at no extra cost to you. If you decide to buy, consider using these links to help us out in the process.
Seagull S6 Original
Taylor Big Baby
Martin LXK2 Little Martin
In the following section we've added simple ratings for the DR-100 as well as a pros and cons list for quick reference.
IDEAL FOR: Beginners, practice, lessons, and all the basics.
Sound Quality and Tone
Epiphone is known for giving you a lot of tone and value for what you pay, which is certainly true of the DR-100. However, you also need to reform your expectations a bit to the $150 price tag.
This is not a mid-level Taylor or Martin.
It sounds good, but it certainly does not compete with those more expensive acoustics, as some reviewers would lead you to believe. Here's a pretty accurate demo that is consistent with our experience of the DR-100 - only playing, no talking:
We're especially impressed with how the DR-100 handles higher register notes, especially considering there's no cutaway.
Lead notes sound full and bright, like you would expect from nicer guitars.
Chords and rhythm play sound decent, though we miss some of the body and fullness we see in more expensive acoustics. This is where the lack of a solid top starts to hurt your sound a bit. Without that solid piece of wood, you lose some thickness and percussive response in your tone.
Build and Feel
As I mentioned, the top is Spruce with Mahogany back and sides, the same tonewood mixture we see in the Taylor 114ce. But in the 114, that Spruce top is solid wood, while the DR-100 backs down into laminate. While that's to be expected for a $150 guitar, it definitely costs you some tone quality.
Compare to the Yamaha FG800 which is $200 but includes the solid Spruce top.
Other than the lack of a solid top, the DR-100 feels well-built and decently heavy in your hands, so we don't mind the rest of the guitar's design. It's certainly a strong enough acoustic for easy practice and beginners, if you can get past the laminate-only setup.
Note that it's a dreadnought body shape with no cutaway.
Here's the rest of the build information straight from the specs sheet:
- Strings: 6 steel strings, .013-.056
- Body: Dreadnought
- Cutaway: No
- Handed: Right
- Color: Vintage Sunburst
- Top Wood: Spruce laminate
- Back & Sides Wood: Mahogany laminate
- Neck Wood: Mahogany laminate
- Neck Shape: SlimTaper
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Inlay: Pearloid Dots
- Number of Frets: 20
- Scale Length: 25.5"
- Tuning Machines: Stock die-cast tuners
- Bridge Material: Rosewood
- Nut Width: 1.69" (medium thickness)
Cost & Value
Where Epiphone helps you out is the price tag, getting the DR-100 down to $150 retail, where it has stayed for several years.
If you aren't bothered by the lack of solid wood or the lack of electronics, the DR-100 makes a fantastic beginner acoustic guitar, especially for kids or those who have never picked up a guitar before and just want to see if they like it.
For $150, you have some room for error and some decent re-sale value if the would-be guitarist decides it's not for them.
There are definitely some things we wish the DR-100 has, but it's designed to be an affordable, budget-friendly acoustic.
They aren't trying to include everything.
Epiphone achieves this goal and still gives you a guitar that sounds good, both on the higher and lower end of the fretboard.
And while we wouldn't recommend this acoustic for serious recording projects or big-time gigging, we love it for in-home playing, informal practice sessions, kids, and beginners.
If you have questions about our Epiphone DR-100 review or additional thoughts about the guitar itself, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below and we'll chat.
See you there.