Epiphone DR-100 Review: Beginner or Pro Guitar?

So, you’re interested in the Epiphone DR-100 and want to know if it’s any good? Well, I’ve been playing guitar a long time, and I’ll be honest, it’s wonderful for anyone just starting out! Here is my opinion:

The Epiphone DR-100 is a dreadnought acoustic guitar that is perfect for beginners due to its low cost and good quality. 

It has a big, punchy sound with pronounced highs and nice bottom end, although it may not have the same resonance or complexity of tone as a solid top-equipped guitar. But this is perfectly fine!

The DR-100 is comfortable to play for both beginners and more experienced players, even regardless of styles or techniques, and is well build and is aesthetically pleasing. 

While it may not compete with more expensive acoustics, it sure does come close! The DR-100 provides good value for the price and is a fantastic option for those who want to try out playing the guitar without breaking the bank.

Read on to learn all about this guitar in my very detailed review!


Let’s take a look at some key features of the Epiphone DR-100 Song Maker acoustic guitar.

  • Laminate spruce top.
  • Select mahogany back and sides.
  • Mahogany neck.
  • Rosewood finger board.
  • Dreadnought body shape.
  • 25.5 inch scale with 20 frets.
  • Epiphone tuners.
Epiphone DR-100 on a stand in my studio.
Epiphone DR-100 Score
  • Build Quality
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Appearance

Who is it For?

The Epiphone DR-100 is perfect for beginners, students, and intermediate players. This is because of the build quality and very affordable price. It’s also an incredibly comfortable guitar, which will make it easier for new players to adapt to a new hobby.

But it also has a good sound, which is perfect for motivating and inspiring a beginner to play. This is important in the first few months of learning!

The DR-100 is also a perfect guitar for those who want to have one lying around the house. It’s affordable enough that a few dings and dents are not a big deal. Especially if you own very expensive acoustic guitars that need to remain immaculate.

Sound Performance

Epiphone makes great guitars that are jammed full of wonderful tone. The DR-100 is one of those guitars, but it’s certainly not a Taylor or Martin.

So, it’s crucial to manage your expectations. This is a budget beginner guitar and is made like one. Which means the sound, while good, is not premium.

The top is not solid tonewood but is made using laminates. It does have some bracing for rigidity. But because the top doesn’t resonate like a more expensive acoustic, you lose some of that deep low end. Now, it does sound great, I was plenty happy playing this guitar.

It has a nice, bright and snappy sound. This is what laminate guitars are known for. The lower frequencies are present too, and so you get a good sounding instrument. I just didn’t hear or even feel that deep bass I was expecting from a dreadnought guitar. It was loud though!

If you’re looking for lush and brilliant, you will need to look at something more expensive. But this is perfect for a beginner trying out an instrument!

This video will present those sounds to you so that you can hear the guitar for yourself. Take a listen:


  • Materials and design.
  • Well-balanced sound.
  • Plays great.
  • Great price for a beginner.
  • Classic look.
  • Stays in tune for long periods.


  • A Set-up may be required out of the box.
  • Frets might be a bit rough on some guitars.
  • Stock strings might be dull.

Appearance and Body Construction

Epiphone DR-100 song maker acoustic guitar.

The Epiphone DR-100 is a standard dreadnought guitar body size. The dimensions are 44″ long, 18.5″ wide, and 5.5″ deep.

This dreadnought has a laminated spruce top, and mahogany back and sides. It’s an incredibly classic look with 3 available finishes. You get either vintage sunburst, natural or ebony! For this review, I obtained and used the natural finish, which is also the more common one.

The choice of wood in the construction of the body really adds a balanced sound. The spruce top, being a complex tonewood, adds rich harmonics that will only improve with age! However, being a laminate top, it will not respond like a solid piece.

Neck and Headstock

Epiphone DR-100 acoustic guitar neck.

The neck is made from mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, 20 frets, and a 25.5-inch scale length. This neck is very comfortable with a nut width of 1.69 inches. Plus, Epiphone’s own Slim taper D profile.

The truss rod can be accessed from behind the small cover on the full-size headstock. This makes truss rod adjustments very easy should they be necessary. It’s an easy neck to play. Plus, it looks good with the standard Pearloid dot fingerboard inlay.


The acoustic comes with an imitation bone nut and saddle. Both of which are more than likely synthetic. Although, this is quite common to find on an acoustic at this price point. It does not negatively affect the sound or tuning in any way that I could find.

The bridge pins are made from PVC, which is acceptable. The compensated Epiphone saddle helps in keeping the guitar in tune. It does so wonderfully all over the neck of this acoustic.

The machine heads are Epiphone premium die-cast tuners that feel good. They hold tune well, and are easy to use. However, I would suggest upgrading them after a few months of use for better performance.

You will also want to change the stock strings that come with the guitar. They are probably quite oxidized and of low quality. I found the ones that came with the guitar to be quite lifeless and had to change them immediately.


The slim neck and string spacing on it gave this acoustic a great feel. It was easy to get around on the fretboard and was a joy to play. Also, the neck was comfortable and easy to hold on to as the fingerboard radius was more modern and flat.

I did find the action to be just a bit high. This was my only issue with the playability, but it wasn’t awful.

This is also an excellent choice for fingerpicking. I did find that this technique provided a brighter sound, but seemed to lose some of the boldness I got with strumming. I suspect it’s just the way the laminate top responded.

It’s not a heavy guitar, but it does have more weight than some. It’s balanced, though, and so this makes it easy to keep rested in your lap. This also helped make it easy to play.


For the price, this is a fantastic acoustic guitar. Great for a beginner. Even an intermediate or pro can use this guitar and enjoy the experience. But the durability may not hold up well for anyone who is gigging regularly. At least not right out of the box.

The tuners and hardware are lower quality. This means they will eventually give you issues if you rely on them for good accuracy. If you plan to use this as a work horse, then upgrade the hardware. This will then provide you with a more durable acoustic guitar.

The body itself is durable and made from laminated material. This will hold up well with more aggressive use. Laminates do better with humidity and temperature changes.

So it’s a good guitar that can be beat up if you should desire. The frets should also be dressed if they are a bit on the sharp side.

Cost and Value

It’s hard to go wrong with the DR-100. The price has increased slightly, but it’s still only $170.00! To me, this is an incredible value and a very affordable guitar. If you are ok with the laminate wood used throughout and some cheaper hardware, of course.

People who want to give the guitar a try can do so with the DR-100 and still be able to sell it easy enough. In the very unlikely chance that it doesn’t quite fit their style. This makes it an excellent instrument for kids to get into the guitar!

DR-100 Guitar Price.

Final Thoughts

There are many great acoustic guitars in the under $500 price range. They play and sound good for beginners. Epiphone’s DR-100 is one of those models with great sound and is a perfect entry-level acoustic.

The build quality and tone are impressive for the price. But it’s an entry level guitar, and you should keep your expectations there.

I have been playing guitars from 20 years! And in that time I have seen some great options appear for beginners. This is one of them! I wish guitars like this were available when I started playing.

For a player like me, it’s a good guitar to have around for camp fires and rough treatment. This way my more expensive guitars don’t get damaged. But when it comes to sound, I prefer a guitar made from real tonewood with a solid top. But if I were starting all over again, this would be my first choice!

Epiphone has an incredible history! And even with some guitars being made overseas. They have managed to design and build a model that will bring many people a great experience. And all this for under a couple of hundred bucks!

I recommend it! Especially to people just getting started that need a quality instrument. Staying inspired to keep practicing on a very small budget is key, and this is a great fit.


Where is the DR-100 made?

The DR-100 acoustic guitar is made in China. Epiphone uses a number of different factories to produce their guitars. The acoustics are normally made in China. Especially when they are being sold for such a low price.

Does the DR-100 have electronics?

The DR-100 doesn’t come with any electronics or pickups. This is a natural acoustic guitar. But there are easy ways of converting it to also include a pickup! Seymour Duncan makes the Woody XL. It clips onto the sound hole under the strings and sounds excellent!

The combination of the guitar and pickup is incredibly affordable. It will offer you the benefit of having an electric acoustic with a great sound.

Does it come with a gig bag?

The DR-100 song maker guitar does not come with a gig bag from the factory. But there are many great gig bags and cases available that will fit dreadnought guitars. They are normally quite affordable and offer good protection.

Similar Guitars To Consider

There are a few other guitars like the DR-100 if you are looking for something slightly different.

Fender CD-60S

Fender Parlor CP-60S.

The Fender CD-60S is another great acoustic. It’s one that we featured in our best for beginners article. It features a true solid top, easy to play neck with rolled finger edges, and a parlor body shape. This might be a better fit for those who feel a dreadnought is a bit big.

Yamaha FG850

Yamaha FG850 Acoustic Guitar.

The Yamaha FG850 is another great option. It’s another one of my favorite guitars. It’s a bit higher in price but comes with a solid top and great playing performance. Yet has a warmer, bold sound. You can also expect quality hardware and great aesthetics from this one.