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Epiphone DR-100 review

A budget dreadnought that way outperforms its price tag

Epiphone DR-100 review
(Image: © Epiphone)

Our Verdict

The Epiphone DR-100 is a full-sized dreadnought that boasts a dynamic, rich and full sound, with superb playability. It represents excellent value for money.

For

  • Clear, balanced tone
  • Classic dreadnought sound
  • Incredible value for money
  • Great playability

Against

  • Lacks complexity of solid wood

The Epiphone DR-100 is a full-size dreadnought that sits neatly in the beginner acoustic guitar category and features an all-laminate construction - that is, the top, back and sides and are all made from laminate wood as opposed to solid wood. The DR-100 features the classic combination of a spruce top with mahogany back and sides.

Whilst solid wood, or at least a solid top is generally preferred amongst acoustic players, this does add to the cost. What the Epiphone DR-100 represents is how a guitar made from laminate wood can still sound great and come with a very modest price tag. 

The dreadnought body shape projects volume well, and you get a balanced and broad frequency range.

Firstly, and most importantly, the guitar sounds really good. The dreadnought body shape projects volume well, and you get a balanced and broad frequency range. It responds dynamically to soft fingerpicking, and it’s loud when you strum heavily with a guitar pick. One thing we did notice is that super heavy strummers will find the guitar reaches its maximum volume quicker than some more expensive guitars - but it’s worth remembering that the DR-100 is a budget guitar.

You get some nice bottom end on it, and the highs are really pronounced - it’s got all the classic dreadnought qualities. Whilst you don’t quite get the same resonance or complexity of tone as you do with a solid top, the tone of the DR-100 is great. We played it in the same state it left Epiphone, but it’s likely to sound even better with some higher quality, thicker strings and maybe even an upgraded nut and bridge saddle.

Front view of Epiphone DR-100 on white background

(Image credit: Epiphone )

It’s really playable too. The Slim Taper neck profile is thin, but not ridiculously so. It caters for a broad range of playing styles and performers. Beginners are likely to find this helpful too. Whether you’re strumming open chord anthems, or picking intricate and complicated pieces, at no point does the neck profile work against you. Some guitars around this price point can suffer from questionable fret work too - not this one. The frets on the DR-100 we tried were nicely finished, with no sharp edges at all. It’s worth noting how well this guitar was set up by Epiphone, too. 

The body shape might be quite big for some players. The DR-100 is a standard dreadnought size, which has a fairly wide lower bout - younger children or particularly smaller players might struggle getting their arm around it, however this is just a point for dreadnoughts in general. If you’re comfortable with a full-sized guitar, or you’re maybe looking for the next step after outgrowing a 3/4 size guitar, then this could be a great shout.

Back of Epiphone DR-100 on white background

(Image credit: Epiphone )

The tuners on the guitar aren’t the best we’ve seen but again, it’s all reflective of the price of the instrument. That said, once we’d played it in a little, there weren’t any problems with the guitar holding its tuning. The build quality of the guitar in general is fine too - there were no problems with any part of the instrument so, overall, this guitar is pretty impressive for the price.

Epiphone DR-100 review: Verdict 

The Epiphone DR-100 is a fantastic guitar, especially for the price. It’s got that big, punchy dreadnought sound, and whilst the tone might not be quite as refined as that of a solid top-equipped guitar, you wouldn’t expect it to be. If you are going for it, a good set of acoustic guitar strings will no doubt help improve the tone even further. Both beginners and more experienced players will find it comfortable regardless of playing styles, and it’s built to a good standard. 

Epiphone DR-100 review: Specifications 

  • Price: $149/£139
  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top Wood: Laminated Spruce
  • Body Wood: Laminated Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Slim Taper
  • Nut Width: 1.69”
  • Pickup: N/A
  • Contact: Epiphone