Donner DAG-1C/CS/CL/CE/B/S/M Acoustic Guitar Review – Is It Any Good?

4.0 rating

When you decide to start learning to play guitar the initial step is to shop for your first instrument. But choosing the right guitar can be confusing and challenging when starting your journey to be a guitarist. There are many aspects to take into account, from the price to the playability and sound of the instrument. 

Since there are many varieties and models, you will face choices like what size of guitar to buy, which material, or if you should invest in a new instrument or a used one. While there are many variables that affect the decision, the most crucial is to buy an instrument that does not leave your pocket empty and helps you through the learning process, making it enjoyable at the same time.

Buying an acoustic guitar adds another challenge to the decision-making process since the acoustic sound highly relates to the quality of the material. Every guitar has its own personality and soul. Before everything, your instruments should inspire you and make you want to play them regularly.

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One of the best choices for a beginner acoustic guitar on the market today is undoubtedly Donner DAG-1C with its ridiculously low price, great sound quality, comfortable neck, and many accessories that the guitar comes with, which help the learning process. 

ProsCons
Excellent instrument for the priceSome sharp fret edges
Good neck overall, especially the finishMostly for beginners
Elegant look – Great soundPlastic nut and saddle
It comes with many accessories

This acoustic guitar has an outstanding quality-price ratio with its price tag lower than $150. In addition, it has everything a beginner would need in the package including, a tuner, extra strings, picks, a strap, a pickguard, a microfiber cloth, a capo, and a soft case to carry the guitar around. All these accessories added to a great acoustic guitar with high-quality materials and a reliable brand warranty are a deal that should not be missed for beginners.

Of course, like every guitar, Donner DAG-1C has its imperfections. The fret edges are very sharp on the down part of the neck. It can be rounded by a luthier quickly. In some cases, it was reported that the guitar needed some adjustments out of the box, such as changing strings and tightening the tuning pegs.

But most important of them all, although this is a good-quality instrument for its price. All of the compliments I am giving to the instrument are relative to its price. The guitar is excellent for beginners, but it most probably would not satisfy experienced players with its sound and playability.

Overall this instrument is 4 out of 5 stars, in my opinion. It is a great acoustic guitar you can find in its price range.

Donner

Donner is a relatively new brand founded in 2012 and has been creating new experiences for musicians since then. Donner is a brand specialized in producing mini pedals, but the brand also manufactures many musical instruments and accessories such as guitars, ukuleles, keyboards, Drums, and more.

Donner is known for its innovative products with low price tags. The brand has a solid and efficient R&D team, and it quickly became famous for its high-quality and affordable musical instruments and accessories. Their goal is to make every customer happy therefore they offer a 30-day return on their products.

Attention
If you are interested to see what more Donner has to offer, you can visit their website at donnerdeal.com

The Specs

Let’s look at the what the Donner DAG-1C has to offer.

General

SeriesDAG Series
Number of Strings6
String TypeDonner Phospher Bronze 0.11-0.5
Hand OrientationRight
ColorsNatural Wood, Black, Sunburst
Weight3.85 lbs (1.75 kg)

Body

Body ShapeDreadnought
Body ConstructionScalloped bracing
Body TypeAcoustic
Top MaterialAAA Stika Spruce
Top TypeLaminated wood
Back&Sides MaterialAAA African Mahogany
Back&Sides TypeLaminated wood
FinishSmooth satin matte finish

Neck

Scale Length18.1” (460 mm)
Neck ShapeC Shape
Neck Construction1 piece
Neck MaterialAAA African Mahogany
Truss RodAdjustment at the soundhole
Truss Rod TypeWrench
Fretboard MaterialRosewood
Fingerboard Radius17″
Position InlaysDots
Number of Frets20
Fret SizeSmall, 0.074″ (1.9mm) width
Nut MaterialPlastic
Nut Width43 mm (1.7″)

Hardware

Saddle MaterialPlastic
Bridge TypeRosewood
Bridge Pins MaterialPlastic
Strap ButtonsTwo – Side Of the neck’s heel and Guitar’s Bottom
TunersSealed
FinishBlack
PickguardAdhesive pickguard in the kit

The Donner DAG-1C is a straightforward acoustic guitar that features a classic dreadnought shape with a cut-away body. The standard wood configuration includes spruce as the top material and mahogany for the back and sides.

The guitar’s neck is very comfortable that you would not expect from a guitar with its price tag. In addition, it has a slim “C” shape profile for better playability and a matte finish which looks incredibly good.

The fretboard is made from rosewood and has 20 frets. With the cutaway design and matte finish at the back of the neck, the guitar has very comfortable playability for an acoustic guitar.

Although it is a guitar made for beginners, it is a full-size 41” guitar. This means it is not suitable for children. However, Donner has the DAG-1M which is a 3/4 size guitar that is perfect for children.

The guitar is a lightweight guitar that weighs around 3.85 lbs (1.75 kg). It should also be noted that this model only comes with a right-hand configuration, but there is a model for left-handed as well.

The guitar looks nice with its satin finish and natural wood, black or sunburst colors. My personal favorite is the natural wood color which looks more authentic and elegant. The trust rod adjustments can be made with a wrench from the soundhole.

The guitar has an 18.1” (460 mm) long fretboard with dot inlays on 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets. The good-looking frets were well polished and without many sharp edges out of the box. 

The tuners are sealed, and it feels that they hold the tuning firmly. The nut and saddles are made out of plastic which is more than expectable from a budget guitar. They can be easily and cheaply upgraded to better material ones.

Finally, this guitar comes bundled with extras accessories that include a gig bag, a guitar strap, a capo, a clip-on tuner, an adhesive pickguard, a microfiber cloth, an extra set of guitar strings, and a bundle of guitar picks, all of which add to the already good value you are getting out of this guitar.

The Sound, The Feel Of The Instrument

For an acoustic guitar, the most critical aspect is the sound, for sure. All the aspects and materials of the guitar affect the sound significantly, elevating or lowering the quality of the instrument. Besides, the feel and playability of the instrument, especially the neck, is another crucial criterion.

The DAG-1C model is probably the most obvious choice for players who want a vibrant, strong, and bright-sounding beginner’s acoustic guitar. The sound is great that you would not expect from a $150 guitar. The excellent sound will make you pick up the speed of the learning process by motivating you to play more and enjoy it.

The design of the guitar is ergonomic and sturdy lets you grip around it comfortably. The cutaway shape makes it easier to play the higher frets easier. The thin C-shaped neck is also very comfortable that is perfect for beginners. It gives more control and comfort to the fretting hand. This feature can help beginners significantly in the learning process.

Other significant aspects of the model’s playability are the tuning stability and its intonation. Often beginner guitars tend to go out of tune easily and require tuning more than regularly to play in proper tune. But this model holds the tuning great, which makes the playing much more enjoyable.

The intonation is also crucial for acoustic guitars since it is hard to readjust, especially for acoustic guitars. The DAG-1C thrives on this aspect, too. The intonation of the guitar is indeed spot on.

Overall, the sound and the feel of this instrument are great. It produces a solid and well-balanced sound when strumming or picking the strings individually. To get a better idea of the sound of the guitar, you can check the attached video.

Donner DAG-1C Is Perfect For Whom?

As I mentioned before, Donner DAG-1C and related models are specifically made for beginners. It is a straightforward acoustic guitar with basic specs and everything you need without luxury. It can be easily said that the model features a lot of value for the price. It is the perfect guitar for players beginning their journey as a guitarist who does not want to break the bank account.

Also, players who want a basic acoustic guitar to play from time to time can prefer Donner DAG series. If you want an inexpensive guitar to play around with, you surely go with this model.

The guitar is not the best choice for more experienced guitarists looking for a solid guitar to play live performances or make recordings. Although the sound is excellent for a budget guitar, I’m not sure it would satisfy an experienced player looking for specific characteristic sounds.

As this is a full-size guitar, it is also not suitable for children who want to learn to play the guitar. It feels pretty big even in my hand as I am used to playing electric guitars. This guitar will feel too big for small children, demotivating them as it would be harder to learn anything.

But as I mentioned before Donner has the DAG-1M model which is a 3/4 size guitar that is suited for children.

Is It Possible To Upgrade It?

Like most of the guitars, you can upgrade the parts of Donner DAG-1C to have a more solid piece of instrument. There are 3 parts that need to be upgraded on this model, in my opinion. These parts are the nut, the saddles, and the string pins.

Nut

The nut of the model is made from plastic which is the cheapest material that can be used on a guitar. To enrich the sound quality, you can change this nut with a Graph Tech nut. Before buying, check your guitar model’s nut size to find one that suits your instrument.

Saddle

The Guitar saddle is created to transport the vibrations through the guitar’s bridge into the top wood of the instrument. As a result, a quick and simple upgrade can have an incredible effect on the instrument’s tone, playability, and harmony.

Since the saddle of the DAG-1C model is made out of plastic, it is not the best one to enhance the sound. An upgrade to a compensated saddle from Graph Tech, for instance, will create a big difference in sound. Compensated saddles set each string’s intonation to help produce the best possible tone and performance.

Be careful to choose a suitable model for your guitar, so don’t forget to check the measurements.

Bridge Pins

The string pins on the bridge can be out of various materials such as plastic, ivory, and bone. The standard low and medium-level guitars come with plastic pins which are easily broken or damaged. You may consider changing them with ivory or graph tech string pins for a better tone and tuning stability.

Differences Between The Models

Donner DAG-1C has some related models that have minor nuances between each other. The model series include DAG-1, DAG-1S, DAG-1 CS, DAG-1B, DAG-1CL, DAG-1CE, and DAG-1M. 

The names of the models give a hint about the nuances that the models feature. For example, the letter “C” in the name indicates the cutaway shape, the letter “L” signals the left-hand option, and the letters “B” and “S” are about the color variations. The letter “E” shows that the guitar is electro-acoustic and has a built-in pre-amp. Finally, the letter “M” indicates that it is a 3/4 size guitar.

Donner DAG-1CS the sunburst color option of the DAG-1C model. The only difference between these two guitars is that the 1C model features a natural wood color while the CS model has a sunburst color. 

Similarly, the DAG-1B model is the matte black-colored option, and the DAG-1S is the sunburst color option. Both of these guitars do not feature a cutaway shape that can be understood from the model name without the letter “C.”

On the other hand, Donner DAG-1CL model is the left-handed option with the natural wood color. But, again, all the specs are identical to the DAG-1C model.

Donner DAG-1CE model is the natural wood color variation that comes with the cutaway shape. It is the same model as DAG-1C but has a built-in preamp.

Lastly, The Donner DAG-1M is a 3/4 size guitar. This model doesn’t have a cutaway and comes with natural wood color. This guitar is well suited for travel and children.

Alternatives To The Instrument In Terms Of Look, Feel, Sound, Specs, And Price

Fender CC-60S

Fender CC-60S Beginner Concert Pack, Black with Gig Bag, Strap, Picks,...
  • Concert body style
  • Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing, mahogany back and sides
  • Gloss-finish mahogany neck with 20-fret walnut fingerboard
  • Walnut bridge with compensated saddle

Fender CC-60S is one of the best-selling acoustic guitars on the market. With its affordable price and basic yet high-quality design, it is ideal for beginner guitarists. 

The CC-60S features mahogany wood in its back and sides and a solid spruce top. The guitar has an excellent tone with a crisp sound, and the acoustics of the guitar is also great with a high volume.

It should be remembered that the guitar comes with a classic FENDER sound. 

The guitar comes with a pack of accessories, including picks, a strap, and an extra pack of strings to make life easier for players. You also get a free 3-month subscription of online lessons via Fender Play so you can learn from the best at your own pace.

Gibson Maestro

Maestro by Gibson Parlor Size Acoustic Guitar Starter Pack, Black
  • 7/8 Size Acoustic Guitar
  • Select Wood
  • Set Neck
  • Diecast Tuners

Gibson Maestro is one of the best beginner acoustic guitars on the market. It is a full-width 42” guitar made by one of the most admired and well-respected guitar producers. Its full dreadnought body features a vibrant tone and a high amount of volume. 

The guitar is made from a unique wood called Kauri, which produces a warm and powerful sound. The wood resonates better than mahogany and creates a higher clarity. The laminated spruce on top adds to the durability of the instrument.

The guitar comes with a pack just like the Donner DAG model. The bundle features guitar picks, straps, strings, and a soft case. It has everything to get you started playing and learn.

Summary

Overall, Donner DAG-1C is an excellent choice for players who are about to start their journey as a guitarist. It is an outstanding purchase for the price, and the bundle has everything to get you to start playing.

The sound of the guitar is warm, vibrant, and powerful. The comfortable neck and the cutaway design elevate the playability of the guitar to a high level. The look of the model is also good with satin finishes.

Of course, as a low-budget guitar, it has some cheap parts such as the saddle and the nut that need to be upgraded. There are also some sharp fret edges, but it is not a serious issue. 

This model is perfect for beginners, but its sound and playability would not satisfy the needs of experienced players.

Final words about the guitar; I love its simplicity and great sound. I recommend it to beginner players without a doubt; fantastic purchase for the price.

If you found this article useful you may want to save this pin below to your Guitar board

Last update on 2021-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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