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Left Handed Donner DAG-1C Review
OK, first things first; this review will be of the left handed version of the Donner DAG-1C; the Donner DAG-1CL.
Is it any good? Find out in this left handed Donner DAG-1C Review!
The DAG-1CL is aimed squarely at beginner guitarists; when you see the listing on the Donner website, it's named the "Donner DAG-1CL Cutaway 41-Inch Full-Size Acoustic Guitar Beginner Kit, Left Handed, Natural Finish".
It's definitely a great guitar for beginners, but it's equally good if you just want a knock-around guitar for playing around the campfire, and it won't break the bank. You can't go far wrong with the Donner DAG-1CL Acoustic Guitar Beginner Kit.
Please note: Donner sent me this guitar for free. Other than the guitar, I have not been given any payment, and this review reflects my honest opinion of the brand and the guitar, as all my reviews do.
In this review, we'll take a look at the company that made it, what you get in the box, what to expect from it, and ultimately should you get one?
It's one of three left handed guitars available from Donner (the others are two colors of an ST-style guitar) and is the only lefty acoustic that they make.
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Before writing this review, I didn't know Donner as a company all that well, but was aware of them previously, as I'd seen some of their effects pedals being sold on Amazon, and I'd purchased a pedal power supply by them before as well. However, I hadn't tried any of their guitars.
When browsing through the Donner guitar range, one thing I did note though is that none of their guitars cost more than £150 / $200!
Donner is a relatively new company that has been going since 2012, selling all kinds of musical instruments and accessories, but they specialize in mini effects pedals.
Donner provides free shipping on all products, a no-hassle 30-day returns policy, and free technical support. There's also a 2-year warranty on all stringed instruments.
What’s In the Box?
So, what do you get when you order a Donner DAG-1C? It's quite an amazing package; everything a beginner guitarist needs to get them going on their guitar-playing journey.
Here's what's included:
- The guitar (of course!)
- Gig bag with front pocket for accessories.
- Guitar tuner with battery.
- Adjustable guitar strap.
- Allen key.
- Spare pack of Donner branded phosphor bronze acoustic strings.
- Capo with 4 guitar picks.
- Cleaning cloth.
- Left handed self-adhesive PVC pickguard.
All pretty useful stuff that you will probably need at some point. The gig bag is especially nice; it seems like it's of decent quality, and has shoulder straps so you can easily carry it on your back.
The guitar tuner is also very useful, though it wasn't quite as sensitive as I'd like it to be. Still, it does the job and will serve its purpose for beginners until they are ready to buy a more sensitive one.
Even the Donner tags attached to one of the tuners gives you some basic chords to learn, though the chord diagrams are for right handed guitars. There's also some tips on guitar maintenance, as well as after-sales service notes too.
Overall, it's a fantastic set of extras that adds up to a very good beginner package.
Here are the Donner DAG-1CL specs:
Made in China
- STRINGS: 6
- TOP: Sitka Spruce
- BRACING: Scalloped
- BACK & SIDES: African Mahogany
- NECK: Mahogany
- NECK PROFILE: C Shape
- FRETS: 20 Brass
- HARDWARE COLOR: Black
- TUNERS: Sealed, metal alloy
- BRIDGE: Plastic
- ELECTRONICS: None
- FINISH: Natural
The lefty DAG-1CL is available only in a natural finish. Our right handed friends get the natural finish as well as the added choice of satin black and sunburst.
Build Quality and Construction
As the DAG-1CL is so inexpensive, I expected it to have just an okay level of quality. Some companies cut corners and use cheaper materials to save on expense and cost of labor. While Donner probably does this to some extent, I found the quality of the build to be surprisingly good.
After taking the guitar out of its box, one of the first things I checked was the fretwork and whether there were any rough fret ends. Thankfully things were pretty smooth here, although it was very slightly rougher at some of the higher frets, just past the 14th, all in all though, it was a very nice feeling neck.
The "C" shape mahogany neck is quite slim, making it easy to play, and has a satin-smooth finish which adds some class to the guitar. Both body and neck have this matte finish; it's a really nice touch that makes a cheap guitar feel a lot more expensive and luxurious.
The "C" in DAG-1CL refers to the guitar's cutaway, which allows you to reach those notes higher up the fingerboard if needed. Some say you get a slightly fuller sound in a guitar with no cutaway, but I think it's negligible and it doesn't matter to a beginner player anyway. I think this has a pretty nice and full sound regardless.
Overall, build quality isn't an issue. As it's an inexpensive guitar, it's a little more stripped back and less fancy than some other more expensive guitars, but it's solidly built and there's very little wrong with it; it's an ideal guitar for beginners.
One minor issue with my test model was that it arrived with a bit of a scuff on the top. Just a cosmetic issue though and in no way affects the sound. I presume that sort of thing doesn't happen very often and orders wouldn't be scuffed like my review model.
All the hardware on the Donner DAG-1CL are pretty standard stuff. They perform their jobs, but aren't particularly high quality.
My first impressions of the tuners were that they felt a little cheap and didn't turn as easily as some other tuners. They work though and seem to keep strings in tune quite well. They're also black and look pretty cool too.
The nut and saddle are both made of plastic which is very common on guitars in this price range.
As it's the saddle that carries the sound to the guitar's body, many seasoned players recommend swapping out a plastic saddle for either a Tusq or Bone saddle. You can also replace the plastic bridge pins too.
Tusq and bone are harder materials than plastic, so should improve your tone if you do this, and it's very easy to do too.
This may not be so important for a beginner player though but could be something to consider later on.
As it is, this guitar is a really good start for any beginner player.
How Does it Play?
I was expecting the DAG-1CL to feel cheap and difficult to play, but I was pleasantly surprised.
With the neck being so smooth and also quite a slim "C" shape, it's really quite easy to navigate the fingerboard; another good point if you're learning a new instrument. With the neck's matte finish, even hot and sweaty hands don't stick as you move up and down the fingerboard.
As I'm more of an electric guitar player, I did find the 11 gauge bronze strings and higher action a little more difficult to fret and bend, so you may want to consider changing them to a lower gauge set of strings if you're a beginner player.
A lot of acoustic players, especially fingerstyle players, may not need to bend the strings anyway, so 11s are fine for them.
One thing to note is that the DAG-1CL is a 41" full-size dreadnaught guitar, so it could be quite big and bulky for young guitar learners. I'm used to playing electric guitars, so it was a little big for me at first, but I soon got used to it.
Overall, the DAG-1CL feels quite comfortable to hold, and it's generally easy to play.
How Does it Sound?
After playing with the Donner DAG-1CL for a while, I found it to have a pretty rich and full sound. It being a full-size dreadnaught helps with this, and it's bright enough to hear every note in a strum of a chord, and yet still has a nice natural warmth to its sound.
Great clarity and a very well-balanced instrument.
What’s Good About the DAG-1CL?
The DAG-1CL is a very good beginner's acoustic guitar. Here's what I like about it:
- Great build quality; fit and finish is generally excellent making it a very nice guitar to play.
- Warm, rich sound, with great clarity.
- It comes with a gig bag so you can carry it from place to place.
- A useful set of extras; everything a beginner needs to get going with the acoustic guitar.
- The slim neck makes it easy to play.
- The nice satin finish makes it feel like a more expensive guitar.
What’s Bad About the DAG-1CL?
Is there anything bad about this guitar? Here are my thoughts:
- Strings are a little on the heavy side for someone new to playing guitar. Maybe a set of extra light strings would be more suitable to begin with. This is easily remedied by replacing with a new set of strings.
- Very slightly rough fret edges on the higher frets, though not really rough enough to hinder playability.
- Machine heads do the job and stay in tune, but don't seem to be of amazing quality.
- Plastic saddle, nut, and bridge pins. Easy enough to upgrade though, should you wish.
Is it Any Good?
Yes! The Donner DAG-1CL is an excellent choice of guitar for a beginner. It comes with everything a new player needs to get playing.
It's quite easy to play too, which should encourage whoever buys one to keep on playing!
It's a full-sounding guitar, with a nice rich warm tone, but also has good clarity as well.
The whole package is a fantastic deal, and a really good price for a decent piece of kit. It's aimed at beginners, but I'd also recommend it to anyone wanting a good acoustic guitar without having to spend too much money.
It's well-built with decent quality materials and construction, and the fit and finish is to a pretty high standard.
Overall, it's an extremely affordable beginner's bundle that brings a quality guitar with quality sound to virtually anyone wanting to start playing acoustic guitar.
What's you're opinion of Donner? Did you buy the DAG-1CL? If so, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Summary and Final Score
Left Handed Donner DAG-1C
An excellent, yet inexpensive guitar! This beginner's kit comes with everything needed to start learning to play.
An excellent beginner's acoustic guitar bundle with everything needed to start playing. Great value for money!
It sounds great, is well-built, and feels good in the hands, so it's easy to play too.
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Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Chris