If you’re looking for a Donner guitalele review, this post is for you!
And if you want to check out another review of Cordoba’s guitaleles, see this post.
The Donner DGL-1 is a guitar/ukulele hybrid that came out in 2017.
When I was researching guitaleles to purchase in 2019, Donner’s instrument came up.
I ended up purchasing Caramel’s guitalele here, and I will explain why I made that purchase decision later in the article.
But I thought I’d include my research on the Donner guitalele here on the blog.
I’ve played guitar since 2003, the ukulele since 2011, and the guitalele since 2019.
This model includes not only the instrument but also the accessories you will need to start playing immediately.
You will find a gig bag, a clip-on tuner, a strap, strings, and polishing cloth.
I’ll discuss these items more in the following sections.
Donner Guitalele DGL-1 Specs
This guitalele offers an acceptable quality for an affordable price:
- Weight: 4-24 pounds
- Dimensions: 29.13 x 13.39 x 5.51 inches
- Top Material: Laminated Spruce
- Back material: Mahogany
- Neck material: Mahogany
- Fretboard: 20-fret Rosewood
- Donner Big Bag
- Guitar-sized strap
- Aquila set guitar strings
- Donner DT-2 Tuner, batteries included
- Polishing cloth
The weight and size of the DGL-1 model fit most travel compartments in planes and trains.
The body and neck are made of laminated mahogany and spruce. These are standard for the price of this guitalele.
And the gig bag or “Big Bag” as the manufacturer call it, has more padding than most gig bags that come with an instrument.
I also appreciate the inclusion of a clip-on tuner.
These types of tuners make tuning recommendations based on the vibration of the string as opposed to the sound the string makes.
So vibration tuners are handy in a loud environment when competing noises could confuse an audio-based tuner.
By clipping it on the headstock, the tuner will just detect the vibration of your strings and nothing else.
Donner Guitalele Review: Fretboard Details
The width of the frets should feel somewhat familiar to you if you’re a guitar player.
The size of the frets is about the size of a standard guitar’s 5th fret and up.
Also, the fretboard has white-circle inlays at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets.
These inlays are helpful for navigating around the fretboard up and down the neck.
Also, the spacing between the strings is similar to that of a classical guitar.
And your fingers will need to apply just the same amount of pressure as they would on a full-size nylon-string guitar thanks to the nylon strings.
The Donner sounds decent, especially for its price.
You can get a sense of its sound in the video above.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, I don’t own a Donner guitalele.
When researching guitaleles to purchase, I decided to go with Caramel’s instrument.
Here’s a video of me playing this instrument for sound comparison.
Donner Guitalele Review: Tuning & Sustain
The steel pegs in the headstock should make this instrument stay in tune longer than if plastic pegs were used (and plastic pegs are sometimes used on lower quality ukes and guitaleles).
Along with the pegs, the Donner guitalele features a bridge modeled after that of a classical guitar.
Naturally, the sustain on an instrument this size will not match that of a full-size, nylon string guitar.
That said, the Donner’s smaller size should make chords, both open and barred, a little easier than on a full-size instrument.
Donner Guitalele Review: Pros
The main pro of the Donner DGL-1 guitalele is that it’s a decent instrument for a fair price.
Plus it has some features like steel tuning pegs not always found on instruments in this price range.
I mentioned above that I do not own a Donner guitalele.
Instead, I decided to purchase a Caramel guitalele, and I have no regrets about my choice.
Donner’s model lacks electronic amplification and a truss compared to the Caramel model I purchased.
And although a truss may not be necessary for a nylon-string instrument, I prefer having a truss rod in my instrument than not.
Truss rods ensure long-term neck integrity.
While nylon string instruments theoretically shouldn’t need a truss rod, sometimes their necks can warp over several years of use.
Donner Guitalele Review: Conclusion
The Donner DGL-1 Guitalele is an instrument that has a lot to offer musically, at an affordable price.
The extras that come along with the model make it a great option for either personal use or as a gift.