It is not that hard to find a cheap and good guitar starter kit – and Donner DST-152 is a great example of that. I recently had the pleasure to test it out and it seriously made a very good impression on me.
DST-152 pack is awesome for any amateur guitarist – it has pretty much everything that you need. Apart from the great sounding and comfortable guitar, you also get a mini amp, a gig bag and a lot of other accessories such as capo, cable, guitar picks and more.
Considering the fact that it’s a very cheap piece of gear, I’m convinced that it’s one of the best products of this type that you can find on the market. Yeah, I know that there are a lot of good cheap guitars out there. But in this case, it’s not only about the axe – it’s also about the extra stuff.
So in today’s article, I want to give you some more information on what you can expect if you decide to get it for yourself too.
About My Donner DST-152 Kit
According to the official site of Donner, they’re a pretty new brand – they were founded in 2012. I’ve seen quite a lot of positive video reviews with their gear, so I thought that it would be good to get it too.
Eventually, I ended up with the Polar Blue version which looks the best in my opinion. But if you’re not feeling it, that’s fine because there are also a few more of them – including Black, White and Sunburst.
The guitar arrived very quickly and it was packed nicely, so you don’t have to worry about it. As far as I know, they’re shipping worldwide so it doesn’t really matter where do you live.
Body & Neck
You can easily tell that this axe is based on the legendary Fender Stratocaster. It looks like a classic Strat, although it has a bit unusual pickup selection – but we’ll get into that in a minute.
The guitar is fairly lightweight thanks to its poplar body. That’s a good thing! On top of that, the neck of that model is also really comfortable and surprisingly it has a vintage feel. Donner says that it’s the C-shape, but in my opinion it’s slightly thicker than the C-shape in Squier Classic Vibe Strat.
I also have to mention that the fingerboard of that Strat is also really nice – it’s made of Indian Laurel. And I’m surprised that it wasn’t that dry! Usually fretboards in budget guitars are super dry and they are screaming for some lemon oil, but in this case, that’s not a problem at all.
The hardware in Donner DST-152 is pretty good, but it’s not ideal. It works – and that’s what really matters. There’s a tremolo bridge, so that’s nothing unusual, and there are some basic tuners which ideally could be better, but they won’t cause you any issues.
If you’re a bit more advanced player, you will probably consider replacing these tuners with a better set, but if you’re just starting out, it won’t make any difference to you.
So overall, there’s not that much to complain about!
Now let’s move to the important part – the pickups! Usually Stratocasters are equipped with a set of three single coils, but Donner decided to do something different here. They put two single coils in the neck and middle positions and a humbucker with split coils by the bridge. And that’s an awesome solution!
The coil split option makes the DST-152 very versatile, because in the end it allows you to use either a single-coil or a humbucker by the bridge. And trust me, that can really make a difference, especially if you’re looking for a bit more punch during some guitar solos.
I’m usually very cautious when it comes to budget guitars, because I’m aware that they’re not always the best, but come on! This guitar offers an awesome tone at a VERY low price. Can it compete with a high quality Fender? Probably not. But for that amount of money? That’s a solid deal.
I didn’t experience any factory flaws, so that’s definitely a good thing. No buzzing and problems with intonation, so that’s an another plus. Fret edges are not sharp, so you don’t have to worry about your palms.
I have no idea if I was just lucky to get such a well-made model, but by looking at the reviews of these guitars online, it seems that most of these Donners have a superb build quality.
What’s interesting, the string action wasn’t that high either. Usually cheap guitars have a very high string action which makes bending very uncomfortable, but in this model it’s just not a problem.
So shout out to the people at the Chinese factory that manufactured my DST-152! You guys did a very good job.
As you can see on the photos, the guitar also comes with a small 5-Watt amp. It’s a cool piece of gear, although obviously – it will never sound as good as a high quality tube combo.
But let’s be honest – it’s very functional. Apart from the beginner-friendly interface it also has a headphone output which allows you to practice quietly without annoying your family members and neighbours. That’s a life-saver!
Overall, it’s really nice to have it and it should get you going if you’re a beginner. But if you’re a bit more experienced player, you will probably want to look for something better.
The fact that Donner DST-152 comes with a lot of different accessories is just awesome! So apart from the guitar and the mini combo, you also get:
- a guitar strap
- a guitar cable
- a tuner
- some extra guitar strings and guitar picks
- a soft case (which is actually very nice)
- a capo
- hex keys for any maintenance work
That’s a very solid list of stuff! Normally guitars at this price level don’t have absolutely anything included with them, even a gig bag. Having all of that along with the guitar is a game-changer in my opinion.
Honestly? I don’t see the point of looking for major flaws in a budget guitar available at this price level. Maybe it’s not a Fender, but come on – think about how affordable this gear actually is.
If I had to choose one thing that I would change in that guitar, it would probably be factory strings. I love playing on Elixirs and I’m just used to them. But it doesn’t mean that the strings in DST-152 are bad. They’re fine!
So here’s how I see it. You pay a bit less than two hundred bucks and you get a comfortable, great looking and playable instrument that will last you for years to come. On top of that, it gives you all accessories that you potentially need to start your journey as a guitar player.
When you think about that and you notice that the build quality of that guitar is great, looking ofr disadvantages is just pointless.
So yeah – it’s not a Fender. These pickups do not sound as some high-quality, expensive vintage single-coils. And these tuners aren’t ideal as well. But would I classify all of that as disadvantages of that guitar? Absolutely not.
Who Should Get It?
In my opinion, this starter pack will be ideal for two types of guitarists:
- absolute noobs who don’t know anything about guitars
- a bit more advanced guitarists who may consider upgrades in the future
If you don’t know anything about guitars and you don’t know where to start, this is a fantastic model for you. All these accessories will make it very easy for you. You won’t have to spend time in music stores looking for guitar picks, a capo or a gig bag – it’s all included!
On the other hand, I’m aware that guitarists who are already used to playing on guitars from a bit higher shelf may not be entirely happy with that model. If you’re a pro, you will probably want to immediately change the strings (and possibly tuners).
That being said, Donner DST-152 is ideal for home practice. I’d actually say that it may be a good option for live performances as well mainly because of its low price.
Imagine that you’re going on a tour with your band and you have mixed feelings about taking your vintage Fender with you. Choosing a cheap Donner like this one instead may potentially be a better option for you, as crazy as it sounds!
When it comes to starter packs, I’m pretty sure that it’s one of the best options out there. But let’s be honest – the market of budget guitars is very saturated.
So if you’re not really into Donner DST-152, that’s not a problem! There are dozens (or even hundreds) of great cheap guitars out there. Of course, it all depends on what you’re looking for and how much are you willing to spend.
If you’re thinking about getting a Strat, make sure to check out the Squier Sonic Stratocaster. It’s a great guitar (comparable with the more expensive Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster). Alternatively, there’s also Sonic Telecaster – great budget Tele that I recently had the pleasure to check out.
You can also check out my guide about the 6 BEST Squier Guitars – all of these guitars are great and although some of them are not Stratocasters, they definitely deserve a lot of attention.
Apart from the Squiers, you can also check out budget guitars made by Harley Benton. Models such as Harley Benton TE-20, TE-62, ST-20 and ST-20 HSS also offer a very good value for the money.
So as you can see, there are A LOT of cheap guitars out there. But all of them usually come without gig bags and accessories, so if you want to have everything in one kit, the Donner from today’s article may be the ultimate solution.
I’m in love with Donner DST-152 – and there’s nothing wrong with that! I think that finding a better starter pack at this price level will be extremely difficult. It has pretty much everything that you need in order to start your own musical journey. What’s there not to like?
So if you’re thinking about getting this kit, look no further. I guarantee that you’ll be very happy with it!
Of course, I know that there are A LOT of various guitar packs out there. Some of them are good and some of them are complete trash – it’s easy to get discouraged when your first guitar sounds and feels bad. But I’m sure that with DST-152 it won’t be a problem, because it’s a very safe option.
If you do end up with buying it, feel free to leave a comment under this post. I’m really curious if your experience with this model will be the same, so feel free to share your thoughts with me and my readers.