MM100 offers impressive tone in a small package. With a short-scale design and two high-output humbuckers, the MM100 may be a good choice for beginners, people with smaller hands, and those who want a travel guitar or a smaller instrument to experiment with.
In this review, we'll see if the MM100 is all that the manufacturer Mitchell claims it is.
Things To Consider Before Buying An Electric Guitar
When choosing an electric guitar, you'll want to make many of the same considerations you make when buying an acoustic. In particular, consider the type of music you'll be playing--if you're primarily a country guitarist, you likely won't be impressed with the sound of an instrument made for metal.
Likewise, you'll want to take experience into account. Less-expensive models designed for beginners may also be an option, but guitars that are very cheap sometimes don't hold tune well or have other workmanship issues, making them challenging to play. Sometimes, it's better to spend a little more in order to have a guitar you can grow into.
In any case, before you buy, it's a good idea to read reviews and listen to sound demos to get a feel for the guitar's sound and general playability.
Our Picks for Review
Features and Benefits
What Sets a Short Scale Apart?
Plenty of people say that short-scale guitars are a good choice for beginners, but not everyone knows exactly why. Before we delve into the specifics of the MM100's construction, here are few benefits of buying a short-scale instrument like this one:
Sound Quality and Pickups
When evaluating sound quality for a guitar at this price point, it isn't quite fair to compare it to something that costs several times as much. The MM100's sound isn't dazzling, but it's fairly good for the price. Plus, a three-way pickup selector lets you play with the neck pickup, bridge pickup, or both. Unsurprisingly, there's no coil-splitting here. The clean tone sounds a little flimsy on its own, but the ceramic-dipped pickups do a good job of avoiding extraneous noise.
Somewhat notably, the factory pickups on this guitar have some real bite and clarity, and they take effects well. If you're someone who likes an overdrive-heavy sound, this sound demo gives you a sense of how the MM100 sound through effects.
This demo also covers the guitar's clean tones in a few different pickup settings.
The MM100 has a basswood body. This is a wood that some players like to look down their noses at, but basswood is primarily inexpensive due to abundance--it's a surprisingly good-sounding wood with a midrange-focused sound. It's also lightweight, adding to the MM100'sportability and making it easier for small people to play. If you want to see if you can hear the difference between basswood and alder, check out this video.
The neck is made of rock maple, which is often considered to be a standard when it comes to bolt-on electric guitar necks. It's very durable and not prone to bowing. The neck profile is a shallow C shape, making it easier for even those with smaller hands to move quickly up and down the neck.
Somewhat surprisingly, the neck is crowned with a graphite nut. Graphite is known for being self-lubricating, which improves tone and keeps tuning stable. It's a definite step up from the cheap plastic nuts found on most inexpensive guitars.
The MM100 has a dual-cutaway body that's very popular with metal players and anyone who wants additional fret access further down the neck. The body is also a carved top, which is somewhat unusual at this price point. It gives the guitar a distinctive, contoured look, and at first glance, you might assume it's a more expensive instrument than it actually is.
The body of the guitar is also a string-through body, meaning that the strings pass entirely through the body before going over the adjustable bridge. String-through designs often produce some additional resonance, and some players say they help with intonation. Plus, it's a design that many find aesthetically pleasing. This video, while it deals with a bass, helps explain some of the differences between string-through and top-load designs.
This guitar comes in three finishes, each with its own unique look. My personal favorite is the satin walnut finish. It shows off the grain of the wood, and the satin (as opposed to gloss) on the top gives it an understated, elegant look that you don't often find on guitars at this price point.
You also can choose the glossy black or blood red finishes. The high gloss on each one really shows off the carved top. If you want something that's loud and eye-catching, you might prefer the blood red. If you want a classic-looking metal or rock guitar, you might prefer the gloss black.
Social Proof of the Guitar
While it's generally a good idea to try out a guitar before buying, this isn't always possible. If you can't personally play a guitar, reading reviews from other buyers will give you an idea of what to expect. We've gathered a few reviews from around the web to help you decide whether the MM100 is a good choice for you.
This review addresses some of the MM100's strengths--it's a portable guitar that may be easier to play for children and smaller people. This reviewer also addresses possible quality control issues. With inexpensive, Chinese-made guitars like this one, workmanship issues like those mentioned are somewhat common.
This review offers a positive yet realistic review of the Mitchell MM100--this is a guitar that's suitable for beginners, but it likely won't hold up under the demands of more experienced players. Like many reviewers, this one praises the factory pickups, which many have said sound surprisingly clear given the guitar's price point.
This detailed review may also serve as a useful blueprint for buyers who want to upgrade the guitar themselves. Even giving the MM100 a good setup, replacing the nut, and possibly replacing the tuners will make this a much more playable instrument.
Alternatives to Mitchell MM100
Music catalogs are full of beginner-friendly, small electric guitars, and it can be a challenge to choose one that fits your playing style and your budget. We've found three possible alternatives to compare to this one before you buy.
Ibanez Mikro GRGM21
How it Compares to Mitchell MM100
Ibanez has long been a respected manufacturer of electric guitars, and the Mikro GRGM21 is a well-made 3/4 scale electric guitar. It's made with Powersound humbuckers, which are part of all of Ibanez's GIO series electric guitars.
I remember seeing these in music catalogs as a kid and wanting one. Especially considering the low price point, the Mikro is a great deal. Plus, it has distinctive lightning-bolt fret inlays, and the poplar body and maple neck make it a great choice for rock or metal. If you want a great intro electric guitar that's better made than the MM100 (and only slightly more expensive), make sure you check this one out.
Epiphone Les Paul Express Short Scale
How it Compares to Mitchell MM100
For beginning or smaller guitarists who want a guitar that is more rock-focused than metal-focused, this mini Les paul from Epiphone is a great alternative. The mahogany body adds some warmth to the tone, and the dual humbuckers offer just enough crunch.
The slim-taper neck makes it especially easy to play for those who are just learning guitar, and a three-way pickup selector switch gives you plenty of tonal variety. If you're a Les Paul fan who needs a smaller electric guitar, this one is worth a look.
Squier Mini Strat
How it Compares to Mitchell MM100
Many beginners prefer the ease of playing a short-scale electric guitar, but humbucking pickups aren't for everyone. If you prefer the classic sound of three single-coils, you might prefer this mini strat from Squier.
As Fender's budget brand, Squier brings quality Fender-styled guitars to those on a budget. While this guitar has a laminate body, it nonetheless produces good enough tone for most beginners, and the three single coils offer versatile tone for a variety of genres. If you're in the market for a smaller guitar but prefer the look and sound of a Stratocaster, be sure to check out this guitar.
The Mitchell MM100 offers decent quality at an unbeatable price. However, because of workmanship issues and problems with tuning stability, it may be a good idea to save a little more and buy something slightly more expensive, especially if you only play one guitar.
However, if your budget is extremely tight, the MM100 is still a respectable instrument to start on, and you can dramatically improve its tone by upgrading a few components and properly setting it up. While it might not be the best guitar you can buy, it's still an incredible value, especially if you're looking for a smaller instrument.