So, you’ve decided to introduce your kid to the wonderful world of guitars? That’s fantastic! However, we don’t blame you if you don’t know where to start. With the wide range of kids guitars available, it’s super easy to get lost. Thankfully, this article is intended to help all the confused parents out there, and provide a bit more clarity when it comes to choosing your mini-me’s very first kids’ guitar!
Best Acoustic Guitars for Kids
This acoustic guitar is ideal for beginners. Its 3/4 size and narrow neck makes it ideal for children with small hands. Fortunately, it’s also blessed with a prominent acoustic tone, and it’s the kind of guitar whose sound only gets richer with age. It has a dreadnought body with a spruce top and a rosewood fingerboard. This kids’ acoustic guitar is made of laminated wood rather than solid wood. For this budget you can’t expect to buy a solid wood acoustic guitar. Fortunately, the laminated wood makes this acoustic guitar very light and easy to carry around. If you’re looking for a cheap child’s guitar, the JR1 should be at the top of your list.
‘Cos, who doesn’t love colours, right? This Luna guitar is available in pink, white, black and blue – and the funky shades do not disappoint. This budget-friendly starter guitar doesn’t skimp on material and craftsmanship. Its slim C-shape is ideal for small hands. Moreover, the use of black walnut for the bridge and fingerboard facilitates smooth fretting. Last but not least, the aesthetic in itself is aimed to inspire musicians all across the board.
This ½ size handcrafted guitar is ideal for younger players between the ages of 5 and 9. Its light gauge nylon strings are perfect for effortless fretting so as not to discourage the player. According to reviews, the intonation is spot-on, and its standard action is decent ( a definite pro!). This guitar solidifies Hohner’s reputation as a brand that supports emerging musicians.
Yamaha uses the tag line ‘small guitar with great, big possibilities’ when it comes to this particular guitar. This ¾ size guitar is based on the specs of the iconic APX500. This Yamaha acoustic electric guitar is equipped with an ART-based pickup system and a super handy onboard tuner. Its one-way active pickup is quite basic, it has only two controls, volume and tone, making it really easy to use. The spruce top of the Yamaha APXT2 gives it a crisp natural tone, synonym with Yamaha electro-acoustic guitars. To top it off this guitar comes with a free gig bag, ideal for your kid to carry around.
This Little Martin guitar has been crafted with the intention of producing a great sound on a smaller guitar. It features a hand-rubbed solid Sitka Spruce top that, usually, you can only find on top-of-the-line guitars. Reviewers all across the world wide web have praised its sound and playability. Another big plus is its reasonable price – approximately $400. While it’s not as cheap as some of the other kid guitars out there, its quality turns this purchase into an investment.
Let’s face it – blue guitars are super cool, and the colour in itself will inspire any kid to play this guitar! If you’re not familiar with Rogue guitars, they are made by a company called Sunbo in Korea. The Blueburst model is a 3/4 size acoustic guitar, a perfect size for kids between 6 – 10 years of age. Additionally, this Rogue guitar maintains the 25-1/2″ scale, which makes it a lot easier when your kid eventually moves on to a normal-sized guitar. On the downside, some reviewers commented that the standard action on this kids’ acoustic guitar is a bit too high, and you would probably have to ask a guitar tech to lower it. Furthermore, its strings may feel a little hard for kids’ delicate fingers. Change them to Ernie Ball’s Earthwood “silk & steel extra soft” (10g-50g) strings for a softer touch. With these simple modifications this Rogue starter acoustic guitar would be an excellent choice for your kid!
With an approximate retail price of $40, this one’s a no-brainer. With hard wear-resistant gears, rust-proof and durable pegs, all-wood construction and a glossy-smooth finish, it’s safe to say that this guitar is ideal for those kids who are still not sure if the guitar is their lifetime companion. Furthermore, it comes with a gig bag, one set of strings, tuner, picks and a strap. Now that’s what I call value for money!
This guitar is tailor-made for kids. Heck, it was even inspired by DisneyPixar’s movie Coco (how kid-friendly is that?). This mini maintains the playability of a full-sized guitar without compromising the sound. Its tone can be described as full and bright, while its laser-etched design was inspired by Mexican guitars. It also comes with a gig bag and a guitar strap.
This ¾ guitar is ideal for beginners. Its maple fretboard and bridge produce a decent sound while also focusing on comfort and playability. Its soft, nylon strings make it a lot easier for kids to use. Furthermore, it’s also super affordable and includes a gig bag and strap – making it an excellent choice for beginners.
This exciting guitar was crafted with kid musicians in mind. Its classy and clever design squeezes as much quality as possible into a guitar that costs approximately $150. This Gretsch Jim Dandy delivers a clean, crisp and bright tone – a winning combination. It’s a good option if you’re not looking to purchase a high-end, high performing acoustic guitar.
This acoustic Jasmine guitar boasts a bright and bold sound. The S35 was designed by Takamine acoustic guitars, a Japanese guitar company that is synonym with high quality guitars. Unlike Takamine guitars though, the Jasmine S-35 is produced in China.
It’s well built and sturdy, with a slim neck and a 25-1/2″ scale length, providing excellent playability. The Jasmine S35 acoustic guitar has a laminated spruce top rather than a solid one like most Takamine guitars, something that is expected from a guitar that costs under $100. The S35 has X bracing which is not common with cheap acoustic guitars. This type of bracing helps in getting a better guitar tone since it gives an extra support to the guitar top. Furthermore, its smooth satin finish helps to optimise the resonance. On the downside, the standard model suffers from high action syndrome, something that your guitar tech can easily fix.
Overall reviewers were pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Jasmine acoustic guitar when considering its market price.
Best Electric Guitars for Kids
Squier guitars are always a highly debatable topic among guitar fans. However, one thing is for sure: everyone agrees that it’s the go-to brand for beginners. This newly designed mini Squier Strat is ideal for kids since it’s got a thin body and a slim neck profile. With improved tuning machines, 3 single-coil Strat pickups and a 5-way switch that recreates the classic Fender tone, it’s safe to say that this mini electric guitar is an undisputed contender when it comes to choosing your kid’s very first electric guitar.
Every parent loves a package deal (it makes everything so much easier!). Fortunately, it’s an Epiphone electric guitar deal. It includes THE Les Paul – yes, it’s that famous guitar that has been used by the likes of Nick Valensi, Matthew Followill and the Beatles. It features a Les Paul Special-ii LTD guitar with 2 classic humbucker pickups, a 10-watt Electra guitar amp, a guitar cable, a tuner, a guitar strap, picks and a gig bag. Simply ‘wow’! This package should definitely be near the top of your list!
This ¾ size Ibanez electric guitar comes in a variety of shades. It’s ideal for young rockers since it’s got a smaller neck and body. Its high-quality craftsmanship and careful set-up elevate the standard for all the mini guitars out there. What’s more – it’s modelled after the famous Ibanez GRX and GRG models.
This Mitchel MM100 Mini features a basswood body and a 1-piece maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. Its 2 high-output ceramic humbucker pickups ensure that this guitar is loud and proud. Additionally, its high-ratio tuners are designed with precise tuning control in mind. On the downside, reviewers noted that fret buzz is a common issue. Moreover, its craftsmanship leaves much to be desired.
Let’s face it – who doesn’t want an image of Captain America on their guitar? Apart from the in-your-face partnership with Marvel, this guitar is ready to rock. It’s a ¾ size electric guitar that focuses on playability and tone. Its adjustable bridge and sealed tuning pegs ensure that the tuning lasts. A must for Captain America fans!
Another starter package (woohoo!)…this time from Gibson Maestro. This electric guitar is based on a tried-and-tested Gibson design that has been used since the early days of rock’n’roll. Unfortunately, it’s not the loudest-sounding guitar out there. Therefore, it’s only ideal for practising purposes and for small venues. It comes with a strap, plenty of plectrums, a string set, a lead and…wait for it… a DVD brimming with free lessons.
This ¾ size electric is suitable for older kids. Ibanez guarantees the same rigorous inspection, set-up and warranty as some of Ibanez’s high-end models when it comes to this guitar. Its screaming volume is a result of its 2 infinity pickups and its 4 way-pick up selector. It’s perfect for all the mini metal fans out there!
What is the right age for your kid to start learning guitar?
Every kid is different. However, it’s widely recommended that kids are at least 6 years old before starting guitar lessons. At this age, kids have well-developed fine motor skills, i.e. small muscle coordination.
Another thing to take into account is the teacher’s experience with younger children. A child younger than 6 would heavily depend on the teacher’s skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, many a time, the lesson merely ends up as an alternative form of baby-sitting. 6 is perfect since the child would’ve developed a greater sense of logic as well as the necessary self-motivation to practice.
How much should you spend on a guitar for kids?
In the beginning, don’t worry too much about spending a tonne of money on high-end guitars. Gauge your child’s interest in the instrument before you decide on your spending budget. Is it merely a fad, or is it a genuine interest? Worst case, if the child decides to stop playing after a couple of years (or months!) you can easily sell the guitar, or use the instrument as home décor.
Furthermore, it’s good to take into account that there are loads of unloved guitars out there that need a new home. Scour the net for a second-hand solution or ask a family member or friend if they have an unused guitar that needs some lovin’.
What are the key factors that you should consider before purchasing your kid’s first guitar?
First things first – size is a crucial factor to consider when you’re purchasing a guitar for your kid. A regular-sized guitar might be too large, and it would probably discourage him/her. Playability and comfort are essential when it comes to encouraging your kid to learn the guitar.
Action is another key factor. It’s important that you find the right balance between action that is too high or too low. Ask a professional guitar tech to set the guitar’s action according to your child’s needs.
The fretboard’s material is another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration. Maple fretboards are smoother and softer when compared to rosewood ones, and therefore, better for kids.
Last but not least…strings! Undoubtedly, heavy gauge strings will definitely discourage any kid. Conversely, a super-light gauge may cut into the child’s fingertips (ouch!) Try a light-to-medium gauge for the perfect combination.
Should you choose an acoustic or an electric guitar for your kid?
Your child probably has a mental picture of himself/herself playing the guitar. Communication is, therefore, key when it comes to purchasing an electric or an acoustic guitar for your kid.
If your child is already interested in a specific genre of music, research to see which guitars are typically used by bands that fall under that category: acoustic guitars are quite versatile and are used all across the musical spectrum. Opt for an electric if your child is interested in rock, metal or jazz.
Finally, it’s good to keep in mind that the first guitar won’t be the last. Thus, it’s wise to start with a reasonably priced guitar which can cater to most musical styles before moving on to purchasing your child’s dream guitar.
It’s crucial that you spend some time researching which guitar would suit your kid. After all, kids remember their first guitar and this experience can influence him/her to move from strumming his/her very first guitar chords to becoming a professional guitarist. Ask your kid what their dream guitar looks like. Expose him/her to different types of playing and musical styles before starting any guitar lessons. Remember that your presence and encouragement is vital when it comes to shaping their musical and guitar tastes.