The Best Guitars For Children- The Ultimate Buying Guide For Caring Parents

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Last Updated Dec-28-2016.
If there’s one thing that any kid should start with early it’s honing their musical talent. Sure, detecting that talent is of utmost importance, but after merely detecting it, it is crucial to act fast and in a proper manner.

So yes, there’s a lot of work to be done. Getting the kiddo interested to play can often be a major task – a nearly impossible on in some occasions too – and then there’s finding the instrument of choice, finding the right teacher, finding the right equipment and a whole lot of other intricacies.

But you can take our word when we say it’s worth it! Watching children developing musical skills, expressing their emotions through musical instruments, and just growing and maturing both in musical and emotional terms is a miraculous experience.

And in case your kid has shown interest for the might guitar, you’re in luck, ’cause those six-strings just happen to be out thing! We decided to sum up our opinions and tips on this matter in a neat little guide, as well as sift today’s instrument market in pursuit for the best guitar for kids. We divided our results into two categories – acoustic and electric – and summed them up into concise rundowns for your reading convenience. Make sure to check out the goods below.


Top 8 Best Electric Guitars For Kids:

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Electric Guitar For Kids
Summary
Rating
Squier Strat Mini
Copy of the iconic Fender Stratocaster
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack
Replica of the iconic Gibson guitar
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
SX RST 3/4 CAR
Fender Strat copy with a classic double-cutaway body
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Ibanez GRGM21
Best metal guitar for kids
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Directly Cheap Red Junior
This guitar is a bit more twangy
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Stagg S300
Guitar gives away a chunky sonic vibe.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Epiphone SG Special
Epiphone SG one of the best beginner guitars for kids
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Jameson Full Size Black Electric Guitar
If you like things simple and cheap, give the Jameson guy here a spin.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

Squier Strat Mini

Squier-by-Fender-Mini-Strat-Electric-Guitar-Bundle-with-Clip-On-300x300

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronic:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Crafted for all the young rockers and blues wailers – or even fresh jazz aficionados – the Strat Mini from Squier is a small version of the company’s highly affordable Bullet model and the copy of the iconic Fender Stratocaster.

The guitar features a set of three single-coil pickups and a standard five-way switch that can secure a variety of sounds, ranging from light and bright tone for jazz to a more bass-filled, gain driven tone for rock. We are looking at a sturdy body specifically crafted for younger players, and a brilliant showcase of how Fender knows to hit that sweet spot between quality components and fair pricing.


Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronic:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

You know what they say about electric guitars – there’s Les Paul guys and there’s Fender Strat guys. And if your kid already falls into one of these two categories from the start, he can already make the first move with the Epiphone Les Paul. What we’re looking here is a trusty replica of the iconic Gibson guitar and its beefy sound, chunky neck, and round shape.

For just around $200, this package comes with EVERYTHING, including an amp, a strap, picks, and everything a player needs. This is of great importance, and will be discussed further on up the road.


SX RST 3/4 CAR

SX-RST-3-4-CAR-300x300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronic:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

If you are looking for the best cheap guitar for kids, we’d like to kindly draw your attention to this package – the SX RST 3/4 guitar, an amp, a gig bag, and all the other miscellaneous (yet essential) gear – for around $100. Seriously, if you want value for money, this is it.

The guitar is a Fender Strat copy with a classic double-cutaway body, warm alder body and a sleek maple neck. The amp is a trusty 10-watt groove machine, packing just enough power to deliver the goods without driving the neighbors crazy.


Ibanez GRGM21BKN

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Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronic:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

If you’re looking to gear up a young metalhead and a future shredder, go Ibanez! The GRGM21BKN model comes in elegant black, with a 22-inch scale maple neck with low tension. Like any Ibanez instrument, this fella boast an incredibly slim and playable neck piece, perfect for shredding away.

The guitar comes with two humbucker pickup, allowing plenty of gain and a strong metal crunch. The smaller size makes the guitar convenient for younger players, and the company made it quite clear for whom they crafted this fella. If you want the best metal guitar for kids, go with GRGM21BKN.


Directly Cheap Red Junior

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Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronic:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.3 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

When a company has a name of Directly Cheap, there’s a solid chance you’ll think they’ll sell you a piece of junk, but these guys actually deliver the goods. The sound of this guitar is a bit more twangy and inferior to other contestants, but seeing that you’ll get a full package (amp, gig bag and all included) for under $100, this is a great deal.

The tone is driven by a single humbucker, resulting in a tad more gain-driven and rock oriented tone. The maple neck is decent and playable, while the basswood body is light and resonant.


Stagg S300

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Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Electronic:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

If your kiddo has a thing for Mr. Stevie Ray Vaughan or ZZ Top or blues rock in general, the S300 model from Stagg is a fine pick. Featuring a solid alder body, a bolt-on hard maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard, the guitar is loaded with vintage charm and a standard electronic configuration of a Strat guitar. That would mean a set of three single-coil pickups and a five-way switch for tonal control.

The guitar gives away a chunky sonic vibe and is fairly easy to play even by small fingers. One of the things we noticed as a stand-out factor is that the included set of die-cast tuners does a very good job, keeping the guitar in tune for longer periods of time than some of the other six-strings on the list.


Epiphone SG Special

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Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronic:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

When it comes to full-sized guitars, we’ve always found the ergonomic aspect of classic Gibson SG models as well suited for the young ones. Therefore, when taking the price factor into consideration, we have singled out the Epiphone SG one of the best beginner guitars for kids (and in general for that matter).

This six-string carries a serious punch via two humbucker pickups, allowing the player to make the standard choice between Rhythm and Treble modes. This is not just a children guitar, this is a genuine strong instrument and a faithful replica of one of the most iconic six-strings in history.


Jameson Full Size Guitar

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronic:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

If you like things simple and cheap, give the Jameson guy here a spin! From the right retailer, you can pick this axe up for as low as $75, and that’s a pretty nice deal. Great thing about Jameson for newbies is that it utilizes just a single humbucker pickup and two control knobs, which makes sonic controls easier and less time-consuming, allowing the player to focus on that most important thing in the world – practice!

Available in sleek black finish, the instrument comes with an included strap and a set of picks, a maple fretboard with 21 frets black dot markers, as well as a pack of sturdy die-cast tuners.


The Top 8 Best Acoustic Guitars For Kids:

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Acoustic Guitar For Kids
Summary
Rating
Yamaha JR1
Well-rounded sonic punch with warm basses
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Martin LX1 Little Martin
absolute best sound on this entire list
5 Stars
Total of 5/5
Rogue Starter Guitar
Perfectly acceptable by beginner standards
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS
Most resonant guitars on the list
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Luna Safari Series Muse
High-quality mahogany body within this price range.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Takamine GX11ME
Sound that is strong enough for intermediate users
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Stagg SW201 Left Handed Guitar
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Giannini CDR-PRO
For beginners, this is a dream come true.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

Yamaha JR1

Yamaha JR1

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Yamaha is known for offering top value for money, and the JR1 model is no exception. Featuring a 3/4 size, a spruce top and meranti back and sides, this instrument delivers a well-rounded sonic punch with warm basses, punchy middles and a bright treble section.

Everything about it has been optimized for new players – from a comfortable neck to strong tuning pegs, but it’s the compact size that really makes it stand out for kids. If your little one is starting his or her journey on a six-string, we see this Yamaha as one of the best acoustic guitars for young players out there.


Martin LX1 Little Martin

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Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:5 Stars

If you want to make a tad bigger investment and get one of the best acoustic guitars in the world within the “under $500” league that just happens to be very well suited for children too, check out the Little Martin. Martin is one of the most renowned guitar manufacturers in the world, and we would be lying if we said that this six-sting didn’t have the absolute best sound on this entire list.

Utilizing high-quality wood and stellar craftsmanship, this is the guitar that brought the manufacturer’s sonic excellence to players on a budget. It’s compact, it’s strong, and it can tackle any musical style that you can think of.


Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.3 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Switching to the budget friendly domain, we would like to introduce you to one of the best cheap acoustic guitars on the market – the Rogue Starter. The first thing that stood out with this fella is the aesthetic side, as we have to confess that we rarely encounter guitars this cheap (close to $50!) and this good looking.

Apart from that, the sound is perfectly acceptable by beginner standards, and so is playability. It’s far from Martin quality, but it still works very well for the budget thanks to a distinctive mid-range punch and a set of bright and clear treble frequencies.


Oscar Schmidt OG1FYS

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Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Up next with a fiery design, the OG1FYS from Oscar Schmidt got our attention with a booming and rich dreadnought sound. This is one of the most resonant guitars on the list, with somewhat stronger basses, yet top-notch clarity nevertheless. The instrument comes with a select spruce wood top plus catalpa wood sides and back, securing plenty of resonance and high durability.

Another thing we noticed about the guitar is high-quality hardware – a fully adjustable truss rod and a pack of six tuners that do a great job in keeping the six-string in proper shape at all times. Good stuff!


Luna Safari Series Muse

Luna-Safari-Series-Muse-300x300

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

The way Luna found their share of the market is through crafting exceptionally beautiful guitars, but arming them with high audio quality. As far as kid-friendly instruments go, we recommend checking out the Muse, not just because of the pretty looks and that satin finish, but because it’s rare to see a high-quality mahogany body within this price range.

Thanks to this tonewood, the guitar manages to pack a booming sound with rich frequencies across the audio specter. Also, if you have a small kid, this guitar’s general smoothness and lack of sharp edges on the fretboard will come in as extra handy.


Takamine GX11ME

Takamine-GX11ME-300x300

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Taking a brief dive back into the pricier domain, we had to single out this Takamine as the best acoustic electric guitar for kids, and one of the top beginner items in general. It goes by the name of GX11ME and packs an all-mahogany body and neck, securing a sturdy build and a rich sound.

This instrument has a sound that is strong enough for intermediate users, so if your kid seems pretty determined about the whole music thing, getting him or her this guitar would actually save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to spend money on an intermediate six-string further on up the road.


Stagg SW201

Stagg-SW201-Left-Handed-Guitar-300x300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

First off, please note that this is a guitar for left handed players. Secondly, the SW201 from Stagg is another great choice in terms of quality – price ratio. The reason why we singled it out is because we see it as one of the top picks a left-handed beginner can make. This guitar sports a gorgeous blue body made from basswood and a 3/4 size that’s perfect for kids.

Apart from the Blueburst finish we recommend, the instrument is also available in three more colors – Black, Natural, and Pink. It comes with a high gloss finish and a protective film on the pick-guard to avoid scratches.


Giannini CDR-PRO

Giannini-CDR-PRO-300x300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

We’ll round things up with what we see as a bonafide hidden gem of today’s market – the CDR-PRO nylon string acoustic-electric guitar from Giannini. The guitar has a smooth finish, a clear, resonant and articulate sound formed by a rosewood body and a solid red cedar top.

But what really stands out here is how amazingly well the neck was crafted, for the listed price of course. It’s a nato piece, which is not exactly top of the line stuff, yet the company managed to craft it into a super playable neck with zero fret noise and maximum comfort. For beginners, that’s a dream come true.


That wraps up the reviews, folks, but there’s more to come, so join us for a discussion on a variety of factors you should take into consideration when buying an instrument for your kid.

Should You Or Your Kid Start Learning How to Play Guitar on An Acoustic or Electric Instrument?

Some folks say that starting out with an acoustic is the way to go because acoustic guitar introduces the player to the intricacies of guitar instead of allowing them to stand behind a wall of electronics. While we agree with this sentiment, we have to say that we simply cannot agree with forcing acoustic six-strings, and are even strongly against it.

The reason is simple – new players, and ESPECIALLY kids, can lose interest easily, and we therefore firmly believe that giving them to play what they want is not the best, but almost the only way to go. Learning guitar needs to be about fun and self-motivation, and imposing too many rules can only have the wrong effect.

So let the kid choose which instrument and which style to play. Once you know that, feel free to go through the fine guitars we’ve listed here and single out the one that suits your child’s needs the most and once it arrives you can safely enroll it to some of the online guitar courses that we recommend.

Apart from that, allow us to assure you that there is not really THAT much difference between acoustic and electric when you start out. Those differences and intricacies will become apparent further along the line, but at the beginning there’s a lot of common ground that needs to be covered first.

In a nutshell, make sure that the interest for playing is alive. As long as that factor is present, it is only natural for the player to get the urge to start exploring other sonic realms. So if you have a metalhead boy yearning for Ibanez shredding, get him that Ibanez even though you like a fine Martin acoustic. Let him learn the way of the axe and appreciation for fine acoustics is simply bound to come. Same goes for any other genre, whether it’s blues, jazz, pop, country, rock, bluegrass, or whatever is hip for those youngsters these days.

Which Size Should I Go For?

This one very much depends on your kid’s age. For most of the cases, we believe that either a 3/4 or a parlor guitar can do the trick, but full-sized instruments are a valid option as well, if your kid is bigger you might want to take a look at the beginner acoustic and starter electric guitars . There’s this rule of thumb as far as guitar size and player’s age goes, something along these lines:

  • 30-inch guitar length for ages 4-6
  • 34-inch guitar length for ages 6-9
  • 36-inch guitar length for ages 9-12
  • Standard size for ages 12 and up

What To Look For When Buying a Guitar For Your Kid?

There’s a variety of factors to keep your eyes open for when getting a guitar for kids. First of all, and probably most obviously, kids are small, meaning that you’ll need to be on the lookout for guitars with smaller bodies – meaning parlor guitars or 3/4 models – as well as a few other factors. Most notably, look for necks that are easy to play, light strings, and bodies that aren’t heavy.

Additionally, be wary of crappy guitars. The market is full of cheap guitars that produce a sound so bad that it’s better not to buy them at all. Filtering our that stuff was one of the key goals and possibly the most arduous task of our search, and we are proud to say that each of the six-strings listed here packs a top bang for the buck, a sound worthy of a musicians, and a price tag that’s fair and reasonable.

How Much Money To Spend When Buying Your Kid a Guitar?

To give you the answer right from the start – $300 tops in most cases, $100 for the budget-friendly folks and $500 for folks who want the best sound. For the average buyer, a solid acoustic guitar with a decent sound can be purchased for anywhere between $150 and $200. Add to that between $50 and $100 for a solid beginner amp, plus $50 for necessary additional gear and you’re on your merry way. This also brings us to an important note that we believe every parent should be aware of upon diving into the whole instrument purchase thing. Read on!

Important Note – What To Take Into Consideration

This is very important to point out – the price of the guitar is NOT the final amount you will spend. If you want a beginner to be able to play that guitar, you will usually need to give at least as much money as the instrument cost for additional gear, which is absolutely necessary.

In case of electric guitars, those can’t produce a sound without a good amp, which is usually $100 for a decent house practice model. But to connect those two, you will need a cable, so add another $10 to the pile. $10 may not seem like a lot, but there’s several pieces like this which add up to a notable sum.

Anyhow, while amps and cables aren’t needed for acoustic guitars (but are still optional for acoustic-electric guitars), the following few pieces of equipment are necessary for BOTH acoustic and electric guitar players.

First of all, a good tuner! Even if they tune the guitar at the shop, it will probably get out of tune by the time you bring it home, and even if it doesn’t, it simply won’t be able to hold the tuning for more than an hour or two of playing. And then what? A newbie player can’t tune a guitar to save his life in 99.99 percent of cases, leaving the kiddo with basically a useless instrument. So get a tuner – it’s easy to use and it will keep the guitar in good shape. In case you don’t know to which notes or “letters” to tune each string, just go like this from top string to bottom string – E, A, D, G, B, E.

Metronome is another essential tool for proper guitar practice and development of musicality, hence we recommend getting a tuner with a built-in metronome. Around $30 should cover it.

Up next on the list is a gig bag or a case. While you can take the guitar home in the cardboard case, the kid will probably need to take the guitar for a spin pretty soon, whether it’s for lessons or rehearsals, and doing so while carrying it in a cardboard casing is unpractical, kinda silly, and risky for the instrument. $30 should do the trick.

One thing you should avoid buying right from the start is any type of guitar effects pedal. Yes, pedals are great, but you do not want to confuse your kid by adding complicated effects right from the start.

The list is not over yet, as you will also need a decent guitar strap. Playing while standing up (with a strap) and while sitting down (without a strap) are two completely different worlds as the muscle positioning is entirely different. Chances are that your kid will strive towards playing live and standing up, hence you’ll need to get that strap from the get-go. $10-$20

Finally, you’ll need some picks, which is like $5, but still crucial. Hopefully you have the clear image here and know what to do next. To conclude with our intro note, don’t get carried away and think that you’re buying just the guitar.

New Guitar vs. Used Guitar

We have to say new. The majority of guitars we offered belong in the budget-friendly realm, and needless to say – they are more prone to damage. Therefore, we believe that the best option is to buy a new instrument and start fresh. Starting with faulty gear can have a devastating impact on that musical journey, and we say steer clear from it.

But that’s not saying you can’t get a good deal in the second had department. Bargains are definitely out there, but so are the risks. Therefore, if you are delving into the realms of used instruments, make sure that you either know guitars or bring along someone who does. Apart from that, happy shopping!

Guitar Lessons – Private Tutoring or Online? And Should You Pay For Lessons in the First Place?

Answering the latter question first – yes, we believe that kids need lessons. In the absolute majority of cases, kids aren’t exactly capable of guiding themselves and teachers are absolutely necessary.

As for the online lessons vs. tutoring debate, the correct answer is – utilize all resources. Essentially, there are two aspects – the lessons and tools for improvement and exercise.

These days, it doesn’t make that much of a difference whether you’re meeting with the teacher in person or you’re taking lessons through Skype, hence we can say that both options are valid. What matters more than that is how good the teacher is, and that’s where you need to search for references, reviews of previous students and stuff like that.

What’s also a good thing to do is see that the teacher’s specialized areas include your kid’s music of choice. So if the kid’s into blues, find a good blues teacher. We’ve already discussed this and how essential it is to nurture your child’s natural musical tendencies.

If you’re interested, you can consult our list of Top 3 Best Guitar Lesson sites for a selection of the best choices out there, all of which have a strong reputation and some of the finest guitar tutors in the world.

What About Guitar Tabs?

Tabs allow you to learn the specific songs quickly and efficiently. While tabs are great, concise and easy to grasp, they are the least efficient tool when it comes to developing musicality. That’s because they mostly teach us to memorize a string of numbers and learn the song by heart and not through the feel.

And it’s not just that tab users often end up without any scale or music theory knowledge, that’s not exactly a major big deal; what is a big issue is that using tabs can turn you into a robot who cannot improvise, play by feel or compose music, al of which are crucial parts of being a musician.

And this is not a jab against tabs, but more like a warning of sorts. Use tabs, of course, but use them wisely.

What else can be found on the internet to help for free?

As for the other side of the online world, a lot can be done to help the development of musicality and playing technique. First of all, an abundance of video lessons can be found via YouTube, along with interesting discussions and general guidelines.

Secondly, there are blogs and vlogs that can inspire and encourage the kiddo to push that music thing further, so keep an eye out for those as well. Video content is where it’s at these days, so make sure to bookmark or subscribe to any channel with valuable lessons and guitar content in general.

As always, be a fan first

Music is all about passion, and that passion stems from being a fan of music. You can love music in general, you can only love a certain genre, as long as the spark is there, you’re all good. So if you want your kid to be passionate about music, being passionate about it yourself doesn’t hurt.

Play music, make sure your kid has access to music libraries on the web, discuss music with them, and don’t tell them what they should and should not listen to. Rest assured that being a fan of music can be as important for your kid to as being a musician.

Last Words

We have steadily reached the end of our journey here, folks! Hopefully this guide has been of use to you, hopefully you’ve learned something, and hopefully you’ve found the right guitar for your kiddo.

What is now up to you is to find out and jot down your child’s exact needs, preferences and musical taste, as well as your spending budget, and single out the instrument that seems as the best fit. Don’t hesitate to show the kid some of the guitars listed here, if they know what they want that’s even better!

If you liked this stuff and would like to stay in touch for additional updates, guides and killer deals, make sure to stay tuned to Guitar Fella. Now get this thing on the move, you have a young guitar virtuoso waiting for a new six-string to wield! On a side note, if you already got the guitar and you are wondering from where your kid should start, this is a good video: