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

Last Updated: Feb-14-2018
We made several changes to this kid-friendly guitar article, which included removing a few dated models, such as the Rogue Rocketeer RR50 electric guitar, and the Giannini CDR-PRO in the acoustic section. In came the awesome Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion and the Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster, as well as the quality Yamaha APXT2 and the super-affordable affordable Hohner HAG250P.

Parents, there’s a lot of work to be done! Getting your child interested in taking up the guitar can often be a major task in itself, but then come some added headaches – finding the right instrument and equipment, seeking out the right teacher, and keeping them motivated are just a few things you need to consider.

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 Acoustic Guitars For Kids:

ImageAcoustic Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Martin LX1 Little Martin Martin LX1 Little Martin

Total of 4.72/5  

Big name, small guitar, big quality, small price!

+ - Yamaha JR1 Yamaha JR1

Total of 4.57/5  

Well-rounded sonic punch with warm basses.

+ - Fender MA-1 Fender MA-1

Total of 4.72/5  

A very popular small-scale steel-string from Fender.

+ - Taylor Taylor Swift Signature Taylor Taylor Swift Signature

Total of 4.58/5  

Endorsed by Taylor Swift, this signature acoustic is compact, comfortable and cool!

+ - Yamaha APXT2 Yamaha APXT2

Total of 4.70/5  

A super-cool compact version of Yamaha’s best-selling electro-acoustic.

+ - Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

Total of 4.47/5  

Perfectly acceptable by beginner standards

+ - Luna Aurora Borealis Luna Aurora Borealis

Total of 4.63/5  

A great value model from Luna, with awesome lunar-themed design.

+ - Hohner HAG250P Hohner HAG250P

Total of 4.08/5  

A cheap and cheerful 1/2 size classical guitar from Hohner.

Martin LX1 Little Martin

Martin LX1 Little Martin

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While we love the Baby Taylor, Martin’s LX1 Little Martin certainly gives it a run for its money, offering a big-name guitar at a small price. But it’s not the price that’s the only small thing – this acoustic has a tiny 23” scale length, which makes it perfect for smaller-handed players and travel.

The body is made from a HPL mahogany on the back and sides, capped with a solid Sitka spruce top delivering a well-balanced tone with nice warmth.

As we mention in the full review of the Little Martin, there are no electronics on this version (check out the LX1E for that), but the hardware it comes with supports the overall feeling of quality. A solid purchase for any small handed guitarist.

Yamaha JR1

Yamaha JR1

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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.

Fender MA-1

Fender MA-1

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Fender had to make an appearance on this list and they fully justify their place with this quality little MA-1 – a steel-string guitar which offers good style, playability and sound for a very wallet-friendly price.

It sports a traditional 3/4 scale parlor body, with an X-braced laminated agathis top and laminated sapele back and sides. There’s a C-shaped nato neck with a rosewood fretboard and 18 frets. Both body and neck feature a very comfortable satin finish. It sounds pretty good, with enough warmth to avoid any tinny sound.

As we mention in our full review of Fender’s MA-1, the guitar comes with a pretty good set of sealed die-cast chrome tuners, as well as a rosewood bridge and simple gig bag.

Taylor Taylor Swift Signature

Taylor Taylor Swift Signature

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One of the more expensive child-friendly steel-string guitars on this list, this Baby Taylor features exclusive soundhole rosette artwork and signature of global superstar Taylor Swift.

With a compact 3/4-scale dreadnought shape, the Taylor Swift signature – as highlighted in our full review – features a solid Sitka spruce top with laminated sapele back and sides. There’s a tropical American mahogany neck, which is comfortable for smaller hands, and a 19-fret ebony fretboard.

The guitar is fitted with great hardware including a set of good quality die-cast chrome tuners, an ebony bridge and Elixir coated strings, and also comes with a great little padded gig bag. It sounds pretty sweet too – well-balanced and quite rich in tone for such a small body.

Yamaha APXT2

Yamaha APXT2

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Originally featuring on our chart of acoustic guitars for players with small hands, Yamaha’s APXT2 is also an excellent guitar for kids, with a thinline body and a compact 3/4 scale. It also shows great value for the quality and style on offer.

With several color choices, The APXT2 is made with laminated spruce on the top, along with dark meranti on the back and sides. The small, fast neck is very comfortable for kids, with a rosewood fretboard and a total of 21 easily-accessible frets.

For kids who’ve advanced past the beginner stage, it features simple Yamaha electronics for amplifying their sound, along with a handy built-in tuner. Our full review of Yamaha’s APXT2 gives you all the details.

Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

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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.

Luna Aurora Borealis

Luna Aurora Borealis

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Not all affordable kids guitars have to look the same, as Luna’s gorgeous Aurora Borealis is out to prove. This cool steel-string model has a traditional 3/4 scale non-cutaway body and a comfortable small hand-friendly mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard.

The 19-fret neck and laminated basswood body come enrobed in either pink, blue, black or white, all with a sparkly finish, along with a moon-shaped soundhole rosette and Luna’s intricate moon phase fret-marker inlays.

Overall it feels pretty well-built and sturdy enough, while the sound is clear and bright, but well-balanced. As we outline in the full review of Luna’s Aurora Borealis, hardware includes sealed die-cast chrome tuners, stock strings and a simple gig bag.

Hohner HAG250P

Hohner HAG250P

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For the price of a couple of pizzas, the Hohner HAG250P is a 1/2 size nylon-stringed guitar that proves it’s much more than a toy. It sports a traditional body shape and construction, made with laminated agathis on the top, back and sides.

Mahogany is used for the neck, with hardwood making up the fretboard and bridge. For such a cheap instrument it feels lightweight but sturdy, and is a good partner for kids aged around 5 to 8 learning the guitar for the first time.

As we talk about further in the Hohner HAG250P’s full review, the tuning machines let it down a little, but the overall sound is one that’s very acceptable for beginners. For the price, it’s hard to complain.

Top 7 Best Electric Guitars For Kids:

ImageElectric Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Squier Strat Mini Squier Strat Mini

Total of 4.84/5  

A miniature version of the iconic Fender Stratocaster.

+ - Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack

Total of 4.74/5  

Awesome Les Paul style, tone and playability.

+ - Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion

Total of 4.75/5  

The iconic Jackson Dinky in an even dinkier package!

+ - Ibanez GRGM21BKN Ibanez GRGM21BKN

Total of 4.74/5  

Probably the best metal guitar for kids.

+ - Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster

Total of 4.82/5  

A MARVELous choice of electric guitar for kids.

+ - Dean Playmate Evo J Dean Playmate Evo J

Total of 4.58/5  

A solid child-friendly entry from Dean’s affordable Evo series.

+ - Mitchell MM100 Mitchell MM100

Total of 4.53/5  

Mitchell’s budget kids model shows off serious superstrat style.

Squier Strat Mini

Squier Strat Mini

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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

Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack

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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.

Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion

Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion

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With all the kick-ass style of a regular Dinky, but with a kid-friendly 2/3 size and comfortable neck, the Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion finds itself close to the top of this chart – especially when you consider the affordable price.

The Minion sports a cool Super Strat body shape with a big choice of colors, including Neon Orange, Ferrari Red and Gloss Black, among others. There’s a slim maple neck and rosewood fretboard with 24 jumbo frets for easy playing.

As well as the style and playability, the Minion sounds pretty great both clean and with distortion, partly thanks to the two humbucker pickups. You can read more about this cool little axe in the complete review Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion.

Ibanez GRGM21BKN

Ibanez GRGM21BKN

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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.

Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster

Peavey Iron Man Rockmaster

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If Iron Man played a guitar, chances are this would be it! The powerful Marvel superhero features prominently on the body of this cool 3/4 size electric guitar, aimed at kids and players with smaller hands.

The glossy basswood body features the tried-and-tested Super Strat shape, with a reduced 22.5” scale length for excellent playability and comfort. As we talk about in the full Iron Man Rockmaster review, this affordable guitar is quite basic in its hardware, but it all works well.

Keeping things simple, Peavy offer a single humbucker (which surprisingly features coil-splitting capabilities), tone and volume controls, and a fixed bridge. As for sound, it’s not the fullest on this list, but quite good for the price.

Dean Playmate Evo J

Dean Playmate Evo J

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As part of Dean’s entry-level Evo series, the Playmate Evo J is a child-friendly model, with some stylish attitude and a pretty good rock sound to match. The Evo J is a petite 18.75” scale length electric guitar, with a glossy black single-cutaway body made of solid basswood.

It features a bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium jumbo frets. The guitar is voiced by two DMT-designed humbuckers at the neck and bridge, with master volume and tone controls, and a three-way pickup selector switch.

You can find some thick distorted tones, while the pickups offer good clarity. Make sure to check out our full review of Dean’s Playmate Evo J for more details.

Mitchell MM100

Mitchell MM100

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While the Mitchell MM100 lacks a little something in the tone department, what you get for your cash is one good-looking electric guitar! With a small hand-friendly 22.5” scale length, the MM100 features a cool superstrat body with nice curves and edges.

There’s a basswood body along with a bolt-on maple neck that features a shallow C shape, an Indian rosewood fretboard and a full 24 medium jumbo frets. The three color choices – glossy Blood Red, glossy Black, or matte-finished Walnut Stain – are all excellent for the price too.

The hardware is acceptable and the two humbuckers give a thick distorted tone, which is good for beginner rock! We discuss this more in the complete review of the Mitchell MM100.

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.

Learning to Play Acoustic or Electric – What’s Better?

Some folks say that starting out with an acoustic guitar is the way to go because acoustics introduce the player to the intricacies of the instrument, instead of allowing them to stand behind a wall of electronics. While we agree with this sentiment, we do not agree with forcing a child to play an acoustic guitar.

The reason is simple. New players – especially kids – can lose interest easily. By allowing them to play the instrument THEY want and not what you feel is best, you will probably see improvement in their playing and attitude towards practicing. Learning guitar should be a fun, self-motivated activity, and imposing too many rules can have a negative 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.

Important: Love Music Yourself

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.

The Final Word

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:


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