If your kid is interested in playing guitar, you are going to need to find them a good beginner instrument. Which one that will be is going to depend on the size of guitar your kid is comfortable playing. That is one of the biggest issues that needs to be solved when it comes to children and guitars.
The whole thing about guitar sizes can be divided into two categories – acoustics and electric guitars. As you probably already figured out, finding smaller electric guitars is not going to be that easy. Today we are going to show you what your options are, and how to get your kid a guitar that properly fits them.
Acoustic guitars come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Most standard dimensions range from Concert to Jumbo, both of which are usually too large for an average child to play. Speaking of which, the age of your kid is also a big factor. For example, not all 9-year-old kids are the same size, so it’s probably going to come down to you taking your kid to the guitar shop and trying different models for size.
So, what is the most important aspect of finding the correct size of a guitar for your kid? Simply put – comfort. If your kid is not comfortable playing a specific model of a guitar – in other words they can’t reach the neck, or wrap their arm around the sound box – they won’t develop their skills nearly as well as they would on a guitar that fits them.
In terms of acoustic guitars, the smallest ones you can find are the travel and parlor guitars. These are going to be about 2/3 of a size compared to a standard Dreadnought acoustic guitar. Aside from their smaller size, their shape is also pretty comfortable for kids.
If that is too large, you always have ukuleles, however considering that scales are completely different on those instruments, it’s better you start with the smallest actual guitar you can find. For a good source of ideas, check out our pick for best guitars for kids.
When it comes to electric guitars, things are a lot less flexible. The main issue here is that you will rarely find scaled down electric guitars. Fortunately, electric guitars are generally easier for kids to play since there is no thick soundbox to deal with.
The only real issue is whether or not your child is capable of working the neck. In other words, the question is whether they can reach the first several frets on the fretboard. For most kids aged 10 and older, playing a standard electric guitar should be a problem.
For kids younger than 10, there are scaled down electric guitars which will give them a pretty accurate representation of what it feels like to play the real thing. These models have working electronics and a somewhat decent sound when plugged into an amp.
However, since they come with a much smaller scale, making the jump from these compact models to a full sized guitar might be problematic down the road. On the other hand, it’s a solution that works. Just know that your choice is going to be a lot more limited compared to buying standard electric guitars.
One thing you need to pay attention to on both the acoustic and electric guitars is the height of the action. On electric guitars, this is something that is a lot easier to setup. You definitely want to set up your kid’s electric with a low action as it is going to be much easier to play.
If you would like to know some other factors that you need to pay attention to when shopping for your kid’s first guitar, check out our article that deals with this topic in depth ‘How to Choose Guitars For Kids’.
We have established so far that playing comfort is the number one criteria when choosing your kid’s first guitar. Everything else comes in a distant second place. With that said, it’s recommended that you go for the largest sizes of guitars that you child can handle. The first reason being that you will usually find a much better choice of models if you are shopping for a full sized guitar.
The second reason that also deserves some attention is the fact that your kid is going to grow, so a guitar that is barely within the limits of their comfort zone is also going to be just right in a year or two. The best way to figure out the correct guitar size for your child is to go together to a guitar store and start trying out different models. Once you find the size that works, you can start looking at models that come in said size.