Best 1/2 Size Guitar: Acoustic/Nylon/Electric Guitars For 4-12 Year Olds

This is my review of the 1/2 Size Guitar. There are 3 main categories to my roundup review, Acoustic/Nylon, and Electric Guitars.

The ½ size guitar is very suitable for children or smaller hands. It also makes a good travel guitar for people who do not wish to buy an expensive full size instrument.

Generally, these guitars are used for kids but don’t let that put you off. I have known adults use them as well, especially for camping or traveling abroad where weight is important to carry around.

A 1/2 guitar is a great way to get started playing guitar. They’re very low priced and make the most amazing gifts. 

Let’s look at my recommendations for the half size guitar. 

Quick View: 1 2 Size Guitars We Love

Our Top 3

Why Is A 1 2 Size Guitar So Good To Learn With?

  • A 1/2 size has less string tension which means it’s ideal for small soft hands of children
  • It is proportioned more like a full sized guitar making transitioning to a full size easier
  • Most ½ guitars are nylon stringed which means they don’t go out of tune as much (depending on the guitar)
  • The smaller size makes it easier to handle and carry
  • Perfect ratio for children to quickly become comfortable with
  • Great for travel or camping because of their small size and reduced mass
  • Can be easier to play sitting down due to the closer nut-to-body distance
  • Easier to play quietly

Guitar Size Chart

1 2 size guitar chart

Age And Size

The size of the guitar is very important. We also need to consider a child’s age, as different guitars are available for each stage in their development.

There’s an easy chart below that can help you find what will work best with your little one! 

Young hands are much more sensitive than adult ones and so they might need lighter gauge strings or fret sizes just because it hurts less when overstretched this way; whereas adults usually don’t mind stretching things out too far even if there was some discomfort involved. 

*This is a rough estimate but can help you decide on a suitable instrument.

Age HeightGuitar SizeTotal Guitar Length
4-61.04 to 1.14 m1/430″+
6-91.14 to 1.30 m1/234″+
9-121.30 to 1.42 m3/436″
10-121.44 to 1.60 m7/838″
12+1.60+ mFull41″

Our 1/2 Size Guitar Full Review

Nylon String/Classical Guitars

1- Wood Guitar with Case and Accessories for Kids/Beginners

Best For 4-5 Year Olds

Young Children 1 2 size guitar

Pros: Great For An Introduction Into Guitar, Amazing Gift Idea, Low Priced, Handy Extras

Cons: Cheaply Made, Not Ideal To ‘Learn’ With

Massive 5 star ratings. This beginner guitar is the right choice for someone just starting to take an interest or looking to get a foot in the door with a bit of fun. 

This guitar features nylon strings, which are great for beginners since they don’t cause much pain when fingers touch them or press down on them.

The guitar’s durable construction will keep it in shape even if dropped off a table accidentally so you don’t have to worry about expensive repairs afterward!

Comes highly reviewed by customers as well as beginner guitarists seeking guidance on their first stringed instrument.

Included with the guitar is a tuner, picks, strap, an extra set of strings in case you break one when learning to play your favorite tune. All this will be inside a handy case so you can take your beginner classical guitar anywhere!

Packing the guitar away, putting it away to keep it safe is also important. Not only are children learning how to get enjoyment from a guitar, but how to value and care for one.

I would recommend this as a way of gaining interest into guitar. It’s a huge seller so guitars of this kind definitely serve a purpose.

Not only that, you’re given a choice of 10 stunning colors which children would love.

2- Yamaha Cgs102aii 1/2 Size Nylon String Acoustic Guitar

Best Budget Nylon For Entry Level

Yamaha easy to play guitar

Pros: Reliable, Big Seller, Renowned Yamaha Range, Low Priced, Very Comfortable

Cons: None

If you’re looking for a ‘proper’ guitar to learn with. This is absolutely 100% the perfect starter instrument. 

It’s well known in the guitar world that Yamaha manufactures the best entry level instruments on the market. 

With a cedar, spruce top, and mahogany back and sides the Yamaha CGS102Aii will deliver a sound to warm your heart. 

You will be able to make memories with family or friends as you strum away on this amazing instrument. 

As it’s a lightweight nylon string guitar, it’s perfect for those beginners who want an affordable introductory guitar that features many very good features such as tonewoods of high-quality construction. 

The Yamaha CGS102Aii might be one of the best nylon string acoustic guitars for beginners and even intermediate players due to its ease of playability.

Whether you’re just starting out your musical career or learning how to squeeze in some practice time at the office, this Yamaha guitar is the perfect companion. 

It’s convenient when you don’t want to lug around or if your budget is tight and it’s all about the bang-for-buck. 

This nylon string model plays like a full size classical guitar with looks that can be part of any décor!

The sound of the Yamaha CGS102Aii is as sweet as can be, and you’re going to love strumming those nylon strings.

It has a spruce top for that gorgeous timber tone and a nato neck with a rosewood bridge for added stability between your fingers.

A very popular instrument for players of all skill levels. Yamaha is certainly a trustworthy brand and should be in your thoughts before parting with your hard-earned cash. 

3- Cordoba 580 1/2-Size Acoustic Nylon-String Classical Requinto

Best Nylon/Classical Guitar

cordoba most comfortable to play 1 2 size guitar

Pros: Best Bang For Buck, Handcrafted, Reliable Builder in Cordoba, Perfect For Beginners

Cons: Price May Deter Buyers

You’re a classical musician looking to take your first steps towards the next level of complexity? 

Cordoba can handle those scales and arpeggios with ease. The rosewood detail that caps off the exquisite rosette will only sweeten the deal for you! 

With this finely crafted guitar from Cordoba, you’ll have what it takes to go from aspiring amateur to professional in no time.

One of the best-sounding guitars in its price range, Cordoba’s 1/2 size Requinto guitar will project your music with a sharp punch. 

The handcrafted solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides provide plenty of resonance for considering it’s a nylon string classical model. 

Featuring Indian rosewood detailing on the distinctive hand-inlaid all-natural wood rosette, Cordoba’s unrivaled craftsmanship is seen everywhere in this instrument.

The Cordoba family of guitars is known across the globe for its beauty, quality, and value. The 5-fan Torres style bracing on this nylon string classical guitar not only makes it extra attractive but also produces a rich Spanish sound that is perfect for smaller hands or beginning players.

*This guitar has a scale length of 22.8″ which is just on the limit for the ½ size guitar. Even though the guitar is advertised as ½ size, the ¾ size scale starts at 23”. This size guitar would suit children from around 8/9+, as younger children may find it difficult to play. 

Acoustic Guitars

4- Yamaha Jr2 Acoustic Guitar (Tobacco Brown Sunburst)

Best Entry Level Acoustic

Yamaha 1 2 size acoustic guitar

Pros: Best Acoustic Build, Bigger Sound, Stunning Looks, Comfortable Neck, Very Popular

Cons: None

If you’re ready to step up from the nylon strings to the steel strings. Here is your first stop. 

Even though (again) the Yamaha JR2 is advertised as  ‘¾ size guitars’. The scale length is (21 1/4″). Which in my book makes it a ½ size guitar. Maybe advertising it as a ¾ size makes it more buyable? I don’t know. 

Anyway, with its petite size and a natural sound, the Yamaha Jr2 acoustic guitar is super easy to take along with you anywhere! Great for campfire sing-alongs or your next family reunion. 

The Yamaha Jr2’s Mahogany finish creates a beautiful look that will turn heads wherever you go. Comes with a durable gig bag for transport too!

The JR2 Acoustic Guitar is a small and reliable one for songsters just learning their way around the instrument. 

The curved neck and body shape conspire to produce a tone that can project through any venue, even in small acoustic spaces. 

And at this price point, we’re not talking “starter” quality as seen on eBay – this guitar will stand up against guitars twice as expensive. As I’ve mentioned previously, Yamaha produces the best entry level guitars across the board. 

This stunning Tobacco Brown flavor is the perfect first guitar for beginners of all ages. With its solid maple wood, glossy lacquer finish, Yamaha’s renowned craftsmanship, and convenient size, this compact model ensures every note is clear to the listener with its balanced tone that projects beautifully.

Don’t let the compact size fool you! The JR2 guitar is perfect for beginners and even experienced players. A very comfortable guitar to play.

Its small body makes it easy for children and 1st-time players. Positive feedback includes good sound, great build, and overall excellent workmanship.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get your Yamaha Jr2 Acoustic Guitar today!

5- Epiphone El Nino Travel Acoustic Guitar

Best Traveler Option

Epiphone El Nino with Mahogany body material

Pros: Beautiful Looking, Ideal For Learners or Travelers Of All Ages, Lightweight, Small

Cons: Satin Finish is Very Soft

Whether you’re looking for a little practice on the go or your first guitar, the Epiphone El Nino is worth looking into. 

It’s perfect for making quick tunes with friends at beaches, campsites, and bonfires. 

For both kids and pros alike (it even has some features that might make it easier for more seasoned folks to play), this travel-sized acoustic can be taken anywhere without any hassle.

The EL NINO Acoustic Guitar is a perfect introduction to playing the guitar. The adjustable truss rod and steel strings provide the necessary tension, so your child can now start playing with ease whilst being comfortable with the small size.

At just 2 pounds, this lightweight guitar is easy for small hands to handle as they learn.

It has a spruce top with mahogany back & sides which improves sound projection and volume without sacrificing tonal quality or dynamic range.

This guitar features an antique natural finish and layered Agathis back and sides for a rich tone that belies its compact size. 

One of the smallest acoustic guitars in the world, there are no age limitations on our slim little friend!

This little dreadnought has materials suitable for any season and gives off a reliable tone within easy range of your heartstrings! 

It also has 20 medium frets, dot inlays, 22.68″ scale length, and versatile ¼” nickel silver tuners with white buttons that “clerk-bray” when pressed from both directions.

Epiphone is a powerhouse in the guitar manufacturing world and this charming acoustic is another product you can put your trust into. 

A very well-made acoustic guitar if you want to take things seriously.

Electric Guitars

6- Electric Guitar Kit with Amp

Best For Gift Idea (4-5 Year Olds)

Learn To Play The Guitar KIt

Pros: Lovely Gift Idea, Small And Lightweight, Superb Colors, Super Affordable

Cons: Not Ideal For Learning ‘Properly

If you’re looking to get your child into playing guitar you may not want to spend too much to start with. This electric guitar may spark some sort of interest, which is exactly what you need to do. 

Amped UP and Ready to Rock. This awesome mini guitar is just the right size for kids who want to gain some guitar interest just like their heroes on tv! 

The easy-to-use beginner guitar has extremely soft strings and is a very comfortable size for a 4 year old upwards. You get a small amp and a cable with the package, so your kid can start rocking straight out the box. 

My daughter has one of these and she just loves making noise with it whilst I play. Although if she did start wanting to learn ‘properly’ i would buy a better guitar. Having the initial interest in playing is what these guitars are perfect for. 

With an array of bright colors and a fully working pickup, your child can create bedlam (beware!). 

One major plus is the durability of these. Although very affordable, don’t be fooled, they’re tough! As we’re not expecting a 4 year old to not bang it a few times. 

Tuning pegs are ok but you’ll probably need to tighten them yourself (with a Phillips screwdriver). It does stay in tune but you’ll need to be patient to start with. 

Not a pro guitar by any means but for the price, this is definitely my favorite pick at the lower end of the budget.

Includes gig bag, cable, extra strings, strap, 2 picks, amplifier (9V battery not included), and a wrench. 

7- Ibanez Grgm21 Mikro Electric Guitar

Best Choice For The Kid Rocker

Ibanez Rock Guitar For Younger Players

Pros: Stunning Looks, Reliable Manufacturer, Great Price, Lightweight

Cons: Not As Musically Versatile

The Ibanez GIO Mikro Mini is great for young rockers and older ones who seek tour bus convenience. 

It has the same look, tone, balance, and features of its big brothers in a scaled-down size. 

The durable maple body with custom single-coil pickups offers balanced nuances without sacrificing clarity or tonal richness.

Considering the size of this guitar it packs an incredibly punchy feel to produce a well-balanced sound. 

The GIO Mikro Mini is perfect for kids because of its smaller size and lightweight. But don’t let that fool you! This mini ax can get ample aggressive tones whilst the high-quality Ibanez builds will see you through the years. 

Designed with comfort in mind, easy for little hands to practice on. Includes a 2 way Truss Rod and mahogany body and neck for east alterations.

All these features make this one powerhouse electric guitar available at an incredibly low price!

With a shorter scale than normal guitars, comfortable playing position, and durable poplar wood body in either sleek black or dazzling white finish – this is the perfect miniature ax for learners and traveling guitar players alike. 

The 24 frets are great for shredding solos or soloing chords with ease thanks to their Sharktooth inlays. 

Looks super professional when it finally comes time to play in front of your friend’s thanks to chrome hardware included on this Ibanez guitar. Including fixed bridge/ tuners and two beautiful colors. 

Plugging into this little number will reveal how well PSND Humbuckers can dish out killer tones without sacrificing anything due to its small size!

If you’re looking to take the electric guitar seriously, this is definitely a safe starting place. 

Just look at it!!

8- Squier Mini Strat V2 Electric Guitar

Best Electric Guitar To Learn With

Squire 1 2 size electric guitar

Pros: Very Popular Starter Guitar, Affordable, Durable, Rights to Use The Real Fender Strat Build Specifications

Cons: Heavier and Longer, Maybe Wouldn’t Suit Smaller Children

The world-famous Stratocaster shape. Squire has the rights to use the classic specifications of the Fender Strat. So you’re already onto a winner when it comes to build quality.

The Mini Strat from Squier is one of the most versatile guitars available. It’s a great instrument for a teenager learning their first instrument, a musician who wants to start at an early age, or someone looking for a smaller guitar to take on the go. 

Plus, its full suite of pickups and 5-way switching lets you find the perfect sound suited to every style of music – from sparkly clean tones with just enough grit for classic blues, all the way up to cutting rock sounds that bring contemporary edge!

A maple neck, polyurethane gloss finish (basically means it’s a really tough-bodied guitar). Rosewood fretboard and 6 steel strings in standard tuning E-A-D-G-B-E.

At 4kgs in weight, it’s the heaviest guitar so far. 

The Guitar is again advertised as a 3/4 size, but the scale length is 22.75” which makes it fit into my ½ category. 

It would suit the older player from 9-12. If the child would like to take the guitar seriously, then this Fender model is hands down your best choice.

Check out the beautiful colors and finish on these guitars (Dakota Red, Black, and Shell Pink). It would make a truly magical gift for your child. 

Important Tips To Know

Enthusiasm Is Key

The ‘best guitar’ for your child is the guitar that keeps them enthusiastic and coming back for more. 

1 2 size guitar

It has to be a fun learning process, It’s as simple as that. Kids already have enough going on in their heads in today’s busy world.

We’ve also got to battle against the instant gratification of the Xbox and technology as a whole. 

I am a parent and a musician in this very position. A guitar for kids could be the escape they’re looking for.

Receiving a guitar as a gift is truly a life-changing experience. Learning to play guitar has an incredible effect on a child’s health and wellbeing. 

We’ve even written an article about it: ‘The Fascinating Benefits Of Playing Guitar’

Follow Their Lead

A child needs to be kept inspired. So buying a guitar that suits their musical interest would be the best option. 

For instance, if they like pop music, go for the little strat type guitar and Nile Rodgers type tone, or if they love rock music, get some gain behind their sound.

If your child loves fingerpicking or mellow strumming sounds, then go for an acoustic guitar for kids. You may end up with the next Ed Sheeran.

If you are buying for a very young child, maybe 4 or 5 years old, then stick to something small and fun. You firstly need to make the process fun. So buying a proper guitar ‘probably’ isn’t the answer. 

Adapt the instrument and the tone around the child’s initial interest. This can all change later, but that’s ok. It’s very important to embrace that initial interest.

About Lee

Lee has been playing guitar for over 25 years. In the 1990's he made a few TV appearances in London and supported a few big bands at festivals. He's recently sung on radio and worked as a full-time guitarist/singer. Lee is the founder of Authority Guitar, a site where he wants readers to enjoy every aspect of learning the guitar.