It’s not an easy task trying to get your kid into playing guitar when they have so much more going on in their lives.
We at AuthorityGuitar have extensively reviewed the children’s guitar market and narrowed it down to assist you.
We give you a much clearer idea of the route to take before buying the best kids guitar. We also have valuable information on what size guitar will fit your little rock star.
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’
What Is The Best Guitar For A Child?
Enthusiasm Is Key
There is no direct answer to this question. The ‘best guitar’ for your child is the guitar that keeps them enthusiastic and coming back for more. That being said, that’s why you’re here, and were going to help you through any queries you may have.
It has to be a fun learning process, It’s as simple as that. Children 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.
I am a parent and a musician in this very position. A guitar for kids could be the escape they’re looking for. It was for me.
Age And Size
The size of the guitar is obviously very important. We also need to consider the child’s age. There are different size guitars to suit various ages of children. We have written out a clear, simple chart for you to follow below.
Young hands are much more sensitive to pain, so we have to look at lighter gauge strings. Fret sizes also vary, overstretching can also be difficult and painful for small hands. Finding a suitable guitar would firstly be based on your child’s overall size.
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 the fingerpicking or mellow strumming sounds, then go for an acoustic guitar for kids. You may end up with the next Ed Sheeran.
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.
Quick Glance: The 8 Best Kids Guitars
Electric Guitar or Acoustic?
Consider These Two Factors
An acoustic is ideal for a child who has no real idea of what musical influence to follow. An acoustic guitar is portable and can be ideal for school lessons, carrying back and forth, and is considerably much lighter than an electric.
It’s like a blank slate, you can learn without the tweaking of the knobs, messy distortion, or understanding what an acceptable volume is.
No cables, no strap, no amp, no picks necessary! An acoustic can be played with nothing but the guitar and your fingers. Can also be good for the longevity of Mum and Dad’s eardrums.
My daughter is 6 years old, she simply enjoys plugging into my amp with me and making noises. She has a mini electric guitar (it’s bright pink). For me, this is great, she has that initial interest. Although she’s not interested in learning anything yet (because it takes longer than 15 seconds). But for me, this is very exciting, she has a curiosity. This could be molded into something later in her life.
She also has a Ukulele but is not interested in it because I don’t play one. She wants to make noises like her Dad. In this scenario, I probably wouldn’t buy her an acoustic guitar.
The whole reason I wanted to start playing guitar all those years ago, I heard those dive-bombing noises of Jimi Hendrix. That was all I wanted to do. That was my ‘initial interest’. It’s really up to you as a parent to judge between acoustic or electric.
So my example was to get you thinking of your child’s route into the guitar. Follow the interest of your child. Keep it fun. Nurture the interest. You’ll stand a much better chance of success.
To the people who say you should learn on a classical guitar first, I can’t disagree to an extent. A classical guitar has a clear tone and has soft nylon strings. But in my opinion, you should follow your child’s personal interests first (and, classical guitars aren’t easy to play by no stretch of the imagination).
What Size Guitar Should I Buy?
Comfort is King!
There are quite a few variants in guitar sizes, but in general, we can narrow it down into the most commonly used.
Here’s a rough guide to follow:
|Age||Height||Guitar Size||Total Guitar Length|
|4-6||1.04 to 1.14 m||1/4||30′|
|6-9||1.14 to 1.30 m||1/2||34′|
|9-12||1.30 to 1.42 m||3/4||36′|
|10-12||1.44 to 1.60 m||7/8||38′|
Best Kids Guitar 2020 Review
- Pros: Very Light In Weight, Nylon Strings, Nice Flashcards Pics With Chord Diagrams, Beautiful Range Of Colours, Comes With App Lesson Too
- Cons: The Sound Isn’t As Nice As A Ukulele
At 22 inches in length, the Loog Mini gives a child of 3+ a chance to get into playing. Strings are made from Nylon, so it’s very soft on little fingertips. There are three strings tuned G-B-E (like a standard guitar). The body is made from real wood (Linden wood). 422gs in weight, so very very light for a toddler to carry around the house.
Personally, I’m so pleased there is a product out there for children to learn at such a young age. This is not a toy, the strings need to be tuned and kept as a normal instrument. It’s very sturdy so can take a toddler battering. The Loog Mini would make a perfect gift and is a lovely introduction into music. Well done Loog, 5-star product.
- Pros: Reputable Acoustic Brand, Comes With Gig Bag, Lacquer Finish, Amazing Tone, Easy To Press Strings
- Cons: It’s Very Small
As I was reviewing so many guitars, I didn’t realize there is a hybrid kids’ guitar. Yamaha are the leaders in children’s guitars, they are a well-respected manufacturer. Built using Yamaha’s specifications.
This model, the GL1 is 70cm/27.5′. This is bigger than a Ukulele but smaller than a 1/4 size guitar. Again, this would suit a very young child around 4-6. It’s a real instrument, not a toy. Yamaha has crafted a beautiful instrument which sounds fantastic considering its overall size. As the guitar is finished in lacquer, it’s durable and will handle the dings and bangs better than its competitors. Nylon strings for soft little fingers, tuning is (A/D/G/C/E/A). Check out the four classy colors too (black, natural, persimmon brown, and tobacco sunburst brown)
- Pros: Inexpensive, Great Starter Pack, Durable As Hell, Great 1st Electric Guitar,
- Cons: Tuning Pegs May Slip If Not Tightened
The 3rd Avenue Junior guitar collection supplies you with a 30inch guitar (1/4 size), an amplifier with cable, strap, picks, and a gig bag. This is a nice starter pack at a very good price.
My daughter has one of these guitars and they’re fine for messing around on keeping them interested. Comes with a reasonably good pickup that can be plugged into any amp situation. Extremely durable but need a bit of setting up, to begin with. High gloss red or black finish and made from Linden wood. Tuning pegs are ok but you’ll probably need to tighten them yourself (with a Philips screwdriver).
The Amp is very small, it’s literally just a box that makes a noise (runs off a 9v batt). Don’t expect Dave Gilmour’s tone here. Steel strings so would suit a child 5+, even though the strings are gauge 9. Which is super soft, just not nylon soft.
Not a pro guitar by any means but for the price and extras, this is definitely my favorite pick at the lower end of the budget.
- Pros: World Class Manufacturer, Three Single Coil Pickups, Value For Money, Built To Last
- Cons: None
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.
A maple neck, polyurethane glossy 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. As it’s a 3/4 size guitar, it would suit the older player from 9-12. Comes in Torino Red, Black, or Pink.
If the child would like to take the guitar seriously, then this Fender kids guitar is hands down your best choice.
- Pros: Big Player In The Classical World, Made WIth Distinction and Quality, Warm Soft Tones, Easy To Play, Very Light, Low Price
- Cons: Fragile
A beautiful state-of-the-art warm, balanced sound with an even and clear response. It’s recommended by teachers that beginners learn on a classical guitar. Well, this is easily my favorite.
A 3/4 size rosewood back and bodied guitar. 1.3kg in weight means it’s very light and a perfect size for children of 7-12 years old. Ideal entry-level guitar and still good enough to showcase live.
This is Yamaha’s least expensive guitar in a very popular range. With real quality craftsmanship, it’s built with the highest caliber. It’s perfectly designed for the child/beginner or adult due to its size, ease of play, and its character Yamaha tone. Soft and warm, creating a chilled atmosphere. All this for such a low price
This could be what you’ve been looking for. Try the Yamaha CS40II, you won’t be disappointed.
- Pros: Top Seller, Essential Extras For Beginners, Best Budget Acoustic, Top Brand,
- Cons: A Little Dull Sounding
The first full-size acoustic guitar in this review. I really like this F310 Yamaha guitar. We’ve had one in the family and it lasted years.
The guitar can be purchased alone, but I was so impressed with the extras, and the low cost of the upgrade. As we’re covering kids/beginners starter guitars, this little starter pack is essential. The pack includes a voucher for a month of the practicing app JamFactory as well as a voucher for a guitar lesson at the Yamaha Music School, which is available online Items, gig bag, strings, picks, tuner, guitar strap, and guitar stand, plus 2 vouchers. This isn’t to say the guitar is awful, it’s the complete opposite.
The Yamaha F310 has a well-balanced tone, warm and responsive. I’ve played far more expensive guitars that don’t come close to this. The fretboard and neck are surprisingly light, slim, and easy to learn on. Made from a combination of good quality eco woods, you can’t go far wrong with this deal to get you going. This is the top-selling budget acoustic in the UK. Thumbs up to Yahama, again.
- Pros: Massive Acoustic Guitar Brand, Electro-Acoustic, Gig Bag Included, Professionally Made, Easy To Play
- Cons: Less Expensive Wood Type On The Back And Sides Makes Me Question The Price
The Classy Martin LX1E is the most expensive guitar in the review. It’s 7/8 in size and would suit the 9/10-year-old upwards. You’ve possibly seen Ed Sheeran one of these Martins too. It’s a pro-level acoustic that does reflect that in price.
Martin is a huge player in the acoustic guitar and string world. Beautiful looking and much louder than expected. A lovely woody, bassy tone, just like its more expensive range. Built with quality construction and material, giving you a robust yet high-quality instrument. The Martin LX1E also has a pre-amp, so you can use this baby to gig with or play through an amp. The ideal travel partner or just playing at home. This is a complete step-up in class. If I was learning all over again, I’d want something small, comfortable, and nice to look at. This would be my choice without a doubt.
- Pros: 10W Amp Included, Slick Rocker Look, Durable Guitar, Value For Money
- Cons: Doesn’t Sound As Good As The Squire Playing A Clean Tone
The 3/4 Size New Jersey Electric Guitar pack was another one I chose because of the quality of the guitar and really helpful essentials. If you’re starting out with an electric, you’ll then need to shop around for an amp a strap, picks, etc. To get them all at once is such a benefit.
This shaped guitar reminds me a bit of the Gibson Junior, it’s very cool to look at. Green Day type of guitar. The guitar gives you all the great rock tones of the traditional model, but in a size that is more suitable for younger players and adults with a smaller reach. The Neck is made from maple and the body is sunburst color made from basswood. The Machine heads are a chrome die-cast (which is a good thing in terms of sturdiness) this will keep the guitar in tune well. You also have two humbucker pickups, and with that 10w amp, that’s enough trust me!
Loads of fun to be had with this, all at a budget price.
Best Kids Guitar Review: Winners
After reviewing lots of guitars, we’ve separated Electric, Acoustic, Classical guitars.
There is plenty to choose from above, you just have to mix and match the guitar that fits your child’s age/size and budget.
Our clear winners in the 3 main area’s are:
Children’s Electric Guitar Winner
Easy choice really, made to last and produced with the real Fender in mind. Can’t go wrong at this price. If you want to learn and learn properly, here is your next guitar. Fender Squire Mini Strat-style guitars sound so beautiful through a small tube amp. You can almost get that pro tone for much less than you think.
Acoustic/Classical Guitar Winner
Owning a Yamaha guitar at any price you’re guaranteed a safe, sturdy, quality instrument. This acoustic pack is ideal for the beginner as it has all the little extras which save you from going out buying more.
Alternative Guitar Winner
After putting much research into the Guitalele, It just sounds amazing. Definitely an ideal starter for children. The size is perfect, a mix between a guitar and ukulele. It’s light and good enough to last and learn properly. Love it! Get your kids going with a Guitalele.
The Easy Way, But Not The Smart Way
The easy route would be to save up enough money to buy a well-known branded guitar, visit the local store and buy it. Surely this is the best way, as I’m paying for a quality branded instrument? Actually no! just because a manufacturer produces the best most popular (adult) guitar, that doesn’t automatically mean they build a good beginner guitar.
Follow our sound advice and we can assist you in finding the correct guitar for your child. Our size chart above will be our first stop before considering anything else.
Depending on your child’s musical needs, you will need to budget in some cash for small essentials. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an improving player, you will definitely require some of the following.
Here are some examples:
A Tuner: On top of the list, you cannot have a guitar without one. As simple as that. We have a list pre-made in depth article for you. The 7 Best Guitar Tuners
Picks: Unless you’re learning fingerstyle or bass guitar, I would say every guitar player requires some picks. These come in different gauges also.
Amp: Electric guitar players will need a small amp. We’ve whittled the best 5 down for you. Best Small Tube Amp: The Complete Buyers Guide
Strings: Nearly all new guitars arrive with poor strings attached, get yourself some decent strings, and give your child the best chance of succeeding. Your child will break strings as they’re learning. They are very affordable and make a world of difference to the tone. Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners
A Capo: Maybe a little too early for a beginner but later on down the line capos are fantastic for alternative sounds and keys. If you feel you are ready for a capo, check out our ‘Best Capo: Everything You Need To Know’
Tablature Apps Etc: I would choose a teacher before downloading any apps, you don’t want to spend a year learning chords in the wrong way then to be told to re-learn them the correct way. This is soul-destroying.
Guitar Lessons: 100% required. If you can stretch to paying for a tutor or you have a guitarist friend, it’s very important to get off on the right foot. Learning by yourself at the beginning can be very tough, especially if you’re doing it wrong. Sitting opposite somebody is so helpful. Get yourself a tutor, even if it’s two lessons.
Gig Bag: If you’ve just spent your hard-earned wages on your child’s guitar, there’s a strong possibility they might knock it or drop it. A guitar case can protect and extend the life of your instrument. Especially if you plan on re-selling the guitar later on down the line.
Cables: Good cables for the electric guitar player. The cheap cables are scratchy and won’t last a year. Get a reasonably good cable and it’ll last.
Strap: If you’re in a school band scenario, or you feel comfortable learning standing up then get yourself a strap. They say band guitarists should do a large amount of rehearsing standing up.
Guitar Pedals. NO! We need to learn the instrument first. No pedals. We cannot hear our mistakes behind a wall of distortion. Having a distraction from learning properly, can be fatal. Pedals come later. You gotta earn them!
8 Tips To Consider Before Buying
- Pay attention to the neck size and weight. Look out for the term ‘Slim Neck’. This is perfect for children. If the guitar is too heavy the child won’t be comfortable.
- Look out for poorly made guitars, you’ll only end up buying twice. We’ve reviewed plenty of suitable guitars for your needs.
- You don’t need to spend a small fortune but set aside some money for essential extras.
- Online Lessons vs Tutor? If you can’t stretch for a personal tutor then that’s the perfect option, but use all resources available. There are some good beginner guitar videos online, like justinguitar.
- Have a place in mind for your child to practice. A decent upright chair, with no arms, quiet and away from distraction (if possible). Give them the best chance to succeed.
- Get the best guitar for your budget. Don’t go any lower. Poorer quality instruments often don’t stay in tune and won’t last long. They may end up bending or becoming completely useless.
- Stay away from the overly decorated guitars, the more paint, and rubbish they’ve splashed over it, it’s probably hiding the cheap nasty build. If it’s too good to be true, IT IS.
- Don’t buy a guitar from a toy shop! No explanation is necessary.