The Best Guitar for a Child?

Classical, acoustic, or electric? A parent trying to find an answer will quickly realize that opinions on the subject vary greatly.

Here’s my advice to help you make the best choice:

  • What type of music does he or she want to play?
  • The guitar should not look or sound like a toy
  • The strings stay in tune
  • The quality of the wood should be able to withstand our winters here in Quebec
  • The guitar’s size must be smaller than adult size. Try this: have your child sit down; place the guitar against his/her belly and on his/her legs; the middle of his/her palm must be able to reach the end of the headstock
  • Your child should sit down and try playing the guitar before you buy it
  • The guitar should come with a case made for its size
  • To avoid injuring the back, shoulders and hands, some essential accessories for your child are a foot stand and music stand

For a not so expensive classical, I recommend a ½ or ¾ Yamaha, Hohner or Fender. Because of the nylon strings and bigger spaces between the strings, classical guitars are perfect for children who would like to play melodies. However, it’s harder to make chords because the neck size of a classical relative to its size is larger than the one on an acoustic.

For an acoustic, I recommend a “parlor” size guitar from Art&Lutherie. It’s perfect for small hands. If your child would like to play campfire style songs with chords, a parlor acoustic is the best choice.

For an electric, I recommend a Yamaha, Fender, or Epiphone for kids. You’ll also need to buy an amp, a cable, and picks. An electric guitar is the right choice for rock, punk, metal, etc. Never let your child play with headphones connected to the amp. Also, your child should be mature enough to understand the dangers of an electric choc and that too loud a volume will impair hearing. Never place the amp towards his/her ears, even when the sound is low. If you have any reservations, wait.

Whether it’s a classical, acoustic or electric, playing guitar can be uncomfortable (even painful) in the beginning. Is your child mature enough? Does he or she have the necessary perseverance to tackle a difficult start? It will take a lot of work, time and dedication. Discuss this with your child before buying a guitar.

Looking for a music teacher? Contact me for more information.

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