Lots of parents are interested in getting their child a guitar, but have absolutely no idea where to start. There are many different things to consider when buying a kid's electric or acoustic guitar and this article will break it all down into simple terms so that you can make an informed decision, and purchase the best guitar for kids.
Looking for a child's guitar that is easy to play?
There are many guitars on the market, but most of them are too big for children. This can be discouraging for kids who want to learn how to play the guitar. That’s why we created compiled this comprehensive list of the best guitars for kids.
We know you care about your child’s future, so we made sure our choices were durable enough for even the youngest learners. They will last through years of playing without any problems at all! Your little one will love it because they won't feel frustrated when trying to learn how to play like they might on other instruments out there today.
Continue reading and we will help you find the best guitar for kids.
Starting on Acoustic Vs. Starting on Electric
There are two schools of thought that pertain to someone's first guitar being an acoustic guitar. Some will say that it is not ideal for a beginner because acoustic guitars use steel strings, and those strings are thicker than the string you will find on an electric guitar. The thick steel strings make it hard to fret notes properly, and make the player's fingers hurt a lot quicker. This will make the player want to quit and not continue because it is simply too hard for them to continue.The other school of thought is that it is best for them to start off on acoustic guitar because it is harder, and that once they make a transition to electric guitar, it will feel like a breeze. They will then be able to play both electric and acoustic guitar easily.
This school of thought believes that if the player is started on electric guitar, the player won't be able to use an acoustic guitar because fretting the notes is just too hard.
I think both ways of thinking have good points, but the real best way to start someone off is with an instrument they like. If the kid you're buying a guitar for really likes acoustic guitar music, then this the perfect one for them. If they like metal, maybe an acoustic guitar isn't the best place to start off.
If it's an instrument they like, they will continue to play and enjoy the instrument. At the end of the day that is the goal. The best guitar for kids is whatever guitar that will get them the most inspired to practice and play.
#1 Mini Squier Stratocaster
Best guitar for kids
Why is the Mini Stratocaster the Best Guitar for Kids?
The Mini Stratocaster is everything you get in a normal Stratocaster just in a smaller package. This is what's known as a three quarters sized guitar. This simply means that the body is three quarters the size of a normal guitar.
The neck is also smaller which makes it easier for kids to play with their smaller hands.
Stratocasters a legendary instruments. They have been trusted by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer as their main guitar of choice. There are a few reasons these guitars have been chosen by so many greats over the years.
Side Note: I will be using the terms "Stratocaster" and "Strat" interchangeably. Many people refer to Stratocasters simply as "Strats".
The first reason would be that they create a classic sound that fits in almost any style. Some songs that really show off what a Strat sounds like include All Along the Watchtower by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cocaine by Eric Clapton, or Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer.
All of these are legendary songs have left their own special impression on music forever, and at the heart of all of them was a Stratocaster.
You can play a Strat in so many different genres, all the way from punk rock to jazz. It works in all of them. Funk, blues, jazz, punk rock, classic rock, soul, R&B, country. A Strat works in pretty much every genre except metal and harder rock. You can still play these genres on a Strat, but they simply won't sound as authentic. The versatility of this instrument is a big part of what makes it the best guitar for kids.
Fender and Squier have gotten the shape of a guitar neck down to a science. The neck of a Strat is comfortable and makes playing easy breezy.
One of the very worst things to have, when starting out guitar, is a guitar that physically fights against you. Often times this causes beginners to quit because the instrument is simply too challenging and not very fun. That is exactly what we want to not happen, and it is what won't happen with a Strat.
Strats have been proven since the 50's to be top tier instruments that feel comfortable and play well. That is one of the biggest reasons why Stratocasters have stood the test of time while so many other guitars have floated into obscurity and obsolescence.
The final reason a Strat is a great place to start a child off is that they are guitars that have been trusted for decades, and never fail to perform.
If the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, David Gilmour, and Stevie Ray Vaughn have all chosen Strats, why not go with them?
#2 Ibanez MiKro
Best Guitar for kids
Why is This the Best Guitar for Kids?
This is another three quarters sized guitar that would be perfect for children. Just like the Mini Strat, this guitar will fit in the hands of a kid super well. The fretboard is also compact. This makes reaching for notes far easier, and improves fretboard mobility.
What really sets this guitar apart from the Stratocaster is that it has humbucking pickups rather than single coil pickups. Pickups are the strips of magnets underneath the strings.
Humbucker pickups are used in genres like rock and metal. They output more signal than single coil pickups, and because of that they have a powerful and warm sound. Perfect for genres like rock and metal.
So think of this as the Strat's more metal counter-part.
The playability of this guitar is super high for the price point it comes in at. Ibanez guitars are typically played within the hard rock and metal realm. Within these genres players prefer a thin neck. Thin necks make playing a little easier because your hand gets around them better. This makes fretting notes easier, and allows the player to reach further for notes.
The tone of this guitar is extremely impressive for the price it comes in at. The sound, especially when distortion is added, is extremely authentic to the more expensive guitars it is trying to replicate.
If you're looking to purchase a guitar for a rocker/ metal head, the sound this guitar produces will not disappoint.
Yamaha JR1 FG
Best Guitar for kids
If you are looking for an acoustic guitar for a child, the Yamaha JR1 FG is certainly your best bet. This is another three quarters sized guitar, but this time it's acoustic instead of electric.
Earlier in the article we discussed the different schools of thought between starting out on an acoustic guitar vs starting out on an electric guitar.
To summarize, some people think that people should start on acoustic guitars because they are harder to play and then they will develop stronger fingers. Others say that people should start on electric guitar because it's easier to play, and beginners won't get frustrated as quickly. The answer to this quandary is actually a personal one. It just comes down to what type of guitar will inspire them more, and make them want to play more.
Sound and Playability
This little acoustic guitar really captures the essence of a true full sized acoustic guitar very well. It has a balanced sound that lends itself to a multitude of genres and styles.
For the price of this guitar, it sounds absolutely amazing. Most people could probably not tell the difference in sound between this guitar and a professional level one.
The playability of it is quite high as well. Obviously you won't be finding something that plays well as a professional guitar, but that isn't really what you are looking for. You are looking for a guitar that will set someone up enough to learn and enjoy music, and that is exactly what this guitar can do.
Overall this is a great guitar, particularly if the child you are buying a guitar for is into acoustic guitar music.
Best guitar for kids
If the Yamaha JR1 FG is a run of the mill Ford Taurus, then the Mini Taylor is the Rolls Royce for kids. This guitar is a top of the line professional level guitar that fits perfectly in the hands of small adults and children alike.
Taylor and Martin guitars are probably the two biggest high quality acoustic guitar makers in the world. If you see a professional playing acoustic guitar, there is a super high chance that they are either playing a Martin or a Taylor.
We chose the Mini Taylor for this list because after playing Martin's compact guitar, we decided the mini Taylor was a slightly higher quality instrument.
The big advantage of picking this guitar would be that it is a guitar the player will keep for their whole life. It's that high quality of an instrument. Even after outgrowing the size, a guitar like this can still be a big part of a guitar players arsenal. Many adults use guitars like this for traveling. Since it is much smaller than a normal guitar you can move it around very easily.
Some, like Ed Sheeran, exclusively use smaller guitars like this because they prefer the feel and sound of a smaller guitar. If your kid really wants to play acoustic guitar, and you have the budget for this guitar, the Mini Taylor is absolutely the best guitar for kids.
Best guitar for kids
Remember this important question when purchasing your child a guitar: "What do they want?" Because as someone that is trying to help bring music into their lives, we want to be able to support them with exactly the tools that will have them feeling inspired and wanting to play more.
Whatever guitar makes them want to play more is the best guitar for them.
If you are looking for an in depth list of all other beginner guitar options, check our out here 17 Best Electric and Acoustic Guitars for Beginners