How to Choose the Right Kid's Guitar
A simple buyers guide to finding the right kid's guitar
Earlier this year, visitors have been coming to StrumViews.com looking for honest reviews for a kid's guitar, and we have received some feedback and requests to develop a thorough guide in helping people find the right guitar for a child or student. After children have had some school guitar lessons, they may be ready for their own personal guitar for them to use at home.
And in response to many inquiries on our site, we decided to put on our "review cap" and go to work to help you in this search.
Researching and playing many guitars is a lot of fun and always eye-opening, as there are often more expensive guitars that are not all they are cut out to be based on their higher price. Just because you pay more does not mean you are getting a better quality instrument, especially in the guitar world.
Likewise, there are often little gems we discover that are at a similar or lower price point, but are built well enough to compete with their higher priced competitors.
Our goal here for readers is to make sure we put forth reviews on guitars that, upon review, we would buy for our own kids based on the quality, their personal "fit" (does it meet the needs of the player, performer or student) and the budget range.
I won't personally spend time reviewing a junky guitar because it is a waste of time, and if it is poorly made, there are plenty of unhappy owners out there who got a refund and wrote about it.
If you know your budget and the purpose of the guitar for you, a student or child, this guide will help you make a sound decision at the right price.
There are 6 guitar categories to consider when searching for the right kid's guitar
Choosing the right guitar for a kid, beginner or student should start with an honest assessment of the purpose for buying an acoustic or electric guitar - or toy guitar for that matter.
We do not review toys on this site, only instruments that work, but a lot of junk toy guitars are being sold as instruments for $30 to $75 out there.
And the child quits or becomes frustrated because the guitar does not sound good, is difficult to play, or does not stay in tune because they bought a piece of junk, or worse, a toy that looks and feels like a guitar but was not built to be a consistently performing instrument.
If you want the student or child to have the best chance, spend a little extra and buy a quality student or beginner guitar, not a cheap model or toy, as it will certainly destroy their chance of enjoying the guitar experience and they will never realize their potential as a player.
That being said. . .
there are 3 major considerations when looking to buy a guitar for a child or student:
- the size of the child or student (hands, fingers, arms, body size)
- the kind (or playing style) of guitar desired
- the budget available
In listening to what people are searching for, people looking for a "kids" guitar are generally going to end up in 1 of the 6 following categories.
The following 6 categories considers both the size of the child or student as well as the style of guitar that the child desires to play (or learn).
Which one of these 6 best suits your search?
1) Smaller Electric Guitars - Looking for an smaller scale electric guitar for a kid with smaller hands
2) Smaller Acoustic Guitars - Searching for a smaller acoustic guitar for a smaller person (fits most playing styles)
3) Smaller Classical Guitars - Looking for a smaller scaled classical guitar for classical finger style learning (for kids)
4) Student Electric Guitar - Pre-teen or teenager full-size student electric guitar.
5) Student Acoustic Guitar - Pre-teen or teenager full-size student acoustic guitar.
6) Student Classical Guitar -Pre-teen or teenager 3/4 size student classical guitar.
I have personally reviewed numerous guitars in each of these 6 categories, and have given full reviews on the model that I believe to be the very best guitar model for each of these 6 categories, at an affordable price.
If you are looking for a reliable, affordable electric guitar for a child or smaller student, then the Squier Mini electric guitar (made by Fender guitars) would be ideal.
Instead of focusing strictly on the age of the guitar player (which is important and plays a role in their ability to learn, take lessons and acquire gutiar skills), consider getting a quality electric guitar that fits his or her body size.
This Squier Mini guitar is a 3/4 size version (with a 22.75 inch scale length) of the full size electric Squier Bullet by Fender.
Fender has been a leader in electric guitar manufacturing, and with other competing 3/4 size electric guitars on the market in the same price range, the Squier Mini electric guitar not only receives great reviews from hundreds of owners, but will set up and play much better than other competing brands in this price range for mini electric guitars.
This guitar is not a toy (like you might find at Wal-Mart or at Toys-R-Us)
While many kid's gutiar models struggle to hold strings in tune and can be disappointing (even frustrating) for kids or young students to learn on, the Squier Mini electric guitar will not disappoint the child, student or the pocketbook.
Don't worry about a newer guitar keeping proper pitch for strings (as all new strings need a little time to stretch and "break in" in ordert to keep a consistent pitch or tuning).
This Squier MINI also makes a decent travel electric guitar for a budget player looking for a 3/4 size electric guitar to take as a traveling companion.
As a complete electric guitar (at 3/4 size), it has 3 standard fender Stratocaster coil pickups, a 5 way switch to alter between combinations of these 3 coil pickups for 5 basic different tone outputs, and 2 knobs for controlling the master volume and the tone.
A smaller person or child will experience a true electric guitar with this purchase.
The bridge is fixed (so no real working "whammy" or tremolo bar), but this will actually result in keeping the guitar in tune more consistently for a beginning player or student.
Here are some additional factory specifications on the Squier Mini Electric Guitar by Fender:
Neck Shape: "C" Shape for playability and comfort
Here ae the on-board electronics
Pickup Configuration: 3 Single Quality Coil Pickups (Bridge, Middle and Neck)
- Bridge Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat® Bridge Pickup
- Middle Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat® Middle Pickup
- Neck Pickup: Standard Single-Coil Strat® Neck Pickup
5-Position Pickup Switch (to play with different electric guitar tones from edgy to soft and mellow):
- Position 1. Bridge Pickup,
- Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup,
- Position 3. Middle Pickup,
- Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup,
- Position 5. Neck Pickup
2 Knob Controls:
- Master Volume,
- Master Tone
- All Chrome Hardware
- Bridge: Hard-tail (non-tremolo) 6-Saddle Bridge
- Tuning Machines: Covered Tuners
- String Nut: Synthetic Bone (polymer)
- Switch Tip: White Switch Tip
This guitar, being an electric guitar, will need a shoulder strap, amplifier, and 1/4 inch guitar cable for plugging into an amp in order to get electric guitar sound from it. (playing an electric guitar unplugged is very quiet and might be disappointing for a player looking for an electric guitar sound).
So you will also need a small amp to enjoy the potential of any electric guitar.
As you can see, the Squier Mini Electric guitar packs a lot of quality characteristics for electric guitar playing that will perform far beyond a toy guitar at a very affordable price.
Though the Manufacturer (Fender) lists the MSRP at $179.99, it can be found for about $99 at Amazon with great shipping rates, delivery and guarantees.
If I were looking to find a quality electric gutiar for a kid or a smaller student, I would not hesistate to start him or her on the Squier MINI Electric Guitar by Fender.
Does the Autin Bazaar Fender Squier Electric Guitar mini give a good value?
I would say yes as it gives the child or student all he or she needs to get started..
If you really want the student or child to start of right, spend the extra $79 and get them the guitar in a bundle as it comes with an electric amp (which is essentially a speaker to allow for a real electric aplified sound for a beginner - but do not worry, the 1/4 inch jack can also be used for headphone for silent practice).
It comes with everything listed below, and you can click on the image to read what other owners have said about it.
The BUNDLE comes with everything shown above, including:
1 - Squier Mini Stratocaster electric guitar (in 1 of 6 colors)
2 - The mini practice amplifier for true electric sound
3 - Electric Guitar Cable
4 - Digital clip-on guitar tuner so they learn tuning properly
5 - An Austin Bazaar (music store) instructional DVD which will really help them get started right for tuning, setup and playing chords properly
6 - A guitar strap so they can stand and play
7 - Extra guitar picks
The bundles come in 6 different colors at the time of this review, and you can click on the images below to read more about them specifically, and read more about what other owners have to say.
The other reviewers offer actual use cases for their own kids and tell more about how old the kid is and their experience with playability and sound in some of the reviews.
Select a color and read more here:
Now if electric guitar is not your desired style for starting a child out on guitar, and you would like to go the acoustic route, read on. . .
While the electric guitar is softer on the fingers and a bit easier to learn on, an acoustic guitar might be your choice for other reasons.
We'll start with our number 1 pick for an acoustic 3/4 or mini guitar that will not break the bank, but will allow your child or student to get the best quality learning experience on a quality instrument.
- The body finish is gloss for durability and crisp sound
- The strings scale length is 535mm (21")
- the body Depth is 80-84mm (3.15"-3.3")
- the finger board width at the nut is 48mm (1.9")
The materials used to make this guitar are affordable yet quality woods to give it a long life and a crisp, classical guitar tone.
- Spruce Top - standard tight grained, light & strong wood for most acoustic guitar tops
- Meranti Back & Sides
(called Phillipine Mahogany - not actual Mohogany but nice durable wood for beginner guitars)
- Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
- Beautiful Natural Finish
- It's dimensions are: (dimensions 16.5in x 36.9in x 4.5 in)
A medium build child or older child who is average in size, arm and finger length would be able to play a 3/4 size and might find it easier to play than a small 1/2 size classical guitar.
-the strings scale 580mm (22.8") - about 1.8 inches longer
-the body depth is the same 80-84mm (3.15"-3.3")
-the finger board width is also the same (Nut/Body) 48mm (1.9")
-Meranti Back & Sides
(called Phillipine Mahogany - not actual Mohogany but nice durable wood for beginner guitars)
-Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
-Beautiful Natural Finish
Coming soon- our #1 Student Acoustic Guitar Bundle Review
There are many opinions on which acoustic guitar would make the best full-size student acoustic guitar. And there are many decent models available by different companies that would suffice.
However, my role to serve you who is earnestly seeking for answers, is to sift through the thousands of models available and present those that will deliver a great quality experience at a great value for your personal user experience.
That being said, if you are buying for a child or you are buying for yourself, a teenager or adult, a standard sized 6 steel-string guitar for a student should come at a decent budget price (between $200 and $600 in my opinion).
I will share a few of the best models for a standard size, student-appropriate guitar here.
Be sure that the person who will be using this student guitar is not a small child, or a small-framed teen or petite adult.
Any person of average or above size for a 12 to 14 year old should be able to learn on a full-sized, dreadnaught guitar.
This first model, the Yamaha Fg800s has been sold for around $200 for many, many years, and is made of quality materials and will last for many years, if proper care is given to the instrument.