By: Pro Lessons
Best Guitar for Kids to Get Started On

A kid’s first guitar is a big deal. His or her teacher will have an opinion on the right size and best guitar for kids to start out on. First, you need to get the right size. There are 1/2 size, 3/4 size and even parlor size guitars aimed at fitting your kid’s needs best. Arm length and a kid’s height both weigh in on the right guitar size. You want the kid’s right arm (if right handed) to hang nicely over the body of the guitar and comfortably reach the strings while the left arm reaches the first frets without the arm straightening out. A little elbow bend with the left arm is needed.

Taking your child’s build into account, you’ll want to pick a guitar that fits him and allows him to grow into it a little bit. After all, picking out an expensive guitar that plays beautifully won’t mean anything if it’s not the right size.

The Best Playing Guitar for Kids

At this point in your child’s development, sound is not nearly as important as the way the guitar plays. Guitars with thick necks or high string action are a no-no. Little hands will give up quick if the instrument is hard to play or the strings are too high. There are plenty of guitars made just for kids, but, unfortunately, the same craftsmanship isn’t put into these student guitars as is the full-size models. You’ll most likely need to try out a few different instruments in order to pick out the best playing guitar.

Companies like Gibson have been making student models for years, but like the 60’s model OLM, they put a plastic bridge that bolted onto the guitar’s top. This resulted in problems as the guitar aged. Also, many parents don’t want to spend more than a $100 until they see if little Johnny is going to stick with it. While there’s no problem in wanting to save a buck, guitars in this price range are usually quite inferior. Let’s talk about some guitar models that are more worth your time.

Best Guitar for Kids to Get Started On

The Baby Taylor

The Baby Taylor is a 3/4 size guitar with a sweet tone and is priced at around $430.00. It is a non-cutaway guitar with no electronics. A lot of great guitarists love this little guy for a travel guitar.

The Baby Taylor can usually be adjusted to play well year round. Also, it’s a Taylor, so there’s a bit of confidence in the workmanship. This guitar might be a little over your budget, but look around. You can find them used for $250 or so, and this guitar is a better buy at $250 than a lot of other guitars starting in the same range. There’s always the plus that a Baby Taylor will sell quickly if your kid decides he or she isn’t interested at some point. The Baby Taylor comes with a sweet little gig bag and is a popular choice for best guitar for kids for sure.

The company also makes a Taylor Mini that is well-recommended, awesome for travel, and great for the little kid who wants an upgrade from the Baby Taylor. The Taylor Mini is priced at around $650, but you can get it with electronics. If your kid is playing great and wants a small guitar that is superior quality, the Taylor Mini may be a wise choice.

Luna Children’s Guitars

Luna has come on the market in recent years with some real quality instruments. They are made overseas, but with great craftsmanship. Luna has a whole line of children’s 1/2 size to 3/4 size guitars. They offer parlor and concert guitars too for the kid that’s got long arms or is a bit bigger than average. Luna also makes use of art decoration and design that is unlike most other companies. Priced from $100 to $300, you can pick up a really nice-playing guitar for a kid just starting out. They also offer a gig bag.

The Yamaha Series - Best Guitar for Kids

Yamaha has been making quality instruments for years and they have a solid reputation. From the GL 1 Yamaha Guitalele to the APXT2 3/4 size acoustic with electronics. From $100 to $200, Yamaha offers some really well built kids guitars. There are plenty of models to choose from with several different woods and guitar tops or colors. These affordable guitars might just be the best guitar for kids in your family. In fact, Yamaha offers so many models and options, your kids could stay in the Yamaha family as they continue to grow. Yamaha’s full-size guitars are also very nice to the eye and ear.

Fender Guitars for Kids

At $140, Fender offers a 3/4 size student model (or travel guitar) that is in the running for sure. The Fender MA-1 is a beautiful, natural wood-looking model with X bracing and has plenty of tone. There are other models in the Fender line too, but this little guitar could possibly be the best guitar for kids. Again, if you have a 12-year-old who is bigger than most, he or she might be better with a parlor or concert guitar. You might stop in the music store with your kid and have someone qualified to put a few guitars in their lap. You’ll discover quickly which guitar is best.

There are plenty of great guitar companies like Mitchell, Rogue, Ibanez and others who offer small guitars. We suggest you stay away from toy guitars that are sold in non-music stores. Yes, a few of them actually play decent, but they don’t hold up long term. You don’t want to have to go through 20 of those cheap things to find the one that plays decently.

The best guitar for kids is subjective based on the things we’ve mentioned, so look for something that plays well and feels good in the hands of the player. A pawn shop might save you a few bucks, but if you don’t know what to look for, you may waste your money and end up buying twice.

You might first ask your kid’s potential teacher to help with fitting him to the right size and then go shopping. One final tip: it’s better to spend a little more and get a guitar that plays, sounds, and looks great. That way, if little Suzy decides she’d rather do cheerleading, you can get most of your money back out of the guitar if you have to sell it.

Finding the right guitar is a big step toward becoming the musician that you want to be. Another important part of learning to play guitar is finding the right lessons. WIth Pro Lessons, our experienced instructors can give you quality instruction at a fraction of the price of one-on-one lessons. To find out how you can be our next student, click on the link below.

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