Some may argue that the guitar is one of the most important musical instruments in music history. Artists such as The Beatles, Taylor Swift and Jimi Hendrix have all used guitars to play music.
It’s an instrument which has always been popular and it’s no surprise that a record number of people picked up the guitar during a worldwide lockdown
If your child wants guitar lessons, it can often spark fear amongst most parents. They don’t know what kid’s guitar is best, how much to spend, or the difference between electric and acoustic guitar.
However, fear not. In this article, we’re going to show you 10 of our favourite kid’s guitars.
Best Kid Guitar (Ages 5-8)
Valencia Half Size Guitar
When your child is first learning guitar, a fantastic choice for small children between the ages of 5 and 8 is a half-size nylon string guitar. One of our favourite guitars for small children is the Valencia Half Size Guitar.
This is a fantastic kids’ guitar. This guitar size is smaller than a standard guitar. The light gauge nylon strings are soft under the fingers and the spacing between the strings allows younger players to move easily between each string.
This junior guitar uses a basswood body. This wood is lightweight and produces a warm, pleasant tone. As well as this, it comes with a gig bag. This is perfect if your child needs to take their guitar back and forth to school. However, the case doesn’t have any pockets, this could become frustrating if you need to store accessories.
One criticism is that the tuners lack stability fresh out of the box but this does after a bit of time. This isn’t a toy guitar, it’s a real guitar, which makes it a great first guitar for your kid.
- The size isn’t too big for kids aged 5-8.
- It isn’t too expensive. So if you’re concerned about your child not sticking with the instrument, there isn’t a huge financial investment here.
- It includes a gig-bag.
- It’s made of solid basswood, which enhances the quality of the instrument.
- Your child may outgrow the instrument in a few years.
- It doesn’t come with picks, strap, spare strings, or a tuner.
Best Small Guitar
Yamaha is well known for making quality instruments and has been around for many years. One of the best acoustic guitars is the Yamaha CS40II. This guitar is bigger (580mm) than the Valencia guitar (560mm) and is the perfect guitar for children between the ages of 9 and 13.
When looking at a guitar for your kid, there is often an overwhelming choice of instruments. However, the Yamaha CS40II is one of the best guitars for kids on the market.
On this acoustic guitar, we get the addition of some more sophisticated woods, including meranti back and sides, nato neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. These enhance the guitar and produce a beautiful well-balanced tone.
Having a comfortable acoustic guitar is vital when playing guitar. Without this, trying to learn can be difficult and frustrating. The Yamaha CS40II small size is extremely comfortable and the nylon strings feel great on the fingers.
The thin gloss on the overall body adds a touch of class and makes it feel like a guitar that is well above its price range. The guitar is well intonated and holds its tuning well. Overall, this is a great guitar for your child to learn on.
- Perfect for a young guitarist who wants to learn but a full sized guitar is too big.
- Great value for money.
- The instrument is well made and stays in tune extremely well.
- The guitar is easy to play and has a decent sound due to the upgraded tonewoods.
- No gig bag included.
- Some users have complained that the strings are too high.
Best Full Size Nylon String For Kids
Fender CN 60S
One of the most famous guitar companies in the world is Fender. Throughout popular music history Fender’s instruments have created some of the greatest songs in the world. However, they don’t just specialize in instruments for the professional guitarist, they offer guitars for guitarists of all abilities. One of the best guitars for kids is the Fender CN 60S.
One of the main criticisms of classical guitars is that they are too big. This can be frustrating for beginner guitarists. However, Fender has attempted to fix this issue with the CN-60s by utilising a full-size classical body with a slimmer neck.
This means that you get the full sound and warm projection of a classical without a huge neck. The width of the nut is 43mm. Usually, on a full-size classical it is 52mm, so we have a significant size reduction.
Sometimes a rogue starter acoustic guitar can have sharp fretboard edges, this means that users will cut themselves on the sharp fret ends. However, on the Fender CN-60S, the rolled edges of the guitar ensure that this acoustic guitar is comfortable and easy to play.
Despite this, some users have complained that the stock strings sound dull and lack treble and midrange; however, this can be improved with a fresh set of strings.
- This guitar features a solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides and a walnut fingerboard.
- Smaller neck than a full-size classical.
- The additional strap button is a nice touch.
- The rolled fingerboard edges ensure playability is smooth and comfortable.
- Some users have complained that the guitar is too heavy.
- The plastic tuning pegs feel cheap.
Best Small Acoustic Guitar
Martin acoustic guitars have been used by artists such as John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Paul Simon. One of Martin’s most popular models is the Martin LX1E, but don’t let its small size fool you, this is not a toy guitar, it’s a real guitar that any beginner would be lucky to have.
With the growing success of artists such as Ed Sheeran, smaller shaped guitars have become increasingly popular. Models like the ‘Baby Taylor’ by Taylor Guitars and the Martin LX1E are much smaller in size compared to other acoustics, but can still definitely pack a punch.
What makes this one of the best guitars for kids is that it is beautifully made. Similar to the Baby Taylor, the Martin LX1E features a solid Sitka spruce top, birch laminate for the neck, and a richlite fingerboard. This provides good durability as well as a deep and rich sound when strumming chords or fingerpicking.
The back and sides use Martin’s HPL (high-pressure laminate) technology. This means that the surface is made from paper and resin and is pressed at very high pressure, after this a wood pattern is applied to give it a natural look.
Some guitarists may look down on this, however, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This type of construction doesn’t detract from the guitar’s sound and can often improve the durability of the instrument.
Finally, the Martin LX1E features a Fishman pickup, ensuring that when it’s plugged in it sounds just as sweet as it does acoustically. When looking for acoustic guitars for kids, it’s hard to not be tempted by this fine instrument.
- Features a solid Sitka spruce top which will only get better with age.
- Comes complete with a gigbag.
- Super portable, works incredibly well for children or as a travel guitar.
- You can plug this into an amp/PA system.
- The strings sound much brighter and have more presence than nylon-strung guitars.
- The strings may be too heavy for kids.
- The smaller size means it isn’t as bassy as larger guitars.
- Might be too expensive for some users, but would be a decent financial investment.
Best Full-Sized Guitar
Tanglewood Crossroads TWCRD
Tanglewood is a company based in the UK. They make fantastic acoustic guitars and are known for producing affordable instruments, have great build quality, and sound excellent. Most recently, they have delved into the beginner guitar market by making the ‘Crossroads’ line.
The Tanglewood Crossroads TWCRD takes influence from traditional guitar models from the 1930s. The full size guitar uses hand-picked Mahogany for its body, back and sides. As a result of this, the guitar produces an extremely rich, deep, and wholesome sound.
The use of these woods is extremely rare on a guitar at this price and is often seen on guitars at three times the price of this. This feature alone makes it one of the best acoustic guitars for kids. Furthermore, the bridge is made out of rosewood, which only adds to the rich and warm character of this instrument.
In addition, the beautiful unlacquered matte finish enables guitarists to move smoothly up and down the neck when playing chords or single notes. The die-cast tuning machines hold their tuning incredibly well, ensuring that you focus on playing the guitar rather than tuning it every 5 minutes.
Although this is a fantastic guitar, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a large instrument (650mm scale length). So it would work well for older kids but younger children may struggle.
Finally, some users have mentioned that the guitar does have high action out of the box, but this can be fixed by tweaking the truss rod. If you don’t feel confident doing this, it’s worth getting it set up by a local guitar shop.
This acoustic guitar is not just a toy, it’s an excellent guitar that punches well above its weight.
- The guitar is extremely well built and is guaranteed to last for many years to come.
- It uses solid wood (mahogany) that is handpicked by the manufacturer.
- The vintage whiskey barrel oozes class and style.
- Tanglewood offers both acoustic and electro-acoustic versions.
- The large body size produces a full, vibrant sound.
- Some users have complained about the playability of the instrument.
- This size of guitar may be too big for younger children between the ages of 5 and 10.
Best Electric Guitar For Beginners
Squier Affinity Telecaster
The ‘telecaster’ is one of the coolest axes of all time. Its bright tone and excellent sound quality are some of the many reasons why it’s such a special instrument. The telecaster is designed by Fender. But recently, they have introduced the Squier range to offer these iconic axes at an excellent price.
The Squier Affinity Telecaster is a fantastic electric guitar for kids. It’s simple in design, offering a 3-way selector switch that changes each pickup as well as one volume and tone control.
Furthermore, the single-coil pickups offer a bright, spanky tone which is perfect for blues, pop, country, and rock. As well as this, the satin neck is a slim, comfortable C shape that allows younger players to move effortlessly around the fretboard.
If you’re not sure what a ‘C Shaped Neck’ is, you can check out this in-depth article written by Fender.
Out of the box, the guitar is set up well with low action, the 9-42 gauge strings have a light string tension which feels easy to play. In addition, this electric guitar offers a bolt-on maple or rosewood neck. Maple necks tend to be much brighter than a rosewood fretboard, so this choice comes down to personal preference.
This is a great instrument, which offers good playability, tone, and functionality at a reasonable price.
- It’s simple, easy to use, and sounds great.
- Squier offers a variety of colours for every taste.
- The neck is slim and comfortable to play.
- The six-saddle bridge allows you to adjust the height and intonation of each string.
- It looks fantastic and stays in tune extremely well.
- It’s a very bright guitar, this is great for some genres but not for others.
- The shape of this guitar isn’t for everyone.
Best Rock Guitar For Kids
Epiphone Limited Edition SG
If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘School of Rock’ or even the band AC/DC you’ll know what an SG looks like. The SG is the face of rock and roll. Originally made by Gibson, their sister company Epiphone has their own version of the SG which is affordable and accessible for young guitarists.
The Epiphone Limited Edition is one of the finest electric guitars for kids available today. The vintage worn finish looks fantastic in cherry red, but if that’s not your thing, it comes in black or pelham blue.
The pickups in this SG are Epiphones 650R Humbucker (Neck) and 700T humbucker (Bridge). The high output pickups are bright and clear and sound fantastic, clean or distorted.
The LockTone tune-o-Matic bridge and bolt-on neck hold the strings firmly in place and the 14:1 ratio tuners ensure that your electric guitar rarely goes out of tune. What makes this one of the best guitars for kids is that it comes with a guitar strap, guitar cable, picks, tuner, strings, string winder, and a cloth.
- The devil horns give you that instant rock and roll vibe.
- The humbuckers offer excellent sound quality and can easily produce epic classic rock tones.
- The poplar body and mahogany neck feel extremely solid.
- The slim D-shaped neck is great for beginners.
- This electric guitar is neck-heavy and may cause issues with posture. However, this is easily solved by using a guitar strap.
- It may need setting up out of the box.
Best All-Round Guitar
Yamaha Pacifica 012 Electric Guitar
The Yamaha Pacifica electric guitar has been around for many years and has provided thousands of young guitarists with the perfect learning platform. Its slim, lightweight body, single-coil, and humbucker pickups make this a very versatile instrument for any guitarist. This is easily one of the best guitars for kids in its price range.
When looking at a guitar for kids it’s hard to ignore the Yamaha Pacifica. The actual guitar uses either a Nato or Agathis body, satin bolt-on maple neck, 22 fret rosewood fingerboard, vintage-style floating tremolo, and 5-way pickup selector which helps the user switch between each guitar pickup.
The lightweight body of the Yamaha Pacifica means young guitar players will find this guitar extremely pleasant to play. As well as this, the body of the guitar is equipped with a durable lacquer finish. This protects the guitar from humidity and any potential knocks and scrapes, meaning your guitar will look as good as the day it arrived for many years to come.
Furthermore, what makes this guitar different from its competitors is that it has a floating tremolo bridge. This enables the user to bend the pitch of the strings, this is a fantastic feature and can be hours of fun. However, this technique is best used sparingly as it can put your guitar out of tune. Overall, the Yamaha Pacifica offers excellent sound quality and would be a fantastic kid’s guitar.
- The combination of humbucker and single pickups mean it can cover a variety of genres.
- The action is very low and easy to play.
- The neck is very slim. This makes playing guitar enjoyable for beginners.
- It’s available in a variety of colours and with different fretboard types. (Rosewood and maple neck).
- It can also be purchased as part of a starter pack which includes an amplifier and other guitar accessories.
- Yamaha also provides a free 1-hour online lesson voucher with the Yamaha music school.
- The floating tremolo is a great addition but can cause tuning issues.
- Single coil pickups can add noise.
Best Guitar For Metal
Ibanez guitars are most famous for their association with heavier genres. It’s not a guitar that Taylor Swift would be seen with, but artists such as Mick Thomson (Slipknot), Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani have all used Ibanez guitars at some point in their career. These axes are perfect for super-fast solos, crushing riffs, and heavy rhythms.
The Ibanez GRX70QA was designed for players who want the quality of Ibanez but in an affordable package. The GRX70QA has a poplar body, quilted maple top, jatoba fretboard, 22 medium frets, a scale length of 648mm and two humbucker pickups, and one single pickup. The humbucker and single-coil pickups are controlled by a 5-way switch and a control each for volume and tone.
One of the hardest things to master when first starting on a six-string is fretting notes. However, the slim neck and flat fretboard allows younger players to fret notes and chords with ease. Furthermore, what sets this apart from its competitors is the quilted maple top, this is attractive to look at and is an indication of excellent quality and craftsmanship.
The GRX70QA has two humbuckers and one single-coil pickup. Some may argue that this is one of the most versatile pickup combinations out there. The stock pickups are great and can handle any genre that you throw at them.
- The thin neck is great for beginners and allows them to move easily around the fretboard.
- Humbuckers are fantastic for heavier genres.
- The fretboard is very flat and string action is low; this makes the electric guitar easier to play.
- The different combinations of pickups make this guitar extremely flexible in a variety of different musical scenarios.
- The contoured body is extremely comfortable.
- The number of tonal options could be overwhelming for beginners.
- Some users have experienced maintenance issues.
Best Short Scale Guitar
Squier Bullet Mustang
The Squier Bullet Mustang is an extremely popular guitar amongst beginners. It’s most famously used by Nirvana guitarist Kurt Cobain, however, it’s one of the best electric guitars for kids due to its short scale length.
Although small guitars are often thought of as toy guitars, the Squier Bullet Mustang is a serious instrument for guitarists of all levels and abilities. It’s stylish, affordable, and versatile. The thin, lightweight body, C-shaped neck, and short scale length make this one of the best electric guitars available today.
The short scale length enables the frets to be closer together, meaning that tough stretches are a thing of the past. As well as this, the short scale provides less string tension on the instrument, making chords and single notes easier to play.
The dual humbuckers can cover a wide range of genres and the hardtail bridge provides excellent sustain and resonance. What we love about this guitar is that it is extremely simple to use, like many of its rivals, it utilises a 3-way selector switch and one volume and tone control. Essentially, this means more playing and less fiddling, which is never a bad thing.
The Squier FSR mustang is a great value instrument that any beginner would be lucky to have.
- The short scale length (609mm) is perfect for children and younger players.
- The racing stripes on the guitar are a nice addition.
- The humbucker pickups are great for rock and roll.
- The ‘C-shaped neck’ is great for small hands.
- Guitarists with bigger hands may find it difficult to play.
- The shape isn’t for everyone.
|Model||Valencia Half Size Guitar||Yamaha CS40II||Fender CN60S||Martin LX1E||Tanglewood TWCRD||Squier Affinity Telecaster||Epiphone Limited Edition SG||Yamaha Pacifica 012||Ibanez GRX70QA||Squier Bullet Mustang|
|Type||Acoustic Guitar (Nylon||Acoustic Guitar (Nylon)||Acoustic Guitar (Nylon||Acoustic Guitar (Steel)||Acoustic Guitar (Steel)||Electric Guitar||Electric Guitar||Electric Guitar||Electric Guitar||Electric Guitar|
|Specs||Body: Laminated Basswood Top, Sides, and Back.|
Neck: Ebony Fingerboard and Nato neck.
Nut width: 45mm.
|Body: Spruce top and Meranti|
Neck: Nato Fretboard: Rosewood
Nut width: 48mm
|Body: Spruce Top, Laminated Mahogany Back and Sides,|
Nut width: 43mm
|Body: Sitka Spruce Top, Laminated Body Mahogany Back and Sides.|
Neck: Rust Birch Laminate.
Nut width: 42mm
|Top: Mahogany Top, Back, and Sides.|
Nut width: 43mm
|Body Material: Alder|
Neck Material: Maple.
Fretboard: Rosewood or Maple.
Neck Shape: “C” Shape
Nut width: 40.6mm
Number of Frets: 2
|Body Material: Poplar w/ Mahogany Veneer|
Neck Material: Mahogany
Neck Shape: 1960’s SlimTaper™; D profile
Nut Width: 42mm
Number of Frets: 2
|Body: Agathis or Nato.|
Neck Shape: C
Nut Width: 41mm
Number of Frets: 22
|Body: Quilted maple art grain top/poplar body|
Fingerboard: Treated New Zealand pine with white dot inlay
Neck shape: C
Nut Width: 42mm
Number of frets: 22
Neck: Maple with Indian Laurel Fingerboard.
Neck Shape: C
Nut width: 42mm
Number of frets: 22
|Scale Length (mm)||560||580||643||584||650||648||629.05.00||648||648||610|
|Electronics||No||No||No||Yes||Yes, available on other models||Yes. (Single coils x2)||Yes. (Humbuckers x2)||Yes. (Single Coils x2 and Humbucker x1).||Yes. (Humbuckers x2 and Single Coil x1)||Yes. (Humbuckers x2)|
Buying Guide – What To Consider When Buying Kids Guitars
Shopping for your child’s first guitar can be overwhelming. Whether it’s a rogue starter acoustic guitar or an electric, there are so many options it’s hard to know what’s best. However, fear not, in this buying guide we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about purchasing your first guitar.
What type of guitars are there?
There are 3 types of guitar, these are:
Finger pain is common amongst many beginner guitarists, however, a nylon string can help with this as the strings are much lighter than a regular acoustic guitar.
Furthermore, the strings have more space between them. This means fretting chords and melody notes is easier, this makes the instrument far more accessible for children.
Steel-string acoustics have a crisper sound than a nylon string guitar. This type of guitar often sounds louder and brighter and is suitable for older children.
These types of guitars are perfect for strumming chords. You can play lead guitar on an acoustic, but it is much easier on an electric.
Young children might find these guitars difficult to play due to the strings and because of the reduced string spacing.
The electric guitar is one of the coolest instruments around and is an extremely popular choice amongst beginners. Its strings are a lot lighter than a steel string. Also, with an electric guitar, you can easily experiment with the tone of the guitar by changing the settings on an amp.
One downside is that the space between each string is quite small, however, it is relatively easy to adjust to this if you’ve played a steel string before.
What size guitar is suitable for my child?
There are many sizes of guitar available for each guitar type, let’s take a look at them.
Half Size Classical Guitar
These guitars have nylon strings and are perfect for children between the ages of 5-8.
Three Quarter Size Classical Guitar
Like half-size guitars, these have nylon strings and are more suitable for older children between the ages of 8-13.
Full-Size Classical Guitar
This type of guitar is great for children who are 13+, but some children may find this difficult to play due to the neck being much larger. A dreadnought or concert guitar is a much better fit.
Parlor Guitar and Travel Guitars
These types of guitars are smaller-shaped guitars but with steel strings instead of nylon. These are great for children or teenagers. They often sound brighter than a classical but don’t have as much bass as a dreadnought guitar.
Dreadnought and Concert Shaped
These guitars are the biggest on the acoustic market. These guitars have a much larger sound, use steel strings, and are suitable for teenagers and young adults.
Usually, electrics are purchased by beginners who can already play guitar and are ready to move to the next step of their musical journey. However, it’s not unusual for a teenager to start on an electric guitar.
What accessories does my child need?
When your child first starts guitar lessons, they will need the following:
- A guitar which is suitable for their age.
- A gigbag.
- Guitar picks.
- A tuner.
- A capo.
- Guitar strings.
All of these accessories will come in extremely handy in their first few years of lessons.
What is the best guitar for a child to learn on?
We think that a child should start with a nylon string, then an acoustic steel string, and then an electric guitar.
What size guitar is good for a 5-year-old?
A half-size is a great option for a 5-year-old.
What kind of guitar should I get my 8 year old?
A three-quarter size or travel guitar is a great guitar for an 8-year-old.
What is a good guitar for a 3-year-old?
Guitars are too big for a 3-year-old. A ukulele would be a better choice.