Finding a kids guitar amongst a myriad of options can be tricky. Read on to explore the 9 best options for the young muso in your life.
Sound quality, durability, price and size are important things to consider when looking for the right kids guitar. Guitars for children have totally unique ergonomics. Small hands need a guitar with especially good playability, so they can easily pick up chords and progress in their learning. The student needs to be comfortable holding its weight, and the strings need to be accessible and gentle on un-calloused fingers.
Here’s what you need to know: a standard guitar is around 101.6 cm, or 40″. Generally, adults are comfortable with these proportions, whereas a kid could get easily overwhelmed by the weight and size. Luckily a variety of shorter guitars are available to best suit your child. The most common small scale model guitars are 3/4 and 1/2, which are perfect for any kid around 120cm to 150cm tall and between the ages of 6 and 12. At around age 12, children can progress to playing a full-size guitar.
To help out, we have compiled a list of the best electric, classical and acoustic guitars that are not only perfect for small hands, but high quality and reasonably priced too.
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior Acoustic Guitar
The Yamaha JR1 is designed to be the perfect beginner instrument for your kid. What’s more, it is a high-quality guitar that sits at a very reasonable price point. This is a 3/4 guitar, meaning it is a much less intimidating choice for beginners.
Though it does have higher tension steel strings, the guitar has excellent playability. The meranti finish on the back and sides makes the JR1 hard-wearing, while the spruce top is resonant enough to get tremendous volume and tone. The JR1 is completed by a starter kit, which includes an instructional DVD, tuner, picks, gig bag, guitar strap, strings and a winder.
Find more details here.
Squier Mini Strat Electric Guitar
A smaller version of the popular Squier Bullet, the Squier Mini Strat will be the go-to when introducing your child to the electric guitar. This small, lightweight guitar is perfect for kids between the ages of 6 and 10. The neck is smooth and the strings are close to the frets, which means small hands will find it easy to play and progress quickly.
This guitar sounds like a Strat: it’s twangy, has a good strong tone and will stay in tune. For the price, this is a great guitar to use until your child grows out of it and onto a full-sized model. When they do, resell the Mini Strat or keep it to use as a travel guitar.
Learn more about Squier here.
Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
If you are willing to spend a little more, the Martin LX1 is the finest acoustic guitar you can gift your kid. Coined the ‘Little Martin’, the LX1 is a 3/4 model of the classic Martin. The guitar has an exceptional build and its smaller scale means it has fantastic playability for little ones.
Even with a short 23″ scale and compact Modified O-14 body, it will produce a bold, punchy and well-balanced sound, which really makes the LX1 a standout compared to other kid-friendly guitars on the market. This is a guitar that children wouldn’t grow out of, so we definitely recommend this for an older child who is more familiar with the guitar.
Head here to learn more about the ‘Little Martin’.
Valencia Series 100
The Valencia Series 100 has featured in nearly every Australian high school music room — and for good reason. The Series 100 is a nylon string classical guitar that is affordable and has great playability. Its shape and neck scale length encourages players to play with true classical fingerstyle, meaning your kid will develop proper playing technique from the moment they start learning.
The Valencia 100 has nylon strings, which are much friendlier to young fingers than steel strings are. Though it is an entry-level guitar, it produces a clear, resonant sound that is top quality for its price point.
See more about Valencia Series 100 here.
Loog Pro Electric
The Loog Pro Electric has been made especially with kids in mind. While it is very small and lightweight, it produces sound that could be mistaken for a full-sized electric. It has just one single-coil pickup, but that’s all it needs, given the intended audience. Though a little pricier than most, the Loog Pro is durable and has been manufactured using high-quality material. It also looks very, very cool. The best feature? Its very slender neck.
As the Loog Pro Electric only has three strings, kids will find it much easier to wrap their hands around the neck to learn how to form chords. To complete the set, the Loog Pro comes with adorable flashcards to help kids learn the basics. As a result, this guitar has great playability.
Head to their website to learn more about Loog Pro Electric.
Gretsch G2220 Electromatic Junior Jet Bass
The Gretsch Junior Jet is a no-fuss bass that prides itself on simplicity. The guitar is diminutive, player-friendly and comes in at a low price. Its short scale means the bass is comfortable to wear and use with small hands.
Though it is short-scale instrument, the Junior Jet does not sacrifice tonal aspects in the name of the comfort. The tone from both pickups is clear and smooth. The great playability and excellent sound quality of the Gretsch Junior Jet will give your child the boost of confidence they need when learning to play bass.
Find out more here.
Lágrima Acoustic Guitar Beginners
The Lágrima Acoustic guitar is manufactured for comfort, and its design choices reflect this. The instrument has dreadnought curves, while the neck is very straight and has a comfortable width. This guitar is a little bigger — sitting at 38″ — so it would be a great size for teens.
The Lágrima Acoustic is made from lime wood, so product costs are minimal but sound quality will still be exceptionally high. What’s more, the guitar comes with a helpful selection of beginner tools, including a lightweight gig-bag, strap, picks, and old-school pitch pipe for helping to tune it.
Learn more about Lagrima here.
Loog Pro VI Acoustic
The Loog Pro VI Acoustic is a natural upgrade for young players looking to slowly progress from child to ‘grown up’ guitar. This guitar is recommended for 9 year olds and above, and is perfect for kids ready to move from 3 to 6 string guitars. A great part of this design is its low action string, which means the strings are easier to press down on. This will be a huge benefit to small hands that are transitioning from nylon to steel strings for the first time.
Loog creates guitars that are not only child-friendly, but high quality. The guitar’s timber is tough and allows for more dynamic power and clarity. As a result, the guitars are surprisingly full sounding. To further facilitate your child’s learning, when you purchase a Loog Pro VI, you also get flashcards with chord diagrams and full access to the Loog Guitar app for iOS and Android.
See more about Loog Pro VI Acoustic on their website.
Mahalo Ukulele Art Series
Mahalo’s ukuleles are among the most loved and celebrated ukuleles in the world. They feature an array of fun, colourful designs sure to pique your child’s interest. Their classical nylon strings are perfect for beginners, and their notorious small size means ukuleles are perfect for much younger kids who are first getting into music.
Mahalo ukuleles also have gold plated dolphin machine heads, which will make tuning easy for your child to learn. When you purchase a Mahalo Ukulele you also gain access to an abundance of video tutorials and downloadable resources.
Head to their website for more information.