Here, let me help you find the right guitar for your kids, as there’s no better way to learn music than learning how to play guitar. Keyboards might be the exception, but these are commonly pricier instruments.
We’re covering expensive instruments as well. Nevertheless, our list is covering every price point. No matter the size of your budget, we intend to offer an option for you.
Getting your kids interested in guitar early in their life is a great chance to create a beautiful hobby for them. A hobby that, who knows, might become a profession, a passion, or, if anything, might develop their creativity, motor skills, discipline, and confidence.
We’re considering electric, classical, acoustic, and acoustic-electric guitars (although we don’t recommend acoustic-electric models for kids).
I don’t want to bury you with a bunch of theoretical details. For the extra info, we’ve got other articles on the page already. Instead, we’re jumping right into our options for the young rockstars.
Guitars for kids are ¾ or ½ as big as a fully-fledged guitar.
What to look for on small guitars for kids?
As a child grows in knowledge and skills, there comes the need for a better instrument as well. What we want is a guitar that can grow with your child, even if it’s smaller, to fit the hands of young players.
That way, kids can enjoy the benefits of playing guitar with the same instrument for many years, without needing to invest in something pricier until a couple of years, at least.
As for the benefits, I’m talking about developing creativity and confidence, as I said. There’s also an academic side to it, as everyone needs discipline and effort to improve as a player and play -and even create -more songs.
There’s also fun to have, like playing around with friends, performing for the family, and playing your favorite songs.
With fantastic resources like online guitar lessons, the journey is easier than ever for younger players. Still, there’s something else we want, something crucial: a guitar that’s both easy to play and clear enough to be appealing and forgiving.
Small guitars are not only shorter: they also feature a lighter body, a slim neck, and shorter space between the frets.
Choosing the right guitar
Studies have shown that guitar students decide whether or not they’ll continue to learn during the first few months of playing. That’s even more true for children as they have a shorter attention span.
Because of this, it’s essential to choose a guitar that suits the children. If they don’t like it during the first three months, they won’t like the activity and, most likely, they will abandon the instrument or do it with zero effort.
In summary, here’s the way to keep your kid interested in guitar:
- Find the right guitar for your kid’s preference, but not something that feels or looks like a toy
- Choose a guitar that’s easy to play and clear enough to understand as children practice
- Select a guitar with enough construction quality to last for years
When to start playing classical, acoustic, or electric guitar?
Generally, the best place to start playing is with a classical guitar. These are wooden guitars with a soundhole on the body to create acoustic resonance and nylon strings.
The reason is nylon strings are softer than the steel strings on electric and acoustic guitars. They are gentle on the fingers and easier to press. Steel strings on untrained fingers can easily create calluses.
However, if your kids enjoy rock music, pop music, and other modern genres, an acoustic guitar will feel “like” the music they like.
Acoustic guitars have identical shapes but come with sharper, more vital strings. As a result, the sound is louder and brighter, whereas classical guitars are gentle and mellow. The downside is, as I said, the strings are harder to play for young children.
Then, there’re electric guitars. These are smaller than acoustic and classical guitars. Also, they may come with thinner and easier to play necks. In particular, electric guitar bodies tend to have cutaways, curves on the bodies that allow access to the higher frets.
Electric guitars also come with steel strings, and they also require an amplifier and a cable to sound. Then again, if your kid likes rock, pop, and similar, then going for an electric guitar bundle that packs an amplifier might be best.
There’re plenty of kids who’ve learned how to play on an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
My recommendation would be as follows. First, the earliest your kid could start playing guitar is nine years old. Whereas a 6-year old can learn, it takes an exceptional teacher to overcome the limitations of teaching young children.
Before nine years, you can buy a ukulele for your toddler instead and let him play around, much like young kids make random doodles on a page.
You can also inspire him to play by playing yourself, showing him great music, or playing games like Guitar Hero.
That said, we recommend getting a classical guitar for kids going from 9 to 13 years old. If you think your kid would prefer an electric guitar.
I also recommend passing acoustic guitars for first-timers, although I will still recommend them. Then again, if your kid is above 13 years old and you can’t afford both an electric guitar and an amplifier, an acoustic guitar is perfectly okay.
You’re the parent, though. If you believe your kid can play one guitar or the other at an earlier age, then, by all means, go ahead. Just remember to accompany your toddler on the journey and feel excited about everything they learn and want to show to you.
Lastly, please remember to congratulate your kids every time they achieve something.
The size of the guitar is more objective. As I said, small guitars are ½ or ¾ the size of fully-sized guitars.
That said, the size of a guitar is known as “scale length.” This is the length of the strings, from the start of the neck (the nut) to the bridge at the body.
Classical, acoustic, and electric guitars share the same scale lengths. These are either 25.4’’, 25.5’’, or 24.75’’. The standard number is 25.5’’.
Naturally, a ½ guitar means it has half the scale length, in other words, half 25.5’’.
If you can, go for a full-sized guitar. These are generally better constructed, and they offer more value and durability.
There’s also an additional option regarding acoustic guitars. You see, there’re “small body” guitars and “parlor” guitars, which feature similar scale lengths but with a slimmer and lighter body for more effortless playing.
Lastly, full-size guitars have wider necks and extra space between the frets. They are also heavier. If your child has small hands, go for a guitar with a slim neck.
- Electric guitars:
Electric guitars are smaller than classical and acoustic guitars, even though the scale length is the same. They are also lighter and feature thinner and curved necks, which means their necks can easily fit a human palm.
Some of them are heavy, though, but that depends on the model. Also, bear in mind steel strings are mean on young fingers.
These guitars are suitable for metal, pop, blues, country, and rock genres.
|8 – 13||½ size|
|8 – 12||¾ size|
|12 +||Full size|
- Acoustic guitars:
Acoustic models are better for pop, folk, country, classic rock, and slower rock music (like alternative rock, pop-rock, or grunge).
They have steel strings, which bring loud, and bright sounds. Also, their construction allows easier chord playing.
Lastly, acoustic guitars are lightweight but bulky.
|8 – 12||¾ size|
|12 – 15||Small body|
|15 +||Full size|
- Classical guitar:
While classical guitars are good learning tools, they do lean heavily towards certain music genres. These include Latin pop, flamenco, classical music, Spanish music, flamenco, Mexican music, bossa nova, and similar.
They are available at the tiny ¼. These are good gifts for toddlers, but, as I said, they will use them just like toddlers make doodles on paper.
As for the sound, it’s soft, mellow, and not as loud as acoustic guitars.
|3 – 5||¼ size|
|5 – 8||½ size|
|8 – 12||¾ size|
|12 +||Full size|
Consider your kid’s age, music preferences, and size before buying the right guitar.
What else does my kid need to play?
Aside from the guitar, your kid will probably need a strap, guitar picks, a guitar bag, and a guitar tuner. Lucky for you, some of the options I’m listing bring these options.
If you don’t know what these articles are, let me help:
- The strap lets you hang the guitar around your neck to play while standing.
- The tuner allows you to keep the guitar’s intonation in check. The intonation of a six-string guitar is E-A-D-G-B-E, from the thickest to the thinnest string.
- A bag keeps the guitar protected from dust and allows the player to carry it around.
- A pick allows the player to play the guitar easily. Playing with the strings tends to be harder and more advanced. Also, you can’t play an electric guitar with your fingers.
If you go for an electric guitar, then you’d also need a cable to plug the guitar into an amplifier, plus an amplifier to make it sound.
Acoustic-electric guitars also pack an output to connect into an amplifier and create a loud sound. However, they feature an acoustic body, which means they can create good unplugged sound to practice.
Lastly, the right online guitar lessons can point your child in the right direction. However, if you, as a parent, already know how to play, then the beauty of teaching yourself is priceless.
By the way, here’s a guide on how to tune a guitar with a guitar tuner. Someone has to help your children until they learn how to do it themselves, and that someone could be you.
Top 10 best small guitars for kids reviews
There’s also a guide about types of electric guitars, plus another one detailing the types of acoustic guitars you may find. You’re free to dive deeper into the subject if you’re starting to flame your passion.
Either way, as we’re talking about a kids guitar, though, we don’t need to fill a long list of requisites. Instead, we need to make your kid fall in love with the instrument to keep them interested in the task.
Guitars use “tonewoods” as construction materials, which are wood pieces offering different sound qualities. The sound of acoustic and classical guitars greatly depends on the tonewoods.
Best overall guitar for kids: Martin LX1 Little Martin
Here’s a short-scale acoustic guitar coming from one of the best brands in the guitar business. It brings the best sound quality a small guitar could have with a bigger price tag than usual.
The construction relies on a Sitka spruce top, a mahogany body, and mahogany at the back and sides. Particularly, the tonewoods in the body feature special patterns for greater sound and durability.
For example, it has a high-pressure Sitka spruce pattern laminate at the top, whereas the back and side are made of HPL mahogany. This jargon means the guitar is resistant to temperature changes, humidity, and time. Better yet, as time goes on, the guitar sounds better,
Then, it has a 23’’ scale body with a Richlite fingerboard and a maple neck.
The guitar’s aesthetics come together with a Boltaron rosette around the soundhole, plus a clean and neat natural look.
Its premium looks and construction deliver an exceptional sound. The guitar is just as good as most fully-fledged guitars, so even professional adults would embrace it, at least, as a travel or practice guitar.
That means kids won’t grow this guitar out. So, it might seem expensive at first but, at the same time, this is the guitar that can last for a lifetime. That’s why I say it’s the best guitar overall, but if you think the price is a bit too high, you can check more options below.
Either way, the special sound of the Little Martin comes with stellar playability. Everything is built to perfection for an overall reliable and small quality guitar for kids.
Best beginner guitar for kids: Fender CC-60S Concert Pack
The Fender CC-60S is a full-size acoustic guitar with a “Concert” shape, smaller than other popular designs like the dreadnought shape.
The Concert size is smaller and easier for children, and it won’t feel useless or like a toy as children grow.
It also comes with a whole bundle for beginners. This appealing starter pack includes a bag, a set of picks, spare strings, a tuner, a lessons DVD, and a 3-month entry ticket to Fender’s reputed online lessons, Fender Play.
It’s a pretty good bundle. These are offers you’ll only find on top-tier brands like Fender (and subsidiary Squier), Gibson (and subsidiary Epiphone), Ibanez, or Yamaha.
As for construction, it features a solid spruce top with processed mahogany on the back and sides. Then, it has a nato neck, a walnut fingerboard, and a 25.3’’ scale. These are quality construction materials for a perfectly constructed small guitar.
Its solid spruce top is standard for mid-tier acoustic guitars, a market branch above the price tag of this guitar. Either way, it offers a robust, bright, and dynamic sound. It also responds well to amateur guitar playing.
The Fender CC-60S has a compact and lightweight body plus a smooth neck. Notably, the fingerboard has comfortable edges, a light feel, and a slightly shorter space between frets for younger players.
Overall, this guitar has an excellent build quality, an impressive sound, and a size that’s good for kids and adults. Also, solid wood guitars are a rarity at this price point, where we expect to see cheaper -and generally sub-par- guitars made with laminated wood pieces.
Best entry-level guitar for kids: Hohner HAG250P
There’s one guitar that harnesses the reputation of being the best budget classical guitar for kids on the lower price brackets. It’s the Hohner HAG250P, a ½ classical guitar.
With half the size of a standard guitar (30’’ long total), it’s a great choice for children between four and eight years old.
It has nylon strings, softer for kiddies. Moreover, the construction materials include agathis for the body, mahogany for the neck, and a “hardwood” for the fingerboard. Remarkably, though, these are soft and light materials that are also resistant to scratches.
With these materials, the guitar produces a crisp, round, and clear sound when playing. It’s good enough to practice and learn and appealing enough to keep practicing.
Also, it’s easy to tune and has low action strings. That means the strings are closer to the frets than usual. Thus they require less finger strength to play. However, it gets out of tune easily, so an adult or a professor will need to help the young player.
Best classical guitar for kids: Rogue Starter
The definitive starter guitar is the Rogue Starter, hence the name! It’s a classical guitar with an odd ⅞’’ scale length. That makes it smaller than usual, but not as much as to become useless as the player grows.
Filling the gap between fully-sized guitars and ¾’’ guitars, the Rogue Starter is okay for older and younger children alike. It’s also a good choice for teenagers looking for a good-sounding guitar to learn with.
As for materials, it has a blend of maple for the neck, a rosewood fingerboard, and a mahogany body. The construction is decent, and the maple neck protects the guitar from bends.
Most importantly, the mahogany body offers a nice, warm sound with enough clarity to play happily.
Another thing to mention is the color. It’s a looker, a gorgeous gift with its blue & black finish and smooth surface.
For different tastiest, there’re also options in brown and pink.
It’s not the best sound there is for the money -that’s a luxury the Jasmine S35 has – but it’s enough to work with. Nonetheless, it’s a good choice for kids just starting out their musical journey.
Bear in mind the Rogue Starter is an Amazon bestseller.
Best acoustic guitar for kids: Yamaha JR1
The Yamaha JR1 is a ¾ dreadnought acoustic guitar. It’s an excellent choice for small children looking to play guitar seriously as the JR1 is a real-sounding guitar.
In fact, it’s a scaled-down version of Yamaha’s reputed FG guitar series. Moreover, it comes from a world-famous brand reputed for adding in-house designs plus careful construction processes.
Also, much like the FG series, it packs a proprietary bracing pattern. A bracing pattern is a series of wood pieces within the guitar’s body that enhance sound projection, stability, and resonance.
It uses a ¾ size, which means it’s a friendlier introduction to the standard dreadnought guitar shape.
It’s a great-sounding guitar featuring a sound that’s clear, warm, and powerful. Those qualities are appealing for beginners who need encouragement despite their “mistakes.” It’s discouraging just to be learning and have the guitar sound horrible.
Elsewhere, it has a slim guitar, comfortable for small hands. Still, the tuning pegs are big and solid enough for adults to handle, and they are also decent enough to hold the tuning for very long times.
The neck is slim and comfortable for small hands. And, for adults, the tuning pegs are sturdy and easy to handle.
As for tonewoods, it uses a spruce top with laminated meranti for the body, back, and sides. Meranti is not a quality material, but it grants attractive looks to the guitar. Also, the spruce top gives enough resonance to fill a room with sound.
Then, it packs nato wood and a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is slim, smooth, and with shorter space between the frets for young players.
Overall, the Yamaha JR1 offers the brand’s build and sound quality compactly for children.
Best acoustic-electric guitar for kids: Ibanez PN12E
This is a small and affordable parlor acoustic-electric guitar. Parlor guitars follow an old-school design with a smaller body and a slim neck than usual. Their sound leans towards blues, country, and grass.
The Ibanez PN12E features a mahogany top, mahogany on the back and sides, a 24.41’’ scale body, 18 frets, and a rosewood fretboard.
As for electronics, it has a decent AEQ-2T pickup plus preamp. Particularly, the preamp has a built-in tuner, so there’s no need to find a separate tuner.
Its warm mahogany tones are nice for beginners. Then, it’s shortened, and a slim neck is okay for older children and teens looking for a decent acoustic guitar that can grow along with the player.
Plugging the guitar into an amplifier delivers an okay sound, nothing special. It’s good for beginners nonetheless. More importantly, it grants players the opportunity to plug the guitar into an amplifier to play alongside friends or even perform for the family (and more, who knows!).
Overall, the parlor Ibanez PN12E is a top-value guitar with an appealing sound and extra flexibility. You don’t need an acoustic amplifier to make it sound, though, but having one can present extra possibilities.
Best value guitar for kids: Fender CP-60S
Here’s another parlor acoustic guitar, this time from Fender. It brings the quality Fender tone and construction with a warm tone, an outstanding output, and a smooth fret.
As a side note, its construction is best for fingerpicking but hard for strumming.
Parlor guitars, with their slightly lean body, are ideal for kids playing standing or sitting.
That said, the Fender CP-60S brings a top value bundle with the levels of construction quality, and sound richness Fender delivers. There’s also a factor of ease-of-use to it due to its parlor size and neck with rolled fingerboard edges.
As for construction materials, it features a solid spruce top with laminated mahogany on the back and sides, a mahogany neck, and a walnut fingerboard. It has 20 frets and a 24.75’’ scale length, so it has the professional measures an intermediate player would need.
The construction comes with a quality X-bracing pattern within the soundhole for extra resonance and sustain.
Adding value to the guitar comes with a gig bag, a clip-on tuner, a strap, picks, spare strings, and a lessons DVD.
Best premium guitar for kids: BT2 Baby Taylor
Boasting the higher price out of all of the acoustic and classical guitars on the list, the BT2 fulfills the dream of having a Taylor guitar.
Whereas most guitars from the brand sell for $1000 onwards, the Baby Taylor introduces the same kind of quality for a fraction of the price. It’s not a professional guitar, though. Instead, it’s a kiddie guitar with a premium sound.
So, do you want to take it seriously? Then choose the ¾ dreadnought Taylor guitar. Its smaller size offers enough playability for children.
As for construction, it features laminate woods at the top, back, and sides, plus a solid wood piece for the body, neck, and fingerboard.
The tonewoods of this compact guitar are mahogany and Sapele for the body. In particular, Layered Sapele is a proprietary Taylor hardwood that enhances tonal properties while making the guitar stronger at the top and bottom.
Another quality add-on is the X-bracing pattern within the soundhole. It’s a custom-made, delicate construction to fit the smaller size of this guitar.
Elsewhere, we find a 22.75’’ scale length body with an African Ebony fingerboard and a mahogany neck. The neck is short and slim. Thus it’s easier to play for people with small hands.
The construction is solid, gorgeous, and durable. And as for the sound, it’s nice, soft, balanced, and smooth. Also, it delivers stellar clarity and definition, with just enough warmth to enjoy chord playing.
Above all of this, what makes this guitar a premium option is the hardware, by which I mean the tuning pegs, bridge, nuts, and saddle. These are quality proprietary pieces that keep intonation in check while delivering a fair amount of resonance.
Best bundle electric guitar for kids: Fender Squier Mini Stratocaster
There’s nothing crazy about this guitar. Simply put, it’s a smaller Stratocaster than usual. Fender’s subsidiary Squier makes the guitar and sells it for a budget for children between 6 and 12 years old.
It has a ¾ size body representing a 22.75’’ scale length. More importantly, it has the smooth C-shaped neck Fender uses on all of its guitars. A C-shaped neck is a better fit for the human palm as it has a natural rounded contour.
The fingerboard has 20 frets, and they are smaller than typical frets on electric guitars. Also, the size in-between the frets gets smaller on the fingerboard’s treble side, making playing chords easier.
The tonewoods don’t influence the sound of an electric guitar as much as the tonewoods on acoustic guitars, but I will still name them. It has a poplar body, Indian Laurel fretboard, and poplar neck. These are cheap pieces delivering reasonable durability and sustain but plenty of lightweights.
The sound comes from three Stratocaster pickups. On top of this, it has a five-way pickup switch, which modifies the pickups on and off. Lastly, it has a volume knob and a tone knob.
This Mini Strat produces a warm and crunchy sound with moderate output. It’s a super-fun tone for kids that love modern rock, pop, and indie music.
I’m sharing a bundle that includes the reliable Fender 10G practice amp, a cable, a strap, a set of picks, a clip-on tuner, and a wall stand.
If you already have the extra gear to play with, you can just buy the guitar and save some money:
Alternative: Ibanez Mikro
It’s the ¾ version of Ibanez’s famous RG, within their budget-line GIO series. It features a hard-rock aesthetic and a more robust sound than most kid guitars. It plays heavier music genres for the young rockers of your house.}
I wouldn’t buy this guitar for kids above 11 years old, though.
Best overall electric guitar for kids: Epiphone Les Paul Junior
If you’re a musician parent, choosing between a Squier Strat and an Epiphone Les Paul at the budget segment is often a matter of taste. If you’re looking for a full-size Squier for your kid instead, you can opt for the Squier Bullet series.
The Junior guitar is a full-size electric guitar for kids above 11 years old. Gibson’s subsidiary Epiphone makes the guitar by following the reputed Les Paul blueprint. However, they use cheap tonewoods and modest proprietary pickups to keep the prices low.
But it’s still a Les Paul, with the standard and badass Les Paul shape and superb construction materials. It has a mahogany body, a maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard.
This guitar carries one pickup and two controls (tone and volume). It’s not a lot of features but, compared to the Squier Mini, it’s leagues easier to use. Plenty of players, in particular kids, will appreciate the simpler approach.
Regarding the neck, it’s light, slim, and smooth. And, as for the sound, it delivers a huge sound with plenty of versatility for modern genres of music.
Overall, it’s a solid beginner and children’s guitar that can grow alongside the player. With its classic Les Paul style and sound, it has plenty to offer.