The sooner you start an instrument the better. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to develop creatively, with research also showing that it helps children academically in school. So why not buy a guitar for your kid?Kids guitar on Amazon
Investing in a kids’ guitar is a good idea, so that your child can start exploring music and having fun as soon as possible. Here onn this page you can see our test of guitars for kids and read our purchase guide on choosing a guitar for children.
Guitar For Kids Test
I have tested over 90 different guitars for kids and now we’ll show you our test winners. We have a test winner within each age group, so you can certainly find a super guitar for your kid. Although I have found the best guitars for specific age groups, I will start by showing you the overall best acoustic and electric guitar for kids.back to menu ↑
Best acoustic guitar for kids
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Best electric guitar for kids
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Best guitar for 2-4 year old kids
If your child is between 2 and 4 years old, you will need a very small guitar. I would recommend buying a guitalele, which is a mix between a ukulele and a guitar. It is the size of a ukulele, but has the six strings of a guitar. Here is our test winner in the category: guitar for children between 2-4 years.
You can see a small video with our test winner here:
Best guitar for 5-8 year old kids
As soon as your child is 5 years old, the guitalele will probably be too small to play. The best guitar for children between 5-8 years is a ½ size guitar. So a guitar that is half the size of an adult guitar. You can see our test winner for kids between 5 and 6-8 years below:
Best guitar for 8-11 year old kids
If your child is between 8 and 11 years old then you need to get hold of a ¾ size guitar. So a guitar that is 25% smaller than an adult guitar. You can see our test winner here:
Best guitar for kids over 11 years
Although it may seem large, children over the age of 11 are probably best having an adult, full-size guitar. It is usually said that the adult guitar is suitable for people who measure over 150 centimeters in height. Here is our adult guitar test winner:
Guitar for kids buying guide
The first step to finding a good kid’s guitar for your child is to find out which type you need. There are both acoustic-electric guitars (all steel strings), classical guitars, also called classic guitars, (where half of the strings are of nylon), as well as electric guitars (here all the strings are also made of metal, typically nickel).
Many start out on a classical guitar, as its nylon strings are softer than metal strings, so the child can easily push them down. In addition, like the acoustic-electric guitar, it has a sound hole. It is, therefore, an acoustic instrument that can create a large sound without amplification. This is why we would recommend a classical guitar if you do not have any music preferences.
The electric guitar is also really good because the strings are easier to press down than on acoustic guitars. It is not an acoustic instrument, however, which may be a problem. This means that you must have an amplifier, wires (jack cables) and more to make a loud enough sound.
Overall, I would recommend a classical guitar but it’s important to remember that the child’s wishes come first. Especially between electric guitars and classical guitar, there is not much difference in playing difficulty for a beginner. Therefore, if, for example, the child wants to play hard rock, then it is probably best to start on an electric guitar. But keep in mind that there are extra things you will need to buy. It’s therefore recommended to ask what your child would like. Even though they may not know many bands, they are often influenced by their parents’ music taste, and perhaps they can point to a number that you often listen together or similar, which can give an indication to which musical direction you should go along with.
Guitar sizes for kids guitars
Of course, kids are not as big as adults. Guitar builders know that too, and so it doesn’t mean playing guitar is only for adults. Therefore, there are different types and sizes of guitars to ensure that a child can sit with a perfectly sized guitar. A “tailor-made” guitar in relation to age and the average size of a child of a given age.
It is important that you find the right size for your child. It is perhaps the most important thing of all when you need to find the child’s first guitar. Too big a guitar means that the child cannot reach the notes on the neck of the guitar. Such a guitar would be impossible for the child to play on. Also, a guitar that is too small is also a big problem. If the guitar is too small, in proportion, it could give the child some wrong patterns in their practice and habits that can destroy technique, perhaps for the rest of their lives. Especially when switching to a regular size guitar when the child gets older, they will have a hard time getting used to it. Therefore, it is important that the guitar you play proportionally matches your size. There are four different sizes for guitars:
- The first size is called a guitalele. This guitar is suitable for kids between 80 cm and 114 cm, and is typically suitable for kids aged 2 to 5 years. This is the smallest guitar, and can, for many, look like a toy guitar. It’s not! Toy guitars are usually junk which are made from plastic and cannot be recommended. Here, we talk about real instruments which are built by the same skilled manufacturers who make the proper, full-size guitars.
- The next type is a ½ size guitar. These guitars are for kids between 117 cm and 135 in height and are intended for kids between 5 and 8 years of age. Especially for kids between 5 and 8 years old, it is incredibly important that they get a guitar of the right size. It is at this age in particular that most learning sets itself firmly (usually unconsciously for kids), and too large a guitar, as mentioned earlier, would definitely create problems in the future. This can easily be avoided by obtaining a guitar of the right size, so it is an important consideration.
- The third type is a ¾ size guitar. This for kids between 137 cm and 150 cm and is suitable for kids aged 8 to 11 years. The kids develop particularly quickly here. Both physically in relation to height, but also in their guitar playing. This often means that children do not actually have a ¾ size guitar for all three years, as they are quick to switch to the full-size guitar.
- The last type is the regular full-size guitar (although not usually called anything other than ‘guitar’). This is the type a child should progress to when they have become too big for the other three types. This is around the age of 11, but it can also happen before. This is for kids who are 152 cm or taller.
It should be said that these size designations apply to all types of guitars. It is, therefore, no an issue if you buy a ½ classical guitar or a ½ electric guitar for your 5-year-old child. In proportion, they will both be the right size. It is quite easy to find the right size across the different guitar types.
Since the kids guitar is made for kids, they often have many more designs and colors than regular guitars. For adults, this can seem to be because the guitars are cheap. This is not necessarily the case. One should keep in mind that the look is also incredibly important for kids. If a 6-year-old girl learns to play guitar, she may be very confident with a Hello Kitty design instead of a natural wood color guitar. The same could be said of a boy of the same age and a guitar with flames, action man and kapow! Don’t be sorry. On the contrary, keep in mind that it should be fun for the kids to play, otherwise they will stop as fast as they started. Such small designs and novelties are a great factor that can really give young kids enthusiasm for the instrument. It is ultimately them, and not their parents, who play the guitars.
The smaller sized guitars are typically also more durable and tough than normal guitars. This means that you should not be afraid that the child might give the guitar some bumps and scratches. Again, if you get the right guitar, then you don’t have to worry – the rest usually comes by itself. However, the small guitars have a somewhat more trebley and less rich sound than normal guitars. This is, of course, due to the size of the body of the instrument and that’s just some to live with. However, sound isn’t everything. It’s just about playing and having fun!
Prices for kids guitars are actually not much different from regular size guitars. You might think that they would be cheaper, since less materials have been used, but kids guitars are less commonly made than ordinary guitars and so the prices are less competitive.
As with ordinary, full sized guitars, they range from anywhere between $75 to many thousands of dollars, and the brands you normally know as guitar manufacturers are the same.
However, a good rule of thumb is not to go under $100 for a new, beginner guitar. This price is usually good for sorting the wheat from the chaff. From here the guitars get better and better the more expensive they get, up to about $2000 (from here price is dictated mainly by taste and pleasure). But it is clear that there is no reason to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a guitar, when it may turn out that the child isn’t super interested in playing guitar anyway.
Therefore, we recommend that you set a budget, and check how willing the kids are to getting started. If your child is wanting to upgrade their instrument, say, from a ½ size to a ¾ size, perhaps it is worth buying a higher quality instrument, as you have a slightly greater probability that the child will continue their study. The greater the quality of an instrument, the better the music can develop. After all, it is much easier and more rewarding in the long run to paint a painting with a brush than it is with a stick, although both are possible.
Other considerations when buying kids guitars
When you choose a kid’s guitar, you should make it an experience. This means that it is extremely important to sit down with your child and look at instruments together. In advance, it’s a good idea to weed out the guitars that are too expensive; we know with kids that they may only want one particular guitar if they see it, regardless of the parents’ budget. Therefore, plan and find out what type of guitar it should be. Then, of course, you have to find out if learning an instrument is even something the child wants (even maybe in advance) and what the child will use it for. Is it a hobby they are interested in? Will you child be going to paid lessons? When this is in place, look at the instruments and look for something that speaks to the child.
Once the perfect guitar is found, there are a few extra things that are important to have in mind. It is also important to buy a guitar tuner. There are different models and kinds, and which one you choose is not going to be extremely important. The important thing is to get a tuner, so that you can always have your guitar in tune. The easiest tuner to use is called a clip on a tuner. It’s placed on the head of the guitar, and then tells you how the guitar is tuned based on the guitar’s vibrations. Additionally, it is important to buy some extra strings. Guitar strings can snap and you will eventually need new ones. This is quite normal, so it’s good to have some extra for back up. Then you may want to consider a guitar strap so that they can stand up while playing. It is important that the strap is wide and in a good material (possibly leather), so that it supports the back well and prevents back problems in the future. This is, unfortunately, a problem for many guitarists, but a good strap can make a big difference and ensure that it doesn’t develop.
The change from kids guitar to adult guitar
Many people are afraid of the shift from kids guitar to adult guitar; especially parents. But there is no need to worry! If a child learns to play well on a kids guitar suitable for their age, he or she can no doubt switch to an adult guitar later. The chords are the same, the techniques are the same, and generally, it becomes a very natural and painless transition from one instrument to another. Being older and creating preferences is what it is. In summary, the transition should not be problematic. It, of course, takes time to get used to it but that’s a part of the game.