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How to Buy a Guitar for a Child

Buying your child a guitar is not an especially difficult process, but you will need to make sure that you pick out a guitar that is both playable and appealing. If the guitar is too difficult to play, the child might feel discouraged. Similarly, if the guitar is not visually and audibly appealing, your child may lose interest.


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    Decide whether to buy an electric, acoustic, or classical guitar.[1] The most common guitar for a child's first is a classical style guitar. A classical guitar is an acoustic guitar with nylon strings. While acoustic guitars with metal strings are more common in the music industry, nylon strings are softer and easier for children to press down and strum. This is especially important for young children learning to play for the first time, since painful metal strings may turn them off of playing long-term.
    • While not as common, electric guitars are a worthwhile option, especially for children with a more energetic demeanor. They tend to be a little more expensive than an acoustic guitar, though, so many parents prefer to buy them only if they feel confident about their child's continued interest and dedication to practicing the guitar.
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    • Consider asking your child for his or her preference. If your child has his or her heart set on a particular type of guitar, buying something different may make your child feel less inclined to continue practicing.
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    Figure out what size your child needs.[2] The size guitar you choose for your child is, perhaps, the most crucial aspect affecting the child's ability to actually play the guitar. A guitar that is too large will be impossible to play, while a guitar that is too small will teach your child to play incorrectly, making it difficult for him or her to transfer to a standard size guitar upon reaching adulthood.
    • In general, a 4 to 6 year old child, ranging in height from 3'3" to 3'9" (99 cm to 114 cm), needs a guitar that is 1/4 of the standard size.
    • A 5 to 8 year old child, ranging in height from 3'10" to 4'5" (117 cm to 135 cm), needs a guitar that is 1/2 the full size.
    • Children between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, ranging in height from 4'6" to 4'11" (137 cm to 150 cm) need a 3/4 size guitar.
    • Children ages 11 and up who are at least 5' (152 cm) tall can have a standard, full-size guitar.
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    Consider the guitar brand. Brand has an impact on both the price and quality of the guitar. A higher quality guitar, like a Squier guitar made by Fender, will stay in tune remarkably well but will also be on the high end of the cost scale. You can ask the store or dealer for other recommendations based on quality that will not have as much of an impact on your budget, though. If you are uncertain about whether or not your child will stick with guitar lessons, you can also buy an inexpensive starter guitar from a respected beginner brand like J. Reynolds or Excel.
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    Think about color and design. Kids are attracted to color and print, especially at a young age. Thankfully, highly decorated guitars are not usually much more expensive than plain, simple guitars. At the very least, you should consider buying a guitar in your child's favorite color. You can also shop for a print or pattern that can appeal to your child. Guitars with Hello Kitty or other popular characters tend to be popular, as well as guitars with flames and skulls. Guitars with pretend rhinestones can be popular.
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    Know how much you should expect to spend.[3] Regardless of brand or design, as a general rule of thumb, the most expensive guitars will have better tone and durability. The price of extremely high-quality guitars can run into the thousands, but you can purchase a fairly good quality guitar for a child for anywhere between $150 and $300. The difference in tone between a guitar that costs $150 and one that costs upward of $500 will not be that noticeable in child's guitar, especially if the child is still a beginner.
    • Moreover, if your child may outgrow the guitar in a few years, it is better to go with a less expensive one earlier on and save up for a higher quality guitar once he or she is old enough to have a full size.
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    Make sure to purchase the right accessories.[4] At minimum, you will need to buy extra strings. Your child will, in all likelihood, go through a fair share of strings as he or she learns to play, and you will want to have extra strings on hand to change out as soon as one breaks. You should also have a good stock of picks, since children are just as likely to lose a lot of picks, too.
    • If you are getting your child an electric guitar, you will also need to purchase an amplifier and a guitar cable. These do not need to be anything especially fancy, but you will at least need a simple 10-watt amp in order to make the guitar audible.
    • A guitar bag, guitar strap, and guitar tuner are also good accessories to buy. They are practical accessories, since they will help your child play and maintain the guitar, but they may also help make your child feel more enthusiastic about learning to play, as well, since they give some sense of authenticity to the experience.


  • Unless you have your heart set on making the guitar a complete surprise for your child, you should really consider asking your child’s opinion about what he or she wants. Buying a guitar that your child finds appealing ensures that the child will stick with it for as long as possible.

Things You’ll Need

  • Guitar
  • Extra strings
  • Extra picks
  • Amplifier and cable
  • Guitar bag, strap, and tuner

Article Info

Categories: Guitar | Buying Wisely