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Tips on Buying a Kids Guitar or Ukulele

Updated on July 23, 2011

Buying your child his or her first guitar can be quite a challenge, especially if you are not very musically inclined and are unfamiliar with the different options available. Following are a few helpful tips to consider when buying a guitar for your child:

Kids Guitar vs. Ukulele:

If your child is around ten to twelve years of age, they can start with a guitar quite easily. However, younger children often have a hard time pressing the strings down as hard as is needed. For this reason, you may want to consider starting a younger child with a ukulele instead of a guitar.

A ukulele is a four stringed instrument. It is similar in shape to a guitar, just with a smaller body. The first three strings on the ukulele are tuned exactly the same as the top three strings on a guitar; the fourth string is an octave higher. Ukuleles have nylon strings, which are easier on a younger child's fingers. The chords learned on a ukulele can also be used on a guitar.

The main disadvantage to starting a child on a ukulele is that you will need to purchase a ukulele and then purchase a guitar a few years down the line, once your child moves up in age and abilities.

Choosing the Right Type of Kids Guitar for Your Child:

There are three different kinds of guitars: nylon string guitar (also known as a classical guitar), steel string guitar and electric guitar. The child guitar you buy would, in large part, depend on what kind of music your child is interested in learning.

It is usually better for a child to start off with a classical guitar.  The strings are a lot easier to depress and you can play many different styles of music on such a guitar.  These guitars can be used both for accompaniment (when your child plays with another guitar player but is not the lead guitarist) and as a lead guitar.

However, some children find electrical guitars the easiest to learn on.  You do not have to pluck the strings as hard as you would on a nylon or steel string guitar and the strings are lower, making them easier for a child to learn on.  Steel string guitars are the hardest guitars to learn to play, due to the fact that steel strings are hard to depress and strum.  

Guitar Prices and Options:

The price of kids guitars vary a lot.  While you would want to get a kids guitar that is within your budget, you should also be sure to choose something that is good quality and will last your child a long time.  

You can purchase any kind of guitar online for less than $100, although the higher end brand names will cost a fair bit more than that.  You do not need to choose the most expensive guitar in order to get good quality, but you should not settle for the cheapest one available either.  Get a guitar that is affordable and yet still well made and good quality.  You may need to pay between $200 - $300 but if the guitar lasts a long time and can be passed down to future generations, then it is worth it.


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