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What is the best guitar for beginners?
How To Buy The Best Kid's Guitar for Beginners
I wrote this beginner guitar center page to give you tips how to buy the best kid's guitar when your child wants to start to play an instrument. If you want to buy your child's first guitar you will have many questions when relentless pester power kicks in! As an experienced guitar tutor, I want to help you find the very best beginner guitar for your child, taking into account age, size and the budget.
Are you looking for a guitar for a kid? What really makes a good kid's guitar? As a first time guitar buyer you will be faced with a huge variety of beginner acoustic guitars and budget electric guitars to choose from and lots of conflicting advice.
This is a shot taken today in the storeroom. As you can see there are so many types of beginner guitar These are all old guitars well used by students. Some guitars are more child friendly than others which are not the best beginner guitars!
In this lens I hope to give you some useful pointers to choosing the best beginner guitar and buying that first and all important instrument!
Best Beginner Guitars - Buy Your Kid's First Guitar with Nylon Strings - Best First Guitars - Soft fingers appreciate soft strings!
My own personal opinion as someone who has taught guitar for over 30 years is that nylon strings are best for little fingers. When you buy a first guitar for a child it needs a low action and soft strings - something that pawn shop acoustics never have. I recommend a Valencia three quarter or half size guitar for parents on a budget. This first guitar has a sweet tone and an easy action. There are many first guitars here, please feel free to browse.
Best Beginner Guitars - Left Handed versus Right Handed Guitar
Should I buy a left handed kid's guitar?
It is of course your right to ignore everything this guitar center says in the next few paragraphs - and some of you will - but I am sharing the experience of many, many years so please think about it at least.
In the 1960s when gear was expensive and lessons virtually non-existent, some left-handed guitarists emerged. Truth of the matter was, if you teach yourself you will choose what seems the most comfortable way to do things. A beginner guitar is not designed to be "left handed" or "right handed" really because both hands are used.
That way is not necessarily the best long term, but in the 1960s it worked. Guitarists and bassists sharing a covetted vocal microphone for backing vocals were less likely to clash if one was southpaw and one orthodox!
The industry soon discovered that where guitar heroes led, young players would follow, and they soon produced "left handed" guitars. The dual advantage was the custom price at point of sale, and a reduced resale value at trade in time. Many manufacturers saw this as a way of boosting profits. You can buy a cheaper left handed guitar though, if that is the way you would like to go.
Meanwhile piano players continued to be ambidextrous - no left handed pianos or keyboards were ever designed or sold to my knowledge. The piano needs a two handed approach - actually, so does the guitar!
Left or Right?
As a teacher who has nearly 40 years experience, I have watched insistent "left handers" often actually fall behind after the first few months. I have had pupils who were initially taught left handed ask if they should switch round because they hit a plateau.
The truth is that the fret hand has the most skilled job so left handers SHOULD have an advantage. Why throw that advantage away because playing the open strings in the first few weeks with your right hand is difficult?
At the beginning EVERYTHING is hard for BOTH hands and everything feels awkward to a beginner. The best players in the world (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Michael Angelo etc etc) can play both ways round. I can a little although I am not in that league. Most musicians if truth be told end up being ambidextrous anyway.
What is the best beginner instrument for a child?
How do you choose the best kid's guitar?
First of all, ask yourself is the guitar for you or your seven year old son or daughter? That is by far the most important consideration. I do have to ask this question and so should you if you want to buy a child the best beginner guitar! I write this knowing there will be some - usually big tough men with a big tough love attitude - who disagree, but I write from the point of view of someone who has seen too many little kids fail because their fingers hurt too much to play! If I had $10 for every time a child had turned up with a guitar that was far too big or unplayable I could take quite a nice holiday. The saddest thing is these children give up before they get used to the grown up guitar!
What should you look for in a kid's guitar? The best beginner guitar for a child will be small. Small people need small guitars. Young fingers are soft and easily hurt and therefore need soft strings. Sometimes well meaning adults, usually men, buy their children steel strung guitars in the belief it will "toughen their fingers up and make them better players". More often than not these children give up very quickly and what is worse, they learn to consider themselves failures. That is not only pointless, but unfair and hurtful! Please help them to succeed by buying an instrument suitable for children.
My First Guitar
My first guitar was chosen without direction and it was chosen because I liked how it looked! It had steel strings - fortunately the bridge was the type the allowed for restringing with nylon. If my parents could have afforded the big jumbo guitar (like the 12 string in the intro picture) I would have had that and my playing career would have been short!
If I could have had a purple Fender I would have chosen the guitar you see here. It looks nice, but playing it hurts if you are little! Children don't do pain very well. Steel strings hurt their fingers right at the time they find playing most difficult. Children don't rationalize about later - they live in the now.
PLEASE buy your child a nylon strung guitar. They come in quarter, half, three quarter and full size. Choose one according to your child's height and you won't go far wrong. Don't be put off by the words "classical guitar" You can play ANYTHING on a classical guitar including Jimi Hendrix!
My First Very Easy Christmas Carol Book [Spiral-Bound]
Carols for beginners to play. Single note melodies with chord letters. Very easy large font notes with notename noteheads.
Traditional Christmas Carols For Guitar Solo [Paperback]
Easy and intermediate arrangements of well loved Christmas carols for fingerstyle guitar. Includes TAB as well as music.
Best Beginner Electric Guitars for Kids - Good Guitar Deals for Beginners
Fender guitars, Gibson guitars or starter guitar packages - electric guitars are fun!
If your son or daughter is definitely into rock music and a few years older, you can safely consider a beginner electric guitar. Electric guitars are better for beginners because they have lighter strings and an easy playing action.
These days even the cheaper guitars are good enough to take on stage (times have changed). The key advice is DON'T buy second hand for safety's sake unless you want to pay for an electrical safety examination. Teenagers very often customize guitars and change pickups and can hot wire them in a way that is potentially fatal. You don't know that second hand instrument has not been messed about with.
Package deals with a small amp are good value for beginners. A bigger amplifier isn't really necessary unless you are gigging professionally and the same goes for second hand amps. Unless you are an electronics engineer, buy new for safety's sake! I had a friend who was electrocuted and nearly died on stage because of faulty equipment. He needed CPR!
Guitars come in many shapes and sizes. Yamaha have a really good starter package, then there are Squiers. You can go a little more upmarket with mid-range Epiphone SGs or PRS SE models - these cost four times as much but are of professional quality. Gibson and Fender are the big names of course, but Godin are good, so are Hamer and Dean, PRS are the Cream of guitars!
Buying A Kid's First Electric Guitar - Buying an electric guitar for beginners
A good electric guitar is easier to play than an acoustic guitar. You also need an amplifier with that first electric guitar though. I recommend a first electric guitar should be a package as these include everything your child will need to learn to play guitar. A good first electric guitar might be a Fender Squier, another good first guitar is the Yamaha Pacifica. Here you can see a good selection of electric guitars for beginners on guitar and intermediate guitarists too.
First Acoustic Guitars for Adults
Best beginner guitars - an acoustic guitar for Dad
These are the guitars Dad's and Uncles who play a little bit aspire to - and often misguidedly buy for beginners. I had a seven year old girl turn up with a full size jumbo acoustic a few weeks ago and this is crazy - she can't fret any notes because it hurts her little fingers to try! Steel strung acoustics come in many sizes, varied shapes for different styles of playing, and usually in 6 string and 12 string versions.
There is an old 12 string guitar in the lens intro picture. It is a pig to tune and a pain to play as both pegs and strings have seen much better days. Oh - sorry - I forgot to tell you steel strings rust! It makes them like barbed wire to play on, so they need cleaning, oiling with fast fret and changing very frequently.
That said and done, they do sound nice. They have a pleasant jingle that neither electric guitars or classical guitars can quite match unless you use an expensive virtual amp! They truly come to the fore as accompanying instruments, sing and play guitars, but check out Candyrat Records for some virtuoso solo performances on steel strung acoustics. These are not the norm but they are great!
The pull on steel strings is at least three times the pull of nylon and for that reason a classical guitar should never be restrung with steel strings. It will destroy the instrument!
Acoustic Virtuosi - Candyrat showcase players
Listen to these guys. If you are an experienced player you might consider trying to copy some of these tricks but don't let it influence your choice of FIRST guitar! Now there's a project for the holidays - working out Andy McKee's tuning for Drifting! I have it on excellent authority that it is DADGAD and it sounds right to me.
Buy Acoustic Guitars - For that country guitar twang thang...
Buying Bass Guitars for Young Players
Bass - the root of any band
Everyone knows the bass player jokes don't they? You give the bass to the big guy whose fingers are not quite so nimble, three notes later and he is ready to rock and roll!
I don't actually subscribe to that! I played bass professionally and loved it. Bass is easier if you take up regular guitar first (especially for children). In my experience, bass players tend to be very serious about their music and really get to grips with jazz and theory pretty early on. Maybe it's the jokes that make us that way.
I have taught bass to many young people, but coming to it from guitar or cello gives students a head start. Generally speaking, small basses are not good. The shorter scale compromises the sound and sometimes the tuning.
My advice to parents of children wanting to play bass? Get them guitar lessons with a teacher who is sympathetic to bass playing. When they get a little taller and can manage the longer scale and their fingers are tougher from lots of practice then they can move up (or down perhaps?) to the lower range and the bigger instrument.
Bass Guitars - Low life? Bass guitars for sale.
Do you play? What kind of guitar do you play? What was your first guitar like? I'd like to hear from you! Thank you!