How to choose a guitar for children?
So your child enjoys playing the guitar and would like their own guitar. Choosing the right guitar will have an positive impact on their playing experience as they will be playing the instrument throughout their childhood an age where they have the ability to pick up things quickly.
For parents this can be a daunting experience because all you want to do is provide the best for your child and that is why we have decided to run you through some of the things which might be worth bearing in mind if you are looking to invest in your child's first guitar, so they can have an enjoyable musical journey.
This seems like an almost silly thing to have to think about, as you would assume that a child sized guitar has been made so that it is easy for a child to play. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Quite often, lower quality childrens' guitars are made with low level materials and woods. This often leads to a generally poor guitar which for example has strings which sit too far above the fretboard for your child to be able to play easily and effectively.
This, in turn, does not just reduce the enjoyability of the playing experience for your child, but it also means that they will be getting into bad habits of practice to try and work around the difficulties of playing such an instrument.
In light of this, it is always important to get as much information as possible about the guitar in question before you purchase it. This means, if possible, having your child test it out, rather than just getting started straight from the box. If this is inconvenient however, then you should at least speak ask the seller for as much information as possible about it and ask if it has been adjusted for enhanced playability for a child.
Why should a child learn guitar on a classical model?
In line with the point above, one of the key recommendations that we can make is that your child learns to play on a classical guitar. Made from nylon strings instead of steel means it is better for your child to play as the strings are softer and therefore easier to press down and to strum.
If a child goes straight to playing metal strings, they may find the process physically very painful, and this may put them off playing the guitar altogether.
What size guitar does my child need?
The size of the guitar is another factor that you need to take into consideration. It is difficult to have set rules for which size to buy for certain ages as it depends on the height, arm length and hand size of the individual, these factors which may vary greatly within one age group.
With that said, there are some rough guidelines to follow. Children aged between 4-6 should be looking to play a 30" ¼ size, 6-9 year olds should be looking to play a 34" ¾ size, 9-12 year olds should be looking to play a 36" ¾ size, and children aged over 12 can progress up to a 40" or 41" full sized guitar.
The other thing to consider is that, if you have a child who is particularly keen and passionate about playing the guitar, and if they want nothing else than to play a larger sized guitar, then it may be better in fact for them to work around some size difficulties than to be upset and unhappy with having to play what they consider to be an instrument which is unsuited to them.
For more hints and tips take a look at Lisa McCormick's video below Your Child's First Guitar: What Size is Right?.
This leads on to a fundamental but perhaps more abstract point. The guitar that you choose for a child to play must be a guitar which they themselves are excited to play. If you force your choice of guitar on them and you don't include them in the process, then they will be far less likely to take to the instrument and flourish.
Childrens Guitars at London Guitar Studio
When it comes to classical guitars we have over 40 years of experience at the London Guitar Studio, so feel free to take a look at our range of classical guitars for children. Need advice? Don't hesitate to call our friendly team on +44 (0)207 493 1157 or visit our studio in London.