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Guide to Buying Your Child's First Guitar

Don't let indecision string you along ...


by Team HC



photo credit: Little Kids Rock 


The guitar remains the world's most popular instrument and for many people--from hobbyists to superstars--the guitar has been their gateway to a lifetime of musical enjoyment. So it's no wonder that many children want a guitar for their birthday or holiday gift.

But with so many choices, how do you choose the right instrument for your child? Here's what you need to know about buying a first guitar.


Electric or Acoustic?

Acoustic guitars are loud enough by themselves to entertain friends. Electric guitars require an amplifier, so you'll need to budget for an amp as well.

There are two main acoustic guitars, nylon-string (used mostly for classical guitar music) and steel-string (the main choice for rock, pop, country, and folk). Nylon string guitars are a little easier to play initially because nylon strings are softer. But after a month or so of practice, the ease of playing is about the same.




How Much Does a Good Guitar Cost?

In addition to professional level instruments used by players around the world, Many great manufacturers offer both acoustic and electric instruments that are geared toward beginners for a little over $100. Make certain that whatever brand you buy is backed by a good warranty (many have limited lifetime warranties) and great customer support.



Player Pack or Individual Guitar?

Some manufacturers make guitars for all musical styles, ages, and budgets. Buying an individual guitar will depend on several factors; if you purchase an electric guitar or an acoustic electric, you need to consider an amp. With all guitars, some accessories are needed like, a strap, guitar stand, and a tuner. 

Many manufacturers make great starter packs that include everything you need to get a child started. Nothing can be more frustrating than having a child become enthusiastic and then lose that enthusiasm because you are missing a crucial item.

Shown are some examples of great player packs that are available from which to choose:



Epiphone Player Packs Are An Ideal Starter Solution



Individual instruments may be a way to go if you're introducing a child to an acoustic only guitar or you aren't ready for an electric guitar to be "amplified." In some situations  you may already have another player in the house who has amplification gear and other accessories on hand.  

While almost all starter packs are designed with starter size guitars, it may be that your child is a little older and wants (or needs) a full size guitar that is designed with the starter in mind. They are built with slimmer necks, larger frets, or shorter scales to allow for hours of enjoyment and less fatigue.

Shown below are some examples of full size guitars designed with the starter in mind:


Epiphone's PRO-1 Collection is a great example of a line created with the beginner in mind



Consider Learning Tools When Choosing The Guitar

When choosing your child's guitar, you'll want to consider the level of support a guitar manufacturer offers when it comes to learning. Don't let price be the only determining factor in your decision.  And inexpensive guitar is only as good as the motivation to use it and learn it. Some manufacturers have done a great job of providing an instant online system for your child to log on and start learning so they can be strumming a tune in little time. Some of these online interfaces even track the child's progress. Some of them provide interactive feedback by showing animated notes being played in conventional music notation and also on an animated fretboard.  This type of learning tool will help keep your child interested and engaged which is a vital part of guitar ownership.


eMedia is an acclaimed creator of guitar instructional videos


Strike A Chord That'll Leave An Impression


Choosing to introduce making music into a child's life is a big step. It requires making the right instrument choice for certain but, also means that supporting your child and encouraging them is equally important. If you're still left with questions seek a good local dealer or lesson provider for additional help. Also, Harmony Central's Acoustic Guitar Forum and Electric Guitar Forum are great resources to find answers to your questions about what guitar will make the best gift for your child -- and introduce him or her to the joy of making music.  -HC-




Note: Special thanks to Epiphone (who, like Harmony Central, is a Gibson Brand) for providing example images for this article. To click to view the Epiphone Packs shown. Click to view the Epiphone Pro 1 Collection.

 Note: Extra Special thanks to Little Kids Rock for use of the header image. Please check out Little Kids Rock.


To Shop for a child's first guitar consider these sources:


Musician's Friend




Guitar Center



Presented by Team HC

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Mikeo  |  February 04, 2018 at 9:48 am
When helping a younger or ever older person get started, I believe this is where Mom and Pop Shops shine. As mentioned, a beginner will want to not only purchase the guitar that is correct , but will want help with accessories and lessons. There's a lot of lessons on line, but I still believe there is a relationship to be built with a local teachers. Simple maintenance questions like, how do I change a broken string for the first time. 
I don't know how much it costs, or how much inventory a shop needs to get started as a Fender or Epiphone deal, but it might might be beyond what a small shop that struggles to keep its head above water on a monthly basis can afford.  You're not going to sell a lot of  guitars in a town of 10,000 folks. Long term, I was the kid that started off with a couple of lower priced guitars; turned around and bought a small fleet of nicer Fender, and Gibson guitars over the years.  My first Gibson's came from a guy in town that sold music gear out of his 2 car garage.  I still have that Gibson SG Standard.
The local small shop in town I tried to buy dAddario mandolin strings from, and he said, he could order them, and match the online price that I normally pay. I don't know who the distributor is he uses, but it took 2 weeks for the string to come in.  So much for I'll have them in a few days. 

halfnote  |  December 19, 2017 at 9:06 am
What ??No Squire Strat or Tels or other electric types ??
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