For kids interested in learning how to play a musical instrument, there’s a good chance a guitar is near the top of the list. It’s a good choice for beginners – it doesn’t take up too much room, there are tons of resources for learning, and it’s relatively easy to learn. Playing the guitar can be a hobby that will stay with your child throughout their lifetime.
There are tons of benefits for kids learning to play guitar, above and beyond simply learning a new skill. To learn any new skill, you must have a good degree of motivation and focus, and with a talent like playing guitar, it’s easy to track your progress as you slowly pick out songs.
Best Overall Guitar
We’ve looked at ten different guitars for kids, evaluated them all, and one has come out on top as the best guitar for kids – the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar. It is sized for kids ages seven and up. The quality wood construction has a great sound that everyone can enjoy, even teens and adults who might want a smaller guitar to bring along when hanging out with friends.
Best Classical Guitar
We’ve chosen the Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar as the best classical guitar for kids. It’s sized to fit kids aged seven and up and will still work for most kids well into their teens. Made of high-quality meranti wood and rosewood, it has the nylon strings characteristic of classical guitars that are softer on the fingers, making it ideal for a beginner’s guitar for kids.
Best Electric Guitar
The Squier Bullet Mustang Electric Guitar is at the top of our list for the best kids’ electric guitar. With a body made of poplar and basswood, it’s painted in eye-catching blue and white and has nickel-coated steel strings. Scaled slightly down from a full-sized electric guitar, this model has a 24-inch scale length instead of the full-sized 25.5, so it will be a perfect fit for marginally smaller hands. The guitar weighs in at just over six pounds. Its smaller size does not affect its amazing sound and playability.
Best Acoustic Guitar
When it comes to the best acoustic guitar for kids on our list, the choice was easy. Quality-wise, the Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar sits above all the other alternatives. This ¾ sized model will fit kids age eight and up, but the sound quality is so impressive that it’s also a popular choice with teens or adults looking for a smaller model to travel with. The tradeoff for this high level of craftsmanship is that the Martin LX1 Little Martin is priced slightly higher than other options on our list. However, if you’re looking for a high-quality kids’ guitar that you can use for years and years, it’s a perfect choice.
Best Budget-Friendly Guitar
If you’re on a budget but still want to be able to give your little one the chance to explore playing the guitar, check out the Hohner HAG250P ½ Sized Classical Guitar. Sized for children between the ages of 4 and 8, the nylon strings of this classical guitar for kids are soft on tiny fingers. The guitar is priced at under sixty dollars, and is made out of high-quality wood, and makes a great, affordable option to introduce children to the world of music.
Best Guitar for Beginners
The best kids guitar for beginners of all ages on our list, with all factors considered, is the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar. This is a full-size dreadnought acoustic guitar, so it will work best for older kids and teens, as well as adults of all ages who want an affordable basic guitar that comes with all the accessories you’ll need to get started. Accessories include a tuner, guitar strap, picks, an instructional DVD, an instructional book, and a padded bag to store it all in.
There are also benefits to fine motor development, a sense of rhythm – it just might even make them smarter, too! Playing an instrument like the guitar has been linked to higher language skills.
So if you’re in the market for the best guitar for kids, read on for our Best List of the top ten kids’ guitars, along with a buyer’s guide and FAQ. We’ve also got the award winners for the best classical guitar for kids, best acoustic guitar for kids, best electric guitar for kids, best budget guitar, best for beginners, and the best overall guitar for kids.
Differences Between Acoustic, Electric, and Classical Guitars
There are three main types of guitars, and although there are many similarities between the three and playing skills can transfer from one kind to another, there are a few important differences to be aware of.
At first glance, classical and acoustic guitars look very similar. They are both made of wood or composite and have a hollow body where the strings vibrate and create resonation when plucked or strummed. The main difference is the material the strings are made of and how the guitar is played.
Acoustic guitars usually have steel strings and are played by strumming or picking. They are used for playing various types of music, including contemporary, blues, country, and folk music. On the other hand, classical guitars have nylon strings that give them a softer sound and are played with fingerpicking. They are typically used for playing Latin, Flamenco, or classical music.
On the other hand, even the most casual observer can see a big difference between an acoustic or classical guitar and an electric guitar. Electric guitars have a wide, flat shape and are made out of composite material. They do not have a hollow body, and the musician creates sound by strumming the strings, which creates a signal that is picked up and relayed to an amplifier or speaker. They are used to play jazz, blues, funk, metal, and rock music. It’s important to note that you cannot play an electric guitar without an amp.
Our Selection of Kids Guitars
1. Yamaha JR1 FG Junior Acoustic Guitar
The Yamaha JR1 FG Junior ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar has a lot to offer for a kids’ acoustic guitar. It’s modeled after the famous Yamaha FG series and listed as a ¾ size. Still, some reviewers note that it’s a bit smaller than some other ¾ models, the body is closer to the size of a ½ guitar, but the fretboard is about as wide as would be typically found on a ¾ model.
This kid’s guitar is priced low enough to be attractive to beginners and is suitable for ages seven and up. They made it of solid wood, with the front of the body made of spruce and the back made of mahogany, a nato neck, and a fretboard made of rosewood.
Although the price is scaled down alongside the size, quality isn’t skimped with the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar. Quality craftsmanship gives this kids’ guitar an authentic acoustic tone, and although it’s small, it can be used by older kids and teens who might want a smaller guitar to bring to play when hanging out with friends. This guitar comes with a padded bag for easy transportation and storage.
If you are looking for a top-shelf quality kids’ acoustic guitar, the Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar might be what you’re looking for. This instrument has Martin’s trademark excellent sound quality, truly impressive for a small guitar! It’s a scaled-down ¾ size model, making it an ideal kids guitar for ages eight and up.
The quality is so impressive that this model is popular amongst adults and experienced players looking for a smaller, easy-to-transport guitar. The body of this guitar is made of spruce and mahogany – solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back- and the fretboard is made of Indian rosewood. It comes with a padded bag included for storage and transportation.
The Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar is priced higher than the other options on our list. For this reason, I’d recommend this guitar for kids who have either already learned to play on a smaller model and are looking for a slightly bigger guitar that will last a long time. Or an 8-year-old child who has a strong interest in learning and who you think will stick with the instrument for a long time.
The Martin LX1 Acoustic Guitar has many adult fans who love its sound and smaller size for easy portability. This is a guitar that you can get a great deal of use out of over the years.
3. Fender CP-60S Acoustic Guitar
For older beginners, the Fender CP-60S Acoustic Guitar comes with a bundle of all the accessories you will need when learning how to play. This is a full-sized dreadnought-style guitar.
It’s recommended for preteens and teens aged 12 and up. It’s made of solid wood – spruce for the front, mahogany on the back and neck, and a rosewood fretboard – which gives it a great natural tone. Six steel strings round out the specs of this guitar.
This guitar comes with a ton of accessories: a clip-on tuner to keep your guitar in tune, extra strings in case one breaks, picks to help save your fingers while strumming the steel strings, a polishing cloth to keep your guitar looking good, a strap so you can practice standing up, and a bag to protect the guitar and keep everything together.
There’s also an instructional DVD from Austin Bazaar that includes some lessons and tips for a beginner, so beginner guitar players can start figuring things out right away. If you’ve got a motivated preteen who wants to try and teach themselves how to play, the Fender CP-60S Acoustic Guitar is a great bundle for teens and kids ages 12 and up.
Another full-sized dreadnought acoustic guitar suitable for beginners around age 12 and up, the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar is made of solid wood. The top is spruce, the back and body are agathis, and the fretboard is rosewood. This kid’s guitar has six strings made of phosphor bronze that give a bold sound.
For teens and older kids, this is an ideal starter guitar for someone who wants to explore the world of guitar playing. It’s reasonably priced, and you get a lot of bang for your buck because it comes with almost every accessory you’ll need.
You get a tuner, three guitar picks, a polishing cloth, a DVD with guitar lessons from Austin Bazaar, an instructional book, a guitar strap, and a padded bag to transport or store everything all together. If you’re looking for an affordable beginner guitar for kids or teens aged 12 or older, the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar is an excellent choice.
5. Best Choice Products Acoustic Guitar
If you’ve got an older child or teen who’s eager to learn to play guitar, but you’re not sure you want to invest a lot of money in an interest they may not stick with, the Best Choice Products 41 Inch Acoustic Guitar might be what you’re looking for. This guitar is one of the lowest-priced options on our list, but it comes with almost everything you need to get started, and the guitar is pretty decent too!
A full-sized dreadnought acoustic guitar, it’s made of solid wood and has six steel strings. The accessories it comes with will cover everything you might need: including a digital tuner, an assortment of guitar picks, a guitar strap with integrated pick holders, a capo (to shorten the length of the strings), a pickguard, extra guitar strings, a cleaning cloth, and a padded guitar back so you can transport or store your guitar with ease.
6. Yamaha CGS102A Classical Guitar
This guitar has a body made of meranti – a popular type of wood from Southeast Asia – a top made of spruce and a fretboard made of rosewood. This guitar’s nylon strings are softer than the steel strings found on an acoustic guitar, which means a classical guitar is often easier for young beginners to learn how to play.
Parents considering purchasing a classical guitar for a beginner should be aware that classical guitars do not have the same pegs as acoustic guitars do for hooking on a strap. Classical guitars are traditionally played sitting down, so straps are not typically used, even for beginners. This is still a great buy for parents looking for a guitar for kids, which gives it a great tone.
7. Hohner HAG250P Classical Guitar
For the youngest musicians, the Hohner HAG250P ½ Sized Classical Guitar for kids will be an ideal fit for kids between the ages of 4 and 8. Nylon strings will be softer on young fingers than the steel strings of acoustic guitars, and the scaled-down ½ size measures only 30 inches in length, so short arms and small hands will fit around it just fine.
Although made for young children, this is an instrument, not a toy. The top and body are made of quality wood – agathis, and the neck from mahogany. This wood adds a crisp texture to the instrument’s overall sound.
The Hohner HAG250P ½ Sized Classical Guitar for kids also comes with a songbook, so kids can practice making music. It’s also very reasonably priced, which makes it a perfectly affordable way to introduce your kids to the world of guitar playing. Between the price, the small size, and the soft nylon strings, it’s ideal for young beginning guitar players.
8. Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar
First up on our list is the Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar, a full-sized electric guitar suitable for preteens and teens aged 12 and up. The body of this guitar is made from Okoume, a type of wood from West Africa, with a smooth black finish and a rosewood fretboard.
While priced low enough to make it a great guitar for beginners, it still gives you all of the essential qualities you’d expect to find in a Les Paul guitar featuring a great tone.
Although this is classified as a full-sized guitar, it’s slightly smaller than many other full-sized electric guitars, making it a good choice for a preteen or teenager who could grow into it for years. It even comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Parents should note that there are no accessories included with the Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar, so you’ll need to purchase accessories like a strap, a pick, and of course, an amp.
The next electric guitar for kids on our list is the Donner 39 inch Telecaster Electric Guitar. This is a full-sized guitar, not just made for kids, so it’s best suited for kids and teens over the age of 12.
This is a beautiful guitar, made of solid wood, with a poplar body and a neck made of maple with a fretboard of perilla. This lightweight wood is known for its strong and powerful tone, which means this guitar is only 6.8 lbs. Even preteens will be able to hold it with no problems.
This kid’s electric guitar has a 3-way pickup switch to give you a few different tones, making this guitar suitable for playing all types of music – pop, rock, blues, jazz, fusion, funk.
With the Donner 39 inch Telecaster Electric Guitar for kids, you also get a few accessories. It comes with a guitar strap, 10 feet of guitar cables, and a padded, water-resistant bag with straps that you can use for storage or transport. Parents should remember that an amplifier will also need to be purchased if you buy an electric guitar for your kids.
10. Squier Bullet Mustang Electric Guitar
Another option if you’re looking for an electric guitar for kids is this Squier Bullet Mustang Electric Guitar, made by renowned guitar manufacturer Fender. The body is poplar with basswood back, and it’s painted a stylish bright blue and white. The fingerboard, painted black, is made of laurel wood. For the price you pay, you get a fantastic quality of sound from this guitar.
Although adults can play this guitar at 24 inches, its scale length is slightly shorter than a full-sized guitar’s, making this model more like a 7/8 size. The difference in string size from the full-sized guitar makes the Squier Bullet Mustang Electric Guitar easier for beginners or musicians with small hands to play.
It’s got an easy-to-play C-shaped neck and a thin and lightweight body that checks in at just over six pounds, so this guitar is sized well for older kids or teens who want to learn. Don’t forget that when purchasing an electric guitar, you will also need to buy an amp.
How do Guitars Work?
The guitar has been around for nearly 500 years, an instrument that has been consistently tinkered with and improved. The acoustic guitar has two main parts – the guitar’s body, which is hollow and has a hole in the front where the sound is produced, and the neck, the long part that extends out and is held by the guitarist.
Strings run down the neck and over the soundhole. And when they are strummed, vibrations are created, which bounce around inside the hollow guitar body and produce a sound. Along the neck of the guitar are small pieces of metal called frets – otherwise neon as the fretboard. By placing your fingers on different frets, you change the length of the string, which in turn produces different notes.
Electric guitars, unsurprisingly, work quite differently. First developed in the 1930s, they create sound through an electromagnetic pickup system. There are electromagnets mounted underneath the guitar strings that sense the strings’ vibrations as they are being played and convert them to electrical signals that travel to the amplifier to create music.
The guitar’s body is solid, not hollow. In earlier versions of the instrument, musicians found that the electromagnets could not distinguish between vibrations caused by the strings and vibrations from the guitar’s body. With a solid body, the pickups under the strings obtain a clearer sound.
Different Guitar Strings – Nylon and Steel
There are two main types of strings found on guitars, and each one has different attributes to consider. Nylon strings are most commonly found on classical guitars, as outlined above. They are preferred by guitar players who like their soft quality and want strings that are soft on their fingertips.
Steel strings are found on both acoustic and electric guitars. They can be hard on the fingers at first, but as your fingers toughen up, many musicians love their tone, which is sharper than nylon strings. On an electric guitar, the strings create a magnetic shift that triggers an electrical signal that is sent to the amplifier to generate a sound.
Although some guitar players prefer to play directly with their fingers, others like to use a pick. A guitar pick is a small piece of plastic shaped a bit like a rounded triangle, and using it can protect the player’s fingers. It also allows you to be more precise when plucking individual strings. You can use picks on both nylon and steel strings.
The Different Notes and Chords
A chord is any combination of three or more different notes and is all played simultaneously to support a melody. When you’re first learning how to play the guitar, you often start out learning open position chords. These chords include open (unfretted) strings and are usually played on the top three or four frets.
Learning chords are an important first step, as learning the different shapes will help develop muscle memory and finger strength. After open chords, you can move on to barre chords (or closed position chords), but these are considered more difficult for beginners and require more finger strength.
Chords are named after the ‘root note’ that defines the chord – for example, the chord D major gets its name because the root note is D, and it is ‘major’ quality. Some good chords for a beginner to learn include A, E, and D major chords. With just these three chords, you will be well on your way to learning how to play several songs, ranging from ‘Happy Birthday’ to ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley.
How Playing Guitar can Affect Child Development
Many studies show that learning to play an instrument can positively affect child development, not just physically – both gross and fine motor skills benefit – but mentally and emotionally, as well. Studies have shown that children who study music show improved skills in both language and music.
Learning to count music, children will work on pattern recognition and simple fractions. Music has been linked to improved spatial intelligence and the ability to form mental pictures. Improved memory and concentration and the self-discipline to practice and improve are other less quantifiable benefits your child can obtain by studying the guitar. Learning how to play an instrument like the guitar or drums is a lifelong skill enjoyed as much by a seven-year-old as a ninety-seven-year-old.
What is the Right Age to Start Learning Guitar?
There is no single right age to start learning the guitar because it depends on several factors. Finger strength, hand size, the level of interest the child has in the instrument, their ability to concentrate on learning a new skill, and the maturity to participate in a lesson are all things to consider.
For many kids, around age six or seven is a good time to start, as long as they meet all of the criteria listed. On the other hand, there is no upper limit to learning how to play the guitar, so it is certainly not something only suited for children!
For a very young child interested in learning how to play the guitar but whose hands are too small for even child-sized beginner guitars, you may want to consider trying out a ukulele first.
Selecting the Best Sized Guitar
Guitars come in several different sizes, and it’s important to choose a manageable size for your child to both hold and play. For example, a full-sized guitar would have frets spaced much wider apart than small fingers could reach, making chords impossible to play.
Fortunately, guitars are available in a few different sizes that are suitable for young players. The smallest of these is the ¼ guitar, best used for children under six. Next comes the ½ guitar, generally suitable for children between 4 and 9, and then the ¾ guitar, which can suit children between the ages of 7 and 12. Once they hit their teen years, kids can generally use a regular full-sized guitar.
Electric guitars are typically smaller than acoustic or classical guitars, so a child aged ten and up could probably handle a full-sized electric guitar. For kids younger than 10, you can buy a half-sized electric guitar.
Because of the range of sizes available, you’ll want to consider your child’s age, size, and whether you think this will be a long-term interest. If you believe that your child’s interest in the guitar will be around for several years, if they are in between guitar sizes, I’d suggest sizing up so they will get more years of use out of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Guitar is Best for Beginners?
Depending on your child’s age, there are a few great options on our list for beginners. For kids between the ages of 4 and 8, try the Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar. For a guitar for kids between 8 and 12, check out For older kids and teens aged 12 and up, try the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar. These instruments all carry a good balance of quality at an affordable price, and some, like the Jasmine S35, come with many accessories.
Can I Learn Guitar on My Own?
It’s possible to learn guitar independently, particularly if you or your child has a good sense of musicality. These days, kids can access hundreds of virtual lessons and learn almost anything they will need to know through YouTube. In addition, a few of the guitars on our list come with instructional DVDs, which would serve the same purpose. However, if the adults around your child have limited musical experience, it could be helpful to have someone who knows what they are doing offer feedback to your child.
Should Guitar Strings be Loosened When Not in Use?
The short answer is no. You don’t need to loosen the strings when your guitar is not in use. The slightly longer answer adds the caveat that if you’re going to be storing the guitar for an extended period of time – about six months or longer – loosening the strings is considered safe. If you loosen them every time you finish playing, over time, it can cause damage to the guitar’s strings, nut, and neck.
What Makes a Guitar Good for Beginners?
There are a few things to look for when buying a beginner’s guitar for kids. Firstly, making sure that the guitar is appropriately sized, both that the guitar player’s hands can fit around the neck and reach the frets, and that the body isn’t too big and your young musician can reach her arms around it.
It’s also a good idea to check if the guitar comes with accessories, so you don’t need to buy any extras, which brings us to a big factor – the total price. Kids often want to try out many different activities, but they don’t always stick with them. Choosing a reasonably priced guitar can mean that beginners can give the guitar a go without committing to buying a pricy instrument, making learning the guitar more accessible for everyone.