How to Choose a Guitar for Your Child

Choosing the right guitar for your child can have benefits that last a lifetime. Thanks to neuroscience, it has become commonly known that learning a musical instrument helps a child become more well rounded in cognitive, emotional and social development and in coordination of fine motor skills. Success in learning a musical instrument can naturally lead to success in all areas of life. Selecting the right instrument helps pave the way for your child’s success.

Select a guitar that has been inspected and adjusted for easy playability.

An unadjusted guitar is difficult to play. If your child can’t play it or has difficulty pushing the strings down to get a clear note, then they will never experience the development of fine motor skills or the cognitive benefits of learning to play a musical instrument.

This is the most critical and overlooked aspect in selecting a guitar. Most people never question the playability of an instrument. It seems reasonable to expect they are made to be played right out of the box. Unfortunately this is most often not the case. Low priced entry level guitars are generally made of inferior quality woods and materials. They are usually difficult or impossible to play because the strings are too high above the fingerboard which requires excessive force to push them against the frets. These guitars are sold right out of the box, rarely inspected or adjusted or even questioned as to whether they are easy for a child to play. It is wrong to assume that if it is the right size it will be easy to play right out of the box.

Your child’s ability to successfully learn to play is heavily influenced by the quality of the guitar construction and the accuracy of the adjustments for easy playability. Repeated practice on a poorly adjusted or unadjusted guitar sends the wrong information to their brain and muscles. This makes it almost impossible to learn to play with agility and accuracy which results in choppy, uneven and unsatisfying playing. This also defeats the cognitive benefits of learning to play an instrument. Guitars that are excessively out of adjustment may cause your child to want to give up playing altogether because they believe they lack the ability to learn when in reality the instrument is physically too difficult to play. Having a properly adjusted instrument gives your child a greater opportunity learn, grow in self-confidence and self-esteem, and experience a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

Learn more about our Inspections and adjustments:
FirstGuitar Inspection and Adjustment Process – Acoustic Guitars

FirstGuitar Inspection and Adjustment Process – Electric Guitars

FirstGuitar Inspection and Adjustment Process – Classical Guitars

FirstGuitar Inspection and Adjustment Process – Bass Guitars

Select the right size guitar.

A guitar that is too large will make it difficult for your child to make the proper reach with both the right and left hands. Having their arm raised as high as their shoulder to reach over the guitar can become uncomfortable and at worst painful. Over reaching for the first fret puts them at a great technical disadvantage because their muscles are already stretched out making it difficult to properly move their fingers on the fingerboard. Your child will experience more enjoyment and playing success with a guitar that is sized right for them.

Select the following link for more information:
What size guitar is right for me or my child?


Choose the kind of guitar that interests your child the most.

Young children may ask for a guitar without specifically requesting an electric or acoustic. However, if they do make a specific request, it is often best to understand how they are motivated and what will encourage them to pursue their interest. Some children will be satisfied with a steel string or nylon string acoustic guitar with the hope of having an electric guitar in the future. Others will only experience motivation for the instrument they imagine themselves playing. And often rightly so, as you wouldn’t buy your child a soccer ball if what he really requested was a basketball. Understanding their motivation and interest will help them experience success with their instrument.

Select the following links for more information:
Should I buy an electric or acoustic guitar?
Should I choose a nylon or steel string guitar?

  • Only Select a guitar you know is fully adjusted so it is easy to play.
  • Select the right size so the guitar is proportional to your child’s height and age.
  • Choose the kind of guitar that interest your child the most. Are they interested in an acoustic guitar (or nylon string classical guitar) or an electric guitar?