How to Choose a Guitar for an Older Adult

Choosing a guitar that is right for you is the beginning of a new journey or maybe even the rekindling of an old interest; to learn to play the music you have always loved. You have worked hard, raised a family and finally have the time to pursue your musical dreams of making music and playing with your friends and family. You may even find yourself daydreaming about playing songs for your grandchildren, which is something they would always remember. Learning or relearning to play the guitar may be a lifelong interest, but it also has amazing cognitive benefits. Current neuroscience has clearly shown the astonishing plasticity of the brain and how it can continue to learn and grow as long as we remain active and pursue “new” challenges. Having a guitar that is right for you is the best way to start your journey, follow you interest and discover your musical creativity.

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

This is the most overlooked and most critical characteristic in selecting a guitar. Your ability to successfully learn to play in a timely manner can be determined by the quality of your instrument and the accuracy of the adjustments for easy playability. Repeated practice on a poorly adjusted or unadjusted guitar sends the wrong information to your mind and muscles. This makes it almost impossible to learn to play with control and accuracy which results in choppy, uneven and unsatisfying playing. Your lifetime experience has taught you that if your work is hindered you need to examine your tools. This is, of course a trial and error experience which is frustrating and time consuming. The most advantageous action is to get the right tools in the first place.

If you tried to play the guitar before but found it difficult, the problem was most likely the instrument and not your ability to learn. Unadjusted guitars are 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 play. Having a properly inspected and adjusted instrument gives you a far greater opportunity to learn to play the music you have always loved. You can experience your lifelong dream of playing the guitar much sooner if it is carefully and accurately adjusted to be very easy to play.

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 you to make the proper reach with both the right and left hands. Having your arm raised as high as your shoulder to reach over the guitar can become uncomfortable and at worst painful. Over reaching for the first fret puts you at a great technical disadvantage because your muscles are already stretched out making it difficult to properly move your fingers on the fingerboard. Generally, adults are comfortable with full size guitars (40” Concert size and 41” Dreadnought in acoustic guitars). If you are small in stature consider a 40” Concert size guitar or smaller. If your are very tall consider a 41” Dreadnought size guitar.

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


Choose the kind of guitar that interests you the most.

If you are like many other people who have worked hard to reach their goals, then you know that getting the job done and doing it right requires the proper environment, a favorable attitude, motivation and the valuable knowledge of good tools. Selecting your guitar is not any different. A properly adjusted and sized guitar is your good tool.

Playing the kind of guitar that interests you the most will help keep you focused and motivated. If you are into singer/song writers, folk or a mellow laid-back style of music, then an acoustic guitar or nylon string classical guitar may be your best choice. If your preferred musical taste is rock, new country, blues or jazz, then you may want an electric guitar. There are no hard and fast rules. It’s about playing the kind of instrument you like. Having a well adjusted instrument and the kind you enjoy playing will give you the most gratification and the greatest opportunity to learn and play well.

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

Choosing an Older Adult’s Guitar


  • Only Select a guitar you know is fully adjusted so it is easy to play.
  • Select a guitar that is proportional to your height so is easy to hold and control.
  • Choose the kind of guitar that interests you the most. Are you more interested in an acoustic, nylon string classical or an electric guitar?