How to Choose a Guitar for a Teen

Choosing a guitar that is right for you is the first step toward learning to express yourself and developing a passion to play the music that excites you the most. Playing the guitar is largely a personal experience. Much of your learning time is spent alone when you practice. Just you, your mind, your developing skills and your personal creativity. Selecting a guitar based on what a friend has or what a favorite artist is playing may not be a good idea for you, as it might not reflect who you are. Choosing the right instrument helps prepare you to become the musician you want to be. Lead, don’t follow. You can blaze your own trail – set your own standards – explore your own creativity – be who you are. In fact, as you take charge of your own life and develop your skills, by default you will have a powerful influence on those around you to set their own standards, blaze their own trails and explore their own creativity.

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

This is the most important and overlooked detail in selecting a guitar. Your ability to successfully learn to play can be affected by the quality of your instrument and the accuracy of the guitar adjustment 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. Not only is this discouraging and frustrating, but it also impedes your goals to play in a band or to accurately and comfortably play your favorite songs.

If you tried to play the guitar before but found it difficult, the problem was most likely the instrument and not your abilities 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 greater and faster opportunity to learn, find your musical identity, and discover a deeper meaning in your musical life. You can express yourself better on a playable guitar.

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.

It’s not about what your friends have. It’s about what is right for you. 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.

You will be more motivated to play if you choose the kind of guitar that interests you the most. 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 what you like.

Many people mistakenly purchase an inexpensive acoustic guitar when they may really want an electric guitar. This is almost like buying a guarantee for failure. A cheaply made acoustic guitar will make you want to quit because the strings will most likely be too high above the fingerboard making it hard or almost impossible to push and hold the strings down. Besides, it’s not really what you wanted in the first place. You wouldn’t buy a soccer ball if you really wanted was a basketball.

When choosing a guitar, it’s not necessarily about what your friends have or what your favorite bands play, it’s about what is right for you. Choose the kind of guitar you are most interested in playing.

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 a Teen’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 (acoustic, electric or nylon string classical).