Music Minds Rough Guide to; Choosing a Child's Guitar
It's a common guitar store scenario, parents wanting to get their child started on guitar, but faced with the array of options on display, or online, they're often left bewildered by choice. So here's our quick guide to getting it (hopefully) right.
Guitars come in three main varieties, each with pros and cons. The most common type children start with are Nylon strung CLASSICAL GUITARS. The main benefit of these is that they're cheap, not too noisy, and the strings are soft for little fingers. They also come in a range of sizes to suit all ages of kids. Many schools will specify these for group lessons, for the above reasons. The drawbacks of Classical guitars are that the necks tend to be quite wide, so are more of a stretch for young hands, they are also intended to be played with the fingers, having a very soft sound, so may be discouraging to kids who want to rock out a bit.
Next up, and currently very popular, are Steel strung ACOUSTIC GUITARS. These have narrower necks which are easier for kids to wrap their hands around, and are designed to be played either with the fingers, or with a plectrum (pick). These are the instrument used by current popular players like Ed Sheeran, and are more likely to make the sound your child wants to hear, therefore encouraging them to stick with it. The only disadvantages being a slightly higher price tag, and that the steel strings are a little harder on the fingers, though with a properly made guitar, this should be a minimal discomfort.
The third option is the ELECTRIC GUITAR. Many parents wrongly assume that these are noisy, or in some way unsuited to a beginner, but nothing could be further from the truth. The electric guitar can be far quieter than any other, as you can't turn down the volume on an acoustic instrument. Almost all modern amplifiers have a headphone socket too, making practice almost silent. This can be very encouraging for kids who are shy or embarrassed about people listening to them practice. The strings are also under less tension than on an acoustic guitar, making them softer on the fingers, and the necks are nice and narrow. Electric guitars can also produce a wide variety of sounds, which often helps keep kids interested. The only disadvantage is the need to have an amplifier to plug into, but these are not necessarily expensive, and these days, many are multi-functional, having auxiliary inputs for phones or computers too.
Whichever option your child is drawn to, at Music Minds, we can offer a choice of quality products to suit your budget, and expert advice to help you get it right.