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Purchasing a child’s first guitar is a momentous occasion that has the potential to completely alter the course of that child’s life. The right guitar can facilitate and foster a child’s musical interests into becoming a lifelong pursuit, as opposed to being a small phase.
In this article, we will cover the 11 best acoustic and electric guitars on the market for kids who have never played the guitar before.
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Fender CC-60S – Best Overall For Beginners
If your child has an interest in playing an acoustic guitar, the Fender CC-60S is one of the best models available for a beginner. This starter pack not only consists of a great guitar but also features some extra essential items that will save you from having to go to the music store.
The body of the Fender CC-60S is crafted from mahogany, with the face of the guitar made of solid spruce. This construction allows for strummed chords and finger-picked melodies to shine with a warm resonance.
The Fender CC-60S is a fairly small concert-sized guitar that will not feel too large or cumbersome for a child. Even adults will be able to use this guitar comfortably.
The neck of the guitar has a scale of 25.3”, which is smaller than what is found on full-size acoustics, making the Fender CC-60S ideal for children. Mahogany is used for the neck, with walnut being used for the fretboard.
To complete the package, this guitar comes with a gig bag for travel/storage purposes, as well as a package of picks, a guitar strap, and an extra package of strings.
90-day access to Fender Play is also included, which is a helpful platform that has hours of online guitar lesson videos available to fuel a budding guitarist’s knowledge. Fender Play has grown to be a reputable resource for new guitarists as Fender has spent a great amount of effort into expanding the lessons provided on the platform.
Item Weight: 11.9 pounds
Package Dimensions: 43 x 20 x 7 inches
Martin LX1 Little Martin – Premium Option
The Martin LX1 Little Martin is one of the best children’s guitars that money can buy. This guitar offers the great playability and sound that Martin guitars have been known for.
The construction of this guitar’s body features the back and sides being crafted of high-pressure laminate, which is a durable material that is more resistant to environmental factors than wood. The top (or face) of the guitar is made of Sitka spruce. This helps the guitar to be very resonant, no matter how the guitar is played.
The neck of the guitar is also made of spruce and has a rosewood fretboard. Rosewood is traditionally seen on higher-end model guitars due to the rarity and premium feel that the material offers. Rosewood also tends to produce a darker and more earthy tone than other materials.
The LX1 Little Martin is a short-scale guitar, having a neck scale of 23”. This not only makes the guitar perfect for children but can also be ideal for travel situations. This attractive guitar also comes with a padded gig bag for travel and storage.
While this guitar is not as inexpensive as many of the others on this list, it can be a worthwhile investment for the right guitarist as it will offer great-sounding playability for many years. Adults and children can both benefit from this guitar as this offering is not limited to beginners who have never played before.
Item Weight: 7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 45 x 17 x 8 inches
Ibanez GRGM21 – Best Budget Option
For the aspiring child guitarist that has an interest in playing an electric guitar, the Ibanez GRGM21 is a highly competent instrument and is perhaps one of the best budget models available on the market.
The Ibanez GRGM21 is ideal for children as it has an undersized body crafted from basswood, with a shortened neck scale of 22.2”. The guitar also comes in a variety of different colors and neck materials, which offers a degree of personalization that can be important to any child.
The finish of the guitar comes in black, white, jewel blue, and metallic purple. Depending on the color choice, the fretboard comes crafted from either jatoba or maple and comes with either dot inlays or Ibanez’s shark tooth inlays.
The Ibanez GRGM21 comes stocked with two Infinity Ceramic humbucker pickups that can provide a nice clean tone as well as a little crunch. A 5-way selector switch, combined with a master volume and tone knob, is also built into the guitar to provide a wide range of tonal selections.
The guitar features a fixed F106 chrome bridge as well as chrome tuners that can withstand the rigors of everyday use.
Overall, this is an excellent guitar that can likely serve the budding guitarist for many years to come. Even if a child outgrows the guitar, the Ibanez GRGM21 is perfectly suitable for rehearsals in situations where having their mainstay guitar isn’t ideal.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 37 x 14 x 3 inches
Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack
Bundle packages can be ideal for children who have never played guitar before as these packages essentially provide everything a new guitarist needs to get started. The Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack is an excellent starter bundle to get any guitarist started on their musical journey.
The bundle features an Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar with a classic vintage sunburst finish. The body of the guitar is crafted from alder, with the top and back of the guitar crafted of mahogany.
The neck of the guitar is crafted of maple with a rosewood fretboard. The scale of the neck measures 24.75”, which can make this ideal for children or adults.
The Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD features two humbucker pickups as well as a master volume and tone knob. A 3-way selector switch is also built into the guitar for dialing in the perfect tones.
For hardware, the guitar features chrome tuners as well as the iconic Tune-O-Matic bridge that is seen on many high-end Epiphone and Gibson instruments.
Guitar aside, this bundle from Epiphone includes a number of different accessories that are great for the beginner guitarist. One such accessory is a 10-watt solid-state Electra amp that is ideal for bedroom practice sessions.
The amp features volume and EQ controls and also supports a line-in for auxiliary cables, which can be great for practicing along with songs being played on an external device. The amp also has a headphone jack which allows for quiet practice sessions.
Other items included in the bundle include a guitar strap, guitar picks, a chromatic tuner that clips onto the headstock of the guitar, and a 10ft guitar cable. A gig bag is also provided for easy transportation.
On top of everything else in the bundle, Epiphone also provides downloadable lessons with the bundle, helping to jumpstart the new guitarist’s playing journey.
While the Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar inside of this bundle may not have as short of a neck scale as some of the other guitars in this list, the features within the bundle make this hard to pass up. For an affordable price, Epiphone includes nearly everything a new guitarist will need.
Item Weight: 22.2 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41 x 18.9 x 5.9 inches
Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J
Another electric guitar that is ideal for beginners and young children is the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J. This electric guitar has received high acclaim from some of today’s most well-known guitarists as being a wonderful entry-level guitar that offers great playability at an affordable price.
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J has a scale length of 25.5” with a 22-fretted rosewood fretboard outlined by dot inlays. The C-shaped neck itself is crafted from maple, while the body of the guitar is made from alder.
In a price range where many guitars can be difficult to play, the neck of this guitar has been highly reputed for offering a smooth, easy and comfortable playing experience.
The guitar features a combination of different pickups, having a couple of Yamaha Ceramic single-coil pickups as well as a Yamaha Ceramic humbucker in the bridge position. Combined with a 5-way selector switch as well as a master volume and tone knob, the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J can dial in a very large range of tasteful tones not often seen in a guitar at this price range.
Another feature of this guitar is the tremolo bridge system, which can be a great manual effect to add a degree of expression to any playing style. The guitar efficiently stays in tune with the use of the tremolo bar.
While this guitar doesn’t have the added bonuses (such as a gig bag) as many of the guitar bundles on this list, the Yamaha Pacifica PAC112J is one of the best electric guitars available for an entry-level guitarist. By offering a comfortable playing experience, a child’s interest in the guitar can be sustained without the possible deterring of attention due to a clunky-feeling guitar.
Item Weight: 10.88 pounds
Package Dimensions: 43 x 18 x 4.5 inches
If you’re looking for a miniature-sized acoustic guitar that doesn’t compromise on sound or playability, the Yamaha JR1 is a great entry-level option at a very affordable price point. This dreadnought guitar is roughly ¾ the size of a regular full-size acoustic, making it ideal for children and those with small-sized hands and a short wingspan.
The Yamaha JR1 is crafted from meranti and has a spruce top, offering deep, rich tones that will likely only become more enriched as the guitar ages. The guitar has a distinct vintage-looking natural color that is as easy on the eyes as it is on the ears.
The neck of the guitar is crafted from nato and has a scale length of 21.25”. The fretboard and the bridge are both made of rosewood. The guitar also has 20 frets, making this a fully playable guitar for many musical scenarios. Yamaha has also included chrome tuning machines on the JR1.
The Yamaha JR1 comes with a padded gig bag for protected traveling. Also included with this guitar is access to Yamaha’s Player Port mobile application, which features a built-in tuner as well as articles and in-depth video lessons that can benefit any player.
Item Weight: 4.75 pounds
Package Dimensions: 35.5 x 16.25 x 4.75 inches
Squier Bullet Mustang HH Short Scale
Squier has been well renowned for making great entry-level guitars. The Squier Bullet Mustang HH Short Scale is perfect for the entry-level guitarist that prefers their guitar to have an attractive body design. This guitar is not only fun to play but can serve a child well into their first forays of performing on stage.
This guitar features a 24” scale neck, which is ideal for children’s hands. The neck is made of maple and has an Indian Laurel fretboard. Despite the neck’s short scale, the guitar has 22 easily accessible frets, making this a great means of transition into a full-sized guitar later in the child’s life.
The body of this guitar is made of basswood and is shaped in the iconic Fender Mustang offset body style that became especially famous in the 1990s.
The Squier Bullet Mustang HH Short Scale features two standard humbucker pickups in the neck and bridge positions, with a 3-way selector switch to choose the position being used. A master volume and tone knob help to achieve some of the classic tones that the Mustang is best known for.
The guitar also features a 6-saddle modern hardtail bridge and sealed die-cast tuning machines.
The Squier Bullet Mustang HH is perhaps one of the best guitars available in its price range. These guitars are famous for being a wonderful platform for upgraded modifications and customized components, which can significantly sustain the instrument’s relevance well into the guitarist’s career.
Item Weight: 9.05 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44 x 15 x 4 inches
The Ibanez PF2MH acoustic guitar is a competent miniature-sized instrument that is well suited towards being a child’s first guitar. The PF2MH has a rustic, natural look, with warm acoustic tones that could serve the child well into adulthood.
The body of the Ibanez PF2MH is made completely of Sapele. The guitar also features a 22.83” scale mahogany neck, with a 20-fretted rosewood fretboard outlined with dot inlays.
The Ibanez PF2MH comes with high-quality die-cast chrome tuners and a sleek decorative rosette on the headstock. The guitar also comes equipped with a gig bag.
This is one of those rare guitars that has a larger sound than what a person would initially assume due to the guitar’s small size.
Item Weight: 4.45 pounds
Package Dimensions: 38 x 17 x 5.5 inches
The Fender FA-15 acoustic guitar is another fantastic short-scale miniature guitar that is built with the child beginner in mind. This ¾-sized guitar is sure to be able to fit comfortably within a child’s hands without being too awkward for a child that has a smaller body frame.
The body of the guitar is crafted completely of Sapele, giving the guitar a warm, resonant sound. The 23.3” scaled neck is crafted from nato and has a walnut fretboard.
The guitar comes in a wide variety of different color finishes including:
- Moonlight Burst
Rounding out the overall package of this guitar is an included soft-padded gig bag.
Item Weight: 10.13 pounds
Package Dimensions: 46 x 17.9 x 6.5 inches
The Epiphone DR-100 is a classic entry-level dreadnought that can provide great playability and an addictive tone that will only get better as the guitar ages.
The body of the Epiphone DR-100 features sides and back made from mahogany, with a resonant spruce top. The tones this guitar can produce are sweet and bright, allowing it to be present in the overall sound mix of a performance.
The Epiphone DR-100 also features a slim-tapered C-shape neck that is ideal for beginners as well as those that are looking for a fast-playing guitar. The neck is crafted from mahogany and has a scale of 25.5”. The fretboard is crafted from rosewood and has 20 frets outlined with Pearloid dot inlays.
The guitar comes in a variety of different finishes including natural, black, and vintage sunburst. Die-cast chrome tuners and a rosewood bridge are also equipped on the guitar.
Item Weight: 8 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 18.5 x 5.5 inches
The Yamaha APXT2 is a wonderful entry-level acoustic guitar that features electric capabilities. If your child has ambitions to perform live, this guitar will make public performances a breeze with its built-in preamp section.
This short-scale guitar is perfect for children, as it is a ¾-sized guitar with a 22.835” neck scale. The body style also features an ergonomic design for comfortable playing and a cutaway for easy fret access to the upper register of the guitar.
The body of the guitar features a meranti-crafted back and sides, with a spruce top, delivering a crisp and natural sound. Depending on the finish, the neck is crafted from either mahogany or nato, with a 21-fretted rosewood fretboard outlined with dot inlays.
The Yamaha APXT2 features a System 68 pickup and an Acoustic Resonance Technology-based preamp to accommodate use with amplifiers and powered speaker systems. The preamp includes controls for volume and tone and also features a built-in tuner for easy and convenient tuning. A gig bag is also included with the guitar.
The guitar comes in a variety of different finishes including:
- Dark Red Burst
The Yamaha APXT2 is not only ideal for a child who has never played before, but for those who frequently gig and are looking for a more space-efficient guitar. The capabilities that the APXT2 offers make this a guitar that a child can grow with and can suit their performance needs well into later stages of higher-demanding skill levels.
Item Weight: 5.29 pounds
Package Dimensions: 36.22 x 16.46 x 4.53 inches
What to Look For When Buying a Child’s First Guitar
A child’s first guitar is a very important investment in the child’s development. Their first guitar has the potential to either fuel their musical interests into a lifelong passion or diminish their interest altogether. Because of this, there are certain things you will want to keep in mind when buying a child their first guitar.
Acoustic or Electric?
This is an age-old question regarding a child’s first guitar and one that will likely never go away. The reason why this answer is so elusive is that it really depends on the interests of the child. Many feel the acoustic is a rite of passage, though the electric guitar also has its rightful place in the hands of a beginner.
If a child has a fondness and a large interest in musical styles that primarily utilize an electric guitar (such as metal, classic rock, funk, etc.), then chances are that an electric guitar will help to propel their interests well into adulthood.
Similarly, if the same child (who has the aforementioned interests) is given an acoustic guitar as their first instrument, chances are likely that they may not find the guitar to be inspiring.
Short-Scale or Full-Size?
The answer to whether you should get a short-scale or full-size guitar really depends on who you are buying for. A younger child will likely see the most benefit from a short-scale, miniature-sized guitar.
Short-scale guitars are beneficial for those who have smaller hands, as the finger stretch between frets is not as intensive as it is on a full-size guitar. These miniature-sized guitars can also provide much of the same rich and resonant sounding tones that a full-size guitar can produce.
Short-scale guitars can also make wonderful travel companions later in life, as their small size takes up less space when packing.
Bundle or Standalone Guitar?
There are many guitar bundles are on the market offering guitars alongside a number of different essential guitar accessories. Many of these bundles will include a strap, picks, and a guitar amp in some instances.
It can be a pain to buy a guitar, only to also have to buy a gig bag/case, picks, an amplifier, etc. This also has the potential to exceed a small budget.
This is a decision that depends both upon the child, as well as the person buying the guitar for the child. If the purchaser has the means and capability to find these accessories in a store, then they may be better off buying a standalone guitar, as the guitar will likely have a higher degree of craftsmanship.
Depending on the child’s age, these bundles may be an appropriate avenue to pursue. However, for someone who is a little older and has a blossoming passion for wanting to practice and dedicate their time to the instrument, a standalone guitar may be the way to go.
Many entry-level guitars are fortunately priced well within a low-budget price range. For the most part, a fully competent beginner guitar can be acquired rather inexpensively. An inexpensive guitar is likely the more logical option, if only because kids can sometimes have fickle and ever-changing interests.
An ideal instrument will not only provide a comfortable playing experience but also allow some room for the guitarist to grow their skills. This could be thought of as being similar to clothes or shoes; these items will serve their purpose for a period of time until the child eventually outgrows them.
Having a guitar that provides growing room will ensure that the child’s interest in the guitar remains steady. A guitar with a great longevity factor will also mean more value for the initial cost of the instrument.
Of course, electric guitars have the unique option for modifications and custom upgrades that can increase the instrument’s relevance, no matter what needs the guitarist may be facing. This is something to keep in mind, as it is not always necessary to buy a new guitar when a new set of pickups could provide the sound that the guitarist may be looking for.
Best Guitar Brands for Kids Who’ve Never Played Before
There are a number of different brands that have built a solid reputation within the guitar industry for producing high-quality entry-level guitars. These brands are likely to provide a guitar that is consistent with their reputation and can make a worthwhile investment in a child’s development on the guitar.
Fender is one of the most well-known guitar companies in the world. The impact that this company’s guitars have had on modern music is nearly unfathomable. Their instruments and amplifiers have graced the stage and been an integral sound in innumerable musical recordings for over 7 decades. Fender remains to be as relevant as it was when the company was first founded in 1946.
Squier is a guitar brand that is owned by Fender. The company has a long-standing reputation for producing quality entry-level instruments that are modeled after the more high-end Fender guitar models.
The company was initially founded to combat the large number of counterfeit Fender guitars that flooded the market in the 1980s. Since then, these guitars have been highly sought after for beginners as well as guitarists who enjoy making custom modifications to their instruments.
Ibanez is a Japanese company that originally started out as importers of classical-style guitars. In fact, the company derives its name from a guitar builder whose instruments they primarily imported. However, the company soon began to expand its enterprise into building its own instruments, with the company rising to popularity in the 1970s.
Ibanez guitars are well-known for having superior craftsmanship and accessible playability. Their guitars are suitable for the hobbyist as well as the everyday highly technical player.
Yamaha is a Japanese instrument company that is one of the world’s leading producers of pianos. The company was founded in 1887 and primarily produced reed organs, with full-scale production of pianos starting at the turn of the 20th century. Today, Yamaha manufactures musical instruments of all varieties, instilling a degree of high-craftsmanship and playability that is consistent across all of their products.
Epiphone is another highly reputable guitar company that has been producing iconic guitars for decades. Initially founded in 1873 in the Ottoman Empire, the company moved to the USA in 1908.
Throughout the last 50 years, Epiphone has been producing excellent guitars, many of which are entry-level models based upon high-end Gibson models. These guitars are timeless, offering a sense of playability and tone that is as relevant now as it was in the past, as Epiphone guitars are continually used by worldwide professionals in many settings.
C.F. Martin & Company (otherwise known as Martin Guitars) is one of the most iconic and well-known acoustic guitar manufacturers in the industry. The company was founded in 1833 in the USA and has been consistently producing premium acoustic guitars. It is said that their guitars were played by soldiers around campfires in the American Civil War (1861-1865).
Today, Martin guitars are some of the best premium guitars available on the market. The rich, warm tones that come from these superior guitars are nearly unmatched, often making these the guitar of choice for professional guitarists.
Top Beginner Guitars for Kids, Final Thoughts
There are few things more exciting and memorable to a musically-inclined child than the day they receive their first guitar. This occasion (as well as the choice of guitar they are given) has the capability to forever change a child’s life, as the right guitar can fuel a blossoming passion into a lifelong pursuit.
As an adult, seeing the excitement on a child’s face as they cherish their first guitar is a sight to behold. Seeing them carry on with the instrument with lifelong dedication is priceless.