3 Best Guitars For 11-Year-Olds 2024

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While the guitar might be viewed as an instrument that is difficult to learn, anyone of any age can play. As you can imagine, starting early is always the best scenario, with 11 being a prime age to start. 

Buying a guitar for someone of this age can be a sticky situation if you’re unfamiliar with the guitar world. If you have a prospective 11-year-old guitarist in your life, look at the following guitars during your research. 

Ibanez miKro GRGM21 – Best Overall

Ibanez miKro GRGM21

Many young players are attracted to the guitar by means of music with a certain aesthetic. Anyone vaguely familiar with metal or heavier genres knows that these cultures have their own individual aesthetic. 

These aesthetics are usually everywhere, with the guitars being played often having a certain look. While it might not make sense to you, this attraction to aesthetics is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

For the 11-year-old who is attracted to metal-aesthetic guitars, check out the Ibanez miKro GRGM21 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon). This is an extremely affordable electric guitar that offers the basics while nailing that iconic aesthetic. 

The GRGM21 is a double-cutaway solidbody guitar crafted out of Basswood. One of the things young players will appreciate is the ability to choose from different color options, which include:

  • Black
  • Metallic purple
  • Candy apple red
  • Jewel blue
  • White

All of the guitar color choices feature the same build components with the exception of the fretboard. Every neck is made with Maple, with some colors having Maple fretboards and others using Jatoba. 

There is also a slight difference in the fretboard marker design. The Maple fretboards have a traditional dot layout while Jatoba has aggressive-looking Sharktooth inlays.

Having this small variance is actually a great thing, especially when considering a young person’s inclination to certain aesthetics. The fretboards themselves offer a slight variance in play, with Maple being solid and snappy while Jatoba is softer. 

Aesthetics aside, we haven’t even touched the surface of why the GRGM21 is such a great choice. The entire guitar is actually smaller in size in just about every dimension when compared to a standard guitar. 

Not only is the guitar’s body smaller, but so, too, is the neck, with the guitar’s scale length measuring 22.2”. Despite this, the guitar still offers the same range of notes as a standard full-size guitar. 

Even the nut width is a little smaller at 1.614”, providing a smaller spacing between each string. This will also allow the 11-year-old’s hand to grip and wrap around the neck and fretboard without issue. 

The GRGM21 isn’t a guitar worth its salt in only its aesthetic design. Ibanez has equipped this guitar with a pair of Infinity R ceramic humbuckers.

These humbuckers will provide a thicker and warmer tone, optimal for those songs that use heavy distortion. A 5-way pickup location selector switch, a volume knob, and a tone knob complete the electronics. 

On the hardware front, the GRGM21 isn’t anything special to write home about. However, at this price, you shouldn’t expect everything to be of the most premium quality. 

Nevertheless, what the GRGM21 is stocked with is more than enough to get the job done. In fact, you’ll often find these same components on guitars twice its price, with hardware including:

  • Plastic nut
  • Fixed bridge with 6-string block saddle design
  • Closed-gear tuners

The GRGM21 might be an inexpensive guitar, but with a good setup, it’s perfect for anybody of any age. Its smaller size makes it an obvious choice for somebody of smaller stature who might find full-size guitars cumbersome. 

Plus, it’s inexpensive enough for even the most modest of budgets. You’ll even have some money left over for accessories like a gig bag, cable, picks, and a small amplifier. 

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster – Best Premium

Squier Affinity Series Telecaster

Ask any guitarist 15 years ago and they would have said to stay away from Squier’s Affinity Series Telecaster models. The guitars were the epitome of poor craftsmanship and possessed a massive account of horror stories.  

However, it must be said that all of that has changed dramatically in the opposite direction. Today, the Squier Affinity Series Telecaster (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is worth a recommendation for anyone. 

The Telecaster is one of the most iconic guitars ever created, particularly because it was the first solidbody production guitar. It has played an important role in some of the most highly-regarded recorded music that exists today. 

This model from Squier is perfect for the 11-year-old who already has a sizable stature. Unlike the aforementioned Ibanez miKro GRGM21, the Affinity Series Telecaster is a full-sized guitar. 

And really, for the price, this is a guitar that the 11-year-old could easily find themselves playing as an adult. That, alone, makes the Affinity Series Telecaster a bargain worth considering.

Sure, make no mistake about it, the Affinity Series Telecaster isn’t built like a premium Fender. But, it uses the same designs with affordable components to keep the barrier to entry low for anyone to access. 

The Affinity Series Telecaster features a Poplar body with a comfortable C-shaped Maple neck and fretboard. It has a 9.5” fretboard radius, 1.650” nut width, and a 25.5” scale length, with 21 fully-playable frets. 

It must be noted that you can opt to get the Affinity Series Telecaster with a Laurel fretboard if desired. While Maple might be snappy and responsive, Laurel is softer and feels more pliable. 

For its electronics, the Affinity Series Telecaster is stocked with ceramic single-coil pickups designed by Fender. These will provide the essence of the historic tones that the Fender Telecaster is known for. 

Rounding out its electronics, the guitar comes with a 3-way switch, with a knob for both volume and tone controls. This is the standard for Telecasters that you’ll find in Fender’s most expensive Telecaster options. 

In terms of hardware, the Affinity Series Telecaster features:

  • Synthetic bone nut
  • Fixed bridge with 6-string block saddle design
  • Die-cast tuners

Sure, this guitar might not have the same components as something from the true Fender Telecaster lineup. However, on paper, the Affinity Series Telecaster is a true Telecaster in almost every aspect. 

The scale length and fretboard radius are entirely consistent with premium Telecaster options. Your 11-year-old will have no problems transitioning to a higher-quality Telecaster down the road if desired. 

Despite this being a budget model, the Affinity Series Telecaster has a premium feature typically only featured on expensive models. This feature is on the back of the guitar, where you’ll find a belly-cut contour for comfort. 

Telecasters are notoriously basic in design, with the original guitars essentially just being a slab of wood. As a Telecaster player, I experience rib bruising after every serious session due to the guitar’s sharp edges. 

This belly-cut contour mitigates that from being even a small possibility. And really, this is one feature that would make an adult consider buying the Affinity Series Telecaster. 

Plus, the Affinity Series Telecaster comes in some classic colors, including:

  • Lake Placid blue
  • Butterscotch blonde
  • Black
  • 3-color sunburst
  • Olympic white

Left-handed Affinity Series Telecasters are also widely available and easy to find. 

Yamaha JR1 – Best Budget

Yamaha JR1

There really is nothing like a good acoustic guitar at the end of the day to be able to play. Unfortunately, most acoustic guitars can be a little bit too large for an 11-year-old of small stature. 

If your 11-year-old desires an acoustic guitar, consider the Yamaha JR1 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon). This budget dreadnought has all of the essentials and is slightly smaller, making it ideal for young players. 

Electric guitars aren’t the only guitars that come offered in small sizes. The JR1 is effectively a 3/4-size guitar, providing full-scale playability and full-size sound.

This guitar is extremely pleasing to the eye thanks to Yamaha’s willingness to provide upscale aesthetics on a budget model. You’ll find that this willingness to extend beyond what’s necessary is par for the course with this guitar. 

The body is made of Meranti, featuring a Spruce top to emit a large, balanced tone. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the sounds of this guitar did actually come from a full-size dreadnought. 

Yamaha has used Nato for the neck, which is a material somewhat similar in nature to Mahogany. Rosewood is featured for the fretboard, which provides 20 frets with a traditional dot inlay pattern. 

Because the guitar is 3/4-sized, the guitar’s scale length measures 21.25”. This will be suitable for the 11-year-old with small hands and/or fingers. 

For hardware, the JR1 has fairly basic components to help keep the consumer’s cost down. However, what is present is more than adequate, featuring:

  • Plastic nut
  • Plastic saddle
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Open chrome tuners

The JR1 does not come with any electronics, but for the price, this guitar is hard to beat. It is one of the most practical choices you could make when buying an 11-year-old their first acoustic guitar. 

The dreadnought design itself is perhaps the most widely-recognizable acoustic guitar shape in the world. There’s a fair chance that, if your 11-year-old is interested in acoustics, they’ve been eye-balling some dreadnoughts. 

To be fair, this guitar might be a little too small for some 11-year-old players. Some discretion will be needed to gauge whether they will grow out of the guitar’s size too quickly. 

While the JR1 isn’t an overly-embellished guitar, it provides everything someone needs to learn to play.

Plus, it also comes with an included gig bag, which makes this budget buy even more of a bargain. Take a look at what gig bags cost and you’ll quickly see why this is so worthy of pointing out. 

What To Look For When Buying A Guitar For An 11-Year-Old

At the age of 11, it’s more important to keep the child interested in desiring to pick up the guitar. For the most part, this can be accomplished by paying close attention to 3 different key factors. 

Consider Their Interests

What kind of guitar is the 11-year-old most interested in? Buying them an acoustic when they want an electric could be a detrimental move. 

There’s a solid chance that they are inspired and influenced by a particular guitarist. Kids love to emulate their heroes, and having a similar guitar will keep them inspired to keep playing. 

Overall Fit & Playability

One of the most important things you need to account for is the actual size of your 11-year-old. If most guitars are too cumbersome or awkward, consider looking for smaller-sized guitars.

Both acoustic and electric guitars offer options with a short scale length. This decreases the fret spacing and is often accompanied with a smaller guitar body design. 

Always make sure they can try out the guitar for playability. 

It’s always hard to judge where an 11-year-old is in their growth cycle. They could sprout up like a mushroom overnight.

Use your best judgment in determining whether the guitar has room to grow into as they inevitably get larger. This will help you get the most value for your money.

Budget

The ideal budget for beginners at this age is around $150, with $250 being the high-end of the spectrum. Consider buying used for a low-risk purchase that also costs less money. 

If purchasing an electric guitar, you’ll need to budget for accessories. This includes things like gig bags/cases, cables, picks, strings, and an amplifier.

Best Brands For Guitars Appropriate For 11-Year-Olds

When you’re shopping for budget guitars suitable for 11-year-olds, you need to be wary of the market. There are more guitars of worthless quality than there are of guitars of practical playability. 

In order to navigate this flood of junk, you need a boat to help you sail without fear. Knowing the name brands can help, primarily because a good reputation is hard to come by in the guitar industry. 

Yamaha

If you’re a typical American consumer, you probably associate Yamaha with electronics and motorsports, among other things. However, the company actually built its reputation by building organs and, today, is the world’s top piano manufacturer.

Don’t let this fool you, Yamaha makes excellent guitars, especially for young players who have never played before. Yamaha has consistently shown that they aim to provide as much value as possible for guitars of any cost. 

Squier

Fender guitars are undoubtedly some of the most famed designs in the entire history of the electric guitar. There’s a fair chance your 11-year-old is attracted to at least one Fender guitar.

Unfortunately, Fender guitars are usually well beyond the realistic budget for an 11-year-old beginner. Squier is a Fender-owned brand producing Fender designs with cheaper parts and labor, ideal for players of any age. 

Top Guitars For 11-Year-Olds, Final Thoughts

It’s easy to just order a guitar off of the internet and have it shipped to your house. However, going to an actual music store is a crucial step in discovering the perfect, individual fit.

Plus, this allows the 11-year-old to form their own opinions and make their own decisions about their prospective guitar. Giving them this opportunity usually creates a day they will remember for the rest of their life. 

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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