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Purchasing a guitar for a child of any age can be a difficult process. It becomes even more difficult if you personally don’t have any experience playing the guitar.
How should you know what to look for when purchasing a guitar, specifically for an 8 year old? If you’re having this thought, this article is going to provide you with the necessary information.
The following guitars serve as worthwhile options for any aspiring 8 year old guitarist.
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 – Best Overall
The dreadnought design is one of the most iconic and recognizable acoustic guitar types on the market. However, because of their large size, they aren’t always the most appropriate for children.
The JR1 FG Junior features a Meranti body with a Spruce top. This combination produces a balanced and sweet tone, with plenty of traditional dreadnought volume projection.
Nato is used for the neck, which has a shortened scale length of 21.25”. Rosewood is used for the fretboard, featuring 20 frets outlined by dot inlays.
The JR1 FG Junior’s bridge is also made of Rosewood to provide a consistent resonation throughout the guitar. Both, the saddle and nut are crafted from plastic, with the headstock featuring open Chrome tuners.
This guitar is not only big on sound, it packs in quite the aesthetic punch as well. A beautiful natural finish showcases the golden color of the guitar’s top, providing a sort of vintage look.
The inclusion of black binding, a 2-ring rosette, and a tortoiseshell pickguard only aid in completing the guitar’s looks.
If you’re wondering whether this guitar might be too large, you should know it is pared down quite a bit. The depth of the body has been slimmed down to measure just above 3”.
One of the best features of the JR1 FG Junior is the bonus aspect that it comes with an included gig bag. Your 8 year old will be able to safely take the guitar wherever they may desire.
What’s So Great About The Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4?
There are quite a few different reasons that the JR1 FG Junior has landed on this list. For starters, it provides an incredible value, which is partly why it has ranked as the best overall.
The guitar is exactly what you should be looking for if an 8 year old has never played before. It consists of all of the essentials, providing an authentic playing experience at a seriously low price.
That fact, alone, sets the JR1 FG Junior apart from many of the other guitars in this price range. This certainly isn’t a toy, proving it’s meant to be used for serious and intentional study (and fun, too).
You’ll find that there are many examples to be found of parents finding great success with this guitar. Many children have found the JR1 FG Junior to be exceptionally playable, mostly because of its smaller size.
Yamaha’s inclusion of a gig bag here really does make it the perfect choice for a young student guitarist. It also saves you money by removing the need to make a necessary separate purchase.
However, Yamaha packs in even more value with the JR1 FG Junior with their mobile app. The 8 year old will have access to a tuner, as well as video lessons, all directly through the app.
Overall, the JR1 FG Junior is a great first guitar for an 8 year old with an inclination for acoustics. It has everything your child needs to get started, with a convenient gig bag for transportation and storage.
This guitar has an incredible reputation backed by the experience of many satisfied parents (and children, too). Even experienced guitarists have been surprised at the playability and sound of this budget student instrument.
Ibanez miKro GRGM21 – Best Premium
Compared to other guitars, the GRGM21 has a smaller body design. This allows the guitar itself to be more proportionate to an 8 year old’s stature.
The GRGM21 features a double-cutaway body made of Basswood. It comes in a number of different color options, including:
- Jewel blue
- Metallic purple
Maple is used to craft the GRGM21’s neck, which features a shortened scale length of 22.2”. The fretboard is crafted from Jatoba, featuring a 15.7” radius, with 24 frets outlined by Sharktooth inlays.
Other hardware to be found on the GRGM21 include:
- Closed gear tuners
- Plastic nut
- Fixed bridge with individual string saddles
Because this is an electric guitar, the GRGM21 comes equipped with pickups to convert the guitar’s sound to electric signal. A pair of Infinity R Ceramic humbuckers are featured here, offering tones usable for even the heaviest styles of music.
To control the guitar’s tone, a 5-way switch, as well as a volume and tone knob, are provided.
Aesthetically, the GRGM21 looks as if it came straight out of the 1980s metal scene. Its sharp edges and Sharktooth inlays make the guitar appear as if it can handle any progressive guitar technique.
If the 8 year old in your life enjoys heavier styles of music, this makes a great choice. It is sure to keep them inspired in their journey of learning the guitar.
What’s So Great About The Ibanez miKro GRGM21?
Compared to other electric guitars in its price range, the GRGM21 truly stands apart from other models. It might be toward the top of the beginner’s budget range, but it has nearly all of the essentials.
The only thing that this guitar seems to be missing is a gig bag. These aren’t usually too terribly expensive, but it does mean you’ll need to make a separate purchase.
However, that’s really the only drawback to be seen with the GRGM21. It’s a guitar primed for learning, though it could be suitable for those beyond the age of 8, too.
One of the major highlights of the GRGM21 is the 22.2” scale length. Even the most complex finger stretches will be easily accommodated on this neck.
Yet, despite the fact that this guitar has a shortened scale length, it doesn’t compromise on its range. A full 2 octaves are included, which is almost a necessity for metal and other styles of similar music.
Another thing to note here is that every fret is easily and readily accessible thanks to its double-cutaway design. If your 8 year old has a desire to play guitar solos, the GRGM21 will serve them well.
Furthermore, the GRGM21’s pickups pack quite a punch for a budget guitar. These are sure to sound great with distortion effects and other high-gain guitar pedals.
Children are often fairly particular about their ideal preferences, especially when it comes to guitars. The GRGM21 comes in a number of colors, allowing a child to add a degree of personalization to their guitar.
Overall, the GRGM21 doesn’t cut any corners on providing an authentic electric guitar playing experience. Everything that is found on full-size guitars is featured here, all for a reasonable cost.
Fender FA-15 3/4 – Best Budget
As its name implies, the FA-15 is an acoustic guitar that is 3/4 the size of a standard acoustic. Its body features laminated Sapele for the back and sides, with laminated Agathis for the top.
Tonally, the FA-15 produces a bright and balanced tone, no doubt the effect of its smaller size and laminated components.
Nato is used for the FA-15’s neck, which has a shortened scale length of 23.3”. Fender’s iconic C-shape neck contour is featured here, offering a comfortable and familiar feel.
The fretboard is made of Walnut, featuring an 11.81” radius, and 18 frets outlined by white dot inlays. Comfortable fret access beyond the 12th fret is somewhat limited due to its non-cutaway body design.
Other hardware to be found on the FA-15 include:
- Synthetic bone nut
- Synthetic bone saddle
- Walnut bridge
- Die-cast tuners
Aesthetically, the FA-15 has all of the traditional stylings that a dreadnought is known for. This specific model has black binding, and a 2-ring rosette, and comes without a pickguard to showcase more aesthetic detail.
One of the best things about the FA-15 is that it comes in a number of different colors, including:
Fender has also included a gig bag with the purchase of the FA-15.
What’s So Great About The Fender FA-15 3/4?
The FA-15 is another viable choice for any 8 year old to learn how to play the guitar. You would be hard-pressed to find another guitar that is less expensive than this and offers the same playability.
While the scale length isn’t as short as others on this list, that might not necessarily be a bad thing. Children inevitably grow, and similarly, they outgrow things manufactured to accommodate a specific period in their physical development.
The FA-15 effectively provides a little bit of growing room, allowing the guitar to be used for much longer. In all reality, it lies somewhere between a standard scale length and those that are extremely small.
It might be a bit large initially, but it should be suitable for learning. Once your child grows, any size discrepancies likely wouldn’t be an issue.
Furthermore, if the child eventually grows up to have smaller hands in adulthood, the FA-15 is still practical. At the very least, it could make for a wonderful travel guitar due to its smaller overall size.
The 8 year old also has several different color options to choose from, which is always a plus. Adding personalization gives them a greater chance of connecting with the guitar on an emotional level.
With that being said, it would have been nice to see Fender add a natural finish option. Not everybody enjoys having a color finish on their acoustic guitar.
However, on the whole, the FA-15 is a prime choice for anyone on a tighter budget. The inclusion of a gig bag makes this a no-brainer for an 8 year old’s first guitar.
Plus, Fender is one of the biggest names in the guitar industry. Chances are, your 8 year old will love playing a guitar made by one of the industry’s icons.
What To Look For When Buying A Guitar For An 8 Year Old
If you’re wanting to purchase a guitar for an 8 year old, you’re probably wondering what to look for. You probably want to buy the child something worthwhile, without necessarily having to break the bank.
The process of buying a guitar, no matter the stage in experience, usually requires a fair degree of research. For the most part, some points of interest regarding the guitar itself remain consistent.
Once you grasp the basics, you can utilize the information at every stage of the child’s musical development.
One of the first questions you need to address is what kind of guitar the child is interested in. As you’ve probably noticed, guitars are usually of the acoustic or electric varieties.
Chances are, the 8 year old in question has likely expressed which guitar models have caught their eye. While these won’t always be the most economical choices, they can serve as excellent clues to use in your research.
Pay attention to what type of guitar your child has the inclination for. The odds are likely that some specific guitarists or music genres have inspired your child in some way.
Usually, a child’s favorite guitarist will have a signature guitar style that the child will want as their own. Use this type of inspiration to your advantage, as your child’s interest could easily become a lifelong passion.
Many people have the assumption that one must learn to play the acoustic before playing an electric guitar. This is a falsity, as each type of guitar has enough differences to warrant being played in a different manner.
The knowledge utilized on each guitar remains consistent, so an eventual transition shouldn’t be a problem. For the most part, the differences are mostly related to technique and the way the guitar is used in music.
Acoustic guitars are typically (not always) the instrument of choice for singer-songwriters. These guitars provide an organic tone that is the perfect accompaniment for someone’s vocals.
Electric guitars have the capability to adjust the volume of the guitar to almost any desired level. Because of this feature, guitarists can change the sound of their guitar with the use of guitar pedals.
These types of guitars are usually built to offer more accessibility to higher levels of technique.
Let’s face it, 8 year olds usually do not have the developed stature of an adult. Because of this, some guitars could prove to be a bit too large for an 8 year old’s body size.
If you ignore this, the guitar could be an awkward and uncomfortable experience. Fortunately, many guitar manufacturers produce guitars of smaller sizes.
Typically, these will come in the various sizes of:
- 1/4 size
- 1/2 size
- 3/4 size
- 7/8 size
Despite having a smaller size, these guitars will feature the full functionality of any full-size guitar. The same number of frets can usually be found on these guitars, as well.
When looking for these types of guitars, pay special attention to the scale length measurement. This covers the distance between the guitar’s nut and bridge, and it plays a huge role in a guitar’s size.
Smaller scale lengths will decrease the distance between each fret, minimizing the need for long finger stretches. Guitars of fractional sizes usually have a scale length below 24”.
Furthermore, fractionally-sized guitars will usually have smaller body dimensions. This allows for the guitar to be more balanced in comparison to the size of an 8 year old’s stature.
When buying a guitar for an 8 year old, you should opt to aim toward the lower budget range. These guitars are usually built with young, learning students who aren’t sure about their dedication to the instrument.
Budget guitars provide all of the necessities while providing access to the experience of playing the guitar. These make for optimum choices, especially if the 8 year old is just getting started learning the guitar.
Plus, if they decide not to stick with the guitar, you aren’t out of a whole pile of money.
Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to search around on the used market, as you can usually find great deals. Many guitars on the used market seem barely used, costing only a fraction of a new guitar.
The harsh reality is that many budget guitars are not exactly built to have a high degree of quality. This is a fact of life that every guitarist has to accept.
However, there are always standout guitars to be found that provide exceptional value in terms of playability compared to cost.
Pay special attention to how easy or hard it is to fret the strings and move your hand around. Let the 8 year old hold it in their hands to see how comfortable it is for them to play.
Best Brands For Guitars For 8 Year Olds
The following brands have some of the biggest reputations for crafting guitars suitable for 8 year olds. Their products can serve as a benchmark to use in your research.
Ibanez is a Japanese company known for its detailed work and innovative designs. Many virtuosos have endorsed Ibanez guitars over the last few decades.
Yamaha is a colossal name in the musical instrument industry, typically known for its pianos. This company is reputed for providing incredible value at every budget level.
Top Guitars For An 8 Year Old, Final Thoughts
There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a child’s interest grow to become a lifelong passion. If you take everything in this article into consideration, you’ll find the right guitar to facilitate this process.
As guitars are usually tried out before purchase, allow the child to try these guitars out for themselves. And, as always, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you should ever find yourself having doubts.