Squier Strat Mini 3/4 Size Electric Guitar
Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Pack
Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
Table of Contents
Most kids aren’t thinking about the future when they pick up their first guitar. They’re thinking about playing a favorite song or maybe impressing their friends.
What they’re too young to realize is that learning to play guitar can evolve into a passion that lasts a lifetime.
And, with the evolution of technology, there’s never been a better time to learn how to play.
The wide selection of beginner guitars on the market today can make choosing an age-appropriate guitar difficult. So, if you’re looking for the perfect guitar for your budding musician, you’re in luck.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 16 of the best kids guitars out there. One of these electric or acoustic guitars is bound to make your child’s inner rock star shine.
The Best Kids Guitars:
Squier Strat Mini 3/4 Size Electric Guitar
Taking its cue from the original Fender Stratocaster, the Squier Strat Mini is arguably one of the best electric kids guitars on the market today.
With a perfect 3/4 size reproduction of the classic Strat design, the Mini is a well-constructed guitar that should last until your child feels ready to take on a standard-sized instrument.
The model we looked at had a poplar body and a maple neck and fingerboard. While maple boards are a matter of personal preference — there’s just something sleek and ‘clean’ about them compared to rosewood or ebony.
The Squier Mini guitar has some pretty impressive features, including a 22.75-inch scale length neck which makes it great for smaller hands and arms.
The reduced guitar body design means there’s only one tone knob instead of the two that are typically found on a Strat, but it still has three single coil pickups. The hardtail bridge also means there isn’t any tremolo system available.
The Strat Mini is an impressive kids-sized electric guitar, offering good quality, easy playability and a lot of bang for the buck.
Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack
Kids guitars don’t have to be smaller in size. In this case, the Epiphone Les Paul Guitar Player Pack features a standard-sized Les Paul Special II guitar and a ton of other accessories that any beginner regardless of age will need to get rockin’.
The LP Special II is a well made starter guitar, featuring a mahogany body, a mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard. The two humbucking pickups are controlled by single volume and tone knobs while a three-way selector switch lets you experiment with a wide range of tones.
It also includes a 10-watt practice amp with built-in overdrive, a gig bag, a tuner, guitar picks, a strap and an instrument cable.
If your kid is looking for a great ‘all in one’ set up to kick off their guitar playing career, then the Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack may be just the ticket.
Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha is a respected brand that makes a number of acoustic guitars for kids. The JR1 is just one great example which comes in a 3/4 size to fit the smaller hands of anyone who prefers an easier neck to play on.
The body features a spruce top with Merianti back and sides. Merianti is a good substitute for mahogany that helps keep the JR1 in the affordable entry-level range. The tone may not be as good as a guitar that uses more traditional materials, but it’s more than capable of getting the job done.
Nato tonewoods are used for the neck with a 21.25-inch Japanese rosewood fingerboard, making this a great guitar for younger kids.
As with many models in this niche, there isn’t any kind of pickup or preamp to use. But then again, that isn’t really a big deal for an eight-year-old who is just starting out.
Overall, there are no major complaints with the JR1 or any of its features. It’s not the best guitar ever made, but it’s a good beginner model that’s definitely worth checking out.
Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar
Most mainstream guitar manufacturers don’t have a lot to offer for kids under the age of five. But Loog’s Mini Acoustic guitar for kids approaches the instrument in a completely different way.
The Mini was constructed in such a way that it makes kids want to practice — a very important factor when they’re first starting out.
It has three nylon strings that are easier on the fingers than traditional steel strings, and it’s tuned to the top three notes usually found on a standard guitar (G, B and E).
You’ll also find flashcards with chord diagrams and a free Loog app with video lessons, a chromatic tuner and a wide range of songs tailored especially for the Mini’s three-string setup.
Don’t let appearances fool you, though. The Loog Mini is much more than a toy guitar for really young kids. It’s the gateway to six-string guitars and all the fun that comes with them.
Jackson RR Minion JS1X Electric Guitar
Randy Rhoads was an amazing guitar player known for his iconic offset Flying V. The Jackson RR Minion JS1X is a miniature reproduction scaled down to the right size for a young rocker in the making.
The poplar guitar body has the exact same shape as Randy’s full-sized guitar, but is scaled down to accommodate the 22.5-inch scale length.
The Minion has a maple guitar neck and amaranth fretboard with unique sharktooth fret markers. The flat 12-inch radius also makes shredding much easier for kids to pull off.
Jackson powers the flying V with two high-output humbucking pickups and includes a volume knob, a tone knob and a three-way pickup selector switch to dial in some punch.
It’s a hardtail model so you can’t copy some of Randy’s tremolo bar work, but at least it’ll be solid for better tuning stability.
Overall, the Jackson RR Minion JS1X is an awesome kid-sized tribute to one of the most respected rock guitar players that ever picked up the instrument.
The Best Acoustic Guitars for Kids
Acoustic guitars are often a good starting point for younger children because the allure of electronics hasn’t quite set in.
Acoustic guitars come in one-quarter, half, three-quarter and full-sized shapes (basically shorter lengths and compact body shapes) and often include easier-to-play nylon guitar strings that have less ‘bite’ than steel strings. The many variants take a cue from classical guitar sizing where a lot of different models serve different purposes.
Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
The LX1 Little Martin is small in size, but big in tone thanks to the unique blend of woods. In the feature department, the mini-sized concert body starts with a solid sitka spruce top and finishes with laminated mahogany back and sides.
The choice for neck woods is a laminated birch with richlite for the fretboard. Richlite may be a man-made material but it’s very stable and a good quality alternative to real ebony.
With a short scale length of only 23 inches and a neck that’s a little over one inch thick, the LX1 has the right proportions for even the smallest hands.
While most classical guitars have nylon strings, the Little Martin is a steel-string acoustic that can be a tougher on little fingers.
Overall, if you’re looking for a premium guitar for your child to start with, or maybe looking to share ownership, the LX1 is definitely worth checking out.
Taylor Swift Signature Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
Taylor Guitars has created a superb entry-level acoustic for kids with its usual build quality in mind. If you have a young Taylor Swift fan, this model is even more appealing.
The body is a 3/4 size dreadnought shape with laminated sapele covering the back and sides, while the solid sitka spruce top displays a Taylor Swift inspired vine motif rosette design.
Sapele is used for the neck, and the real ebony fretboard is a nice touch too. Sapele is commonly used by Taylor Guitars as a replacement for mahogany while offering a brighter sound.
Playability is a key characteristic of Taylor Guitars, and the Swift Signature model is no exception.
You’ll find a scale length of 22-3/4 inches along with a smaller nut width of 111/16 inches, which makes this guitar suitable for kids aged 8-10 and above.
Regardless of size or signature, Taylor makes some of the best acoustic guitars you can find on the market. In this case, there are two variants to choose from, either an acoustic-only or acoustic-electric model with built-in electronics.
Yamaha APXT2 3/4 Thinline Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The APXT2 is a 3/4 version of the popular APX500II guitar series with a solid spruce top and meranti for the back and sides. But, the overall body design is thinner than most acoustic guitars, measuring around three inches thick.
The proportions of the APXT2 are just right for kids who are first starting out. The scale length is shorter than a standard guitar, coming in at 22.8 inches with a nut width on the smaller side as well (111/16 inches).
The combination of the smaller overall size plus the thin line body makes for a guitar that’s very easy to play.
One feature that sets the APXT2 apart from the pack is the onboard electronics setup. The pickup is paired with a Yamaha System 68 preamp that has single volume and tone controls. It also has a chromatic tuner integrated as well.
Taking it all in, the APXT2 is a solid guitar for kids that plays smoothly and sounds great, both plugged and unplugged.
Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar
The Rogue Starter is an ultra-affordable guitar for kids that should keep even the most cost-conscious parents happy. It’s not the prettiest or most brilliantly engineered guitar out there, but it will do the job.
The 7/8 size may be ideal for kids in the 8-10 age range. It’s small enough to be comfortable and is easy to handle.
While it’s a good starting point for just about any youngster, the price does lead to some compromises. It uses a laminate construction for the top along with the back and sides and it also doesn’t have any kind of electronics installed.
It does have a maple neck and a real rosewood fretboard, but it isn’t easily adjustable without a truss rod being installed.
The Rogue Starter acoustic guitar is a fairly good low-cost choice to help new players get their feet off the ground, but there are better models worth considering.
Luna Aurora Borealis 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
The Luna Aurora Borealis is definitely not boring to look at. The dreadnought shaped body uses basswood for the top, back and sides in four distinct sparkle finishes (blue, pink, white and black).
Maple is used for the neck construction, and it also has a true rosewood fingerboard with 19 frets along with distinctive half-moon inlays for the fret markers.
With a scale length of only 22½ inches and a nut width at the low end of the scale (111/16), the Aurora has good proportions for the playing comfort of most youngsters.
The bridge is rosewood as well, and the Aurora also features sealed die-cast tuning machines. No pickup is installed, but that’s a minor point.
Overall, Luna manufactures capable entry-level guitars for kids that are easy to play and look good too.
Stagg C505 Acoustic Classical Guitar
The Stagg C505 truly is a ‘Mini-Me’ version of a nylon string classical guitar. And not just a little bit smaller — it’s one-quarter the size of a standard model.
The body, back and sides are all made from basswood with a high-gloss finish, and it also has a nato neck and a maple fingerboard which is painted a traditional dark color. It would be nice to have a solid spruce top, but laminated woods are not that bad considering the price point.
Choosing a classical guitar that offers the right size and smooth playability means your fledgling guitar player will receive enjoyment from the instrument right from the get-go.
In this case, Stagg has created the C505 with an extremely small scale length of only 18.7 inches which helps even the smallest hands play chords with relative comfort.
Considering all of this, the Stagg C505 may be just the right choice for a beginner who’s looking to get into classical guitar without blowing the budget.
Cordoba Mini II MH Acoustic Guitar With Nylon Strings
The Mini II incorporates a good selection of features that make the classic Mini I even better. The top, back and sides are constructed entirely out of laminated mahogany (with the exception of a composite fingerboard).
One of the biggest improvements over the Mini I model is a slightly longer scale length. It’s still on the short side at 22-7/8 inches, but is designed to keep the tuning to the standard E-E.
The Mini II features nylon strings, which is a great option for new guitarists. It takes time for children to build calluses on their fingertips, and using nylon over steel helps to keep things comfortable.
While it does use nylon, the Mini II doesn’t have that standard classical guitar vibe. It seems to be more intended to be a small guitar with a traditional look, albeit one that’s easy and comfortable to play.
The Best Electric Guitars for Kids
Electric guitars can be a more attractive option for older children. Especially for a child who wants to learn to play along with their favorite songs or maybe even start a band.
Acoustic guitars are an easier option when it comes to setting up for a practice session with no amps or cables to worry about. Electric guitars may require a few more components, however, they are a lot of fun to play.
Ibanez GRGM21 Mikro Electric Guitar
Ibanez is well known for producing guitars intended for fast rock playing and the GRGM21 is no exception.
The poplar body looks exactly like a smaller version of the popular RG series. The neck is made from maple with a treated pine fretboard and ‘sharktooth’ inlays for fret markers.
The GRGM21 is powered with two humbucking pickups with a five-way selector switch that splits the coils to give a wide range of sounds. The other controls are relatively simple, with single volume and tone knobs.
Easy playability is a must-have for any shred machine, regardless of the size. The GRGM21 doesn’t disappoint, with a short 22-1/5 inch scale length neck, low action strings, and a flat 15-3/4 inch fretboard radius. Definitely another worthy option to consider.
Loog Pro Electric Guitar
Just like the Mini Acoustic, the Pro Electric features only three strings — the high G, B and E — to keep things from being overwhelming.
The lower string action makes it easy to play and, with the single-coil pickup, all you have to do is plug it into a small practice amp to be heard.
It comes with the same educational resources that the Mini Acoustic does, including printed flashcards to memorize simple chord shapes.
There’s also access to its free smartphone app with a tuner, video lessons and a large selection of songs from popular artists, all configured specifically for the Loog’s design.
To call the Loog Pro Electric a ‘toy’ would be doing it a disservice. It’s actually a well thought out instrument that is meant to start teaching the right way to play the guitar at a very young age.
Squier by Fender Bullet Mustang Short-Scale Electric Guitar
Fender’s lineup of kids guitars are pretty amazing considering the price, and the Bullet Mustang is no exception.
It features a basswood body that mimics a real Fender Mustang, and it also has a maple neck with an Indian laurel fingerboard fitted with 22 frets.
The standard scale length for a Mustang is 24 inches, which is a bit shorter than a typical Strat (normally 25½ inches). An inch and a half may not sound like much, but it can make a huge difference in playability, especially for an older child that may just be breaking into their teen years.
The Bullet Mustang comes loaded with two humbucking pickups which are controlled with a three-way selector switch along with single tone and volume knobs. The bridge is a die-cast hardtail design, which may be a bit better for tuning stability compared to tremolo models.
The Squier Bullet Mustang gets you as close to a ‘real’ Mustang as possible at an affordable price point.
Peavey Rockmaster Electric Guitar
The Peavey Rockmaster is a low-cost beginner guitar that may be perfect for any budding young rock star who wants to stand out from the crowd.
The Basswood body is a double-cutaway design which ties in nicely to the 25-1/2 inch full-scale maple neck and rosewood fretboard, but this model has one other unique selling point: a theme-based finish.
There are loads of graphical themes to choose from, from superheroes to TV shows. It’s perfect for older kids who want something flashy to show off to their friends.
The hardware options are simple but effective. Pevey’s Rockmaster guitars feature a single humbucking pickup, single volume and tone knobs, a hardtail style bridge and sealed die-cast tuning machines.
This particular Rockmaster is geared toward older children looking for a fuller sized guitar to learn on — and Peavey tends to make good quality instruments in general.
What size guitar should I buy for my child?
All of the kids guitars discussed in this roundup are designed to help speed up the learning curve.
Learning to play guitar is challenging in the beginning. And a child’s small size can magnify that problem if they’re starting out on a standard-sized guitar. Everything about a child is smaller: fingers, hands, arms and height.
That’s why we recommend purchasing a smaller short-scale instrument made with kids in mind. Guitars with shorter necks have frets that are closer together, which makes playing chords easier. Shorter guitars usually have smaller body sizes as well, which fit a kid’s body better.
Here are a few suggestions when buying a guitar for different age groups:
- 4- to 6-year-olds will love Loog’s lineup of electric and acoustic guitars
- 5- to 8-year-olds might find a 1/4 or 1/2 size classical guitar comfortable
- 8- to 12-year-olds might do best with a 3/4 or short-scale guitars
- Kids 12 and older may find a standard-sized guitar comfortable
Guitar manufacturers today are making an effort to cater to all ages. The selection is certainly better now then it was for kids in decades past.
What’s the right age for learning the guitar?
The good news is that no matter how young or old someone may be, learning to play guitar is always an option. When you’re a small child, playing the guitar can be both incredibly fun, and incredibly frustrating.
Encouragement is the best motivator. It doesn’t matter if the first sounds to come out of a guitar resemble cats fighting in a bag, it’s just awesome that your child is giving it a go.
It also helps to lie through your teeth. ‘You sound like a rock star’ goes a long way to keeping up that motivation. That’s what my parents did and they ended up with two professional musicians.
Some kids may fall in love with the process, other kids may prefer using their guitars as a coat hanger for their dirty laundry.
Whether this is a long-term love affair, or a short-term experiment, it doesn’t really matter the age someone starts at.
The added benefit of learning today is the amount of resources available online putting kids, teens and adults in the best position ever to become proficient players.
Here are just a few of the many resources worth checking out:
- Easy Guitar Songs for Kids
- Easiest Way For Kids to Learn How To Play the Guitar
- Fender Play (a great subscription program with a free trial)
- The Best Guitars For Rocksmith (The console game)
Acoustic vs Electric: What’s the easiest kids guitar to play?
One of the biggest benefits of learning to play on an acoustic or classical guitar is that you don’t need a guitar amp. All you have to do is pick it up and play.
It’s also awesome for learning different playing styles, such as fingerstyle guitar and classical guitar compositions, as skills start to develop.
At the same time, an acoustic guitar’s body shape and size may be harder for a small child to hold. The strings are a bit thicker on an acoustic, which means it takes more tension to get the tuning right and learning to fret chords takes a little bit of effort.
Electric guitars can be a little easier on some newbies. The thinner strings and lower string action make it easier on a youngster’s hands. Guitars with steel strings can be a little rougher on young hands than those with nylon strings, however.
Both electric and acoustic guitars have their pros and cons, but playability can’t be underestimated. Many beginner guitar players give up because the instrument they have is simply uncomfortable.
It’s also a personal choice. If your child is at ‘that’ age where having an electric flying V rock monster for its ‘cool’ factor is important, the choice is simple.
Overall, both electric and acoustic guitars are easy to play after a period of time, but like anything worth doing, getting started takes effort.
What should you look for when buying a guitar for your kid?
The two basic things to look for in any musical instrument is good quality and decent sound. If your child is slightly older, they may insist that it look good too.
Buying a guitar with poor quality construction — for instance high string action that’s difficult to adjust or intonation problems and cheap hardware — is becoming less of a concern thanks to better manufacturing processes. But lemons do exist.
Sticking with reputable brands will definitely help you avoid this problem.
The sound quality is a little less important. No beginner is going to know the difference between a Martin guitar that costs thousands of dollars as compared to a decent beginner’s guitar which is far more affordable.
That said, a child who is just getting started is bound to be easily discouraged when dealing with overly buzzing frets or too much noise.
Another obvious pointer is the guitar you choose needs to be easy for your child to handle.
The best guitars for children aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones. It’s a fine balance between size, playability, cost and overall quality.
Learning to play the guitar might be a passing fad, or it could be something that sticks around for life. There are numerous benefits of learning to play from building motor skills, to stimulating mental development and instilling self-confidence.
Hopefully this article has made it a lot easier for you to choose the best guitar for your child, but we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Do you have any favorites that you’d think would make a great gift for a young, budding guitarist? Let us know in the comments below.