A guitar is a wonderful gift to get anybody but particularly for a child, it can represent their first steps into a lifelong passion for music. But many parents, friends, or family members worry about picking the best guitar to encourage a child to play and one that won’t fall apart in the first five minutes. Obviously, you want something that’s going to last, but don’t want to pick something too advanced and a kid might find disheartening.
Luckily, this handy guide is there to answer all your questions, show you some of the things that are worth thinking about and take you through some of the best options currently out there.
The Best Kids Guitar - The Top 5 Reviewed
Now let’s get down to business and review some of the best kids guitar. Please know we only considered the highest rated kids guitar for this list:
- Classical Guitar 3/4 Size Kids Guitar
- Yamaha JR1 FG Kids Guitar
- Yamaha CGS102A Kids Guitar
- Fender FA-115 Kids Guitar
- Hohner HAG250P Kids Guitar
We used consumer reviews and our own research to compile this list. These are unbiased reviews designed to help you pick the best children's guitar.
Our first pick is a full starter kit, which if you’re a beginner is a great way to go because it comes with everything you could possibly need. This guitar comes with a guitar bag, a leather guitar strap, tuner, and two picks. This is a 36-inch guitar meaning it’s slightly smaller than a full-sized one, making it perfect for kids who are just starting. It’s 4 strings are made from nylon which is much easier on the fingers than steel, especially if you haven’t yet built up the calluses long time players will have.
The top, back, and side are made from basswood, and the natural resonance of the wood really adds to the acoustics of the guitar for a lovely tone especially for a beginner. Basswood is also strong which makes this guitar pretty durable for a beginner, a good thing if this is a first instrument that a kid might still be getting used to holding. The neck, headstock, and fretboard are made from maple which helps create a slightly ‘zingy’ sound on the top notes. The dreadnought shape helps to add comfort while you play due to its curves. Feeling comfortable can encourage kids to practice for longer periods, which in turn will mean they progress faster.
Clear and bright sound
Durable guitar so you don’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it in the first five minutes
Comes with everything a beginner might need
Well-made with high-quality woods which help the acoustics
Perfect for kids of all ages (or adults with smaller hands)
At some point you’ll outgrow this guitar, both literally and as the player improves and wants a better-quality sound. But to learn on it’s a great option
- Guitar for Beginners: This guitar starter kit includes one waterproof guitar bag, one nylon strap with the leather end, one guitar capo, one guitar tuner with the battery, one guitar wipe and two guitar picks. This guitar kit is perfect for a beginner who is just breaking into the guitar world.
- Six Nylon Strings Guitar: This classical guitar is fitted with 6 nylon strings. Compared with the steel strings, nylon strings are more soft, which are easier on the fingers of the beginners or younger players.
- Guitar Material: This classical guitar is featured with solid basswood for the top, back and side. Hard maple for the neck, head and fretboard. All guitars are well made and feature a well constructed dreadnought body.
- Guitar Craftsmanship: Each classical guitar is hand made by experienced workers. A high level of craftsmanship and outstanding quality of the guitar details. Perfect for players of all skill levels, from beginners looking for a great starter guitar and experienced looking for a spare to practice with.
- Guitar Tuning: There is tension for all the nylon strings' music instrument. So please keep in mind that new nylon strings tend to stretch, so retuning more frequently after getting the classical guitar. It will stay in tune longer after few times' tuning.
Another ¾ sized guitar, this time from that giant of musical instrument manufacturers Yamaha, this is a perfectly sized guitar for younger players. As with all their instruments, Yamaha has put all their expertise and experience into designing this guitar and it shows. With a spruce top, this guitar is brilliant at producing sustained notes, and the strong internal bracing makes it really durable which is great for younger players who might not always be as careful with their instruments.
The classic dreadnought shape sits comfortably even for long periods. The back and sides are made from meranti which helps add to the strength of the body, while the neck is made from Nato which is very strong and adds a warm resonance to the sound. The Indian rosewood ginger board makes sliding up and down incredibly smooth, which can be very helpful to beginners who haven’t yet mastered the technique enough to compensate for poorer quality wood.
This model again comes with a full beginner starter kit including a gig bag, tuner, picks, extra strings, and a guitar strap. The gig bag is padded with pockets for all the gear you might need and will help protect the instrument on the go.
3/4 sized body perfect for younger players
A strong, durable guitar which will last for a good few years if looked after properly
Well made guitar with Yamaha’s characteristic craftsmanship
Comes with all the accessories that you might need to get started
Excellent tone and resonance
Comes with steel string rather than nylon, which are tougher on beginner’s fingers
- 21 1/4" scale length
- Spruce top; Meranti sides and back
- Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
- Nato neck
- Steel strings
Another Yamaha guitar this is a half size classical guitar, rather than acoustic. This guitar has an excellent range of tones and a lovely overall sound due to the meranti back and sides and the rosewood covered fingerboard. The spruce top creates a better sound than a basswood one which makes this is an excellent option for someone looking to upgrade from a straight beginner’s guitar. While this option doesn’t come with any accessories if your child has been playing for a little while and is looking for something with a nicer sound than you probably won’t need them anyway.
Yamaha’s quality is as always second to none, and this guitar is well built and durable. They’ve chosen woods that are built to last and this is a great simple guitar for growing your skills. This guitar doesn’t have any fancy aesthetics details but it’s a great option for people concerned with sound and quality. With an easy to hold the neck, this is another very comfortable guitar to play, perfect for children.
- Easy to hold the neck for comfort while playing
- Excellent quality of sound
- Well-built and durable
- Great range of tones, and a lovely sound
- Nylon strings to help build up callouses for younger players
- Does not come with any accessories so for a first-time buyer there may be better options
- Spruce top
- Meranti back & sides
- Rosewood fingerboard & bridge, natural finish
- Strings scale 25.6 inches, body depth 3.15 - 3.3 inches, finger board width (Nut/Body) 2.05 inches
If you’re ready to progress to something a little more adult than this is a great option. Manufactured by Fender, this is another well-constructed and durable option, made with the care you’d expect from a world recognized brand. With steel strings, it’s an excellent transitional model that gives this guitar better amplification and much brighter tones than a nylon-strung guitar.
Steel guitar strings aren’t the easiest string choice for beginners, which is why this guitar is better suited for someone who has already played a nylon-strung guitar. The guitar comes in a variety of colors so you’ll definitely be able to find something in your style, a spruce body and rosewood fretboard this is a hardy durable guitar and comes with a gig bag, strap, and picks.
This model is a 38’’ which makes it great for teens and slightly older children. The neck has a comfortable width and the tonality is second to none. The dreadnought curves make this another very comfortable guitar to play which will hopefully encourage the player to practice more and progress faster. It even comes with a helpful instructional DVD, which will help supplement any lessons you may have. All in all, this is an excellent model for slightly older children looking to learn, or as an upgrade for a child ready to move on to something a bit harder.
Variety of colors to help show off your style
A range of accessories making it the perfect option for a beginner
Steel strings, perfect for an older child or as an upgrade from a nylon-strung guitar
Comfortable with a lowered action for easy playing
Excellent tone and great for sustained notes
The gig case won’t be the best you’ve ever seen, and if you’re concerned about protection than you’ll have to upgrade
- Everything you need to start playing straight out of the box
- Full-size dreadnought body for full and vibrant tone, suited for all styles of music
- 20-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays
- Rosewood bridge with compensated synthetic bone saddle
- Laminated spruce top
If you want to get a guitar for a very young learner than this is a great option. Unlike most junior models this guitar has excellent intonation with precisely placed frets so they can learn to play properly. This is a great miniature option if you want to introduce music early, it comes with very light gauge nylon strings which are perfect for little fingers. It’s very well made with this top, back and sides. Good internal bracing means that it’s very capable of dealing with the rough play that should be expected from the age range its aimed at. This is a musical instrument rather than a toy which is something worth considering depending on the age of the child you’re considering buying this model for.
- Nylon strings perfect for smaller fingers
- Great internal bracing making this a very durable, suitable for smaller children
- Excellent intonation and tone unlike other guitars aimed at this age range
- Can be quite hard to tune
When you’re buying a children’s guitar it’s a good idea to look at the major brands because then you can trust you’re buying a great instrument. If you’re looking for a guitar like an electric, classic or bass rather than a toy than you need to make sure that that’s what you’re getting. Toy guitars might give you some sound, but they won’t be constructed properly, and might not even be the right shape, or have the right number of strings. So it’s worth remembering that while it might look like a guitar, a toy just won’t sound like the real thing. If your child really wants to learn to play than they need a real guitar, just one that’s a lot smaller.
There are a lot of different options available in a lot of different budgets. Children go through phases and you don’t want to go all out only for them to put it down a few weeks later. Whatever you end up going for be aware that many kids guitars don’t sound great and aren’t constructed terribly well, which is why going for a leading brand like Yamaha who takes pride in all their students and junior models is a good idea.
Bigger brands can put more effort into their models aimed at younger players because they want musicians to start on their instruments and stay with them throughout their careers. So, buying a reasonably priced guitar from a leading brand might be an excellent investment if your child decides to stick with the guitar. There are some great children’s models which are smaller versions of the real thing if you want something that’s actually playable than that’s what you should look out for.
Size is probably the most important thing to look out for when buying a kid’s guitar. For 6 and under you’re probably going to want a half-sized model of around 30’’ with at least 16 frets. Any child older will need a ¾ sized model as the frets on a half-sized guitar would be much harder to reach as you get further up the neck. A young teenager might want something more like a 7/8 as a full-size guitar might be quite hard to learn on.
It is also worth thinking about the sort of strings you want as nylon is probably better for younger children. As you play more, and your skills grow guitar players mostly move onto steel strings which help to develop callouses on their fingers. Younger players might find steel strings uncomfortable to use, and the more uncomfortable they are the more they are unlikely to stick with learning.
However much you’re looking to spend you need to be looking at what woods the guitar you’re looking at is made of. Good quality tonewoods are essential. Kids guitars sometimes are made from plastic or other synthetic materials because they make the instrument more durable, but this often compromises the sound. Laminate tops don’t work as well as solid tops because they don’t reverberate as well, but they’re often more durable and may be more suitable for a younger player.
Necks should always be made of hardwood because they’ll be liable to snap under the pressure once the strings are tightened if made of softer wood. At the end of the day, you should think about the age of the player and how important the quality of the sound is. If you’re looking for a good quality children’s guitar to get a young child interested in music than a laminate top will be absolutely fine.
Another important feature to consider in the tuning of the guitar. It is recommended that you have metal gears rather than just pegs as they need to be durable to grip the guitar strings tightly. Again think about the age of the child you’re purchasing for and how durable you need the guitar to be for them to be able to make the most out of it.
If this is the child’s first guitar than considering a beginner’s bundle might be a good idea. These cover most of the accessories your child is likely to need and will give you a good idea about you might need in the future too. They’re often well worth the extra money as they add significant value and can save you time and money.
What’s the best age for a kid to start learning guitar?
You can start learning the guitar as soon as you can properly hold one. Most brands offer models suitable for small children, but 4 and up is probably a sensible age. From 4 a child can begin to understand the proper way to hold the guitar and can begin to learn to play properly rather than using a guitar as a toy. You can get smaller guitars suitable for toddlers, but these are less likely to be of the quality needed for a good enough sound.
How much is a child’s guitar?
As with all instruments, there is a range of prices, and it is completely possible to get a good quality guitar for most budgets. Be aware that the more you spend the easier it is to get better quality, but for a children’s guitar, especially a first guitar you don’t want to spend a lot only for it to be a passing phase. Consider how likely it is that they’ll stick with it, and how old they are. You can always upgrade if needed.