How to Choose a Guitar for a Child

Guest Post by Tony, an experienced guitar teacher:

If you are thinking of giving your child lessons on an instrument, make certain that your young one knows that lessons require practice, and not just a little. In guitar instruction, this will mean sore fingers and tired arms and hands from reaching for and holding fingers down on the proper strings and frets with enough force to create a clear sound for
the duration of each note. Notes can last a long time, especially to a child, and that can cause little fingers some discomfort.

Discuss this with your little one and when they are insistent that they can handle it, go looking for their instrument. Be prepared to pay from $200 for a well-constructed guitar.  Why pay half that for a nominal instrument that also will warp easily from changes in humidity and temperature, when that extra money spent will also help them play clearer,
more in-tune, and thereby help them learn more easily? Shop around, but don’t trade down.  Make sure that the guitar you choose tunes well enough to play many different chords (A through G) in tune, as well as chords played high up on the fingerboard toward the sound hole.  Your child must have a guitar that is the correct size for his/her arms and hands for a lifetime of learning and enjoying guitar. Violins are sized as small as 1/16 and move up through full size, but guitars are not built in size increments; one must find one approximately the right size by simple searching. A good music store will measure your child and help you find one the right size.