12 Best Guitars for Kids in 2018

Music is one of the best things you can get your child into at an early age. We’re not necessarily talking about singing along with the radio but playing an instrument. You don’t have to join the band to play a tune, especially if you can find the best guitar for kids.

Youth-sized guitars are a bountiful and finding the right one can be difficult. There are different sizes for different ages, and some will sound far better than others. We’ve tried to streamline your buying decision with our table and guide below. We have included a nice mix of guitars that cover a broad range of prices and can help your child play like James Taylor or Slash depending on their preference.

Top 12 Guitars for Kids Comparison Table

DesignNameStyleSizeRating (1-5)
  1. Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar Acoustic 3/4 4.6
  2. SX RST 3/4 CAR Short Scale Red Electric Guitar Electric 3/4 4.5
  3. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar Acoustic 3/4 4.4
  4. Squier by Fender “Mini” Strat Beginner Electric Guitar Electric 3/4 4.4
  5. Yamaha Student Series CGS103AII Classical Guitar Classical 1/2 4.4
6. Fender Beginner Acoustic Guitar MC-1 ¾ Nylon String Acoustic 3/4 4.2
7. SX RST 1/2 3TS 1/2 Size Short Scale Sunburst Guitar Package Electric 1/2 4.2
8. Stagg C505 MONKEY Safari Tunes 1/4 Size Classical Guitar Classical 1/4 4.0
  9. Rise by Sawtooth ST-RISE-ST-3/4-BLK-KIT-1 Electric Guitar Electric 3/4 3.9
  10. Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar Classical 1/2 3.9
  11. New 30″ Kids Black Electric Guitar Electric 1/2 3.8
  12. Lucida LG-510-1/4 Student Classical Guitar Classical 1/4 3.4

Guitar Buying Guide for Kids

They may not be old enough to afford a guitar, but that won’t stop them from begging you for one. If you are new to the world of guitars, keep these simple tips in mind.

Handedness

Your child may not know it yet, but they live in a right-handed world. Lefties are said to make up around 12% of the planet’s population, which means products made for left-handed folks are not quite as common. That includes instruments and there’s no getting around it with guitars.

Most guitars on our list are for right-handed children, but there are a few models that offer each style. If your child has never played guitar, they actually may be able to do so with the opposite hand as strumming or picking is a bit different than trying to write your name. Regardless, consider which hand they will use before thinking about the type of guitar.

Style

Generally, this comes down to an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. There are also “classical” guitars, however, which are technically acoustic guitars with nylon strings. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to start with nylon strings as they are much easier on the fingers. The guitars are easier to play in general and can be cheaper, but will not sound nearly the same as a true acoustic guitar.

As for electrics, be sure you want to hear your child practicing at high levels before going down that road. You can get them headphones to cut back the sound on your end, but you also need to consider their hearing as well. If they are going electric, think about volume levels – especially if you choose headphones. Most electrics are made to use with an amp, but some will have a small one embedded in the body.

Size

If you are unable to test out a size beforehand, you can use age ranges and some rough measurements to pick the right size guitar for your child. The best guitar for kids will come in three main sizes with 3/4-sized and 1/2 size, and 1/4. For reference, a normal acoustic guitar is around 45” x 17” x 6” depending on the model.

  • 3/4 size – This is one step down from a full-sized guitar. While it’s great for kids between 8 -12 years old, adults also sometimes prefer this size as well. Children over 12 may be ready for a full-sized guitar depending on their arm length. A 3/4-sized guitar usually clocks in at 35” or more.
  • 1/2 size – As the name implies, this guitar is roughly half the size of a normal one at can be around 32-35”. We say roughly as those measurements can vary a few inches from one manufacturer to the next. Children aged 5 – 8 should be able to play this size with ease.
  • 1/4 size – This one is a bit of a rarity, just like left-handed guitars. If you find a 1/4 children’s guitar for lefties, you may want to buy a lottery ticket. These guitars are going to be 30” or under and cover kids old enough to hold a soft-stringed guitar. That said, these can easily be played by older children as well.

Top 5 Best Guitar for Kids Reviews

1. Yamaha JR1 Acoustic Guitar with Legacy Bundle

We won’t go into the age old debate on which style of guitar is easier to play, but will tell you why the Yamaha JR1 is our top choice for the best guitar for kids. Quality construction would be one reason as Yamaha knows a thing or two about making beautiful instruments. The Spruce top guitar has Meranti back and sides with a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge.

At 3/4 size, it’s not a beast, but a solid choice for children that aren’t quite ready for an adult model. It’s also a great option for parents that want to play with their kids considering 3/4 is a popular size for adults as well. As for the measurements, the fingerboard width is listed at 43mm, the string scale is 540mm, and the body depth is between 80 to 90mm.

While the guitar itself is as solid as they come, you will get some extras with the JR1 Acoustic Guitar. The Legacy bundle includes a capo, tuner, strap, peg winder, picks and a holder. You will also get a DVD and gig bag to keep their new guitar safe.

2. SX RST CAR Short Scale Electric Guitar Kit

And now for something a little louder. The SX RST CAR is called a “short scale” guitar, and it’s electric so you may want to prepare your eardrums beforehand. It’s also another 3/4 scale guitar, which means it’s geared more towards older children due to its size and overall weight.

This 6-stringed beauty has a single-coil pickup, but can always be tweaked if you want to make it a humbucker. It is a right-handed model as well with a tremolo bridge system a Maple neck and Rosewood fretboard. It has 21 “jumbo” frets for ease of use with a scale length of 24” and an overall length of 36 3/4” from end to end. While small, it’s heavy at 8.5 lbs. so your child will want to put the included strap to good use.

In addition to the strap, this is a kit so you will also get a 10-watt amplifier with a 4” speaker to help crank out the sound. It does have a headphone jack however in case Mom and Dad need a little break. Other accessories include picks, a case, cable and instructional DVD.

3. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor BT2 is arguably the best guitar on our list regardless of style. The saying “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here as well considering it is far from cheap but is an instrument that can actually be passed down to your kid’s children down the line. That’s what we call quality, and this Baby Taylor will even make the adults jealous with the sounds it produces.

This is a dreadnought style acoustic guitar but scaled down to 3/4 size. Again, it’s best for older children or young adults due to the size and price – you don’t want this one banged around. It is made from solid Mahogany on the back and sides with no “top wood” and is another right-handed model. The Sapele Scale length is set to 22 3/4”, it has 19 frets and sports a genuine African Ebony wood neck.

While we absolutely love this guitar, it is not the best option for beginners for obvious reasons. It is the best acoustic guitar for players with a little experience under their belt or for parents that just want their kids to have the best sound out of the gate.

4. Squier by Fender Mini Strat Beginner Electric Guitar

No guitar list of any kind is complete without an axe Fender. In this case, we opted for the Squier Mini Strat which is billed as an electric guitar for beginners. After listening to it for a few minutes in the hands of an experienced player, we feel you will wholeheartedly agree.

The 3/4 scale Squier has a shorter string scale for beginners measuring 22.75” with a smaller neck. There are 20 medium jumbo frets and a 5-way pickup selector switch for different tones. As for those pickups, it sports the popular single-coil setup in all three positions in the neck, body, and bridge. Needless to say, if your child wants to look and sound like a little rockstar, this is your best option.

The Fender Mini Squier comes in three different hues with Torino Red, Pink, and Black. You can also choose between buying the guitar by itself or go for one of the bundles which includes accessories or an amplifier.

5. Yamaha Student Series CGS103 Classical Guitar

Yamaha squeezed another guitar into our Top 5 with the Student Series CGS103. This is a “Classical” model, so it will be one of the easiest guitars to play for beginners and has another distinct advantage. Well, there are two actually if you consider the size as this one is a 1/2 scale guitar and a perfect choice for children not quite ready for a 3/4 or adult guitar.

Like all true classical guitars, the Yamaha CGS103 has nylon strings. This produces a different tone, but are easier to play and easier on your fingers until they toughen up. The construction is similar to our top choice as well with a Mercanti back and sides to go along with the rosewood bridge and fingerboard. It’s a good looking guitar that will sound great and won’t be nearly as loud as it steel-stringed brethren.

As mentioned, this guitar is 1/2 size, but you can also opt for 3/4 or an adult model if you want the same sound and construction in a larger size.