I’m not a dad yet but I assume there comes a time in your child’s life when you finally think that he or she is ready, whether they like it or not, to begin learning guitar. And after all they are going to get the best guitar lessons of all, free ones from mom or daddy guitarist! Well the dilemma is whether to wait until they are big enough to hold a full sized guitar or buy a mini guitar that they will eventually outgrow. Well I know what I’m going to do, I’m already checking out what is available so I thought I would pass on my findings of guitars for kids.
The first guitar I discovered was the Gibson Mini V pictured above, don’t worry it comes in a range of finishes including blue and red I just wanted to illustrate that they cater for girls too! Now this guitar is actually a Maestro, which is a division of Gibson but it is perfectly scaled version of Gibson’s 1958 Flying V design. The body is made from Poplar with a Maple neck and Rosewood fingerboard. There are 21 frets with a scale length of 19″. It has a single humbucker and single volume control. Nice and simple and it won’t break the bank at US$129.
The second guitar I found also pictured above is the Washburn X5 (scroll to the bottom of the page). This guitar is slightly larger with a 22.625″ scale, couldn’t they have rounded that off?! It has a Basswood body, bolt on Maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard, 2 Washburn Humbuckers controlled by a 3 way toggle switch, 1 volume and 1 tone pot. So this guitar is a little more flexible in terms of tone but I really don’t think kids are going to care too much about that so maybe this is a little over complicated. It looks the business being a scaled down version of Washburn’s very cool X series. This guitar only comes in deep metallic blue but it does come with a gig bag, however it is a little more pricey at US$220.
If you are on a big Stratocaster fan and want your kids to follow in your footsteps you are in luck because the cheapest kids electric (of decent quality) that I found is the Squier Mini which is a 3/4-size version (22.75″ scale length) of the Squier Bullet® guitar. It has 3 single coil pickups, a 5 way selector switch, a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard and is available in Black or Red. The body is made of Laminated Hardwood but I guess the little ones aren’t going to complain that its not Swamp Ash! This guitar is a bargain as it only costs $99!
The only problem with the guitars I have mentioned so far is that you will also need an amp, I would suggest an Vox AmPlug AC30 to save your ears from the torture of a child strumming wildly! If however you think it would be wise to start the little ones off on an acoustic guitar I have found just the thing, they are going to love these! First Act guitars, last featured on Guitar Noize back in July ’07 have a series of guitars called “Discovery” a selection of custom painted and shaped acoustics such as the Soccer Ball and the FG154 which both have a low action to make playing easier for little hands, they also come with a set of Learn-a-chord cards (great idea!), extra E & B string (again, great idea!) and a First Act Guitar Guide.
So there you go, lots of options these days to get your kids playing without having to buy an unplayable box with strings or, god forbid, Guitar Hero!