The best children's acoustic guitar

Allen Foster

The best way to get better at guitar is for the student to play songs that he or she enjoys. Scales and exercises can come later after the student has a sense of accomplishment.

To excel in any endeavor, you need the proper tools. Music is no different. If you want to provide your child with the best possible experience in music, it is essential that you purchase the right instrument.

Children's acoustic guitars come in a variety of sizes. The best model will be the right size for your child and have features that facilitate learning. Yamaha's FG JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar, for instance, is a high-quality guitar with an impressive sound that can inspire your child to want to be her best. To learn more about this top-shelf instrument, as well as the features that make a children's acoustic guitar more desirable, keep reading.

Considerations when choosing children's acoustic guitars

While you don't need to spend a fortune on a children's acoustic guitar -- kids, after all, may be a little rough on it and certainly will physically grow out of it -- there are specific aspects you should consider, from size and shape to overall quality, before making a purchase.

Size: Above all other considerations, you need to be certain that an acoustic guitar is small enough to be held by your child. If she can't reach her arm over the body to strum the strings, she won't be able to play the instrument. Children vary in size, but as a general guide, a 1/4-size guitar is for a child who is four to six years old, a 1/2-size guitar is for a child who is six to eight years old, a 3/4-size guitar is for a child who is eight to 10 years old, and a full-size guitar is for a child who is 11 years old or older.
Build quality: The wood type used for the body, neck, and fretboard; the sturdiness of tuning knobs; and overall construction quality will have a big impact not only on sound but also on longevity -- you want to purchase a model that won't warp, crack, or splinter in a few months. And if the instrument sounds "tinny" or toy-like, chances are it may not hold your child's interest for long.
String height: There is nothing more frustrating than trying to play a guitar that has poor "action," meaning the height of the strings above the fretboard and overall playability of the instrument. It is painful and nearly impossible to produce a good tone with this situation. Look for a children's acoustic guitar with nylon strings that are close to the instrument -- just not so close that they buzz against the frets when strummed.
Shape: Some acoustic guitar bodies are thick, others are thin. Some feature a wide fretboard while others are much narrower. Some children's acoustic guitars even feature a cutaway so it is easier to play the high notes. Look for a model that makes sense, in all aspects, for your child to comfortably play.
Design: Although comfort and functionality are by far the primary concerns when purchasing a musical instrument, the look of a guitar is how a musician expresses personality. It's a good idea for the child to be somewhat involved in the decision-making process to help ensure that she will be happy with the design.


A toy guitar may be affordable, but it might also cause a great deal of frustration. Be very careful with models under $50. From $60 to $125 is the sweet spot where you will find children's acoustic guitars of a reasonable quality at a comfortable price. From $150 to $200, is the higher end of what you'll want to spend if you are purchasing a scaled-down model because your child may outgrow the instrument in a few years.


Q. Since I am considering this for a child who may or may not stick with it, should I get the least expensive model?

A. No. One of the problems with purchasing an inexpensive guitar is that it is much harder to play. If your child cannot get a decent sound out of the instrument or it is too difficult to play, she may become frustrated and lose interest before discovering her love for music.

Q. Nothing my child plays sounds right. Is the guitar broken?

A. Hopefully not. Chances are that the guitar is simply out of tune. Unlike a piano, a guitar needs to be regularly tuned. It is a good practice to check the tuning every single time you pick up the instrument to play. If the strings are not tuned properly, the melodies will be unrecognizable.

Children's acoustic guitars we recommend

Best of the best: Yamaha's FG JR1 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar

Our take: A high-quality guitar manufactured by a company with a long-established reputation in providing exceptional musical instruments.

What we like: This smaller lightweight acoustic guitar features a rosewood fingerboard, chrome hardware, and a spruce top. It comes with a gig bag for easy transport and is suitable for either a beginner or for a more advanced player who needs a travel guitar.

What we dislike: A few individuals have noted that the guitar was smaller than anticipated.

Best bang for your buck: Best Choice's Beginner Acoustic Guitar Starter Kit

Our take: An entry-level guitar that comes with a number of desirable accessories at a remarkably low price.

What we like: If you are looking for a comprehensive guitar starter kit, this bundle comes with a guitar, a strap, a gig bag, a tuner, a pitch pipe, extra strings, and a pick. The guitar features an all-wood body, and it comes in a stylish blue finish.

What we dislike: As may be expected, in order to get such an expansive set of items for such a reasonable price, the quality is a little low.

Choice 3: Yamaha's CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar

Our take: A quality 1/2-size children's guitar that is available in the mid-range price zone.

What we like: This diminutive model gets high marks for its volume and tone quality. It is attractively designed and features nylon strings along with an impressive action that is both responsive and easily playable

What we dislike: This model doesn't include a gig bag. Not a deal-breaker, but it is an additional purchase you'll want to consider.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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