Five Tips to Choose Your First Guitar

Choosing your first guitar can be confusing, so I put together five tips to help you get the perfect fit.

1. Electric or Acoustic?: For children between the ages of six and ten, I recommend a nylon string acoustic guitar because they’re easier to play than their heavier steel stringed cousins, which tend to hurt sensitive fingers.

My students have had a lot of success with the Amigo AM15 Nylon String Acoustic Guitar. It’s easy to play, it sounds great, and it’s durable enough to survive the worst treatment any six-year-old can offer.

Another great acoustic guitar for kids is the Lucida LG-510-3/4 Student Classical Guitar, 3/4 Size. It’s got a larger body than the Amigo AM15 with a bigger, fuller sound.  Plus, it’s usually about $30 cheaper to boot. Nonetheless, both the Lucida and Amigo make ideal instruments for young guitarists.

2. Don’t Go for the Cheapest: Playing on bad guitar is may be the number one reason most kids quit playing, so purchase the best guitar you can comfortably afford. Keep in mind, you or your child will be playing guitar a little bit everyday for the life of the instrument. Plus, very cheap guitars often come with a host of problems that cost more to fix than the instrument itself.

3. Choose the Right Size: Use the following chart to help you perfect fit for your child.

Ages 4-6: 30″  (also known as 1/2 Sized Guitar)

Ages 6-9: 34″ (also known as 3/4 Sized Guitar)

Ages 9-12: 36″ Student Sized Guitar

Ages 12+: Full Sized Guitar

4. Get a Design you Like: If your son or daughter is a Hendrix or Page fan, get a Fender Standard Stratocaster. (PLEASE NOTE: For kids between 6 and 9-years-old looking to rock out on the electric guitar, you’ll wanna go with the Squier by Fender MINI Strat Electric Guitar, Black.) The Mexican made model costs about half that of its American made cousin, but the Standard series delivers on that classic Fender tone, playability and versatility. However, if you prefer Green Day’s more pop-orientated ballads, get yourself an affordable steel string. Just get the model most closely associated with the style of music you love.

If you decide to go electric, don’t forget to get an amp!  Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp, Aqua is a steal.  It snarls, barks, and shouts.  It’s built to last and priced under $20!  Seriously, it’s the bees knees.

But if you’re willing to spend the extra cash, the Roland Micro Cube Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier | M-CUBE-GX with 8 DSP Effects, 8 COSM Amplifier Models, Chromatic Tuner, iOS i-Cube Link (Black) is the Rolls-Royce of portable amplifiers.  It comes loaded with 8-effects like chorus, flanger, and phaser.  And it’s designed to model 8-classic tube amps like acoustic simulator, classic stack, and an extreme setting.


If that’s not enough, you can also plug the Micro Cube GX into your iPhone and jam along with your favorite tunes.

5. Purchase a Tuner: Few things sound worse than an out of tune guitar, no matter how good you are. There are a ton of clip-on tuners available now, but I recommend the Snark SN-1 Tuner. It’s tough, it’s durable, and it’s affordable too.

Please Note: Brian Parham is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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