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Best Guitars for Kids of 2022

Updated
Learn how to find the best electrical, classical, or acoustic guitar for your kid.

Are you searching for a guitar to channel your child’s artistic side?

Sometimes all you need is a fun toy with an authentic appearance, but some kids — even young kids — are ready for the real thing.

We’ve dug deep into the world of children’s guitars, speaking with musicians and music teachers to help narrow down your guitar choice.

We’ll help you determine what type of guitar your child is ready for, and we’ll share our favorite options with you. We’ll review the best kids guitars, from guitar toys to basic, playable models to professional-quality acoustic or electric guitars.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Little Tikes PopTunes Guitar
Best Electric Toy
Little Tikes PopTunes
  • Rock ‘n’ roll design
  • Each string will play a riff
  • Two preset tune modes
Product Image of the HOHNER 6 String Acoustic Guitar, Right Handed, Natural (HAG250P)
Best Classical Guitar
Hohner HAG250P
  • Best for beginner
  • Child-friendly nylon strings
  • Relatively easy to tune
Product Image of the Dimple Kids Handheld Musical Electronic Toy Guitar for Children Plays Music,...
Best for Volume Control
Dimple Kids Electronic Guitar
  • One-year warranty
  • 3 play modes
  • No assembly required
Product Image of the VTech Zoo Jamz Guitar
Best for Small Toddlers
VTech Zoo Jamz
  • Extra fun for toddlers
  • Lots of options for preset songs
  • Volume button
Product Image of the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
Best for Authentic Sound
Yamaha JR1
  • Ideal first guitar
  • Authentic sound
  • Yamaha quality
Product Image of the Ibanez GRGM 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar, Right, Blue Burst (GRGM21MBLT)
Best for Rock ‘n' Roll
Ibanez 6 String
  • Slim neck for small hands
  • Good choice of bright colors
  • Great sound
Product Image of the Beginner 30” Classical Acoustic Guitar - 6 String Linden Wood Traditional...
Best Acoustic Toy
Pyle Classical Acoustic Guitar
  • Standard size
  • Complete set
  • Neutral color
Product Image of the Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar Blue Burst
Best Custom Guitar
Rogue Starter
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • High quality and durable
  • Smaller body style
Product Image of the YMC 30' Kids Electric Guitar Pack With 5-Watt Amp, Gig...
Best All-in-One Set
YMC Electric Guitar
  • Complete accessories
  • 30 inches
  • 21 frets

What Age Can Kids Start Learning Guitar?

When it comes to buying a guitar for your little one, there really isn’t an age limit (1). Well, of course, babies who haven’t yet developed fine motor skills aren’t going to benefit. But for toddlers and older kids, there are only three things to consider:

Motivation

Motivation is essential. But it has to come from the right place.

Does your child want to play the guitar? Have they asked for one for their birthday or Christmas? Have they shown an interest in learning how to play?

If yes, then your little one is ready to play — no matter their age. When our children begin to show interest in things, it’s important we encourage them. Maybe they won’t become a famous rock star in the future, but they’ll surely gain some experience.

However, if you’re the one who wants your child to play, regardless of how interested they may seem, it’s probably better to wait. Pressuring a child to do something rarely leads to good results. They might just end up quitting.

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Counting and ABC

If you’re buying your little one a guitar simply so they can have some fun, numbers and letters won’t be an issue.

However, these educational components are essential if your child intends to learn how to play correctly.

Counting is a big part of playing the guitar, even on a basic level. The same goes for letter recognition.

If your child will be taking lessons, they’ll be counting the strings, frets, and beats. The guitar player must also be able to identify the chords and notes by their name, which is typically a letter.

Will Any Guitar Fit?

Children have significantly smaller hands than adults, so playing an adult-sized guitar is most likely impossible.

Of course, there are ways you can place the guitar, like lying it down, that might help them to reach. However, if you can’t find an authentic guitar small enough for your child, you might need to wait until they grow a little bigger.

Many toy alternatives exist that will fit very young children. But you’ll want to make sure these are of decent quality. We’ve shared our favorites with you in this guide.

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Types of Guitars for Kids

Some parents are unsure about buying a real guitar as a first for their child. Others see toy guitars as a waste of money. Here are the pros and cons of each type.

Toy Guitars

If you’re planning this experience to be more of a game for your little one, then an actual guitar may not be your best bet. Sometimes children show some initial interest, but the magic seeps out as quickly as it appeared. This is where toy guitars come in!

Look at it this way: a toy guitar is like an introduction to the world of music for your toddler. They’re often colorful and make lots of noise, and it won’t be as much of a disaster if they break. Toy guitars are good alternatives for toddlers who so badly want to get their hands on daddy’s acoustic.

Instead, your little rock ‘n’ roller can play alongside dad. This will likely increase their interest in the instrument. Plus, their bond will only get stronger.

With a toy guitar, your toddler can explore all the basic parts of the instrument. This may help them once they begin playing a real one and will give them a feeling of achievement. In the early stages, all that matters is keeping their motivation alive.

A toy guitar will also support the development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

However, toy guitars aren’t real guitars. This means there are limits as to how much your child will learn regarding playing an actual song.

Acoustic Guitars

An acoustic guitar is a basic instrument. You don’t need an amp, and your child can play it anywhere they like. These tend to be less intimidating since there are no extra tuners, plugins, or buttons.

It also makes for a more affordable choice, especially if you suspect your child may lose interest.

Acoustic guitars have a higher action, meaning you’d have to press harder on the strings to make a noise. This can quickly result in hand cramping and blisters. Of course, these discomforts go away with continued practice, but the pain can be discouraging.

You can help to make the transition easier by buying an acoustic with nylon strings. Then, once your little enthusiast has mastered the strings, you can upgrade.

Electric Guitars

Electric guitars are generally more comfortable to play and much more forgiving on little fingers. The height from the fingerboard to the strings is lower. Plus, the guitar requires less action and pressure to produce noise.

Electric guitars are perfect for kids who love to play games like Guitar Hero. Your child might begin listening to alternative music, rock, and pop. This is great for keeping the interest going.

However, this type tends to be a bit pricier — and a lot louder — plus you also have to purchase an amplifier and other accessories.

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How to Choose a Guitar for Kids

When buying your child’s first guitar, you want to make sure it’s one they will enjoy playing.

This means you should look for one that makes a good sound with little effort. For example, many guitars we tested created an annoying buzz because the strings were too close to the fretboard. And many guitars had the opposite problem: the strings were too high, making them too difficult for children to press down.

Standard measures are around 0.062 inches at the highest string and 0.094 inches at the lowest. But this can vary from type to type.

Next, your child’s guitar should be easy to tune. Some guitars fall out of tune pretty quickly, and playing a poor-sounding instrument is never fun. And if your child isn’t able to tune the guitar on their own, they’ll frequently need your help.

We also found that our younger kids were more likely to stick with playing a guitar that had some additional interesting features, like crazy colors.

You’ll also want to ensure you choose a guitar that isn’t too heavy for your child. Sometimes, acoustic guitars can be bulky and difficult for small children to carry. In this case, you can buy a strap; however, this will only help when they’re playing the guitar.

Finally, check out the overall size of the instrument compared to the player’s little body. Playing a guitar that’s the wrong size can severely impact your child’s playing, and it may even put them off entirely.

Kids’ Guitar Sizing Guide

Buying the right size guitar for your child is crucial. Having one that’s too large can make it impossible to play. In contrast, one that’s too small can make it challenging to learn how to play correctly (2).

A typical adult-sized guitar is around 40 inches long. Children, of course, need one smaller than that. These are the standard measurements for children:

  • A child who is 3 feet 3 inches to 3 feet 9 inches needs a guitar that is 33 inches.
  • Children between 3 feet 10 inches and 4 feet 5 inches should have a 34-inch guitar.
  • From 4 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 11 inches, a guitar measuring 36 inches will fit.
  • Children with a height of at least 5 feet can have an adult-size guitar.

The Best Guitars for Kids of 2022

Here are some great guitars for kids to consider.

Best Toy Guitars for Toddlers and Babies

1. Little Tikes PopTunes Guitar

Best Electric Toy Guitar

This fun toy guitar from Little Tikes is the perfect pick for an active toddler who wants to rock out.

If your little toddler tends to get bored quickly, this will likely keep them swinging for longer. The Little Tikes toy guitar comes in a grey translucent design, fitted with red and blue LED lights for special effects.

It features two modes of play — preset tunes and rock ‘n’ roll riffs that allow your toddler to go a little crazy.

Each string sounds a tune, and there’s a small tuner to help give the effect of a real guitar. Of course, this is only for pretending.

The guitar is a decent size and weight, so it won’t be too heavy for your little one to take with them.

Pros

  • Rock’ n’ roll design with LED lights.
  • Strings and big colorful buttons on the neck.
  • Two preset tune modes to keep your little one entertained.

Cons

  • There is no strap, making it challenging to move around while playing.
  • The package states that it’s for children from 24 months to five years, but it might be too small for a 5-year-old.

2. VTech Zoo Jamz Guitar

Best Toy Guitar for Small Toddlers

If you have a smaller toddler and want a guitar-inspired toy, this is ideal. It’s a super cute guitar with a zoo animal theme.

The toy is giraffe shaped, with its long neck doubling as the guitar neck. It sports eight colored buttons and four strings.

The light-up buttons make cute animal sounds or play chords. Your little composer can create their own zoo song or play along to the preset tunes. They can also pick between acoustic and electric guitar sounds.

The handy strap allows your toddler to take it anywhere with ease. Best of all, it has a volume control dial — every mom’s favorite feature!

Pros

  • The zoo theme makes it extra fun for smaller toddlers.
  • An ample amount of light-up buttons keep it interesting.
  • Includes a strap for easy standing play or carrying.
  • Lots of preset songs and animal sounds.
  • Three-setting volume button dial allows you to reduce the noise.

Cons

  • The volume button is too easy for toddlers to adjust.
  • It can be loud, even on lower settings.

3. Pyle PGAKT30 Classical Acoustic Guitar

Best Acoustic Toy Guitar

If you’re looking for an authentic-looking acoustic guitar for your musical toddler, this is it!

The guitar from Pyle looks like a real guitar, with all the essentials, such as strings, picks, and tuners. It’s excellent if you want to get your little one into instruments or if you frequently spot them trying to strum yours.

We don’t recommend this guitar if your child is serious about wanting to learn to play, as it won’t stay in tune. But it makes an excellent toy for a younger child who enjoys the guitar sound.

It consists of a basswood body with six strings. It even comes with a pitch pipe tuner. These really do tune the guitar, so your little one can get an authentic experience.

Pros

  • Authentic appearance.
  • Six strings that can be tuned like a full-size guitar.
  • Neutral color, suitable for boys or girls.

Cons

  • Although it’s more of a toy than an instrument for learning to play, it’s pretty fragile.
  • Nearly impossible to tune.

Best Acoustic Guitars for Kids

4. Hohner HAG250P 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar

Best Classical Guitar for Kids

This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a first guitar for a slightly older child. This classical acoustic guitar from Hohner Accordions is the perfect fit for a beginner.

The 30-inch guitar is half the size of a standard guitar. This means it fits most children between the ages of 4 and 7.

The guitar has six nylon strings, which are what you should look for in a beginner guitar since they are a lot softer for the fingers and easier to play.

The guitar is made of a blend of different types of wood, including Agathis. This blend gives it a rounded, crisp sound when playing.

It’s relatively easy to tune and has low action, so short arms can comfortably reach all the strings.

Pros

  • Low action makes for easy reach.
  • Nylon strings won’t hurt little fingers.
  • Once in tune, it makes a good sound.

Cons

  • Goes out of tune pretty quickly due to the nylon strings and plastic tuners.

5. Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size String Acoustic Guitar

Best for Authentic Sound

This junior guitar from Yamaha is excellent for children who want to take their practice seriously. It’s the real thing, scaled down for little arms and fingers.

Yamaha is a well-known brand that is famous for its quality instruments, and this guitar does not disappoint. This junior version makes a balanced, authentic sound with a warm base.

Because this guitar sounds so good, it’s perfect for the beginner who needs some encouragement.

The neck is slim and comfortable for small hands. And the tuning pegs are sturdy and easy to handle, making it a breeze to tune.

Pros

  • Ideal first real guitar for a child.
  • Authentic sound to encourage budding rockstars.
  • The slim neck makes it easy for short fingers to grasp.
  • Made from a brand known for high-quality instruments.

Cons

  • The strings can be hard on little fingers at first.

6. Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

Best Custom Guitar for Kids

If your child is asking for a guitar with a different look, this is the one. This acoustic guitar from Rogue is not only beautiful, but it’s also well made and durable. At 7/8 scale, older children or even adults with smaller hands can play this model.

The guitar is made with a blend of maple in the neck, rosewood on the fingerboard, and a mahogany body. The maple wood neck prevents it from bending, and the mahogany body makes a great sound.

But the best part about this guitar is the beautiful blue to black sunburst finish with a smooth surface, making it a gorgeous instrument to look at. It also comes in pink, black, or several classical brown versions. However, this blue was our young testers’ first choice.

Unfortunately, this guitar doesn’t produce a top-quality sound, but it’s still playable. It’s inexpensive and makes a good choice for a child who is just starting out.

Pros

  • The beautiful color stands out and is attractive to kids.
  • The blend of wood used for the material makes it durable.
  • There are several color options to choose from.

Cons

  • The sound could be better.

Best Electric Guitars for Kids

7. Dimple Handheld Electronic Toy Guitar

Best for Volume Control

As much as you love your little one playing with interactive toys that challenge them, we can’t deny that it gets a little annoying after a while. Thankfully, this guitar will be music to your child’s ears as well as yours. When it’s getting a bit too loud, you can adjust the volume.

Another fantastic feature of this colorful guitar is the three play modes. Kids can rock out to three beats that teach them different musical tempos and sounds.

Don’t forget about the whammy bar that plays an epic solo. It adds a bit of excitement to the songs.

You can widen the adjustable strap as your little one grows so they can continue to take this guitar with them wherever they go.

Pros

  • Volume control to please parents.
  • Three play modes.
  • One-year warranty.
  • Lightweight at one pound.

Cons

  • The lowest volume is still louder than some parents prefer.

8. Ibanez 6 String Electric Guitar

Best for Rock ‘n' Roll

This six-string electric guitar from Ibanez will surely give your kid some rock ‘n’ roll vibes!

It has a smooth, slim neck for smaller hands, which makes it easier to slide up and down to change chords.

Let’s be honest. Children often base their choices on colors. So one way to keep their interest going is by giving them something they can be proud of.

This model comes in a variety of shades. Our example is the blue burst color that screams for attention with its rockstar appearance. Secretly, my favorite is the purple model, but you can also purchase the more conservative colors of black, white, or classic walnut.

It has all the qualities of its full-size bigger brother, so you know you’re buying a real guitar, not just a toy. This is another one that bigger kids and smaller adults can enjoy too.

Pros

  • Slim neck for small hands.
  • Good choice of bright colors.
  • High-quality sound.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to tune.

9. YMC Kids Electric Guitar

Best All-in-One Set

This guitar from YMC fits well in the hand without feeling too wide. This guitar makes an excellent gift for kids who want to strum. It includes all items needed to start playing immediately: the guitar, amplifier, cable cord, strap, picks, gig bag, and extra strings.

The style is also attractive, with its double-cutaway style basswood body and maple finish fretboard running up the neck. It is an impressive guitar your young rock ‘n’ roller will love to own.

The excellent quality of the instrument makes it durable for years to come.

Pros

  • Complete accessories.
  • 30-inch length.
  • Twenty-one frets allow for a full range of play.

Cons

  • Poor-quality strings.
  • Hard to keep in tune.

What Other Accessories Will I Need?

Don’t forget about the essentials to buy alongside the guitar. Your child may not need them all in the beginning, but once they get more serious, these will come in handy.

  • Guitar picks: These can help when learning how to strum. Buy a few of different thicknesses — thin, medium, and thick.
  • Tuner: The guitar will need re-tuning eventually, if not immediately. This little tool can help make it a bit easier, even for beginners.
  • Spare strings: These are good to have in the closet in case one breaks.
  • Straps and strap locks: This will allow your little rockstar to stand or walk around while playing or even help them get a better grip while sitting.

How To Teach Kids Guitar

The best thing you can do is begin small.

Teach your child the string names by associating them with one of these funny phrases:

  • Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie.
  • Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears (3).

This adds a fun element and makes it easier for your child to remember the names.

Next, you can start by playing some well-known rhymes. These generally require fewer chords to play to get a song, which means less strain on little fingers.

And lastly, don’t pressure your child; just be supportive. Kids can get discouraged easily if their goals are too hard to reach.

If you want a visual guide for some easy chords to play, there are lots of videos online, such as this one:


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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.