Electric guitars are really fun to play. Especially kids who are a lot into rock n roll and alternative music will adore that type of guitar for sure. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider when getting one. In the following we’ll tell what’s the right age to introduce a child to an electric guitar and if it’s really a good alternative to acoustics. Last but not least, we’ll recommend you some good electrics for kids in different sizes.
The right age for an electric guitar
I wouldn’t recommend a small electric for kids younger than 6 years for a simple reason. First of all, there aren’t really electrics in smaller sizes. Most of the electric guitars offered for youth and kids are 3/4 size and sometimes we can also find electric guitars in 1/2 size. There aren’t really any smaller electric guitars on the market and that make sense. Since an electric guitar doesn’t have a sound hole through which sound projects, it uses a pickup to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical impulses. The signal generated by this guitar would be too weak to drive a loudspeaker. So it needs to be amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker which is done by an amplifier. Theoretically, you can play it also without an amplifier but the sound would be very quiet then, just loud enough for the player to be heard if he is alone but not loud enough to play for other people. So that’s why an amplifier is a must-have when getting an electric guitar. Thanks to the amplifier you can adjust the volume, change the tone and add even some nice sound effects. And that’s definitely something that requires a certain age for kids in order to understand how to use an amplifier. In addition to that you should also consider that kid’s electric guitars can get very loud due to the amplifier. Kids may enjoy playing with the maximum volume their favorite rock tunes but would you appreciate it as parents too? Not so much probably. So get your child only an electric guitar if you can make sure that he is already able to handle an amplifier with its adjustments and that he would respect certain volume limits.
An alternative to acoustic guitar
Since the sound of an electric doesn’t have to be produced acoustically, the strings on an electric guitar are much thinner and are set to a lower height above the neck, as well as it has a lesser level of tension compared to acoustic guitars. These factors make electric guitar strings much easier to push down than those on acoustic guitars which can be a good thing for kids.
If you have to decide between an electric and acoustic steel string guitar, the electric guitar is in most cases the better choice for children. Both use steel strings but acoustic steel strings guitars use thicker strings which are under a higher amount of tension. As a result, they are harder to push down and will hurt young children’s fingers quite more. However, even thinner steel strings, as used on the electric, will certainly cause a bit more discomfort on the fingertips than a classical guitar with nylon strings.
Unfortunately, electric guitars aren’t too often considered as an option for children. In most of the local guitar stores you can only find acoustic kid’s guitars with nylon strings for the reason as mentioned above. But that’s a pity because electric guitars are indeed an option for children. When deciding between a steel string acoustic or a nylon string acoustic guitar I would recommend always the nylon one because both of them are acoustic guitars and you can play with both nearly the same music styles. By contrast, electrics are associated with rock, alternative, metal and most pop music, whereas acoustic guitars are typically used for classical, country and folk music. If you have to make the choice between an electric and a nylon string guitar and your your child is at least 6 years old, you should select the guitar that reflects the musical interest of your child. Whether your child starts with an electric guitar or a nylon string guitar, his fingertips will initially become a little sore anyway. Electric steel strings do feel different on the fingertips compared to nylon strings but they don’t really hurt much more since they are thinner and easier to push down. With a little practice and time this slight discomfort and pain will quickly disappear.
Prices for electric kid’s guitar
Beside these facts you should take into consideration that electric guitars can be more expensive than acoustic ones because you need some extra things. But if the electric guitar is what excites your child then get the electric guitar. Most electric guitars come without an amplifier and that’s something you must have to play the electric guitar. In addition to that, you also need a cable and eventually some headphones. However, you can also find electric guitar packages which are quite budget-friendly and come with all extras.
Best electric guitars
Electric guitars for kids are getting more and more popular. But not all of them are real instruments. Some of them look like a real instrument but in real they are rather toys. That’s why I would like to recommend you in the following some small electric guitars in each size. Remember there aren’t really kid’s electric guitars in 1/4 size. For kids under 6 years you should rather get a toy electric guitar.
Best full size electric guitar
A full size electric guitar is any standard electric guitar. Here you have got the biggest choice. There are thousands of different models for each budget. It’s worth investing a bit more in a full size guitar since your son or daugther won’t outgrow the guitar. Here are two beginner electric guitars I would like to recommend:
Best 3/4 electric guitar for youth
The Squier by Fender Stratocaster Mini is the best small electric guitar for young players from 8 years. This youth guitar is really worth it’s money because it doesn’t just looks very high quality but also its the play feeling is awesome. This small electric guitar is also often sold to adults as a travel electric guitar. So even when your child will outgrow this mini guitar he can still play on it without any difficulties and keep it as a travel guitar. I had the chance to test the Squier Stratocaster Mini and it’s also comfortable to play for adults.
Best 1/2 electric guitar for kids
The are not too many half size electric guitars out there. Unfortunately the Squier Stratocaster Mini exists only as a 3/4 guitar. I would love to see it also in half size because it’s a very great guitar. Nevertheless, the only one I would like to recommend here is the 1/2 Size kids electric guitar. This small electric guitar is available in different colors and comes with a mini amp, a cable and a gig bag for around $100 which is a quite fair price. This 30″ electric guitar is even available in pink for girls!
Available on Amazon: 1/2 Size kids electric guitar