Starting off: Acoustic VS Electric Guitars
It is believed that complete beginners should start with acoustic guitars; I don’t believe that’s true. If your heart is set on playing the electric guitar, there is nothing stopping you. Both guitars require different skills, and you do not need to learn to play the acoustic guitar before the electric one. And there is no need to buy both! Better spend that extra cash on accessories for the electric guitar.
Guitar Scales: Standard VS Small
The only bulletproof reason you should go for a smaller scale guitar (or ¾ size) is if you are looking for an axe for your kid. Standard scale guitars will be too heavy and too large for their small hands. They simply won’t be able to hold them, let alone practice. If you are an adult and happen to have small hands, you can opt for a smaller scale as well, yet it’s not your only option. There is a variety of options with a thinner neck profile, which will help you fix the issue.
What to look for in electric guitars for kids?
Like in any other guitar, there are three important things that you need to pay attention to: tonewood, hardware and electronics. The majority of guitars made for kids are made from cheaper materials, so if you are looking for the best sound, tone stability and resonance – choose basswood.
Great hardware is hard to find on these guitars, as strings, bridge, tuning knobs and other minor parts tend to be of poor quality. The good news though, is that you can always replace it, so overall it’s not a bad issue.
Last but not least – electronics. I think those good pickups are the key to a great guitar. So be very careful when choosing this. If you look for clean, sharp and warm sounds – single-coil pickup is your choice. Humbuckers give you more versatility, color and rock tones. Single pickup configuration is easiest to operate, so it’s always better to start off with those.
You should also consider the durability of the instrument. Kids may be clumsy, so its crucial to get something that won’t break within a day.
What is the ideal budget for a kid’s electric guitar?
If you are a billionaire, you can find options of beginner guitars for over a $1,000. However, kids have a tendency to grow, so if these guitars have a smaller size – they will have a hard time playing it in a few years. So, this kind of guitar is not a long-term investment.
Instead of buying an expensive axe, look for an option under $300, like most of the options in the list above. It’s very affordable, and the sound quality is quite decent, at the very least. Besides, you won’t regret spending money on it if your kid loses interest in playing at some point.
Guitars: New VS Used
Some people would say I’m wrong, but unless you are a hardcore guitar fan or a die-hard fan of one or another band, you should always go for a new guitar. Used guitars have a great history, but they are extremely unpredictable. It’s not about who has owned them, but rather the conditions they are in. They very well can have internal damage, and if you are a complete beginner, you won’t be able to understand if the guitar is damaged or not.
New guitars are always the best electric guitars for kids. The equipment is brand new, and there is a lesser chance of malfunction. Besides, you can always return or replace it if there is something wrong with it.
What accessories should you get?
Every electric guitar needs an amp, several packs of extra strings, picks, guitar strap and cables. The amp doesn’t have to be of superior quality; a small portable one will do. If you don’t wanna bother choosing all of these things, guitars with a starter pack like Epiphone Les Paul or Maestro by Gibson would be the easiest option. The quality will not be as perfect as stand-alone pieces, but they do their job, and it’s a great deal when you’re on a strict budget.
It’s also a good idea to grab a tuner (preferably an electric one) to make tuning easier. After your skills improve, you can expand your number of accessories and get yourself some pedals and other sound effects.
Should the guitar be set up?
If you are a complete newbie – absolutely. If you are picking up the guitar for the first time in your life, and it’s completely out of tune, chances are, you’ll be so-o-o bamboozled. All new guitars come with a factory set up, which is your lifesaver. You’ll hear how a guitar should sound, and whenever it’s out of tune, just work your way back to the original tune. As soon as you master the standard guitar tuning, you can experiment with the tunings and find your sound.
The best kids’ electric guitars aren’t that hard to find. You don’t need to chase for the unique brands, models, pickups configuration, hardware and exquisite electronics. The guitars should have a basic set up, solid sound, be light and have smooth playability. It can be a smaller scale or simply have a thin neck profile – both will work for your kids. If you don’t want to spend much time or money on accessories, choose starter packs like the Epiphone Les Paul Starter pack.