Guitar Sizes for Kids (How to Pick the Right Size)

This is a guide to help you determine what size guitar you should get for your kid based on their age and height.

Choosing the appropriate guitar size for a kid is all about overall length, scale length, as well as picking the correct type of guitar (as recommended sizings vary based on the guitar type).

For starters, we recommend classical guitars for kids (also referred to as ‘Spanish guitars’) because their nylon strings are much easier on kid’s fingers. These are in comparison to Steel-string acoustic guitars which then can play later on down the line.

Acoustic Guitar Sizes for Kids of Different Ages

The best way to choose a guitar for a child is to consider the kid’s age and height. Age is usually a pretty good guide, but if your child is taller or shorter than average, then you can also take this into account.

Keep in mind that sizes vary a bit between guitar types (acoustic and classical guitars), so this is just a general guide.

Guitar Size 1/4

  • Approx Overall Length – 30’’
  • Child Age – 2 to 5
  • Child Height – Up to 3 feet, 9 inches

Guitar Size 1/2

  • Approx Overall Length – 34’’
  • Child Age – 5 to 8
  • Child Height – Up to 4 feet, 5 inches

Guitar Size 3/4

  • Approx Overall Length – 36’’
  • Child Age – 8 – 12
  • Child Height – Up to 4 feet, 11 inches

Full-Size Guitar

  • Approx Overall Length – 40’’ to 42’’
  • Child Age – 12+ years old
  • Child Height – Over 5 feet

Electric Guitar Size Guide for Kids

Electric Guitars are easier for kids to handle, and there are generally fewer electric guitar sizes for this reason.

Electric Guitar for up to 9 Years old

We recommend a mini-electric guitar if your child is under 9 years old.

Electric Guitars over 9 Years old

We recommend a full-sized electric guitar for most kids over 9 years old.

Recommended Guitars for Kids

1. 30’’ Wood Guitar with Case and Accessories - 1/2 Size

Recommended 1/2 Acoustic Guitar - This guitar is made out of high-quality material. The bottom, neck, and top are linden wood, which makes the guitar sturdy. Strings are half-nylon and half-steel. This delivers great sounds.

When you buy this beginner guitar, you also receive a tuner, case, and straps.

The height of this guitar is 30 inches.

2. Beginner Guitar Acoustic Classical Guitar - 3/4 Junior Size 36 inch

Recommended 3/4 Acoustic Guitar - This is a high-quality guitar starter kit for beginners that includes a nylon strap, a waterproof guitar bag, a battery guitar tuner, 2 guitar picks, and a guitar wipe. It is a 6 nylon strings guitar, with the guitar featuring solid basswood for the side, back, and top.

The 3/4 acoustic guitar is handmade and can be useful for kids of all guitar skill levels.

3. Fender Squier 3/4-Size Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar

Recommended Mini Electric Guitar - If your child wants to learn to play the electric guitar, this 3/4 Fender Squier with a scale length of 22.75’’ might be exactly what you are looking for. It features a 20-fret fingerboard and a C-shaped neck made out of maple.

When you buy the guitar bundle, you get the guitar, instrument cable, amplifier, picks, strap, tuner, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and access to Fender Play Online Lessons.

Important Considerations When Choosing Guitar Sizes For Kids

The sizing data provided above should be used as a guideline. The correct size for a child can vary a lot from one case to another. It is highly recommended that:

  • Try to stay inside the age group and respect the range mentioned when the kid has an average height.
  • When the kid is at the borderline between 2 groups (considering age), choose based on height. When the height is at the borderline between 2 groups, always choose the group for a higher age. If you do not do this, in a few months you will need to buy a larger guitar.
  • When the child is taller than the height recommended in the age group, choose a large size guitar.
  • When the kid moves to the following group (considering both height and age), you do not have to instantly replace the guitar and buy a larger model. A small guitar is not usually a problem when the child can play it comfortably.

3 more things you should know:

  • The big problem for kids is using a guitar that is larger than comfortable. This makes it hard to fret lower strings since it is difficult to reach under the neck of the guitar. A larger guitar creates poor posture when playing and incorrect positioning of the left hand.
  • It is recommended to start with classical guitars (‘Spanish guitars’) for kids, as their nylon strings are easier on kids’ fingers.
  • The guitar manufacturer usually mentions the scale length or the overall length in product descriptions. When only total length is mentioned, ask for information about the scale length.

Can Kids Play On Full-Size Guitars?

Usually, the answer to this is based on the height of the child. This is because of ergonomics. When the scale length is too large, the child will have difficulty and will not be able to maintain proper posture.

An exception to this is the electric guitar because it is easier to play. However, it might still be too long or too heavy.

While kids can play on full-size guitars, it is recommended to choose one that is properly sized for your child.

How Are Guitars Measured?

You measure a guitar in 2 main ways:

  • Total Length – The measurement is from one end of the guitar to the other.
  • Scale Length – This is the distance from where the nut meets the fretboard to the middle of the 12th fret, multiplied by 2.

The total length of a guitar is a handy thing to know but the really important measurement to consider when you choose a guitar for a child is the scale length.

Acoustic, Classical, Or Electric Guitars For Children

While this is not a strict rule, it is recommended for kids to start with classical guitars. They have nylon strings that are much gentler on the child’s fingers when learning. But, when the child loves a particular style of music, like rock, you can consider the electric guitar, as long as you choose the correct size.

Acoustic guitars are very similar to classical guitars but they use steel strings. Usually, the acoustic guitar is introduced after the fingertips of the child hardened a little.

With electric guitars, it is easier to play them because of the smaller size but the weight can be a little high, usually around 11 lbs.

Classic Guitar with Nylon Strings – Overall Guitar Length and Scale Length

Guitar Size 1/4

  • Overall Length – 28.9’’ to 31.5’’
  • Scale Length – 17.3’’ to 19.1’’

Guitar Size 1/2

  • Overall Length – 33.0’’ to 33.9’’
  • Scale Length – 20.5’’ to 22.8’’

Guitar Size 3/4

  • Overall Length – 35.2’’ to 36.3’’
  • Scale Length – 22.5’’ to 23.3’’

Guitar Size 7/8

  • Overall Length – 36.7’’ to 37’’
  • Scale Length – 24’’ to 24.4’’

Full-Size Guitar

  • Overall Length – 38’’ to 40’’
  • Scale Length – 24.9’’ to 26,1’’

Acoustic Guitar with Steel Strings – Overall Guitar Length and Scale Length

Guitar Size 1/4

  • Overall Length – 28.9’’ to 31.5’’
  • Scale Length – 19’’ to 19.1’’

Guitar Size 1/2

  • Overall Length – 33’’ to 35.5’’
  • Scale Length – 21.6’’ to 22.8’’

Guitar Size 3/4

  • Overall Length – 34.5’’ to 36.6’’
  • Scale Length – 23’’ to 23.3’’

Guitar Size 7/8

  • Overall Length – 36.4’’ to 39.3’’
  • Scale Length – 23.3’’ to 24.8’’

Full-Size Guitar

  • Overall Length – 40’’ to 42’’
  • Scale Length – 24’’ to 29’’

Summary

To sum up, choosing the right guitar size for kids is all about individual comfort and personal wishes. The most important thing is to choose a size that makes it very comfortable to play the instrument. When in doubt, talk to a professional or try a guitar at a local instrument store before buying.

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