It is true that electric guitar are generally easier to learn more quickly than acoustic guitars. But, few young students think about the possibility of getting a guitar appropriate for their size. Even electric guitars with full size fretboards can make it difficult for young students to reach the notes they wish to play.
The solution: start with a 1/2-, 3/4-, or mini-sized guitar!
Below, I have provided some recommendations on great 3/4- and mini-sized electric guitars. Most are extremely affordable and perfect to begin learning on. These will be best suited for most children in 1st grade up to 5th grade. 1/2-sized guitars might be a better fit for children in kindergarten and under.
It is important to note that these guitars are strictly for young beginners. All students will not only grow out of these smaller guitars at some point, but they will likely grow out of the beginner model guitar. Intermediate and advanced players will ultimately want an instrument that stays better in tune and has a cleaner sound.
Thinking your child is likely to have a growth-spurt in the near future? Or, do you believe he or she will progress quickly and be frustrated with a beginner guitar? You may consider jumping right in with a full-size electric guitar or one that is a bit higher quality.
In addition, as much as the electric guitar may be easier to play at first, it comes with a few disadvantages as well. The electric guitar is almost quiet to hear well without an separate amp, so this may be an additional expense (or an extra burden in transit).
Also, students who learn the electric guitar first will have more difficultly playing an acoustic guitar. Learning the acoustic guitar from the beginning will mean the student will be able to play EITHER the acoustic OR the electric guitar at any time.
In the coming months, I will be posting recommendations for acoustic guitars, as well as 1/2- and full-sized electric guitars. Stay tuned if you are interested!
Please Note: I have not tested all of the instruments and options recommended below. I have chosen these recommendations mostly based on three factors: included features, overall perceived value, and word-of-mouth/online reviews. I encourage everyone to do their own research before making a purchase.
If you indeed choose one of the options listed below, please use the links in this post to make your purchase. A small portion of the purchase amount will go towards a budget for improvements and upgrades to the instruments used during private lessons.
The Ultimate Starter Electric Guitar for 1st-5th Graders
From the pictures online, this guitar looks to be very pretty. It is also the cheapest 3/4 electric guitar I feel comfortable recommending.
Not only is this guitar just under $80, but it includes the whole essentials package. You’ll get an amp, a case, a strap, picks, and even a pitch pipe tuner.
That pitch pipe will be extremely important as this guitar will likely will need to be tuned often. It certainly could never be compared to a genuine Fender Stratocaster.
However, for the absolute beginner and the parent who doesn’t wish to shell out a significant amount of money until the student is fully committed to practicing, this is the best option.
The Lowest Cost 3/4 Electric Guitar with Great Ratings
This here is another guitar kit with all the important things included. You have an amp, case, strap, picks, etc.
It is unclear to me if this instrument comes with a tuner. A digital tuner is shown in the main picture, but no tuner is listed in the description.
This is definitely a step up from the Rise by Sawtooth guitar and it is has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars.
However, we’re not quite at the brand names, so be aware that this guitar will likely need frequent tuning.
The Most Affordable Brand Name Mini Electric Guitar
Before I get ahead of myself, I should note that this is only partially a brand name. This guitar technically has the Fender brand (one of the best guitar companies). However, it is actually built by a division of Fender called Squier, which makes strictly beginner instruments.
Still, for just over $100, you are getting something that will be crafted much better than any of the previous recommendations.
The link above will take you to the Artic White version, which is currently $119.99. For $10 more, you can get the instrument in black, red, or pink. There is even a pretty sunburst version for $149.99.
It is worth noting that, unlike the other suggested instruments listed above, this guitar comes by itself for that price.
The good news is that you can upgrade to a package with a case, amp, and other essentials for just $40 more. That’s the price of just the amp separately, so it’s definitely worth it.
Clearance & Used Items
There are many places to get used guitars at a steep discount. The most important things for a beginner electric guitar are:
1) 3/4 size or smaller for younger hands (though this may be hard to find in used instruments)
2) having an amp, case, picks, tuner, and strap (either as a package or purchased separate)
3) checking the reviews to see the generally quality; will it stay in tune?
The best brands are Fender and Gibson (or their student model counterparts: Squier and Epiphone). You might also get some luck with Ibanez or Peavy.