Guitar for 6 yr old
As a follow up question = What would be a "good" starting guitar for a young one (around 6). Thanx
Take a look at Maestro (by Gibson) short scale mini-V - These are fun.
If your child is too big for that you may want to look at a 3/4 scale like a Dean EVO Junior.
Keep in mind... any short scale guitar will have accentuated tuning issues due to vibrating string length being reduced... in other words you may think it is a lemon because it won't stay in tune as well as your full size guitar... that is just nature of the beast.
Thanks for the info - and about that tuning thing = thanks a lot. That could have been frustrating for both of us. Cheers :D
Right, you'll need a 3/4 size guitar. I think the simple Fender or Squier mini Strat is best.
I have found the similar and smaller versions of the Les Paul and Flying V 3/4 to be awkward.
My 6-year old daughter took to a full size Tele, partially, after failing completely with her LP Custom in Kindergarten. She had 3 - 4 years of Kindermusik and played violin.
It is rare for a child to have the size and strength, finger grip and reach to handle a full-size, even a short scale like the Mustang or Cyclone, which we have & had. Generally, the frets are too far apart.
If you think that the mini-Strat is too common or cliche, well, I just can't say enough good things about Daisy Rock Girl guitars (girls or boys IMO) and the woman who invented them, wife of Schecter CEO. http://www.daisyrock.com/
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I think the most important thing this is to have low action and good intonation. In other words ...get the guitar set up by a pro. I've seen to many parents get the kids a squier starter kit and the idiot at guitar center will tell them its already set up.
IT IS NOT I'm not saying a Squier is a bad choice (I have two Squiers) But they need to be set up right.
My niece started playing at 7 on a full scale guitar and did OK, although she did have long fingers for her age ...and she was very determined My advice is really to buy from a local music store who will follow up with your needs.
BTW Daisy rock makes some nice guitars! A full scale Daisy might be the answer. 3/4 scale guitars might work also but she would probably outgrow it in a year or so and you will have a harder time with intonation with a 3/4 scale. Just my opinion Maybe David or Notebook would have some more solid advice for youngsters of that age :D Good luck :D
It's actually a pretty rare 6 year old that can handle a 3/4 size guitar. Most kids under about 8 will do better with a 1/2 size.
Have the new guitarist hold the guitar and fret the 6th string, 1st fret. If they have to fully extend the arm and/or twist their wrist to get there, it's too big.
Full size guitars have a scale length between 24-26"; 3/4 size are about 21-23", and 1/2 size run about 19-21". Half size guitars also move the bridge - it'll be much closer to the endpin, which makes the overall length considerably shorter.
If you need a 1/2 size, there are two ways to go: you can get a "kid's guitar", which are generally inexpensive (Aria, Act 1, etc). Just make sure each fret can be fingered - there's some real junk in the low end. Just how much junk is acceptable is a judgment call - I've got one student with an unplayable 11th fret, and he's just now running into pieces that require that fret. He's been a quick study, and outgrown the guitar (musicially) in about 15 months - but most youngsters take 2-3 years to reach that level of playing.
The other way you can go is to get a travel guitar. One of my students got a baby Taylor when she was 6. She's 8 now, and would be able to handle a 3/4 size, but the Taylor will still be fine for a while - and she can keep it forever. Big girls play baby Taylors too. But good travel guitars are expensive. Parents who go that route are either swimming in cash or have a child who clearly has a passion for guitar.
Electric guitars can be easier to handle than acoustics. Half size acoustics generally have very small bodies, but some 3/4 size have bouts that are too wide. If they're struggling to reach over the body to strum or pick, it's too big.
There are a couple of things you can do to make a 'too big' guitar work, though. If body size is the issue, classical position can help. If they can get their strumming arm over the waist instead of the lower bout, it might be workable. And necks can be shortened with a capo - just be sure to capo your own guitar as well to avoid confusion.
Beware the mass merchant guitars. A lot of the Starcaster (by Fender) and Maestro (by Gibson) guitars are awful - sharp frets, high action, and in the case of one Maestro I've seen, improperly placed frets! (It looked like they had a problem fitting the fretboard to the neck for some reason, so they chopped off part of the first fret; that made it about the size of the sixth fret, and resulted in EVERY fret playing out of tune!) But I've seen a few of the real cheapos that were playable, and I've seen one expensive one (a Fender 3/4 size acoustic) that was not - it had a warped neck. But as a general rule, the more you spend, the better the factory QC will have been - and the more they'll stand behind it if something went wrong (Fender replaced the bad guitar for the student).
Action is important for a beginner - the easier it is to fret, the less frustrated they'll be in the first few weeks. Sore fingers can be a real deterrent. But I disagree on the importance of intonation in the beginning, for several reasons: first, beginners don't have very good pitch discrimination - that comes with time. So they won't notice the rather small differences in pitch that come with poor intonation. Second, a beginner is going to spend at least several months working in first position, playing open chords and notes - so even if the intonation is poor, you can still get the strings 'close enough' to being in tune for the notes they'll be using. Third, the small motor skills for good fretting take a while to develop; almost all 4-8 year olds are going to be inadvertently bending notes as they fret, especially on the bass strings... so they'll sound a bit out of tune even if the setup is perfect. I'd wait until they've been at it for six months or so before investing in a proper setup (unless it's something you can do yourself) as long as the action is acceptable.
The main things to remember with teaching small fry are to make it FUN, and to include musical fundamentals. By that I don't mean drilling standard notation stuff with flash cards (although you could, if the student is interested) - I mean getting kids to LISTEN to the sounds they make and develop the skills to vary them. Even four year olds can explore high sounds and low sounds, loud sounds and soft sounds, clap along to poems to develop a sense of rhythm - and then recite the poem as they strum to translate them to the guitar - etc. If you can tie music in with things they're already familiar with, you speed up the learning curve.
If you can do that, kids will blow you away. That 8 year old with the baby Taylor reads standard notation through 11th position, plays awkward rhythms like quarter note triplets, and is beginning to explore gypsy jazz. By the time she gets to high school she's going to be very, very good!
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL
Action is important for a beginner - the easier it is to fret, the less frustrated they'll be in the first few weeks. Sore fingers can be a real deterrent.
I can relate to that. My nephew got an acoustic that was supposed to have been set up and ready to go. He was always complaining about sore fingers and hands and he wasn't practicing like he should (my sister was always giving him heck about it). When I was there visiting I borrowed it to practice during that time and I had trouble playing it - the strings were about 1/3" at the 12th fret. No wonder the kid was complaining of sore fingers and not practicing!
It got taken in for a setup and he practiced a whole lot more after that.
Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson