Best Beginner Electric Guitar for Kids and Teens 2021
If your child is bugging you for an electric guitar as a main present and you are uncertain whether this is a good idea, read on.
Music is a great leveler. Playing a musical instrument can give children confidence and open them to a world of creativity to express themselves in music. Learning to play can help with memory and concentration and bring a sense of achievement to boost their self-belief.
If your child is interested in music and wants to learn guitar, encourage them. Children are quick learners, and guitar playing is easy to understand.
Electric Guitar vs Acoustic
You may be wondering if an acoustic guitar might be better for your child than an electric, but kids often find an electric guitar is a lot easier to play.
An electric guitar's body size is a lot less bulky and can be more comfortable to hold; the neck is thinner and more manageable for small hands to work with, and the strings are closer to the fretboard, which makes pressing the strings down a whole lot easier. Electric guitars have smaller bodies, slimmer necks, and lighter strings, making for a more effortless learning experience.
However, the child needs to learn to play a type of guitar of their choice; otherwise, you risk disappointing them and increasing the chance of them losing interest.
Of course, with an electric guitar, there will be the additional expense of items like a practice amplifier, leads, etc., but this type of guitar offers a lot more scope for experimentation and is fun. We'll cover the other items of equipment needed later on.
Musical Instrument - Not a Toy
A child or any beginner will only stick to the learning process if an instrument doesn't hold them back. If they try to learn on a guitar that is uncomfortable to play and doesn't stay in tune, the chances are that they'll give up.
For this reason, you need to buy them a proper musical instrument, not a 'toy' version. A good beginner electric guitar will not break the bank, and you have a good range of options to consider.
How to Choose a Guitar for Beginners
Guitar Buying Guide
It is not necessary to pay out many hundreds on an electric guitar for a young beginner, and you shouldn't buy the cheapest as this could prove to be a false economy. Still, there are some criteria it is important to follow before buying.
A good beginner electric guitar suitable for kids needs to:
The guitar needs to be comfortable to play both in the sense of holding it correctly and reaching all the frets along the neck, so the size is essential. Older kids, say around twelve years and older, may well be able to handle a full-size guitar - depending on their size of course - and the choice of suitable guitars for them is pretty comprehensive.
Younger kids who are just becoming interested in guitar at about seven years old or thereabouts will require something more compact.
The 3/4 size guitar, often referred to as a Mini or travel guitar, is more appropriate. These are just like the full-size instruments and can play just as well but are shorter and smaller to aid those with smaller hands.
There are many technical aspects to electric guitar design determining how a guitar sounds. Body shape, the woods used, electronics, and configuration are just a few variables determining the overall impact of the instrument.
Younger children will possibly be more concerned over the appearance of their guitar - the color and shape - than the technical specification, which is fine. They should have the look that they are after in their first guitar. If they like what they see, the chances are higher that they will practice and learn to become a proficient guitarist.
Teens and pre-teens who have already started to play may become more discerning in the technical specifications they would prefer when upgrading to a full-size model, and there will be a huge range of options.
For this article, though, we are looking at suitable electric guitars for all youngsters who are complete beginners.
Our picks for the best 3/4 size beginner electric guitar for kids:
Best Electric Guitar for Beginners with Small Hands
Squier Mini Strat by Fender 3/4 Size
The Squier range is Fender’s budget brand and is 100% designed in the US. This 3/4 size Mini Strat is a short-scale version of the Squier Bullet Stratocaster and is eminently suitable for young children and those with small hands.
Kid-friendly features include a thinner, lightweight solid body and slimmer C-shaped 20 fret neck, making it easier for those with smaller hands to move along the fretboard.
The double-cutaway body has volume and tone controls, three single-coil pickups, and a versatile five-way switch that combines variations of the pickup outputs, just like the fuller size instruments.
The 6-Saddle Hardtail bridge completes the classic styling of a Fender Strat but in a smaller size.
The Mini Strat is the perfect size for young kids starting around six or seven years old to venture into guitar playing. It keeps in tune well and provides tones suitable for playing rock, country, and middle-of-the-road, accompanied by a bit of the traditional Stratocaster twang.
Some of the Fender Mini Stratocaster colors are shown here. Other colors include Black, Competition Orange and Dakota Red.
Ibanez Mikro 3/4 size
The Mikro is a mini-size guitar from an experienced Japanese manufacturer with a vast product range and an excellent reputation. It is a shortened version of their RG range which has been belting out rock for decades.
The Mikro has a shorter 22.2-inch scale than the full-size guitars. It has a smaller mahogany body, a maple neck, a rosewood fretboard, dual humbucking pickups, 24 frets, and a hardtail bridge.
Its size makes it the right choice for young beginners.
These are some of the colors available with the Ibanez Mikro 3/4 size mini guitar. Other colors are: Jewel Blue, Candy Apple, Black, White and Walnut Sunburst.
Our picks for the best full-size beginner electric guitar for kids:
Best Full Size Beginner Electric Guitar
Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster
The Squier Hardtail has the iconic Stratocaster shape. You can choose between the traditional three single-coil setup for a cleaner sound or two single-coil pickups plus a humbucking bridge pickup configuration (on the HT version) for a 'dirtier sound.
The body is Poplar, and the neck is satin finish maple with a Laurel fretboard. There is also a volume control, two separate tone controls, and a five-way pickup selector switch. Just like on the higher-priced Strats. It plays well and sounds fantastic.
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
The Squier Tele looks just like the costlier Fender Telecaster guitars but for a lot less. It has twin single-coil pickups with a three-way selector switch. The thin, lightweight Poplar body has a satin finish neck, a Laurel fretboard, and a string-through-body hardtail bridge. There is a volume control and one tone control.
A classic Telecaster setup. Sounds amazing.
The Ibanez GRX70QA series has a poplar body with an exquisite quilted maple art grain top and a well-contoured body. The neck is maple with 22 medium frets on a New Zealand pine fretboard (a more sustainable material than Rosewood).
It has the versatile configuration of two humbuckers and one single-coil pickup with 5-way switching and a tremolo arm. Plus volume and tone controls.
Although this is an excellent guitar for anyone wanting to play heavy metal or rock - you can get super chunky and dirty sounds from it - the tonal range from the pickups makes it great for most music styles.
It does sound good and looks good. It has excellent playability with the same superb quality control given to high-end Ibanez guitars.
The video below says it all - and is worth watching all the way through.
I may seem to be showing a bias towards Fender in my selections, but this is a quality and iconic brand (along with the other main US producer Gibson), that in my opinion, provides the best quality guitar in the budget ranges. Their guitars are 100% US-designed and provide good value for money.
Guitar & Equipment Bundles
You can buy some guitars bundled with the essential accessories you need to get started. These will include a practice amplifier and cable at the very least but could consist of a guitar strap, picks, and tuner as well. Possibly a DVD.
Most of these are right-handed guitars.
Fender Squier Mini Strat Bundle
The Fender Squier Mini Strat Bundle includes the guitar, amplifier, cable, tuner, strap, picks, Fender online lessons, instructional DVD.
Imperial Blue, Surf Green, Black, Brown Sunburst, Competition Orange.
Ibanez Mikro with Blackstar Amp & 10 feet Lead
The Ibanez Mikro Bundle includes an Ibanez GRGM21M Guitar, Blackstar FLY3 amplifier, and a ten-foot instrument cable.
Instrument color - Jewel Blue
Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster Bundle
This bundle includes a Fender Squier Bullet Stratocaster, a 10G Fender Frontman amplifier, Gigbag, Cable, Picks, Strap, Tuner, and Instructional DVD.
Sunburst HT, Transparent Blue, Olympic White, Crimson Red Transparent HT, Dakota Red, Fiesta Red HT, Olympic White HT.
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster Bundle
You get no amplifier with this Tele bundle. Just a Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster, Gigbag, Strap, Cable, Tuner, and Instructional DVD.
Color - Black
What Additional Equipment Will I Need to Buy?
If you purchase just an instrument and you've not gone for a bundle, you will need to buy the following additional equipment and accessories to assemble your own junior electric guitar kit.
Your budding young guitarist will need a mini amplifier to listen to their playing. Mini amps are ideal as they can push out a reasonable level of volume that imitates the sound of a full-size unit. They can also output to headphones to avoid upsetting the neighbors and allow you to connect to a laptop or mobile phone to play backing tracks.
Guitar Jack Lead
This is the main cable connecting your guitar with the amplification setup. It should be of good quality to ensure the purity of the signal.
A guitar strap will allow you to choose the perfect playing height and wrist position when standing. The ends should take a firm grip on the guitar support studs to keep your guitar secure. Padding along part of the strap will make playing more comfortable. As for color and design - anything goes!
A stand will prevent your guitar from tipping over and getting damaged or having the beautiful paint job scuffed when not in use.
Picks or Plectrums
Your beginner guitarist will probably opt to use a pick (plectrum) when starting to learn. They may develop a fingerstyle of playing later, but initially, using a pick is the way to go.
Gig Bag or Hard Case
Your guitar should always be covered when you take it anywhere to protect it from bad weather or accidental damage. A padded gig bag should provide adequate protection and can also carry a few spares such as picks, spare strings, etc.
A Capo isn't an essential accessory, but it can help a beginner in the early days of learning. It allows the guitarist to play in different keys by moving the capo along the neck and still use the open string form of chords instead of the barre forms, with which a beginner might initially struggle.
Playing along to a few favorite songs is one way of starting your guitar learning journey. Knowing a few chords with which to strum along is essential, and a chord book that illustrates the main chord shapes is all that is required.
A guitar tuner is another essential when learning. If the guitar strings are out of tune, your musical attempts won't sound right, and you could quickly lose heart. Some tuners can clip to the guitar headstock for tuning, and then you remove it when done. Fender does a free tuner app that you can download to a phone.
Proper musical instruments that can belt out the tones needed for whatever music style your kid favors - these beginner electric guitars for kids and teens are the real deal. They make for a truly great gift at any time of the year.