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The Best Acoustic Guitar for kids in 2021 – We pick the best from 5 Great starter guitars for kids

Finding the best acoustic guitar for kids can be a challenge, especially in a market that’s full of options. Luckily, though, there’s a guitar for just about every type of child.

What is a good guitar for a beginner child? Here are our Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars for Kids

Yamaha CGS102A Classical
Loog Pro Acoustic - A brilliant mini guitar
Taylor TSBTe Taylor Swift Baby Taylor
Best Overall
Yamaha JR1
Best Value
Yamaha APXT2
Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar - Natural
Loog 3 String Pro Acoustic Guitar and Accompanying App for Children, Teens and Beginners – Red
Taylor Swift Signature Baby Taylor Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Natural
4
3.9
4.2
4.25
4.1
Yamaha CGS102A Classical
Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar - Natural
4
Loog Pro Acoustic - A brilliant mini guitar
Loog 3 String Pro Acoustic Guitar and Accompanying App for Children, Teens and Beginners – Red
3.9
Taylor TSBTe Taylor Swift Baby Taylor
Taylor Swift Signature Baby Taylor Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
4.2
Best Overall
Yamaha JR1
Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 Size Acoustic Guitar
4.25
Best Value
Yamaha APXT2
Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Natural
4.1
An excellent value classical guitar for kids

Neck & Body

3.5/5

Components

3/5

Sound

3.5/5

Finish

4/5

Durability

5/5

Value

5/5
Yamaha CGS102a Classical Guitar
Image Credit: Yamaha

What we like

What we don't like

Yamaha CGS102A Classical Review

This 1/2-size classical guitar is a great choice if you need a guitar for a smaller child. For one, it comes from Yamaha, an established brand known for its high-quality yet affordable student guitars. The nylon strings are much easier on a child’s hands, and the short 21 1/16″ scale is much easier for children to navigate. The CGS102A is an all-laminate guitar with a spruce top and meranti back and sides, but it still has a surprisingly warm, mellow tone.

The CGS102A does have one significant disadvantage – there’s no truss rod, which is normal for a classical axe, so it’s difficult or impossible to adjust the neck if it starts to bow. However, the combination of the shorter scale length and nylon strings means the string tension isn’t high, so this may not become an issue. But considering its easy playability and great sound, it’s an excellent value for the price.

We think the CGS102A is a contender for the best half size acoustic guitar for Kids.

Specs

  • Yamaha CGS102A Half-Size Classical Guitar
  • Spruce Top
  • Meranti Back & Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
  • Natural Finish
A unique concept to help kids learn acoustic guitar

Neck & Body

3.5/5

Components

4.5/5

Sound

4/5

Finish

5/5

Durability

2.5/5

Value

4/5
Loog Pro Acoustic Guitar for Kids and Beginners
Image Credit: Loog Guitars
Loog Guitars Logo

Our Score:

3.9/5

What we like

What we don't like

Loog Pro Acoustic - A brilliant mini guitar Review

This acoustic guitar may look like a toy, but its simply a lot different from most options out there. Like most Loog guitars, it has only three strings (the first three), which can be less overwhelming for kids just starting out.

Like the Yamaha Classical model above, this guitar doesn’t have a truss rod, and it’s also made of laminated wood. However, the Loog is made with basswood, which is generally considered to be an inferior tonewood to spruce. However, the slim neck and low action make it one of the most playable guitars on the list. If you’re looking for a guitar for a very young child, this is a great introductory option before your child moves up to a six-string.

Specs

  • Award-winning design approved by educators: learn on a Loog, play any guitar
  • Real wood, real guitar: basswood body, maple neck, perfect intonation and low string action for enhanced playability
  • New 2020 model with steel strings and new body shape
  • Includes flashcards with chord diagrams and full access to the Loog Guitar app (iOS and Android)
A high-end, highly playable guitar for fans (and other kids too!)

Neck & Body

5/5

Components

4/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4.5/5

Durability

3.5/5

Value

3.5/5
Taylor Swift Baby Taylor TSBTE
Image Credit: Taylor Guitars
Taylor Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.2/5

What we like

What we don't like

Taylor TSBTe Taylor Swift Baby Taylor Review

Whether your child is a Taylor Swift fan or not, the TSBTe is an outstanding guitar to learn on. It’s one of the highest quality options on the list — it has a solid Sitka spruce top, which offers sparkling tone and sustain that only improves with time. The back and sides are layered Sapele, which is a little better than the laminated woods found on many guitars for kids. The top has a distinctive decoration that features Taylor Swift’s signature.

One advantage of this option is the fact that it’s acoustic-electric, and the electronics are based off of Taylor’s renowned Expression System. Of course, if your child doesn’t intend to perform, you may not want to invest in an acoustic-electric, as good electronics can add a lot to a guitar’s price. It’s worth noting that this is a 3/4 size guitar, so it may be too big for very small children.

Specs

  • Body Body type: Dreadnought 3/4th-Scale Cutaway: No Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: Taylor Standard Baby X-Bracing Body finish: Matte 2.0 Orientation: Right-Handed Neck Neck shape: Taylor Standard Baby Profile Nut width: 1 11/16" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 22-3/4" Number of frets: 19 Neck finish: Matte 2.0 Ele
  • Conceived as a starter guitar for kids, the lovable Baby Taylor has maintained its enduring appeal in part by being a legitimate musical instrument that anyone can enjoy
  • With a slim 1-11/16" neck and a compact shape, the guitar is just right for a young player's hands and anyone who likes to pick up and play on the go
  • The three-quarter-size Dreadnought helped touring musicians like Taylor Swift sketch new musical ideas on the road, and it's been a reliable musical accomplice for travelers seeking inspiration while trekking the world
  • Swift fondly remembers her pint-size Baby Taylor as the perfect go-to guitar in between gigs during her early days of touring
A quality, affordable first guitar for kids

Neck & Body

3/5

Components

4/5

Sound

4.5/5

Finish

5/5

Durability

4/5

Value

4.5/5
Yamaha JR1 kids acoustic guitar
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.25/5

What we like

What we don't like

Yamaha JR1 Acoustic Review

If you’re looking for an affordable, small size steel-string acoustic guitar that still sounds great, the JR1 just might be the right one. This option from Yamaha is a small dreadnaught that’s great for folk music – it’s modeled after the famous FG Series of folk guitars. While it has an all-laminate build, the sound is surprisingly full. The JR1 has a spruce top and meranti back and sides, but the comfortable rosewood fingerboard sets it above many guitars in similar price range. It also comes with a gig bag.

The 21.25″ scale length is ideal for older kids and even adults with small hands. The all-laminate construction makes the JR1 more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, so it’s also a great travel guitar. It does have one easily-fixable drawback, though – the saddle isn’t compensated, which can make intonation poor. However, replacing it with a compensated saddle (preferably in a better material like composite or bone) will do wonders for tone.

Overall, we think the JR1 is the best kids acoustic guitar.

Specs

  • Built with the legendary quality and playability
  • Clip on tuner, no cables needed
  • Country of Origin:
Comfortably playable acoustic-electric that’s built to last

Neck & Body

3.5/5

Components

4/5

Sound

3.5/5

Finish

4.5/5

Durability

5/5

Value

4.5/5
Yamaha APXTii
Image Credit: Yamaha Guitars
Yamaha Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.1/5

What we like

What we don't like

Yamaha APXT2 Review

If you’re looking for an affordable acoustic guitar for your child, this is a great choice. Even without considering electronics, this is an exceedingly comfortable guitar to play – the small body is reminiscent of a concert-body guitar, and its thinner shape is comfortable to play sitting or standing. This guitar also has a cutaway, making it easier to access higher frets. This guitar is a 3/4-size, so it’s a good option for slightly older children.

Like most of Yamaha’s affordable options, this guitar is made of laminated spruce and meranti. This of course means you don’t get the same full sound of a solid top, but the APXT2 has a great tone for the price. Plus, it comes with Yamaha’s ART electronics, which include an onboard tuner. For the child who wants the option to plug in and play, the APXT2 is worth a look.

Unlike the CGS102A, this has steel strings. Despite appearances, this is not a toy and we think the APXT2 is a contender for best 3/4 guitar for beginners.

Specs

  • Spruce Top
  • Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
  • System 68 Pick-Up
  • Gig bag Included
  • Bridge Pins:Black ABS

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying a guitar for a child? This is your Guide to Buying an Acoustic Guitar for Kids

How do I choose a guitar for my child?

Buying an acoustic guitar for kids is a decision that should be made carefully and serious beginners need more than a toy. We’ve picked the best acoustic guitar from a range of classical, acoustic, and short scale options – there’s even one with three strings!

For a kid just learning the instrument, poor sound, terrible tuning stability, stiff strings and poor playability can be discouraging. In severe cases, it can even make them give up altogether. On the flip side, a playable and great-sounding guitar makes learning fun, and your child will be more likely to stick with it.

Most parents likely won’t want to invest a huge amount into a children’s guitar, especially if they aren’t sure their child will stick with it. This is completely understandable. However, for $150 or even less, you can find a well made, decent-sounding first instrument and we look at the pros and cons of some of the best acoustic guitars for kids.

Neck & Body

The body shape and neck profile are two things that really make a difference in terms of playability. Most guitars for kids are smaller-sized dreadnaughts or concert-style guitars, although there are a wealth of body styles to choose from. The most important thing to check is that the body is comfortable to hold. Smaller dreadnaughts and concert-style guitars are typically comfortable for kids, and a thinner body makes handling easier, as can a shorter length.

The neck profile of the guitar is also vitally important. Children have smaller hands, and it can be hard for them to practice individual notes and chords on a very thick neck. It’s a good idea to check out a guitar’s neck profile before committing to purchase it. Look for a model with a neck advertised as “slim taper” or “slim profile.” However, all of the guitars in this guide have easy-playing necks and short scale length that will suit most kids.

Of course, you’ll probably want to make sure guitars you consider are the right size for your child. Generally speaking, 1/4-size guitars are best for 4-6 year olds, 1/2-size guitars are best for 6-9 year olds, and 3/4-size guitars are best for ages 9-12. After that, most kids can comfortably play a full-size guitar.

While you don’t need artisan craftsmanship, a well built unit will last longer.

Components

One of the more important components to look at are the tuning machines. Reliable tuning machines will help prevent your child’s guitar from going out of tune, but poorly-made ones can make it so you need to tune back up every few minutes. This is especially frustrating for kids who may just be learning how to tune a guitar.

However, most listings for children’s guitars don’t say much, if anything, about the tuners. Most are made in-house by the manufacturer, and most hold tune at least reasonably well. However, it’s a good idea to read a few customer reviews before buying – if a guitar’s tuners are egregiously bad, chances are that other buyers have mentioned it.

The nut and saddle are also important. Many cheaper guitars come with a plastic nut and saddle, although plastic doesn’t contribute much to sound quality. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, but if you want to improve the guitar’s tone, you can always upgrade to Tusq, NuBone, or a similar composite material.

Sound & Tone

There’s a lot that goes into a guitar’s tone, but a lot of it has to do with the manufacturer’s choice of tonewoods. Of course, those who are very new to guitar may not know exactly the type of sound they’re after. Spruce is a common soundboard wood because it has a sparkling, dynamic tone. Mahogany and rosewood are commonly used for the back and sides, although most starter guitars use less-expensive woods like meranti or sapele.

One of the things that’s most important to sound is whether a guitar is made of solid, laminated, or layered wood. Solid-top guitars are ideal in terms of tone — they offer a richer, fuller sound that only improves with time. However, many guitars for kids are made of all laminated wood. This wood doesn’t sound quite as good as solid wood, but plenty of all-laminate guitars have surprisingly good tone. A children’s guitar doesn’t necessarily have to sound amazing, but a guitar with an overly dull or flat tone may discourage children from continuing to play.

Though it’s uncommon, some companies (namely Taylor and Seagull) make guitars with layered wood back and sides. Layered wood tends to have better sound quality than laminate, which often includes plywood, resin, or formica. Of the guitars in this guide, the TSBTe has the best potential for great tone thanks to its solid top. However, all the laminate guitars in the guide are from reputable manufacturers, and they all sound good enough to make great beginners’ guitars.

Action, Fit & Finish

Action simply refers to how high the strings are above the fretboard, but it’s a central part of a guitar’s playability. For most players, and especially for children, lower action makes a guitar much easier to play. Classical guitars tend to have slightly higher action, but that’s offset by the slacker nylon strings which can be kinder on the fingers than steel strings.

The fit and finish may not be the most important thing when selecting a guitar for your child, but it’s a good general indicator of quality. A well-fitted guitar will have a securely, evenly set neck, filed frets with no sharp edges, and securely-installed tuning machines. All of these features are essential to comfort and playability.

Reliability & Durability

For most parents, it’s important that any guitar they buy lasts awhile. This is where all-laminate guitars have an advantage — laminated woods are much less prone to cracking than solid ones.

Another point to consider is whether the guitar has a truss rod. Classical guitars typically do not, but the lower tension on the strings is unlikely to cause neck issues. However, steel string guitars exert much more tension on the neck, and relief issues may develop over time. A quick truss rod adjustment can correct these issues before they become severe.

Most beginner steel-string guitars do have truss rods, and it’s generally wise to choose a guitar that comes with one. The Loog Pro does not, but its shorter scale length and the fact that it only has three strings mean that this isn’t likely to cause any issues.

Well, that’s it – our overall winner is the Yamaha JR1 model.

If you like to do it yourself then you might want to purchase a kit instead. In that case, you may want to check out the Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar kit (view latest price).

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API