Kids learning to play guitar do their best with an instrument they can be proud of, and Yamaha has been crafting beautiful and great-playing student guitars for decades. Our Yamaha APXT2 acoustic-electric guitar review will help you decide if this is the best acoustic guitar for kids.
Thinking of buying A Yamaha acoustic electric?
Shorter-scale guitars have reduced string tension, and that translates to less finger pain for new players. A guitar with lower action will also be easier on the fingers. Action refers to how high the strings are above the fretboard. The APXT2 comes with very low action.
Similarly, a thinner neck tends to be easier for most kids to get their hands around. The APXT2 is designed with smaller players in mind, so the neck is slim and easy for kids to navigate.
Both body shape and body size are important to consider, too. Smaller body shapes — think concert or parlor guitars — can be easier for kids to hold. Older children can usually handle a guitar with standard body depth, but a shallower body can be much more comfortable to play, especially for long periods of time. These guitars are often marketed as “thinline” or “small body.” The APXT2 is a good example of a thinline guitar.
It’s also a good idea to consider whether your child needs a guitar with electronics. If cost is a major concern, you may want to buy the best all-acoustic guitar you can find, as electronics can add a lot to the cost of a guitar. If you have a little more to spend and think your child may want to perform (some music lesson centers have occasional recitals or open mics), you may want to go ahead and purchase an acoustic-electric. The APXT2 comes with decent-quality electronics that perform well but don’t add too much to the total price.
Lastly, be sure you know what size guitar your child needs. Depending on your child’s size, they may need a larger or smaller guitar, but this is a good general guide:
- 1/4 size — ages 4-6
- 1/2 size — ages 5-8
- 3/4 size — ages 8-11
- full size — ages 12+
Since the APXT2 is a 3/4-size guitar, it’s ideal for kids 8-11. Some small adults even find it’s a good size for them, so it may be right for some older children.
Our Review of Yamaha APXT2 – One of the best small acoustic electric guitars on the market
The Yamaha APXT2 acoustic-electric guitar comes from a company that is arguably the market leader in student guitars. The APXT2 is an affordable travel guitar or kids’ guitar that is extremely comfortable to play. The thinline body is playable either when sitting down or standing, which is ideal for children learning to play.
The body style is essentially that of a thin concert-body guitar with a cutaway. It’s easy for children to hold, and the cutaway gives them great fret access. And since the Yamaha APXT2 is designed with kids in mind, the neck has a slim profile. The fretboard is rosewood, which is very easy on the fingers. It’s equipped with Yamaha’s System 68 pickup, which is ideal for kids who may want to perform in the future.
Features and Benefits
Neck, Body & Top
This guitar, like many guitars for kids, is made of all laminated wood. While laminate doesn’t sound quite as good as solid wood, it’s perfectly acceptable for a child’s first guitar.
The top is made of spruce, which is one of the most common woods for guitars. It has a bright, responsive tone. The back and sides of the APXT2 are meranti. This is an inexpensive wood that isn’t known for great tonal qualities, but in this guitar, it seems to perform pretty well.
The neck of the APXT2 is made of what Yamaha calls “locally-sourced tonewood, meaning they choose based on availability. Both of these woods add a little warmth to the sound. The neck profile is slim enough to be easily playable for kids. And since this is a 3/4-size guitar with a scale length of 22.835”, the string tension is low enough to keep playing comfortably.
The Score: The APXT2 has a decent-quality build. We give it 3.5 out of five.
The APXT2’s standout component is its System 68 pickup. This is a contact piezo pickup mounted inside the guitar. The guitar also has an ART-based preamp that comes with an onboard tuner. This is great for kids, who may have trouble keeping track of stand-alone tuners. The APXT2’s plugged-in sound is almost better than its acoustic sound — it’s a big, full sound that’s ideal for playing live.
The tuners are fairly inexpensive with plastic buttons, but they do hold tune fairly well. The rosewood fingerboard and bridge are nice, surprisingly high-end touches. The APXT2 has a plastic nut and saddle, which is typical in this price range. Plastic isn’t ideal for tone, but these are easy components to upgrade.
The Score: This is a fairly well-appointed guitar for the price. We give it four out of five.
Sound and Tone
For an affordable guitar, this one has decent sound. It’s fairly well balanced, although treble and mids do stand out more than the low end. The APXT2’s sound does get a little tinny at times, but it stays in tune well. There’s a striking difference between playing individual notes and strumming — when an individual note is played, it’s clear and has plenty of sustain. However, once you start strumming, the sound starts to get brittle.
That said, all you need for a children’s guitar is something that sounds decent and stays in tune, and the APXT2’s sound checks those boxes.
The Score: This guitar has a decent sound for the price. We give it 3.5 out of five.
Action, Fit, and Finish
Like most Yamaha starter guitars, this one comes fairly well set up — the action is low, there are no sharp frets, and there aren’t issues with the assembly. However, the fretboard does not have rolled edges, and this can feel somewhat harsh for a newer player just acclimating.
With a guitar in this price range, you may run into minor quality control issues. In some cases, the “on” button on the preamp feels a bit loose. In other cases, the guitar arrives with some minor fret buzz. Luckily, this can be fixed with a simple truss rod adjustment. You also get a choice of finish options — the APXT2 comes in both black and natural.
The Score: Considering the price, this guitar has decent action and finish. We give it 4.5 out of five.
Reliability and Durability
When it comes to durability, the APXT2 is a standout. Part of this is thanks to its all-laminate construction, which resists changes in temperature and humidity. Solid-wood guitars can crack over time if humidity isn’t optimal, and they are also susceptible to damage from being knocked around. Laminated guitars can stand up to some abuse, which is ideal in a guitar for kids.
The APXT2 also has the Yamaha name behind it. All of Yamaha’s guitars are built to last if they’re cared for properly, and this one is no exception.
The Score: This is one of the most durable and reliable guitars out there. We give it five out of five.
When it comes down to it, the APXT2 is an excellent value. It’s a very affordable guitar, which is ideal for parents who aren’t sure if their kids will stick with the guitar. However, it has better sound and playability than many guitars in this range. Since it’s a 3/4-size instrument, it’s easier for kids to handle, but it avoids the ukulele-like sound that many starter guitars have. It’s built with longevity in mind, and it comes equipped with a pickup that sounds surprisingly good for the price.
The Score: This guitar is a great value. We give it 4.5 out of five.