Wanna cut to the chase? I went searching for the best electric guitar for kids, and my top pick was the Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster.
I got my first guitar when I was 12. It was a nylon-string, and I don’t even remember what brand it was.
My uncle picked it out for me. He was an amazing blues guitarist, and I got my first introduction to electric guitar watching him play Eric Clapton’s Layla on his Fender Strat.
That was when I knew my acoustic guitar wasn’t enough! I had to get an electric.
The best electric guitar for kids might not be what you expect. They don’t need all the bells and whistles yet. They might play it for 2 weeks and decide they prefer the acoustic.
I’ve reviewed some of the best guitars out there for kids who are getting into electric. I’ll also give you some info so you know exactly what things to look for when shopping for a junior electric guitar.
Electric or Acoustic?
If you’re looking for your child’s very first guitar, I’d recommend going for an acoustic guitar. There are some good reasons behind this!
- Toughens up fingers.
- Better sound (no need for amplification!).
- More affordable (fewer accessories needed).
It’s also a fact that a great many kids who begin learning guitar lose interest in it and turn to other hobbies. In that case, it’s best to choose something a little less accessory-heavy and a little more affordable at first!
But if your kid has shown considerable interest in playing the electric guitar and has been dedicated to practicing with his or her acoustic, I highly recommend getting them an electric early on.
For me, getting an electric guitar supercharged my playing. I was no longer confined to strumming or fingerstyle acoustic – I could really rock!
Electric guitar opened a whole new world of music to me. If your kid is musically-minded, getting them a mini electric guitar could be a gamechanger!
What Age Is Best to Start Playing Electric Guitar?
This is hard to answer, because every kid will be different. But it’s fair to say that kids under the age of 6 are likely to lack the strength to push the strings down, and the endurance to strum.
Between the ages of 8 and 10 is a great time for a kid to start learning to play an electric. This is because:
- They have stronger hands and fingers.
- Their mental faculties are slightly more developed.
- They’ll be at a good age to go for lessons.
- Their memory is more developed.
- They’ll be more committed to practice.
How To Choose The Best Electric Guitar for Kids
When it comes to choosing a junior electric guitar, although I don’t recommend going for the absolute top of the pops to begin, there are still certain boxes you’ll need to check.
It can be tempting to choose the best-looking guitar, especially if you don’t know much about technical specs.
But the one that looks the coolest is not always the best! Luckily, it’s not hard to choose the best electric guitar for kids, beginners or not, if you just know what to look for.
Here are the things you need to be checking out when shopping.
Guitars come in varying sizes, and for a reason! If your kid is trying to learn to play on a full-sized guitar, they may find it more difficult as the neck of the guitar is too big for their hands.
For kids of around 6 to 10 years old, a ½ size electric guitar would be first prize. The overall length of this guitar is 34” or very close to that.
But, it can be hard to find a good quality half size electric guitar. If you struggle to find one, a ¾ guitar is the next best bet. These are about 36” long, and would suit most kids of 10 and up quite comfortably.
A full-sized guitar (40”) would work for teenagers or younger kids who happen to have large hands or are quite tall for their age.
Even if you don’t know much about guitars, you can give an instrument a once-over and make sure it feels solid and high-quality.
Some particular things you should look at are:
The Tuning Heads
These are the metal twisters on the head of the guitar. Make sure they’re strong and thick, and don’t look like breaking any time soon.
Some are made from plastic and others from metal. Either one is all right, as long as it moves smoothly and looks durable.
These are the things you’ll find under the strings on the body of the guitar. They have a lot to do with the tones a guitar offers.
You’ll notice a small switch somewhere on the guitar body. When the guitar is plugged into an amp, flipping this switch will create a different sound.
There’s no need to go into this in detail or compare tones too much. As long as the switch does create some difference, you’ll know the pickups are of decent enough quality for a beginner guitar.
The “action” of a guitar refers to how much space there is between the neck of the guitar and the strings.
When looking for a guitar for kids, it’s extra important that the action is low. This means there’s only a small space between the neck and strings, making it easier to push the strings down and hold them there.
It’s also worth knowing that most guitars have an adjustable action (you may want to check with the guitar store staff if the one you like does). You can take these guitars to a pro and have the action adjusted for a fee of about $50 to $100.
Accessories for Your Guitar
If you already have an amplifier at home, then there’s no need to look at bundles unless you want to get your kid the full package to start them off.
If this guitar thing is a first for both parents and child, you’ll need to look at some extras in addition to just buying the guitar. These include:
Although you can play an electric guitar without plugging it into an amp, it’s really not the best way to do it. It’s rather boring and flat, and your kid will most likely lose interest a whole lot quicker.
If you can’t get an amp and an electric guitar for some reason, I recommend choosing an acoustic instead. Otherwise, buy a bundle that comes with a small amplifier included.
Try and choose an amp that has some settings like gain, chorus, and reverb. Separate channels or clean guitar and distortion are also great. This means a wider range of sounds and effects once the guitar is plugged in.
If you can’t find an amp that includes those, that’s okay! All that really matters for a beginner amp is that it amplifies the guitar sound. A 10-watt amp is perfect.
Some kids will be happy to learn sitting down with the electric guitar on their lap. But considering the electric is less bulky than an acoustic, it’s a great idea to also start learning how to wear a guitar strap and play standing up.
It’s great having an amp, but if you’re missing the cable to link the guitar to the amp then it’s pointless! Some bundles come with one, but either way, make sure you’re walking out of the store with a strong cable.
Guitars go out of tune quickly! Having a tuner is a necessity.
You can get as technical as you want when looking for one. Some bundles come with pan pipes, which include the 6 notes of the guitar so your child can learn to tune by ear.
Tuning by ear can take time to develop, though, so it might be best to get an electronic tuner to begin with.
As your kid gets better at electric guitar, he or she is going to learn a more nuanced style of playing that includes scales and solos.
While some can do quite well just playing with their fingers, using a pick is best. It will allow for more precise note-picking and more robust strumming.
Got the Electric Guitar… Now What?
If your kid has joined the electric ranks, congrats! They’re about to enter an exciting new world of guitaring 🙂
If your child is already taking lessons, then they can simply carry on. If the teacher is against the electric guitar (yes, some are!) then it may be worth finding a new teacher.
Word of mouth is the best way, or you can check out local teachers on Facebook or check out a site like TakeLessons.
Online learning is another way to go that could work well for kids who are shy. JustinGuitar is a superb site that is chock-full of great lessons (thousands for free).
There are lots of other websites and YouTube channels with free online guitar lessons as well.
[REVIEWS] Best Electric Guitar for Kids
Now that you know how to choose the best electric starter guitar for kids, let’s get into our top choices and see which one would be a good fit for your child.
Top Pick: Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster
The Fender Stratocaster shape is iconic. It’s what every no-name brand is modelled off of! Squier is an official Fender brand, being the name of their lower-priced guitar range.
This pack not only offers a high-quality, brand name guitar, but it’s a ¾ guitar so it’s the perfect size for most kids from about 8 years old. It also has a slimmer and shorter neck, ideal for small hands.
It has great quality pickups and the typical Fender 5-way tone switch, so you (and your kid) will find the sound range of this guitar to be quite impressive!
When buying, choose from a bundle with an amp or one without, which is great if you already have one at home.
Your kid will get all the accessories they need to get home and begin, including a strap, 3 picks, a clip-on tuner, an instructional DVD, free online Fender lessons, and a cable (if you buy the amp).
What I Like
- Available in a variety of colors
- Can choose between a bundle with an amp, or without
- Multiple accessories included
- Classic Fender 5-way tone switch
- Comes with Fender Play Online lessons
What I Don’t Like
- Doesn’t come with a protective bag or case
- May need frequent retuning
Best Hard Rock Pick: Ibanez Mikro
If your child is already showing an interest in rock music, this could be the one! It comes in a variety of colors, too, so your kid can take their pick!
Ibanez guitars have a sharper, more distorted sound than the warm notes of the Fender. This is due to their humbucker pickups – which is basically two pickups linked together, out of phase, which causes their unique sound.
Listen to the difference in this video!
The hard lines and edges on this 36” guitar are typical of the Ibanez style, and create a tough rock look!
Another characteristic feature of Ibanez instruments is a slim, smooth neck that’s super comfortable for smaller hands.
In addition to that, it weighs in at just over 6 pounds, making it an all-round great option for kids.
As for the parents, you won’t need to worry about replacing parts soon. The guitar is well-made, sports some decent electronics, and high-quality bits and pieces like tuning heads and switches.
What I Like
- Humbucker pickup for distorted sound
- Comes in 6 color options
- High-quality metal tuning heads
- Lightweight, at 6.2 pounds
What I Don’t Like
- Doesn’t come with accessories
- Left-handed model is more expensive
Budget Pick: Smartxchoices 30″ Kids Electric Guitar
Parents on a budget, the Smartxchoices bundle is affordable and a worthwhile beginner choice.
It’s one of the smaller options, with a total length of 30” (¼ size guitar). It’s suggested for children ages 3 and up, although I only recommend getting your kid their first guitar at age 5 or older.
This one would be awesome for smaller kids from the age of 5 up (in my opinion), who need an unusually little guitar in order to play comfortably.
It’s an eye-catching guitar, with a blue finish. There are no other colors, so your kid will have to make do with blue!
As well as being quite affordable, this purchase includes the instrument, a little 5W amp, cable, guitar strap and amp carry strap, extra strings, an allen key, picks, and a nylon carry bag.
While this guitar doesn’t quite match the quality of the first two, it’s the perfect choice for young kids who are still deciding whether or not they want to become an electric guitarist.
Depending on the type of outlets you have at home, you may need to purchase an adaptor for the amp. Read the instructions carefully to find out!
What I Like
- For kids from 3 years old
- Comprehensive bundle
- Affordable children’s guitar kit
- Well-made tuning heads
What I Don’t Like
- You may need to purchase an adaptor for the amp
- No color options
Best Bundle: Yamaha Gigmaker EG Electric Guitar Pack
If you’d prefer to go for the full package, the Yamaha Gigmaker bundle is what I’d go for.
Your kid can take this right out of the box, tune it, plug it into the amp, and start strumming. It comes with a full range of accessories, like a strap, picks, a tuner, a cable, and a lesson DVD.
The guitar itself features a humbucker just like the Ibanez, but also has two single-coil pickups, which are the same as those on the Fender Mini Strat. This allows for a larger sound range!
You’ll also get a lovely little amp, which at 15-watts will be loud enough to satisfy your kid’s need for noise while still staying under parents’ frustration radar!
A gig bag finishes off this package. It’s never too early to start teaching your kid how to look after a guitar too!
What I Like
- 15-watt amp
- Two different pickups
- Sturdy tuning heads
- Choice of black, red, blue, or sunburst
What I Don’t Like
- Full-size (40”) may be too big for smaller kids
Best For Left-Handers: Rise by Sawtooth Electric Guitar Pack, Left Handed
If you have a left-handed child, it can be difficult finding a real left-handed guitar.
Choose from full-sized or ¾ depending on the size of the kid. The bundle includes everything necessary for a beginner at a nice price.
Something I quite like is the panpipe tuner. It’s more unusual than an electronic one and more fun for kids.
Unlike electronic tuners, it requires you to blow each note and tune the string by ear. This can be quite tricky for beginners, so it may be worth investing in an electronic tuner as well until your kid’s musical ear has developed.
What I Like
- Available in full-size and ¾ size
- Comes with a panpipe tuner
- Durable chrome hardware
What I Don’t Like
- Amp batteries/power adaptor not included
- You’ll need to replace the strings before playing it
- The neck may need to be adjusted out of the box in order for it to stay in tune
If your little rocker is ready to take the next step, this list of the best electric guitars for kids is a great place to start.
Who knows, maybe your son or daughter will be the next Eric Clapton or Nancy Wilson!
Whatever aspirations they have, each of the five guitars I’ve reviewed in this article could make a good starting point for kids.
All that’s left is for parents to do some sneaky digging on their kid’s guitar tastes and head off to buy them the perfect instrument!
My first choice would be the Squier by Fender Mini Stratocaster. There’s no denying the quality of this guitar, backed by iconic guitar brand Fender. It’s a classic style with a versatile sound range, and should see your kid through whatever music genre they choose to play.
The rest of the options are also solid options, and your kid could do well with any one of them. Let’s face it – kids would be super excited no matter the brand.
Have fun finding the perfect match for your kid!
Thanks for reading!