First Real Guitar

Updated on June 29, 2016
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
11 answers

DS is 5. He has a toy guitar. My father would like to pay for a real one. Any ideas and suggestions both for a guitar and for lessons? Open to buying a gaming system if it provides feedback and enables self learning.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My FIL owns a music store. He won't take guitar students until they are 10+ in age. I believe before then kid's hands just aren't big enough. Call a local music store though and ask them.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would go to the local music store and talk to them, not only do they sell instruments and music but this is your community resource for lessons and instructors. They can guide you in the right direction.
My kids had Rock Band (for the xbox) which was tons of fun for them but it was all pressing buttons/following color patterns and had nothing to do with playing a real guitar or reading music, just FYI.

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answers from Sacramento on

Our 13-year-old just made an electric guitar in woodshop and started lessons a month ago. I agree that your son may be too young simply due to the required grip on the guitar. It's a challenge for our son. However, I suspect there are smaller ones designed for kids your son's age.

Find a local music shop and stop by. They can give you input on this. Our son takes lessons at a local guitar/ukelele store and loves it.

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answers from Washington DC on

We got our kids instruments years ago for Christmas - we went to a music store. They helped us get the right things for their ages and sizes.

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answers from Washington DC on

Like JC, I strongly recommend going to a music store that also has lessons and talking with a guitar teacher there. You might even try a couple of different places. As she notes below, many instrument teachers simply will not take students below certain ages (for instance, I know a piano teacher who won't take kids younger than six, and a violin teacher who doesn't work with kids younger than about eight). I think the best use of your FIL's money might be to get your DS a very inexpensive but still "real" guitar that fits his size -- a full-sized adult guitar will only frustrate your son -- and encouraging him to noodle on it at home rather than signing him up for lessons at age five.

I would ask the guitar teachers about whether games really teach kids much or whether the games are more of a distraction that focuses them on the screen rather than on the instrument. Teachers might know of some games that do work.

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answers from Orlando on

I would stick with the smaller one even if its a toy. The "real" guitars are too big for little hands while they are learning.

My daughter took lessons at 6 and 7 years old and although the toy was hard to tune properly, it was better for her to hold since it was smaller.

We have one like this only its pink.

It worked just fine for learning and was less expensive.


answers from Santa Fe on

If your son is into it and excited you should get him one...even if he is a little young for it. I'm all for encouraging kid's passions! Maybe regular lessons will be too hard...but he can learn some easier things on it and still have fun. You might want to consider a ukelele too...that is a great size for small hands. My son has always really been into music...he was obsessed and his first words were instruments that he could name off from a book we had: tuba, violin, oboe, flute, saxophone, trumpet, piano, etc. He loved a toy guitar he had at age 5. He also went to a bluegrass camp at age 5 and learned 5 songs on the fiddle. The last day of camp they had the little kids go busking and gave the money they earned to charity. It was adorable! So I say get him the smallest one you can find and let him have fun with it. It's good to encourage interests. My son has done both orchestra and band in school. He composes his own songs on the piano and on the computer now...and is still obsessed with music! He is always introducing me to amazing music I had never heard of.



answers from Detroit on

My darling husband took my darling son to a local place called Guitar Center when he was around 8 and they found one that fit his grip and that he could get his arm around, he's always had large hands and feet. I think the lessons were like 12 bucks for an hour and he went 2x a week. He didn't really enjoy it so we let him stop after he gave it the "old college try" for about a year. I agree that 5 is a little young but you may want to google search in your local area for a guitar store and ask their professional advice. The guys who work there are almost always musicians and tend to be very knowledgeable and nice. one last word??? DRUMS........... :-) at least you'll know where he is. haha... have fun!! S.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Our boy wanted one about that same age. We got him one but we are in total control of it. It stays in our room, he can have it at any time but only with adult supervision. He took a few lessons but his fingers were just not up to the calluses he'd need to build on the tips of his fingers. He's 10 now and is wanting to take lessons again. We talked about the painful fingertips and stuff and he just really wants to play the guitar. So he is going to start lessons in a couple of weeks.



answers from Chicago on


we bought rock band. Save your money, unless you want to play it. My son (6.5) just started lessons. We were told to not spend more than 100 since he will outgrow it in a few years. So, we bought him a Yamaha. I think it's a 1/2. It is a terrific guitar and we spent about 115 with tax and shipping. My husband has an adult version. Both are very good quality for a cheap price. Highly recommend.

As to lessons, I found a music school. My oldest wanted voice. They do shows a few times a year., etc. Just look for a music school near by -the closer, the better if you ask me.

fyi, I'm not sure kids should start lessons until 8. My son says he wants to learn guitar, but he has very heavy feet about practice. With guitar, it really is about building the muscles in the arm. His teacher says he should be practicing until his arm hurts, but 10-20x a day. It just isn't realistic for a young boy. You say his father wants to buy him a real guitar. Does your son want a real guitar? My son asked specifically for a real guitar (he had an 80 buck kid one that was worthless) and for lessons. Still, practice is a struggle. Meanwhile, my daughter is taking it way more seriously. 8 is a magical age. Unless your son is begging, i'd wait. A good friend's brother is in a band, and he teaches drum when he isn't touring. He won't start lessons until kids are 8. Our obsessive society with starting early is kind of silly. A friend of my daughter's takes expensive cello, and has since 4. She plays 4 songs. The muscles aren't really ready and able till 8. While a few kids might be able early, most do better waiting. If my son doesn't start to take it more seriously, I'm stopping. I wanted to wait, but he insisted. I talked to three different schools. I picked his current teacher because he agreed with me, saying, most kids aren't ready till 8. We agreed to try since he requested it without any prompting from me.


answers from Springfield on

friend of mine does guitar lessons, said theres a smaller guitar made specifically for children, its a real guitar.. just smaller, but she won't do lessons till age 8.

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