Children’s Guitar: How to Choose the Right Size?
While there are violins as small as 1/16, guitar sizes for children seem to be rather limited. Why is that so? And how can you buy a guitar that is the correct size for your child?
Amazing Children on Full Size Guitars
Before jumping to the conclusion that guitars should naturally follow the size of the child, we should keep in mind the possibility of using full size guitars. The internet is full of videos of young children performing technical guitar wizardry with pin-point precision on the full size guitars. Below are some examples!
Li-sa-X is a rather well-known name today in the guitar industry. When she first uploaded her videos, everyone was shocked. Debates raged over whether such children are actually considered musicians or if they are purely memorizing what they are supposed to do. What’s more, the most talk centred on how she is able to play difficult songs on a full size guitar despite her small build. In case you are wondering, this 7-year old is playing a diploma-level piece of music written by Paul Gilbert.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s Far Beyond the Sun and John Petrucci’s Musicman guitar. These are not things commonly associated with a 9-year old girl. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Yo Yo is from China, where Western music influence is not just limited but restricted. A typical 9-years old girl from China would have no clue as to who Yngwie Malmsteen or John Petrucci are, and probably also struggle to pronounce the names! Yet here she is, shredding through a song that most accomplished guitarists would have difficulty with! Yes, and she is using a full size guitar!
Famous Video of North Korean Children Playing Guitar
This play-list would not be complete without this video. While many consider this “freaky”, we can only say that the North Koreans have managed to unlock the potential in young children. How they are able to train these tiny children to play these very technical pieces on full size classical guitars is beyond most of us! Now, if you are unaware, the classical guitar has a wider fretboard than the electric or acoustic guitar. This means those tiny fingers would need to stretch even further! Surely defying the ideal “guitar sizes for children”. Without the means of electrical amplification and with only a dynamic microphone in front of them, these children would need to play really forcefully to get the volume you hear in this video! Perhaps it is time to buy their guitar instructionals!
But is it wrong if I want to get a small guitar?
No, not at all! There are those who feel a smaller size guitar will help develop their techniques better. Feng E started off with the ukulele and has been uploading more guitar videos lately. The other camp’s ideology is to track the progress of the child’s ability with the right sized instrument. The ukulele happens to be an easy string instrument to begin on and it has definitely helped Feng E to be really good with his fingers. This little boy has been on big-time TV programs and has shared the stage with giants such as Tommy Emmanuel!
Must I start with the Ukulele then?
No. Sungha Jung, with over 6 million subscribers on YouTube, posted this first video 13 years ago. He went the opposite way as compared to Feng E, venturing into the ukulele at a later stage. The point here is, there is no one confirmed way to help bring the best out of your child.
We suggest all young children start with the ukulele before proceeding to the guitar. This way, if the child fails to develop an interest in the string business, the monetary loss will not be as heavy. If the child does move on to the guitar, buy a guitar based on his ability instead of his size. While there are good sounding 3/4 guitars out there, most are not comparable to the full size version. If you have more questions, you may leave a comment below or check out your local guitar shop! Guitar sizes for children is afterall, a highly debatable topic.