Saturday, December 29, 2018

Teaching Young Children, pt. II - Child Size Instruments

One of the main obstacles that can keep a young student from continuing to play the guitar is the instrument itself. There are many teachers (myself included) who have had children start lessons with an instrument which is too big for them or with the action a mile off the neck. An instrument which is 
inappropriate in size or is difficult to play can be a hindrance and deter a student from wanting to play, while one of good quality and of appropriate size can help a child enjoy playing. 

There are good quality child sized instruments on the market made by a number of manufacturers which have both nylon or steel strings. However, there is a “mythos” regarding whether it is better for a young player to start with nylon or steel strings. In my opinion it does not matter because when young fingers begin pushing on strings it will hurt until calluses begin to develop. What matters most is the quality of instruction that young players have in the beginning stages, not what type of strings they use.

The guitars listed here are those which are well built, stay in tune and endure the rigors of young children. This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, but rather those which my students have used with much success. Keep in mind that the size of player will be proportionate to the size of the instrument they will require. 

If the student is smaller in stature a 1/4 size guitar may be exactly what is needed:

For the majority of young students I have taught a 1/2 size guitar has worked quite well for them. Keep in mind some guitars like the ones listed below are 3/4 size, but because of their body size are well-suited for younger children.

If you have any suggestions for good quality student instruments please let me know!