We’re often asked in store ‘What guitar should I buy for my child?’, or what options there are for those who don’t like the feel or bulk of the standard sized guitar models, so here’s a bit of basic advice for anyone looking to buy for small children (1/2 size), older children or smaller adults (3/4 size), or just those who like to travel with their guitars a lot and don’t want the bulk of full-sized models (parlour guitars).
If you’re looking for an instrument for a child aged 6-8 that’s over 3 and a half feet tall, then a 1/2 size guitar would be a safe bet. Not only do they have a smaller body than full sized models, but the neck size is also thinner, making it easier for tiny hands to grip. The frets are also slightly closer together, making it easier for children to form chord shapes, and the nylon strings are gentle on little fingers. The tuning is the same as a larger guitar and it’s very easy to transition once children are older. See our selection of half-sized guitars here.
If your children are any smaller or younger it might be best to start them with a ukulele - the frets and neck dimensions are the perfect size for little fingers, there aren't as many strings to worry about, and they can learn strumming patterns or finger exercises that will translate to a guitar. They're also very cheap and durable, and are a lot of fun: you can progress to playing songs quite quickly on the ukulele thanks to the easier tuning and the fact there are fewer notes in each chord. And they come in bright, fun colours to encourage them to pick it up and play. You can find our range of ukuleles here.
When you start getting to around 4' 4" (usually aged about 8/9 and above), you can try for a 3/4 size. This size is also great for smaller adults, adults with shorter arms (the scale size is a little shorter), or anyone who prefers a lighter, more easily transportable instrument. They offer a slightly brighter sound, and you'll hear examples of this on many Ed Sheeran records. He has even teamed up with Martin to create a signature small sized guitar! It has a smaller scale length than a full sized guitar (23 inches rather than the usual 24¾ / 25½), and gives a full punchy sound.
Other options for those who prefer smaller guitars are our range of parlour guitars. There is no standard size for a parlour guitar, but generally their scale length is the same as a full-size guitar but they have a smaller body, so give you the feel of a more 'standard-sized' guitar whilst being ideal for travelling. We have a large range of new and used parlour guitars, from Patrick James Eggle to Auden, Faith, Tonk Bros and others.