Wait! The title to this post is all wrong. That is the absolute worst thing that you could do to a beginning guitarist! If you subscribe to this philosophy you may as well buy clothes that are too big for them so that they can grow into them. Don’t let an ignorant sales person at a guitar shop sucker you into this reasoning just because they don’t have an adequate child size guitar that they can sell. Many people do end up getting seduced into this line of thinking because you won’t have to buy another guitar later when they are bigger. Playing guitar has plenty of it’s own challenges and having a guitar that is comfortable to sit with and hold is a key factor in whether or not the child will stick with it. Violin players are always sized for their instrument and people typically rent instruments at various sizes as the child is growing. Guitars aren’t as common in the schools so many stores do not rent them and as a result people often buy full-size guitars. So is there a happy medium? Can you get a really nice guitar that allows children to learn effectively without spending too much money or having to upgrade too soon? The Art and Lutherie Ami guitar is what I believe to be the perfect solution. It’s small body allows children to hold the instrument comfortably while it’s neck size is that of a standard full size acoustic. The tone quality and projection wows even the most experienced and talented guitar players. If a child is really small you will either have to find a guitar with a shorter scale neck or let them play another instrument until they are a little bit bigger. Finding a smaller scale guitar that actually sounds good is very difficult unless you’re willing to pay a high price. The smaller the instrument the more precision it takes when placing frets and often times these guitars always sound out of tune. If you want to nurture their musical interests it would be best to have them play piano or keyboard until they are able to hold the guitar comfortably. Ukuleles are also an option for small hands and allows students to learn similar instrument and they are low cost. Many children will give up completely after a while if they can’t get comfortable with their instrument. Certainly the is an adjustment process to learning anything new but you don’t want to be buried behind your guitar. Get the right size and give the student a chance! You’ll be glad you did.
by Henry Bahrou
Grosse Pointe Music Academy