What is the best age to start guitar lessons? We typically recommend starting guitar around age six, the most important factor being the physical strength of the student’s hands. There are exceptions to this rule: a physically smaller seven year old may not be ready, while a five year old who is tall for their age may be equipped for guitar.
When considering whether to start your child with guitar lessons, perhaps the biggest concern is getting the correct size instrument. The neck, or fret board, of a standard guitar typically measures around two feet in length. Many guitar manufacturers produce smaller 1/2 or 3/4 size guitars designed for students with smaller bodies and shorter arms. If in doubt, we recommend going with the larger size instrument, instead of waiting and letting your child grow into a larger guitar. See our chart below that shows what size instrument is appropriate for what age child.
Guitar Size Chart
|12-Adult||4/4 Full size|
By starting your child with the correct size guitar, you give them a chance to be more comfortable with the instrument, and increase the likelihood that they will stick with it and not want to quit playing. If the instrument is too big, they won’t enjoy practicing and it will be more difficult for both the student and parent.
Yamaha makes student size guitars that are very affordable and play fairly well. You can also find a brand called First Act in stores like Wal-mart, and while I would still recommend Yamaha, First Act guitars do play okay and have a good, bright sound for their price point.
If you have a bit more to spend, consider a Baby Taylor. These 3/4 size guitars cost a bit more but are much higher quality – even the pros would like to play on these!
Guitar size isn’t the only factor when determining the best age to start guitar lessons. The young guitar student also needs sufficient dexterity and strength in their fingers and hands to successfully play guitar notes and chords. If a very young student’s hands are not quite strong enough to play chords, they can still play simple song melodies on the first three strings of the guitar, all while learning to read music. Once they have progressed and built up some hand strength, the teacher may try introducing guitar chords at a later lesson.
The guitar is a perfect instrument for young adolescents, whether they are interested in starting a garage band or in pursuing classical guitar. Most teens will probably want to play on an electric guitar with as big of an amplifier as they can get their hands on – but it still might be easier for them to start on an acoustic guitar.