Oh, did you want me to elaborate on that? I guess I can do that. Here’s my humble opinion on getting your kids started with musical instruments including guitar. It all depends on the kid. I’ve taught kids as young as five. That was pushing it a little. Eight years old is my standard answer based on my experience of over 20 years of teaching. But if your 7 year old can sit, listen and pay attention for a 30-minute lesson, then go for it. Like I said, it all depends on the kid.
Now let’s consider mechanics and gear. If your kid can reach the end of the guitar neck without too much reaching or discomfort, then they can play the instrument. If they can’t then you can consider getting a smaller scale guitar. There are a few companies that make professional small-scale guitars. Taylor and Martin come to mind. There is a warning I’ll give you when considering a small-scale guitar. First is the cost, or investment if you will. If you purchase a small-scale guitar that’s not such a good quality instrument because you want to “see if my kid takes to it before spending money on a good instrument” then you are taking a risk. Most small-scale guitars that are not built by top name companies can barely stay in tune and are difficult to play because of the cheap construction. They won’t be all that inspiring. Notice the key word is inspiring. If your kid isn’t inspired to practice, they won’t. However, if you spend the rent on a quality small-scale guitar made by a top name guitar builder, you are now running the risk that your kid will outgrow the instrument in a year or so and now your large investment will sit in the closet or in the attic. This is another reason for waiting until they are eight. Most, not all but most eight year olds can comfortably play a full size guitar.
Now let’s say your eight year old is ready for a full size guitar. What should you get? If your kid wants to play an electric, get him or her an electric guitar. If he or she wants to play acoustic, get an acoustic. Don’t bother with the people that tell you that you’re supposed to start out on acoustic. I don’t believe in it. Period. I’ll tell you my number one reason for that – inspiration. There’s that word again! If your kid doesn’t like the guitar, they won’t play it. If they love it, they’ll be inspired to play it and they’ll probably be showing it off to their friends! For that reason I say let your kid help pick out the guitar they want to play within reason of course. Hold off on the Jimmy Page model double neck for now, but if your kid sees a nice starter guitar (made by a good company of course) and it’s got flames on it, let them have the one with the flames on it! Your kid will be happy, you’ll be happy.
For those of you that still wonder what to do with your 5-7 year olds that want to play guitar – get them piano lessons! If they stick with it, buy them a guitar for their 8th birthday. Good luck!