So, tomorrow is the day to shop for your child’s very first guitar? One fine endeavour to look forward to, right?
What? You are a complete amateur when it comes to choosing any musical instrument? Thinking eventually, you will end up with one completely wrong buy?
Well, as opine the globally famous guitar classes for beginners, parents do not require to musical ‘pros’ in order to acquire the best-suiting instrument for their son/daughter. All they need are–
- Awareness over some ground rules
- Pursuing 2-3 best practices during the purchase
But where to learn about such rules and practices? The following 7 points emerge as the best answer to this query:
1 Ground Rule: The Perfect Size
Convenience and comfort -aren’t these the two aspects you always try to ensure for the little one? To guarantee the same(s) over the one’s guitar, criteria is –
You access the instrument sized exactly for the kid’s petite hands and muscles.
How to? Note the under-mentioned dynamics –
- Height Range: 3’10’’- 4’5” < Ideal Guitar Size: 30 inches (1/3rd of a standard sized gear)
- Height Range: 4’6” – 4’11” < Guitar to Pursue: One of three-quarter dimension or 34 inches
- Height Range: 5’ and Above < Right Guitar: A full size 40 inches type
And if you desire to go by the age-group ‘norm’, then be aware that:
- For children within 4-6 years, a 1/4th size (76 cm) acoustic guitar stands to be the adept choice.
- One ½ sized acoustic/classical sort or a Mini Electric variety is perfect for the 6-9 years old.
- The budding ones at the 9-12 span, a 36 inches acoustic/classical ‘piece’ or a Full-Size Electric gear appears fittest.
- As for the 12+ adolescents, a Concert variety (40 inches) acoustic/classical guitar or a Full-Size Electric kind comes to be the right selection.
The Best Practice to Follow in Here
Let the child ‘feel’ the size. It is the unanimous opinion of mentors at the distinctive house of Stradivari Strings that in the end, a kid must experience:
- Ultimate effortlessness to manoeuvre through and hold steady life’s foremost guitar.
To assure this –
- Ask at the store for a stool or chair where your ward can get seated by a perfect 90-degree posture
- Now let the one hold a gear and enquire if he/she is experiencing easiness or does it appear heavy
- Tell the kid to access all the strings and notice how readily it can be done
- Make sure the child can easily reach out the fingerboard and neck with both hands
Also check whether:
- Your son/daughter is needing to raise own arm up to the shoulder to access the gear – since that depicts playing will get most painful and difficult
- The first fret requires to reached with ‘extra effort’; this implies over ‘working’ of the already stretched out hand muscles – in effect ‘pulling back’ the fingers to swiftly move across the fretboard
Piece of Advice: Request the salesperson to suggest it or not the instrument held is of the right dimension for the kid.
Ground Rule: Deciding Over the Type
At par with all veteran guitar classes for kids, to begin with, the classical variety emerges to be the exact pick for the little one since-
- The embedded nylon strings are much comfier for the little fingers to press down
- Developing finger calluses over classical guitar enables a young one to make the most effortless transition to the sharp-edged steel chords of acoustic and electric types
- This kind’s make is inherent ‘feather-weight’ helping therein the kid to easily manage and carry a classical guitar
- By law, classical guitars possess a widened wood-crafted neck, which in turn sets apart the sequence of strings (from each other) thereby making them convenient for ready strumming
- The 3/4th scale dimension allows to practice fretting with ultimate smoothness and thereby build-up a sound grasp over the technique
- Nylon essentially creates softer, suave and pleasant-to-ear acoustics – minimizing the buzz issue and loud shrieks
- Type is best for the young minds to explore and learn the so-vast genres of Flamenco and Hispanic music
Opt for the Kid’s Classical Guitar Package offered by Yamaha or Fender’s 3/4th sized Acoustic Guitar (with Nylon Strings) Series to acquire the best deal to this end.
Nevertheless, if your kid is showcasing real-time enthusiasm to ‘plunge into’ spectrums such as Rock, Country, Pop –
Best Practice Will Be To
Pursue an acoustic instrument with:
- 0-14 body specs
- 23 inches scale
- 7/8th neck extent
- Loog Mini
- Rogue Starter
- Martin LX1
- Luna Aurora Borealis
are some up-scale models to look out for
Acoustic-type is recommended only when the child requires to ‘grasp upon’ –
- Both Finger and Flat-Picking
- Play along with a vocal artist
- Strumming Dexterity
However, be aware that acoustic guitar’s
- Steel strings turn out way much harder for the kid to work over– often resulting in bruised fingers
- Action area (length between the strings and fretboard) is set much higher for tiny hands to reach and successfully press
and all these can create the possibility of the little one willing to give up learning.
Therein, unless absolutely vowed by the teacher, elect a quality classical model.
Other than the acoustic sort, to gratify the lad/lass’s Rock or Pop dream, you can also choose an electric gear that possesses:
- 22 -25 inches scale measure
- Not more than 20 frets – so that the tiny fingers are not overwhelmed!
- 3 single-coil pickups
‘Pieces’ like –
- Fender’s Mini Strat Squier
- Yamaha Gigmaker (inclusive of complete starter kit)
- Rock Jam
- Gibson Maestro
appear adept to consider.
Electric models mainly benefit the kids by preserving a lower action area in comparison to the other two varieties.
Such a feature permits the child’s digits to fret clear-sounding notes with a gentle touch and be secured for fast finger exhaustion.
But, Alarm Bell – Given to their average mass of 5-6 kilos, electric guitars are not recommended for children below 12 years as it is highly probable that they end causing serious damage to own muscles.
Ground Rule: The Price Limit
If to acknowledge the perspective of patron guitar classes Singapore, then the norm is simplest in here-
- Do not compromise with quality but neither exaggerate.
Instruments coming within the range of $90-$200 are apt-est to reach for. Anything surpassing the $200 mark turns out to be a fancy buy – not deemed necessary until the child reaches at least the intermediate level.
- Just guarantee that:
- The structure is crafted from quality wood (preferably Spruce top) that produces pure sound inclusive of flawless vibration
- Engineering utilized makes the instrument preventive to temperature fluctuations and humidity
- The hand-nurtured wooden bridge has been provided in place of those machine-produced synthetic sorts
And better if you can get –
- A maple-crafted neck
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Wood tuning pegs ‘fitted in’ by a professional with the guarantee of easy re-tuning
- Pre-installed Martin chords
Expert Speak: Even gaining all these features would not cost you more than $145-$180 – and that too from a reputed brand. So be sure to fetch the ‘very best’ for own child at own budget.
Ground Rule: Playability Checklist
While primarily viewing as a purely extra-curricular activity, you do desire that your ward accomplishes each cognitive perk associated with guitar learning, right?
All is depended upon the benchmark of consistent and enriched playability the instrument offers, which in effect is based upon how well the set-up has been.
So, immediately after the purchase, endeavour to get the following ‘jobs’ done through the store’s craftsmen or an individual veteran Luthier–
- Action area is set at an ideal space of 2mm amidst the low E (sixth) string and 12th fret tip and stays at a gap of 1.5mm over the first or high E chord – thus being neither too low (risking generation of the only buzz) or too high (complicating the ‘hold down’)
- The neck stays absolutely perpendicular – not too close or far from the string module and at an extent of .003 inches upon the 8th fret
- The truss rod (if you have bought an acoustic or electric variety) should support the straight neck position and not be way too tight or loosened crooking the neck and thus ‘affecting’ playability
- If the neck appears highly back-bend, the truss rod requires clockwise turn and vice versa for an overly ‘forwarded’ neck angle
As for ascertaining the intonation quality, prestigious guitar classes for beginners suggest, as the first task upon buying, the kid too –
- Play an unfretted low E
- Consequently, hit the 12th fret and strum the previous chord
Avail a digital tuner at the shop and notice whether a perfect E notation is recorded. If yes, know that the child’s gear is in perfect tune.
But when the note sounds too sharp or dullest, it is time to have the bridge saddle adjusted. As a universal norm, children guitar should be tuned to-
- Standard note sequence of either G6, C5, F4, Bb3, D2, G1 or A6, D5, G4, C3, E2, A1 beginning from the lowest to the highest chords.
Last But Vital Best Practice: Get Right Accessories
A pair of extra strings within gauge range .9 -.11 – anything above 11 is potent to rupture the neck during re-stringing
- Good quality String Winder
- Electronic Tuner with chromatic display
- An amplifier of 10 amp along with a branded headset and cable jack for electric guitar
- Ergonomic strap, which the child has given a trial at the store
- The weather-friendly and contoured case
- Polishing fabric accompanying museum-grade polish ointment
- Lesson DVDs or subscribed access to reputed learning resources over the internet
Let savvy-ness guide your kid’s strumming journey.