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Guitars for kids HELP!

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,688
Help!

I need to buy a guitar for my eldest daughter, aged 9. She's going to get lessons at school from just after Christmas. She needs a 3/4 sized classical acoustic guitar, nylon strung. What I know about guitars could be written on the back of a matchbox using a marker pen. So, does anyone know what brand I should go for? I've seen loads at about £40, plus a Yamaha at £92, but I really don't know what to look for. They all seem to be made in China, which isn't an issue in itself, but how do I know what's good value and what's unplayable crap?

Any assistance much appreciated.

Jon
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
She's going to get lessons at school from just after Christmas. She needs a 3/4 sized classical acoustic guitar, nylon strung.

My first thought is that if I was in this situation I would make every effort to find out who the teacher will be at the school and try to contact the teacher directly. Explain to him or her that your daughter will be taking lesson from them and you'd like know if they can recommend a specific classical acoustic guitar.

This way, not only will you get a good recommendation for an instrument, but you will simultaneously bring the teacher's attention to your daughter as the "girl who's parents called for advice on buying her instrument". It can't help but have the added psychological effect of helping the teacher feel appreciated and recognized as someone who's input is highly valued.

Plus if there are any problems with the guitar later on you can always say to the teacher, "Well, you're the one who recommended it". :)))

Just kidding!

But really, I'd ask the teacher, who better to ask?
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Hi Jon
The only thing to really watch out for is the action or the height of the strings above the fretboard. This allied to the tension of the strings can really affect the enthusiasm of kids learning the guitar. I bought two seemingly identical guitars for my two children and one was really easy to play and the other was difficult for me to play after years of playing. Try to find someone who plays guitar to come along and try them out. There are some really good Chinese guitars out there but you need to have your wits about you.
Also make sure the machine heads turn smoothly otherwise it will be difficult to tune the instrument. Turn the peg to reduce the tension in the string and bring it back up to pitch. It should be smooth and easy to do with no friction.
Good luck to you and your daughter
Andy
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,110
Yamaha make excellent acoustic guitars - steel string and nylon string. I know of a few excellent classical guitar players who play the Yamaha basic classical guitars. I have a Yamaha FG720S 6 string accoustic which is made in China, and I recently purchased a Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster - made in China, excellent guitar and a Roland guitar amp and you guessed it made in China. I notice UK hi-fi company Cambridge Audio get their products made in China.
Regards,
GS.

P.S. and here's a link that may help www.acousticfingerstyle.com/YamahaGuitars.htm
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,937
What the others said. You can't go wrong with Yamaha. Strings make a huge difference as well. D'Addario are good and last well, some other brands aren't so good. Might also be worth checking out used instruments, guitars mellow as they age, and the tone of an older one is usually a lot better than a brand new one. Apart from external damage, which is usually self-evident, look for cracks and the internal bracing coming off/being cracked.Top/sides/back can also separate. Most important, apart from what Andrew said, is that the neck isn't warped/twisted. There are also some variations in neck lengths/widths and thicknesses and it's worth cheking what's available, especially for a young girls with smaller hands. My wife still has this problem with her guitar. Better guitars have a solid, not ply soundboard, but they're likely to be too expensive. And a lot of the decoration is just that - it doesn't improve the sound.

Am electric tuner with a clip on mic would be a good addition.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,566
Try Argos - no seriously.
When my son learnt to play, the guitar teacher said it wasn't worth forking out much for beginners and he recomended the Argos one.
In fact, if you have any friends passing by this way, they can come and pick it up from us for free.
He no longer plays and it's standing at the top of our stairs now in its cover collecting dust!!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
One of the top acoustic guitars for a nine year old girl is the Luna Aurora Imagine 1/2 size guitar which comes with pens so that you can design it yourself - over and over again. There are about 7 other guitars in the Aurora series specially for children, all of which have excellent designs. They are a superbly made guitars, used by professionals - see their website www.lunaguitars.com , and the kids guitars are excellent value for money. They should be available for about £60 or so - just google in Luna Guitars and they are easily found. Excellent guitars and also cool, and child friendly - I'll see what is currently around and add to my post if its helpful.

Kind regards
Tom
 
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Ville K.

Member
Messages
58
I find this an interesting thread as I'm in a similar situation right now. My 7 year old little brother wants to learn how to play the acoustic guitar so I've decided to get him one for Christmas. After some time googling and seeing the link Greg Strange provided I'm getting the feeling that it can't really go wrong if I get the Yamaha CGS Series guitar in the size ½ (CGS102). It might be a safe bet with the Yamaha as I'm not the only one who considers their student instruments to have a good quality. It's then just a matter of time when the need arises to update to the following size ¾. Priced at 129.00 € I find it to be quite inexpensive but hopefully offering good value for the money. But first I'm going to do what Sweet Dreamer suggested and contact the music teacher and ask his opinion about it.
 

PaulyT

Member
Messages
606
Geeeetars

As a general rule - if you buy a cheapo it will be hard to play and may put the child off even bothering. Then you have a piece of crap taking up room. Get a decent (I agree about the Yamaha acoustics - and Tanglewood are good) geeeetar and you give the child the best opportunity to start playing. If they don't cotton on to it you have a geeetar with a reasonable re-sale value - but, more importantly, at the end of the day you will know you have given them the best opportunity to play!!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
My only beef about Yamaha student instruments is that they are often overpriced compared to similar/better quality instruments, but still dominate the market, mainly through lack of knowledge of other brands. A Yamaha student guitar at £129 seems overpriced when there are excellent student guitars at £50. They have a good standard but there are better quality instruments at better prices IMO.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Ville K.

Member
Messages
58
As a general rule - if you buy a cheapo it will be hard to play and may put the child off even bothering. Get a decent (I agree about the Yamaha acoustics - and Tanglewood are good) geeeetar and you give the child the best opportunity to start playing.

I couldn't agree more with you, PaulyT. I have previously bought a drumkit (Pearl Masters Custom MMX) for my little sister and did a lot of investigation before getting her the best I could afford.

My only beef about Yamaha student instruments is that they are often overpriced compared to similar/better quality instruments, but still dominate the market, mainly through lack of knowledge of other brands. A Yamaha student guitar at £129 seems overpriced when there are excellent student guitars at £50. They have a good standard but there are better quality instruments at better prices IMO.

Price for the Yamaha CGS102 is usually 129 EUR (about £ 108) here in Finland. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much competition between other manufacturers in the ½ guitar sizes. The general opinion among guitarists seems to be that beginners guitars that are going for less than 50 EUR are more like toys than real instruments.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Ville!

You make a reasonable point. I have found the Yamaha CGS102 for £79 in UK and the Luna 1/2 size guitars - two of my adult family members also play them - are commonly around the £69 mark so not major differences. I just think that the latter are more child friendly/less staid where that might appeal - my experience of Yamaha is mainly on student trumpet/cornet/trombone/alto sax, all of which were good enough but there are better ones at cheaper prices if you know your stuff (Weril/Rath/John Packer/Bauhaus Walstein).

Lots of Love
Tom
 

PaulyT

Member
Messages
606
I don't know anything about trumpets, cornets or trombones but I do know that cheap "beginners" guitars are not good. The radius on the neck is often too small giving a great lump of a neck that's hard to get your hand around. This is because cheap, unstable wood is used. The fretboard is often too flat, the action too high and the intonation very poor indeed. At least with a "name" model the manufacturer will sell you a guitar that is both playable and tunable. This is not for any altruistic reasons, but because they want to instill brand loyalty into their new customers. Guitars that you can draw on are not serious instruments. The first thing a new player has to learn is respect for his/her instrument. Without that, it's a toy and serious study is unlikely.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi PaulyT!

We'll have to agree to disagree - please do your research on Luna guitars before you call them non serious instruments www.lunaguitars.com . We are talkng for 9 year olds here, and being able to customise your guitar is not unknown in the musical world -where guitars are frequently covered in all sorts of sticky labels etc. My daughter feels very proud of her "unique" guitar and looks after it as if her life depended on it. Fair enough if you were talking about some no name instrument - I just would not describe Luna as no name instruments - beautifully made instruments with decent woods - do investigate some of the youtube clips if you want some idea - they are better known in the US and aren't available in Lidl or Asda as far as I am aware. Especially the focus is on design and comfort, and are particularly female friendly. The guitar I've focussed on is basswood/maple with a specially designed neck FWIW.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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PaulyT

Member
Messages
606
Aaah Yes - I did have a look. They seem to be fixated on the decoration - "Henna" style and the "Laser Etching". A case of "Style over substance" maybe. Sorry old chap, As you say, we will have to agree to disagree!! When my stepson wanted to learn I bought him a Yamaha acoustic and a Fender Tele. The proper tools for the job. I knew that they will still be good instruments, properly looked after, when he grows up - instruments that he has grown up with and learned to mould his playing to. Music is like a train journey - start with the proper ticket and you can go all the way - you'll just end up back where you started with a cheap day return!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Help!

I need to buy a guitar for my eldest daughter, aged 9. She's going to get lessons at school from just after Christmas. She needs a 3/4 sized classical acoustic guitar, nylon strung.

Jon

Apologies to Jon for not properly reading the above brief. The Yamaha is worth considering, and I would especially recommend the Admira Infanta classical guitar - made in Spain, not China, and with no felt tips to boot!

Kind regards
Tom
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,688
Thanks again to everyone who commented. Interesting views from all.

So, what did I do in the end? I did what I often recommend when talking about buying saxes, which is to support a local music shop. They had a huge range of guitars (crap range of saxes, but that's to be expected in a small town with sax.co.uk just a short drive away) and helpful, knowledgable staff. Good price, guitar tuned and set up, with a warranty and I can take it in if there are any issues. Emily, the nine year old who's the recipient of the instrument is very pleased.
 

Ville K.

Member
Messages
58
Good price, guitar tuned and set up, with a warranty and I can take it in if there are any issues. Emily, the nine year old who's the recipient of the instrument is very pleased.

That's good to hear, jonf! Having a proper instrument in good adjustment is one of the most important things in order to develop interest in playing in the first place. What then is needed is to get a supportive and competent teacher for the aspiring young musician.

I had a talk on the phone with the music teacher and when I mentioned the exact height of my little brother we came to the conclusion that the 3/4 size is actually a better choice than the ½. It's not just the age that one has to consider when choosing the right sized guitar. And it didn't come to me as a surprise that he favoured the Yamaha made guitar over other brands - as that's been the case with student level saxophones as well ;}
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
As Pete Thomas once said (Sept 2008 - in forum discussion) - choosing a student Yamaha sax over a Walstein was a "no brainer" - he owns a Walstein.......;}
 
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