That’s why there are guitars of different sizes on the market. In order to avoid any kind of frustration, even before starting to learn about the instrument, you should be able to choose the right sized guitar for your child.
How to measure guitars
The small guitars are measured both on the basis of the overall length of the instrument (from the body to the palette for a total of approximately 76 centimeters) and on the basis of the scale or tuning fork which is equivalent to the length of the vibrating string from the point where it rests to the nut up to the bridge saddle (1/4 guitar). To determine the right size of the guitar it seems logical and simple to rely on the overall length of the musical instrument. In fact, a smaller guitar does not necessarily have to have a shorter handle, sometimes only a smaller body is sufficient (as is the case, for example, for travel guitars).
The size of their body is extremely small, while the handle is identical, at least in length, to that of normal guitars). However, if you have to choose a guitar for the little ones, then you should not rely on the overall length of the instrument. It is true, a child needs a guitar with a shorter handle but this measure varies according to the age and height of the young musician. The best way to determine the exact size of a children’s guitar is, therefore, the scale. Shorter handles usually correspond to smaller scales. Thus, for example, a 1/4 guitar will have a quarter-scale compared to a full-size guitar. Basically, there are guitars of 5 different sizes.
Choose the right sized guitar for your child
When choosing a children’s guitar there are two aspects to consider carefully: age and height. The following table will be a valid support to not miss the size of the musical instrument intended for children.
As a rule, children’s guitars have varying sizes. The most common are 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full size. Nevertheless, on the market, there are also guitars for 1/8 or 7/8. The table provides only a purely indicative reference. For example, if your child is 5 years old and about 1.29 meters tall, a 1/2 guitar is the right choice. But if, for example, the child has bigger hands, then it is better to opt for the next dimension.
The same goes if the child approaches the more ‘mature’ measures, better get him a guitar a little bigger. An instrument that is theoretically only 1.27 cm longer will not cause any problems. Instead, the 7/8 guitars are often chosen by women with small hands because they adapt better to this physical conformation. But there are also those who choose this dimension for children, at this point it would be better to opt for a full-size guitar. The difference is not that huge.
What happens when children are too big for their guitar?
If the child has grown too big for his guitar, it is not absolutely necessary to immediately plan to buy a larger instrument. Although it is true that a guitar that is too big would hinder the learning and the desire to have the fun of the young musician. A guitar that is too small is not, in general, a big problem. The best example is the ukulele. These are rather small instruments that adults can play without any difficulty.
However, it is very unlikely that a 10-year-old child wants to play a 1/4 guitar. The bigger the body of the guitar, the brighter and fuller the sound. So, as far as sound is concerned, it makes sense to program the purchase of a larger instrument of adequate size. The best time for this type of expense is, sometimes, when young musicians express the desire to switch to another type of guitar. Many, in fact, start with a classical guitar and often dream of an acoustic or electric guitar.
The best brands of children’s guitars always indicate the size of the scale
The guitar size is always mentioned in the description of the instrument. Some producers mention the overall length, others, instead, the length of the scale (otherwise called diapason). A good dealer of guitars for young musicians or a good producer always refers to the length of the scale. Unfortunately, there are also musical instruments in the description of which only the overall length of the instrument is mentioned.
More often you will find on the market classic guitars of a size suitable for young musicians. There are also acoustic or electric guitars perfect for the little ones, but it is advisable to start with a classical guitar because the nylon strings are less painful to the fingers. At most, you can opt for an electric guitar. In fact, this instrument has rather thin strings and a low voltage which results in easier manipulation of the keyboard.
Warning: never confuse guitars for children with other types of instruments, such as suitable or any other travel guitar. The body is so small but the neck length is adjusted according to the size of the hands of the adults.