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help with picking out a guitar for a 3 year old

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by chump stain, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. I know this is talkBASS, but I've been looking around at different sites, and trying to find a guitar for my little step grand daughter. Her mom wants her to start on guitar, instead of piano or something, which I think is great! She's going to be 3 this May, and I'm looking for a good 1/2 scale guitar for her little hands. People been saying the Squire Mini Strat, but I think it's more like 3/4 scale.

    Does anyone have any experience buying for a little one?

    I'm looking for something that will be able to be set up, and stay in tune (as best as possable) for little hands. I've seen the Johnson guitars, does anyone have an opinion on those? What stinks is, we're probably going to have to buy it online, since most stores don't have much to choose from that small. So not being able to play before buying has me a bit worried.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks
  2. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Ask this question again in 6 years...minimum.

    I'm serious. 3 years old is way too young to begin learning any musical instrument (Suzuki method notwithstanding), and especially the guitar. Let the poor kid have a "normal" (sic) life before she starts suffering through blisters and callouses and barre chords and Van Halen riffs.

    Way back in the day when I taught private guitar lessons, one of my students was a 10 year old. He was certainly interested in becoming a guitarist, but he did not have the physical dexterity/control required to execute the fundamentals, and as a 10 year old he didn't have the personal discipline to perservere. Seemed par for the course with kids that age.
  3. What do you think about just tuning it in a chord, and letting her strum away at it. She is definently interested, she strums my basses and guitars when she comes over. And when she sees a guitar in a magazine or on TV she says "Guitar". I don't know about 'serious' lessons yet. Maybe in a couple years.
  4. Brian D

    Brian D

    Dec 2, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    Just get her a toy guitar.
  5. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Ukelele should work perfectly for her.
  6. Yep as long as it is indestructable! LOL :bassist:. Did this for my oldest boy when he was around 3, he is 5 now. He smashed the thing to bits. My twin boys will be 3 in November. We have various 'toy' instruments around that they play with...drums, keys etc. I let them do their thing and try to encourage but I don't push them.

    Good on you for being a good grandma.....
  7. stylonpilson


    Jun 30, 2008
    Reading, UK
    What does your step grand daughter want to do?

  8. I think she would really like guitar, like I said, she get's real excited around them, and I thought it would be great to start her so young. I wish I would have started bass earlier then I did, which was 16. I think of all the years I wasted, when I could have been learning. It would be cool if she played bass, but her mom would rather her learn guitar.

    Maybe 3 is a bit too young, but I know kids start piano lessons around 4 or 5 so....
  9. Get her a uke for $30. It's small enough that she can handle it and if it breaks it's not a big loss of cash. Just being supportive will be good at that age IMO.

    Edit: Sorry I said grandpa not grandma in my previous post. Fixed it!
  10. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I taught guitar for 11 years, and the owner of the store I managed has taught since 1958. Seriously, get her a uke. At the age of 3, the bones in the fingers are too soft to play guitar, and the attention span is too short to learn much music or much guitar. Wait until she's about nine, and if she's still into the guitar, then get her a good starter instrument.

    But don't buy a toy guitar, just get a uke, tune it to an open chord, and let her have fun being a rock star.

  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    From my view as a parent, 3 is too young to have an attention span for playing an instrument. Buy a $12 plastic Uke at Toys R'Us and let the kid destroy it. Then they can focus on something more productive - like making mudpies.
  12. Larz48


    Aug 18, 2007
    Buy her a small plastic hammer, tell her it's a guitar, seriously she won't care, she's 3.
  13. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi CS.

    How about the smallest nylon string guitar (low string tension, easy on tender fingers) from the Dean Playmates Series?

    I've no experience with Dean instruments, however I believe that you do?

    You may wish to e-mail Dean to learn which model has the shortest scale length and what that length is: questions6768@deanguitars.com


    Oh, and thank you for not underestimating the cognitive capacity & creative potential of a child. :)
  14. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I have a guitar student who's 7, started last autumn when he was 6. Those small children have rather weak fingers and have difficulties pressing down the strings properly. Those cheap half-size acoustics are also incredibly hard to play. I have a full-size good quality nylon string guitar that I've handed to him a few times, and although it's strung with extra high tension strings and it's way too big for him to hold properly, he can actually press down those strings better than the ones on his own crappy guitar. About the size of that one - The body is OK I suppose, but he cannot yet fret a G major chord because of the distance between the E strings.

    A ukulele sounds like the best alternative for you. They're small enough, cheap (if you pick one that looks like a toy), and can be tuned to a chord easily so she wouldn't necessarily have to press down any fingers to make it sound nice. Just strumming and playing with it like a toy is enough in that age.

    One more thing --- if her parents wants her to develop her musicality, it's important they play music and sing together with her, a lot. My parents did that with me and my twinbrother, as well as with my younger siblings when we were small kids, and I think much of my own musicality is thanks to that. There's recordings of me singing in tune and time (well, pretty well anyway) already when I was two. None of us played any instruments until we were 8 though, not even toy instruments. My brother is a professional pianist/keyboardist nowadays, and my younger brother is also aiming to be a professional guitarist. I've never done it as a profession (except now with my 7 students since last year), but managed pretty well anyway with music as my by far biggest interest and hobby.
  15. Thanks, I think we were leaning toward an electric guitar, because it would be easier to play, and her mom thinks it's cool.

    Yeah, they expose her to a lot of music, she's definetly a music fan already! She sings her Yo Gabba Gabba songs all the time, and daddy plays her some Mudvayne, and Disturbed. Mommy likes more Emo stuff.

    Thanks for all the replys, I'll have to get with her parents and see what they want to do.

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