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A serious question for a child wanting to play guitar


cosmo115

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I hope everyone is well. :wave:

 

My 8 year old has this sudden interest to play guitar. FYI I believe it has to do with the Cheetah Girls or some other Disney Channel girl group. As a result, I need some advice as to what to get her for Christmas since a guitar has jumped to #4 on her list.

 

1) Should I get her an acoustic or electric to start and why? I would assume acoustic, but won't an electric generally have better action and make it easier to play and less chance of being more frustrated?

 

2) Should I get a 1/2, 3/4 or full-size guitar? I assume full, but would like opinions.

 

3) Are there any must have first time how-to books or DVDs for beginners? If she seems to like it and want to pursue it, I will of course spring for guitar lessons, but I thought a good book or DVD would be a good start.

 

4) Are there any "reasonably priced" starter guitar packages you can recommend or any brands I should stay away from?

 

5) Any other advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!!!!

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Originally posted by GuitarHippy:

Hmm..A squire Strat pack perhaps. They are decent beginner guitars, and for the guitar, amp, and headphones it is only around $400(Canadian)

Thanks! I was however looking to spend MUCH less than that since I have no idea if she's going to want to continue playing.
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1. It is always the best option to start playing on an acoustic instrument so get her an acoustic guitar. It will be hard at first and it will take time for her to master barre chords (which is harder on the acoustic guitar), but once she has done she will be able to play electric guitar as well and it will be easy for her.

 

 

2. Get her a full size guitar every compromise you make at the begining can be hard to correct later.

 

 

3. Don't rely on dvds and the books when it comes to learning to play an instrument. Those books or DVD's will never tell you real basics like a music theory etc. They are targeting those who wanna learn a few chords fast so they can play a few songs but people who are using books never really learn how to play and improvise to that matter, Instead, get your daughter a guitar teacher who will test her talent and interest and based on that he will recommend appropriate way of teaching. So getting a guitar teacher is the best one can do.

 

3. There are many starter packs available for beginners both acoustic and electric. Consider some of fender kickstart packages. But if you are willing to spend some more money on the guitar ( which I think is very important too) get her some more expensive model.

Davor
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First, electric or acoustic has everything to do with what she intends to play. Her interest is in playing. This isn't you signing her up for lessons just because.

 

If she wants to play like Jewel or Kaki King or any number of acoustic players or if she wants the ability to play anywhere and let others hear, then an acoustic is probably in order.

 

If, however, she wants to play electric guitar music then it's a waste of time to begin on acoustic. Either one will be fine for her to learn the basics and, although it may be harder to move to acoustic, she'll have all the tools she needs to switch from one to the other later on. One of the most frustrating things for me when I began guitar was that I couldn't play the rock songs I wanted to learn because they didn't sound right on acoustic. Had I not been such a fan of James Taylor, Jim Croce, et al, in addition to being a Kansas, Boston, Beatles and Zep fan I'd probably have given up guitar long before I had the chance to play an electric. I was learning on a jumbo classical and wasn't playing any classical music.

 

There are plenty of good choices in the under $300 market. Some beginner kits come in less than $200 with amp, strap, etc. Your best bet will be to bring a buddy who you feel is competent to judge the quality of these inexpensive instruments. Unlike when I was a kid (I'll be 40 next April), there are plenty of cheap instruments that are quality build, decent setup which are more than adequate instruments. Some cheap instruments will require a setup, but work fine. I have a Fender Squire Bullet Hardtail that regularly sells for $99 everywhere. I had several incentives at the now defunct MediaPlay chain and it cost me $69. It won't compare to Mexican or American strats but it plays fine, sounds adequate and it's a real strat. Ok.. It's made in Malaysia, but it looks, feels and plays like any other strat. I think it's slightly downsized, which is good for your daughter.

 

Again, the idea that you have to go with a "full size" instrument is silly. She can learn on an appropriately sized instrument, if one is available, and will compensate if she chooses a full scale instrument later. Besides, "full scale" is relative to whether you're playing a Gibson, Fender or Jim Soloway's 27" "longneck" Swan guitars. Go ahead and make it easier on her if possible rather than turn her off by forcing her to deal with a large instrument.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Hey Cosmo - Welcome back! :wave:

 

Hope you have been doing well. I have the same opinion as Neil on this. I would recommend getting your daughter an electric since she is motivated by pop-music on Disney and because of the the size of her hands I also think you should go with a short-scale like this Strat from SX . It's cheap too and I think the color might be appropriate as well! Just make sure you get a practice amp with a headphone output and an input for a CD player/Ipod so she can practice without bothering anyone.

http://www.rondomusic.net/photos/electric/sst62mg3-4bgmy1.jpg

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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I agree with Fantasticsound as to the acoustic/electric thing. Personally, I'd get a small electric guitar. Easier to get around on, and more instant gratification which is huge for someone starting so young.

 

But I feel strongly that a regular sized guitar would be a mistake. Stone-cold beginners have big physical hurdles to deal with. It's important to have a neck that isn't too big and a body that doesn't swallow them up. Have you ever seen an 8 year old holding a regular-sized acoustic? They can barely see over the thing!!!

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As a girl who got hooked on guitar thanks to a Christmas present, I highly suggest Ibanez guitar packages. Musician's Friend has (or had...?) an acoustic guitar package, and my second guitar was in an Ibanez electric guitar package. As far as books go, I started off with Fast Track's "Guitar 1" by Blake Neely and Jeff Schroedel. It's almost like reading a note from a friend as you read it, which is good, but for an eight-year-old, it might be a little above her head. It works, though. It's also a good idea to expose her to lots of music so she'll get hooked on something. If she does, she'll probably want to learn to play it, which will drive her to practice more. I know this from experience. It's also a nice bonus if the guitar is the recipient's favorite color. Good luck, and I hope this helped a little!

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I'd have to place my vote with GuitarHippie on this one. When I first started playing I bought a Fender Affinity Strat(well before they revised the design) for about 170 and I was happier than a pig in your know what. Then again I've always been a fender guy and wanted an inexpensive introduction into the fener family. Remember that young kids probably will respond more to how a guitar LOOKS more than how it feels or sounds. Maybe somehow, without hinting that she's getting one from santa, let her look around at your guitars and see which one she takes a liking too. As far as the books go, I think YOU would probably be the best book. Teach her some basic chords and take advantage of that chance to spend some quality time with your kids. I know that most of the good memories I have of my father always involved the two of us with guitars around our necks. Good luck and I hope she sticks with it.
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howdy Cos.

a 3/4 sized axe is a good idea. my oldest is 11 and he manages to play my Yamaha Pacifica but the lower end of the neck is a stretch.

 

as much as he wants an SG, i think he will have to wait till he is bigger.

welcome back buddy.

oops i forgot, i bought a Les Paul. :D

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Thanks, everyone!!!!!

 

I was leaning towards an electric too since I know how discouraged and frustrated I was playing on a hand me down acoustic that you had to step on the strings to get a note or chord out of.

 

That guitar looks great, Mud, although my daughter would probably like the blue one. ;) Are 3/4 size and short scale the same?? FYI I went from the crappy acoustic to my LP, so I don't really know which would be best for her and I can't really bring her around since the "Santa thing" might be ruined.

 

BTW I do plan on playing with her (if she wants), although I'll be limited to what I can teach her. :freak:

 

Thanks again!

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I agree with fantasticsound too. I went through the same frustration of trying to play rock on a classical guitar and it really sucked. Put me right off the guitar for years.

 

So if she wants to play elecric music, get her an electric guitar.

 

The starter packs are a good idea. If you;re not sure if she'll keep at it, how's the hire situation down your way? Maybe hiring some stuff for a month or so would be cheaper than buying a prsent that will be neglected? Otherwise, maybe you can make some of your money back on eBay?

 

 

As far as books go, I quite liked the "Guitar For Dummies" one. It came years after I started but there's lots of interesting stuff in there and covers classical, fingerpicking, rock, blues, reading tab, reading music... all sorts of things.

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i don't think that the scale is specific to the size.

most mini guitars have less frets making the neck seem more compact but the scale may still be only slightly shorter (24 inch) for example.

do try to find a guitar with a short scale (22 inch possibly) this will make the fingerings easier for smaller hands.

a 3/4 sized instrument may refer to a shrinking of the body.

Jay turser makes a mini strat and the body is smaller. the bridge is near the rear of the body.

but i am unsure if the actual scale length is shorter.

3/4 body JT30

this would stil allow easier reach but if the neck is standard scale it may still feel big to smaller hands.

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Cosmo! Welcome back! :wave: I hope you'll be sticking around!

 

I'm with the others here, a good starter package seems like the way to go. The "Source" here (Radio Shack) has a full package (guitar, strings, amp, strap, picks etc.) for $199. Not the best guitar, but a really good starter guitar.

 

Don't expect too much from an 8 year old. They tend to pick things up and drop them just as quickly. I played guitar for about a year when I was 9. I got bored and frustrated with it, and put it down, until I was almost 13. Once I started playing again, I haven't put it down since.

 

Once again, it's good to see you around again bud. We miss you around here.

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Hey Cosmo, stick around.

 

I suggest getting a 1/2 or 3/4 or what ever small sized classical guitar. I got my daughter one a while back and even that was kinda tough on her fingers at first. You don't ask little girls to "tough it out" so I think nylon string is the way to go. Plus if you get her classical lessons she'll be on the right track.

 

My kid plays piano and doesn't really have time to touch the guitar but when she was doing it she was picking up on it fast, so I think you'll be pleased wth her progress if she wants to do it.

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IMO - electric electric electric.

 

It'll be easiest to play, and it SHOULD be.

 

Starting an 8 year old electric guitar fan on a more discouraging, difficult and less fun to to learn on acoustic guitar makes no sense to me.

 

Also, lessons with a good teacher who will hook her with fun exciting things to play right away. Not a taskmaster who will "see if she's really serious" by assigning by her academic exercises and music she dosen't like to practice.

Just a pinch between the geek and chum

 

 

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Thanks again, everyone!!!

 

I'm now seriously contemplating the blue Hondo. http://www.rondomusic.net/photos/electric/sst62blue1.jpg

 

Any strong opinions for or against it?

 

BTW what kind of guitar picks should I get her? I use the little teardrops, but I assume the standard picks will be better or does it not matter?

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Originally posted by cosmo115:

BTW what kind of guitar picks should I get her? I use the little teardrops, but I assume the standard picks will be better or does it not matter?

I haven't noticed it mattering too much (I spent 9 years teaching guitar lessons full time).

 

If anything those little teardrops might be a better fit for her lil' paws. :D

Just a pinch between the geek and chum

 

 

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Hi Cosmo and welcome. Check out the Rondo Music Site. I had one of the short scale Strats from them, but had to return it because the nut width was too narrow for my fat fingers. I had the vintage white one and the look of the guitar was stunning! It is not a toy, but a nicely built short scale guitar that would be great for a kid. Rondo also has packages with the short scale with simple practice amps, a gig bag and cable for about$120!!! Their customer service is the best.
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I'm stunned! People agreeing with me? Watch out for the sky falling, people. :freak:

 

I should point out that I must've been extremely motivated to play guitar when I first began. I was playing on that jumbo classical at age 8, with a 2" wide neck at the nut! :eek: How I ever managed to finger an open G I have no idea. But again, barre-ing was impossible for me the first few years I played on that guitar.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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The first guitar I learned on, at age 9, was a full-size, classical-style, nylon string acoustic. It also had a very wide neck with wide string spacing, but also quite thin. I was able to play chords well enough, as I recall.

 

In terms of my size, the string spacing may have made the stretches a little harder, but it also cut down hugely on muted strings. If the neck were thick and wide I probably would have had problems.

 

Not much later my parents bought me a smaller-scale acoustic, but I still ended up playing the original guitar quite a bit because it sounded better. (I finally ended up with it.)

 

I even had access to a 12-string acoustic. This is the only guitar I remember having any real difficulty with, as the string tension made playing anything difficult, and a full-Barre F chord was nearly impossible for a long time. It must have had metal strings; I remember my finger tips breathing a sigh of relief whenever I went from the 12-string back to those oh-so-soft nylon strings.

 

When I switched to bass at age 11 I started out on a borrowed P. Now we're talking some serious scale length! My parents got me a 3/4-scale bass. I played that until my first year of college, I think, and when I finally switched to full-scale I didn't have any problems.

 

I probably would have been fine with the P, in all honesty, by that age. Over on the LD one of the instructors swears by having young girls learn on a full size bass, and he says they do just fine.

 

Didn't someone just post a link to some YouTube clips of a cute little 10-year-old Japanese girl playing a full-size electric guitar?

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Allow me to break my silence by disagreeing vehemently with everything Davorp has mentioned.

 

1. It is not required to begin by playing acoustic. At 8 years old, or at ANY age, begin with that which will hold her interest. If she's interested in, for instance, Jewel, get her an acoustic. If she likes girl rock/pop...get her an electric.

 

This is important. At 8 years old, the best you can do is hold her interest. That's hard to do. If acoustic strings are harder to push down, she'll get frustrated and quit. Money wasted.

 

Buy her a Squier mini Strat for 99 bucks. The shorter scale will suit her hands, and the strings will be easier to play. Most 8 year old girls WON'T EVEN BE ABLE TO HOLD A FULL SIZE ACOUSTIC PROPERLY.

 

"Proper music lessons" are great. But make sure that she learns a few simple chords, too, right off. Music theory? She's got her whole life ahead of her to learn that. Get her having FUN with the guitar first, so she'll want to learn. In my experience, 90 percent of all kids who take "proper music lessons" (and this comes from speaking with other teachers) get bored and quit within the first two months...at the end of which time they can play maybe simple melodies (like "Row Row Your Boat") on two or three strings.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I second most everything said by both Neil and Ted. When I first started playing guitar exactly five years ago this Christmas, my dad handed me his old Epiphone electric guitar (the black you guys have seen) and it made all the difference in the world between me contiuning and me just wanting it.

 

My parents had long known my interest and abilities in music, and I was 16, so they were willing to invest more, but I will say that of all my friends who "started" playing guitar, the ones who started on acoustic lost interest within months. The ones who started on electric play to this day, and they are much happier with it.

 

You have to buy her what she can use to play the music she wants. That's the way I see it.

 

Oh, and howdy Cosmo!

Shut up and play.
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Originally posted by Tedster:

Allow me to break my silence by disagreeing vehemently with everything Davorp has mentioned.

 

1. It is not required to begin by playing acoustic. At 8 years old, or at ANY age, begin with that which will hold her interest. If she's interested in, for instance, Jewel, get her an acoustic. If she likes girl rock/pop...get her an electric.

 

This is important. At 8 years old, the best you can do is hold her interest. That's hard to do. If acoustic strings are harder to push down, she'll get frustrated and quit. Money wasted.

 

Buy her a Squier mini Strat for 99 bucks. The shorter scale will suit her hands, and the strings will be easier to play. Most 8 year old girls WON'T EVEN BE ABLE TO HOLD A FULL SIZE ACOUSTIC PROPERLY.

 

"Proper music lessons" are great. But make sure that she learns a few simple chords, too, right off. Music theory? She's got her whole life ahead of her to learn that. Get her having FUN with the guitar first, so she'll want to learn. In my experience, 90 percent of all kids who take "proper music lessons" (and this comes from speaking with other teachers) get bored and quit within the first two months...at the end of which time they can play maybe simple melodies (like "Row Row Your Boat") on two or three strings.

When I read his post, everything you just stated, I was thinking.

 

Now I don't have to type all of it because you already did. :D

 

Holding a child's interest is the most important thing. If it takes an electric to do that, so be it.

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Originally posted by Tedster:

Allow me to break my silence by disagreeing vehemently with everything Davorp has mentioned.

 

1. It is not required to begin by playing acoustic. At 8 years old, or at ANY age, begin with that which will hold her interest. If she's interested in, for instance, Jewel, get her an acoustic. If she likes girl rock/pop...get her an electric.

 

This is important. At 8 years old, the best you can do is hold her interest. That's hard to do. If acoustic strings are harder to push down, she'll get frustrated and quit. Money wasted.

 

Buy her a Squier mini Strat for 99 bucks. The shorter scale will suit her hands, and the strings will be easier to play. Most 8 year old girls WON'T EVEN BE ABLE TO HOLD A FULL SIZE ACOUSTIC PROPERLY.

 

"Proper music lessons" are great. But make sure that she learns a few simple chords, too, right off. Music theory? She's got her whole life ahead of her to learn that. Get her having FUN with the guitar first, so she'll want to learn. In my experience, 90 percent of all kids who take "proper music lessons" (and this comes from speaking with other teachers) get bored and quit within the first two months...at the end of which time they can play maybe simple melodies (like "Row Row Your Boat") on two or three strings.

You are saying that she'll get frustrated if she plays an acoustic and then quit... Well, that depends on her and how strongly she is willing to learn how to play. Don't you think however that she'll get more frustrated if she plays on electric and then switch to playing acoustic. In my opinion it is much more frustrating.

 

You are saying that learning chords straight away is a good thing. I would not agree on that. Child of her age should first learn some theory with the professional music teacher and notes on the guitar. Once she gets to that stage she will be able to playing chords much easily isn't that right. Thing is in my opinion if your girl wants to learn how to play an instrument ( in this case that would be a guitar), it's very important to start learning properly. As for playing an electric guitar first IMHO it's equal to giving kids synths to play on musical education classes.

 

This is only my opinion, don't you guys hate me for this... :)

Davor
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