Guitar 4 Kids
The Right-Sized Guitar For Your Child By John Epp
A lot of us have seen YouTube videos of little ﬁve year-old kids playing beautifully on big full-sized classical guitars. Admittedly, they’re often amazing: what you my not know is that those kids practice for months with a teacher, for hours every day, on one or maybe two pieces. That’s great…but most of us just want our kids to have a positive experience that will create a lifelong love for music – which is diﬃcult if they have to struggle with an incorrectly-sized instrument.
Sizing the Guitar
Choosing the right-sized guitar for your child is easy if you know a few things about proper posture with the instrument. Standard posture is the most popular. This is when the guitar rests on the right leg in the sitting position. Classical posture is when the guitar is resting on the left leg with the left foot elevated on a foot stool (see Image 1).
Hohner makes a 19 inch scale (Scale is the distance in inches from the nut to the bridge) classical guitar that work well for my very young students (age 5). Buying an oversized guitar to grow into is not a good idea. The guitar may be the most popular instrument on the planet, but it is already awkward. If your kid has to struggle unnecessarily, it will put a damper on the
Let’s start with standard guitar posture. Sit your kid down on an armless chair and prop up his feet so his lap is level. Put the guitar in his hands and help him rest the guitar on his right leg. The right arm needs to be able to reach over the guitar body. The most important thing to look for is the left arm (see Image 2). Have your child put his left hand under the guitar neck at the ﬁrst fret: if his arm is straight, the guitar is too big. The left arm must be bent at the elbow.
FYI: When you are shopping at Showcase, keep one eye peeled on your kid’s reactions when he looks around at diﬀerent guitars. It is important for a beginning musician to really like his guitar. It really makes a big diﬀerence.
Guitar Showcase has a good selection of “kid” guitars from 19” scale to 21”, 22”, 23”, 24”, and of course the full size standard 25.5”. The smallest electric guitar I found is the Fender Squire Mini. It has a scale of 22.5”. Ibanez also makes a very cool electric guitar, the Mikro, at a 22” scale. Ask one of the sales people to help you. They really know their stuﬀ.
John Epp is an instructor at Showcase Music Institute in San Jose, CA. He is an active performing guitarist in the SF Bay Area. For his full bio and media links, visit http://www.guitarshowcase.com/SMI/smi_teacher_bios.html#Jepp
Lesson certificates are fully transferrable and may be given to others to use. Limit 1 certificate per guitar. Valid for 1 year from original purchase date.