Electric Guitars and Amps
There's a good selection of electric guitars out there too, but remember you will need an amp as well so include this in whatever budget your thinking of. Some electric guitars will come in packages with amps and cables etc. and this can often be slightly cheaper.
There are many manufacturers out there but I would stick with the best known brands of Fender and Gibson. They do great 3/4 size electrics. Apart from these two giants, there are some other ones that tend to be ok if you want a more affordable option.
Here's an example:
These would be my choice though as they are better quality, will hold tune better, and are good enough to last a while and also hold resale value:
Epiphone by Gibson
As with the acoustic guitars, you will generally need to buy a case separately for your new guitar.
There is lots of choice out there, so here are a few suggestions:
If you go for an electric guitar on its own, then you will need an amp too. The best ones for kids in my opinion are the better known brands Roland, Yamaha, Marshall or Fender. These have more options than the cheaper ones available, like overdrive, distortion and often effects built in, which means they'll be good for lots of different genres. They also have a better sound and build quality and will stand more wear and tear. Some even have headphone jacks so you don't have to worry about the loud electric guitar bothering everyone.
The Fender Frontman and the Marshall MG10G are both very simple, having very few controls and no built in effects, like delay or reverb. But simple is sometimes a good thing and they do have a headphone out and an aux in so you could play backing tracks through them and play along, and also practise quietly with headphones on.
The Boss KTN-MINI is a great little amp that has more options with 3 different sounds available: clean, overdrive and brown (distortion). It also has a delay effect built in, which is great fun and sounds really nice and warm. It, too, has aux in and headphones out but, unlike the other amps, it runs on batteries. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how you plan to use the amp.
The Roland Micro Cube is just fantastic. It has 8 different sounds available ranging from clean all the way through to heavy rock; it has 8 different effects, which all sound very cool; it has aux in and headphones out; it can be plugged in for power or use batteries. It has everything you need and more and is actually what I use at home myself!
And finally, if you really want something special there's the Yamaha THR5. This has 5 different amp sounds from clean to mean and lots of onboard effects. It has Aux in and headphones out, and can also be used with either an adapter or batteries. It also has an inbuilt tuner, which is pretty handy. This little amp really does sound special and can even be connected to your computer for recording. It comes with the software needed to do that too.
More Useful Information
Don’t buy something cheap from a toy shop as these are often very difficult to play and go out of tune all the time. They can become very frustrating very quickly.
When you do get one, check out the nut height. If the nut is cut badly and is very high, playing the first fret in particular is extremely hard as the string is very high above the fretboard. This also leads to another issue which is that because you have to push the string down so far, it pulls the note out of tune. So even when the guitar has been tuned, it’ll still sound terrible.
I see this issue all the time.
If your child is left-handed, this really is not an issue at all. If you’re buying a nylon string classical style guitar and can’t find a lefty version, you can generally just swap the strings around, so the thinnest is now where the thickest was etc.
With electrics this can still be done (look at Jimi Hendrix) but the guitar will obviously be upside down. This can limit functionality as the controls maybe be harder to reach as will be the highest notes on the guitar.
The good news is though that lefties are being produced more and more often by manufacturers.
And that’s it. Hopefully some of this information has been useful and I wish you all the best in what will hopefully be a lifelong journey for your child in learning a wonderfully versatile and rewarding instrument.
Please note if you purchase any of the items from clicking on the links above, you help support my lessons and website as a whole as I receive a very small percentage of any sale.