Guitars for Kids
Guitars for Kids was a subject that I often had to deal with from parents that had the desire for their children to play this enticing instrument. I gave guitar lessons to kids for many years and tried many methods to help the small children adapt to the sore fingers from pressing on the strings, or to just physically hold the rather large instrument properly. Guitars for kids became a passion in my musical career and these are some of the things I did to encourage both the kids and their parents to make this a viable option.
If your child is below the age of 10 or is very small for their age, they will struggle with the size of the instrument and the physical requirements of pressing down the strings to get any kind of quality tone. For these children consider a ukelele. The ukelele has 4 strings rather than the typical 6, but the 4 strings are tuned exactly like those of the higher 4 strings of a guitar, with the exception the lowest string is one octave higher.
Also the strings are nylon and the scale is much shorter and with a smaller body, the instrument is easy to hold. Kids can learn all of the chord patterns and can be taught scales and to read music, just like on a guitar. When the child graduates to a standard-sized guitar, they now have all of the knowledge of the ukelele to draw from and can play that as well. High quality ukelele's can be purchased at any music store or big box store for approximately $100.00
If your child is old enough for a guitar or the ukelele is not a option, consider a classical guitar, with its nylon strings and smaller body, this is the next easiest guitars to play. The neck is shorter as it joins the neck at the 12th fret and the strings press to the fingerboard considerably easier than a steel string guitar.
As for steel string or acoustical guitars, there are many small-body guitars out there. Do not buy a cheap guitar. This will only discourage your child and he or she will quit in frustration. Go to a music store and buy the best you can afford. I often lowered the strings for kids so they could play with relative ease and "stick with it". Strings are lowered by filing down the nut (by the tuning pegs) and the saddle (on the bridge).