“Mum, Dad, I want a guitar!” Awesome that your child has decided to become the next Steve Vai, but what now? Once you can see that your kid is serious and the instrument won’t be discarded after a week, you ask yourself: How do I buy the first guitar? We’ve got a few handy hints for you, courtesy of The School of Rock.
What guitar brands are ideal for young beginners?
The two greatest guitar brands, Fender and Gibson, each have subsidiary brands that are ideal for beginner guitarists. They are called Squire and Epiphone. Many music shops even sell these guitars as part of a starter kit that includes guitar amplifier, -lead and -strap. For just a few hundred Euros, your child can be up-and-running in no time and will soon be shredding classics like ‘Smoke on the Water’. And if you’d prefer to maintain the peace and quiet at home, the same brands also offer a great range of acoustic Country & Western guitars.
Acoustic versus electric for my child
May parents wonder about the difference between starting out on acoustic or electric. “It’s the same instrument, but playing an electric guitar is often a bit easier for beginners”, says The School of Rock. “But what your child prefers is what’s most important. If your child loves the instrument, it will take less time for him or her to learn how to play it. Is your kid more excited by an acoustic than an electric guitar? Or is his heart set on that jagged-edged heavy metal guitar?”
Of course, the sky is the limit when it comes to cost. But your primary goal is for your child to persevere with the instrument. So choose a guitar with a reasonable price/quality ratio that is an ideal beginner’s instrument and suits your child.
A few tips for buying your child’s first guitar
When it comes to many guitars, the price difference is in the fine-tuning. We don’t want to go into too much detail, but check the following: Consider the curve of the neck, the type of strings, rattles caused by incorrect adjustment of the bridge, etc. These are all matters for which a good music shop should be able to provide advice or assistance. If it’s well-tuned, a somewhat less expensive guitar can sound a whole lot better!
Get the shop to tune the guitar for you. And if you as parent don’t play the guitar yourself, ask one of the shop assistants to strum a few chords. You’ll quickly notice if it sounds strange. This can be the result of tuning, but can also be caused by an instrument that is hard to play.
If you’re interested in an electric guitar, hook it up to the amplifier and carefully turn all the knobs. If you hear crackling sounds, the internal electronics might need cleaning. This is a problem that can be easily solved, but it’s just as easy to go for a model that isn’t affected at all.
Invest in quality guitar lessons
You’ve bought the guitar! Now, to keep your child excited about the instrument, it would be wise to invest in good-quality, fun guitar lessons. First attend a few trial lessons with different academies or tutors. It’s important for your child to ‘click’ with the tutor and the teaching method. The traditional approach whereby notes are first learnt and theory books completed might not equally suit all children. If, for example, your kid already loves rock music, it would be wise to incorporate the genre into his or her lessons. Your child will enjoy the lessons and mastering the instrument will come easily.