Looking for the best small classical guitar for kids? A 3/4 sized classical guitar will make a perfect beginner guitar for a child aged 7-8 and over (around 4′ 6” plus), or even just as a petite option for players with smaller hands.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, a 3/4 sized classical guitar is generally going to be the right size for a child aged between 7 and 12, or around 4 foot 6 inches and over. It’s important to make sure that you purchase a guitar which is the right size for your kid. An instrument which is too big (or too small!) can make practising very uncomfortable, and will lead to bad playing habits and discomfort.
So what is the best small classical guitar for kids I hear you ask? Well, depending on your budget there are 3 different options that I can happily recommend.
Scroll further down the page for a more in-depth look at each of these fantastic guitars. I’ve also included one more option for those who need a guitar in a specific color. But just before you do, there’s a couple of quick questions I’d like you to think about…
Is a 3/4 Size Classical Guitar Definitely What You Need?
Before you dive in and buy the guitar, let’s take a step back. Is a classical guitar definitely the best choice for your child? Many young players start out on one because the nylon strings are softer on inexperienced fingers, but this is a poor reason to pick classical over other styles. All guitar strings will hurt at first, but you know what? Calluses form and that problem is quickly forgotten about.
For that reason, you should really start your kid out on whatever instrument it is that they ultimately want to play. If classical or flamenco is what they’re into, a nylon strung classical guitar is the way to go. But budding Ed Sheerans are going to make much better progress on a steel-string acoustic. Get the wrong style of guitar and you are only going to potentially cause discouragement.
How Much Should You Budget?
The good news about starting on a classical acoustic is that they are generally the most affordable style of guitar. You don’t need an amp, cables, or even a pick! This means that your money should stretch further when compared to buying an electric guitar for example, which needs a whole host of other equipment to go along with it. So with that being said – how much should you spend on your kid’s first classical guitar?
The answer is always – as much as you can comfortably afford. Within reason of course! I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy a custom made Contreras as their first guitar (although how cool would that be?!) – just don’t pick up whatever is on special at Toys ‘R Us or Best Buy.
A beginner guitarist actually has a greater need of a quality instrument than a seasoned player. Someone who has been playing for a while can work around the problems associated with a cheap guitar, whereas a beginner cannot. They will be fighting with the guitar from day one, which is almost certain to cause discouragement. A cheap ‘toy’ instrument might have some (or all!) of the following problems:
Trouble staying in tune
Strings Buzzing Against Frets
Poor Tone Due To Low Quality Materials/Construction
Bad habits learned on a low budget guitar will stick with a player for life, and could potentially lead to injury in the worst cases. Do yourself and your kid a favor, and start them off with an instrument that won’t let them down.
Best Small Classical Guitar For Children
Yamaha CGS103A – Most Popular Choice
Yamaha is famed for producing guitars which seem to punch well above their price range – and the CGS103A is no exception. Check out the glowing player reviews at the link below to find out why it is the world’s best selling small classical guitar.
It features meranti back and sides with a spruce top, nato neck and rosewood fingerboard. Its short 22.8″ scale-length coupled with a very affordable price point makes this Yamaha 3/4 size classical guitar absolutely perfect as a first instrument for younger players.
On a tighter budget it is going to be hard to beat the Omega classical kit from RondoMusic. At a mere $50 it is absolutely ridiculous value for money, and it even comes bundled with a gigbag! It won’t quite stand toe-to-toe with the Yamaha or Cordoba, but for such little money you really wouldn’t expect it to.
It features basswood back/sides and a spruce top, coupled with a basswood neck and nato fretboard. A comfortable 23″ scale length on this 3/4 size classical guitar will make it a breeze for young players to get along with. Check out the positive player reviews by visiting the link below.
Because sometimes, it just has to be the right color! The Stagg C530 is available in the 6 fantastic colors shown above, plus a few more – click the button below to see the full range and read the glowing player reviews.
It features a basswood top, back and sides, coupled with a nato neck and stained maple fingerboard. A comfortable 23.2″ scale length makes this an ideal small guitar for a young beginner. Coming in at just $110, this is a lot of guitar for such little money.
Last in the list of small classical guitar picks is my choice for those of you with a bit more cash to splash. The Cordoba Cadete is around twice the price of the Yamaha above, but definitely worth stretching to if you can.
The solid Canadian cedar top and mahogany back/sides is coupled with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. It is the only guitar on this list to feature a highly sought after solid wood top. Without going into much detail, solid woods will generally sound better than the laminate options found on less expensive guitars. Combine that with the higher quality hardware and construction, and you have one serious little classical which will be sure to give a rock solid playing experience to a lucky young player.
Due to its quality construction, once outgrown this instrument will also continue to be of great use as a portable travel guitar! Check it out by hitting the button below.
Due to the shorter scale length (the distance between the bridge and the nut) of the guitar, the strings on a small classical guitar will require a lower tension in order to reach the desired pitch. This means that if you opt for a set of regular gauge strings they will probably feel fairly loose and floppy on the smaller guitar. This isn’t ideal as it will be much easier to accidentally bend strings out of pitch.
For that reason, your best bet would be to pick up a set of strings which are made specifically for a small classical guitar. As a D’Addario player myself, I can happily recommend their EJ27N set.
Although nylon strings don’t tend to break as readily as steel strings, they do tend to become grimy and smelly fairly quickly – yuck! For that reason I’d recommend picking up an extra set or two when you buy your guitar. Get into the habit of having at least one spare set around at all times so that you’re not left high and dry when you do break one.
In addition to picking up an extra set of strings, there are a few inexpensive accessories that you’ll probably want to consider purchasing as well. Although totally optional, these will make life a lot easier for your child.
Click here to check out another article I’ve put together which details some of these essential accessories.
So there you have it folks – hopefully this article has helped you find the perfect small classical guitar for your child. As a bonus, once outgrown, a 3/4 size classical guitar will continue to serve you for years to come as a great travel guitar!