12 year old Grandson is interested in learning to play guitar. Any suggestions as to size and brand. Want to get him a decent one, but don't want to spend to much money, I have been down this same road with drums, if you know what I mean.
You might check out the baby Martin and little Taylor guitars. Not full size, but have a decent tone, easy to pick and he can learn on them and move up to a bigger guitar as he grows.
I don't know what they go for now. When I bought my baby Martin, it was around $250 but that's been several years ago and the price has probably risen.
Are you close to a store? Check their inventory (and what they can order in). "it depends" is the usual advice. You may want to check out reviews (for example, go through guitar reviews in the "gear" section of the Acoustic Guitar magazine Web site - they occasionally review budget guitars).
You can get decent guitars with solid tops for reasonable prices. They would make good second guitars if the kid decides to keep at it and move up to a better instrument. As to size, for a twelve-year-old of average size (again, "it depends"), you might look at a size OO, OOO, or OM. They are smaller than dreadnoughts and have thinner bodies, too, the easier to get one's arms around.
For example, a couple of years ago I bought an Epiphone AJ-220S/VS, with a solid top and laminated back and sides. While it's not close to my L'Arrivees ('72 and '83), it sounds fine and has user-friendly action, a good choice for a beginner. It's the same size (and sunburst finish) as a '60s Gibson J-45 I once owned, and actually sounds better. The choice of strings will make a difference, too.
I would recommend RENTING a good one.
Then if he doesn't like it, you're not out several hundred $$.
Even better, renting a baritone uke.
Same notes on the strings, MINUS those two big fat hard to push down LOW strings.
Easy enough to move up to a 6-string later, after learning a few uke chords.
Edited by - mike gregory on 11/09/2018 11:39:46
Check out a Harmony Stella guitar. Small parlor sized, easy to play, cheap...made out of some good woods too. Ebay is full of old Harmonys.
I would recommend a small thinner guitar, imported for price, maybe with a pickup built into it. (your kid will appreciate that. ;-) I would make sure action is comfortable. I like my Loar parlor. Recording Kiing has a good variety.
A moderate duty case as well. He is not a kid anymore, so he is ready for an adult sizing in my opinion, but does not need to be a dreadnought. Good luck, Brad
Does he want to play acoustic? I don't see any reason to buy an acoustic if he wants to play electric.
If he's interested in acoustic, you might look for a Blueridge or Eastman in 000-size, unless he's "big enough" for a "D"...
I like the Yamaha FG-800 and FS-800, both $200. I’d go to a music store and buy the best playing one.
My son was a little younger when he wanted to learn guitar. I bought him a solid top Little Martin (they also make laminate and composite versions). It is a surprisingly playable and good sounding guitar.
I tuned it to open D (DADF#AD) so he could make nice sounding music easily. He transitioned to standard and other tunings easily. He’s now a performing musician. Trumpet is his primary instrument but he’s a decent guitarist and plays mandolin and bass as well as piano and other brass instruments.
Just as with a banjo, make sure the guitar is set up right. There's nothing more discouraging than playing an instrument that hard to play!
Is this a surprise? If not, you might take him to a guitar shop,give him a price range and let him pick his own.
Rental is also a good idea but don't rent anything TOO expensive or he might not be satisfied with anything less when it comes time to buy.
Thanks for yall's input, hope to jam with my grandson someday. You guys are the greatest.
For the money, I'm pretty impressed with Seagull brand guitars. They offer a lot of bang for the buck, and they're made in North America (Quebec, to be precise).
I would look at the Fender Squire Mini. It is a 3/4 size Strat that sounds good and is easy to play. Electric guitars are generally easier to fret than acoustic and that can mean less frustration. Usually around the holidays these are offered in packages that include an amp and other accessories for not much money.
I second the Yamaha student guitars, very nice for the cost.