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Nov 9, 2018 - 10:43:06 AM
2 posts since 12/17/2014

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.


Nov 9, 2018 - 11:11:09 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)


22183 posts since 8/3/2003

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.

Nov 9, 2018 - 11:20:32 AM

Paul R


10951 posts since 1/28/2010

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.

Nov 9, 2018 - 11:39:13 AM

50283 posts since 12/14/2005

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

Nov 9, 2018 - 11:44:08 AM

1409 posts since 1/16/2010

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.

Nov 9, 2018 - 12:00:37 PM
Players Union Member



10700 posts since 5/24/2005

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

Nov 9, 2018 - 3:13:47 PM
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2042 posts since 7/28/2015

Does he want to play acoustic? I don't see any reason to buy an acoustic if he wants to play electric.

Nov 9, 2018 - 3:27:20 PM

2153 posts since 4/16/2003

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"...

Nov 9, 2018 - 4:23:44 PM

596 posts since 10/16/2014

I like the Yamaha FG-800 and FS-800, both $200. I’d go to a music store and buy the best playing one.

Nov 9, 2018 - 4:34:17 PM
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82625 posts since 11/7/2007

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.

Nov 10, 2018 - 5:05:14 AM

2200 posts since 10/9/2011

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.

Nov 10, 2018 - 5:54:20 AM

2 posts since 12/17/2014

Thanks for yall's input, hope to jam with my grandson someday. You guys are the greatest.

Nov 10, 2018 - 6:10:52 AM

13826 posts since 12/2/2005

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).

Nov 10, 2018 - 7:00:29 AM
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3829 posts since 6/30/2015
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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.

Nov 10, 2018 - 8:29:36 AM

2057 posts since 2/16/2017

I second the Yamaha student guitars, very nice for the cost.

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