Electric guitars for kids

Electric guitars are somewhat easier to play than acoustics. The height between the strings and fingerboard (known as the action) is lower on an electric, requiring a lighter touch to fret notes. Lower action is easier for young fingers that can’t otherwise produce the pressure to play notes clearly without strain.

For the wannabe shredders who got their burning desire to play working a Guitar Hero controller, an electric guitar is an essential. Electrics are associated with rock, alternative, metal and most pop music, while acoustic guitars lean in the direction of country-western, bluegrass, and folk. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions.

The Squier Mini Strat Electric Guitar delivers the look, feel and sound of a quintessential rock guitar—the Stratocaster—in a starter-friendly size. The short 22-¾” scale, 20-fret neck is ideal for small hands. With three single-coil pickups, master volume and tone controls, a rosewood fretboard and hardtail bridge, it produces bright Fender tone and stays in tune.

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On the downside, electric guitars can be more expensive than acoustics when you factor in the price of a guitar amplifier. They also get loud. Kids may enjoy cranking their rendition of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” up to 10, but parents? Not so much. This can be sidestepped with headphones that plug into the amp, but that is yet another expense and probably will result in a less satisfying experience for the kid itching to rock out.

Electric guitar value packages are budget-friendly and come with all the extras, usually including the amp. Aside from taking the guesswork out matching the amp and guitar, all those included guitar accessories limit your total investment.

The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack is a good example. It includes a 10W amp with overdrive for rock-ready tone, gig bag, headstock tuner, strap, cable, picks and access to to online lessons. The included Les Paul Special II guitar, based on Gibson’s iconic instrument, is full-sized, but the shorter, 24.75” scale is easier for small hands to manage.