If you really want to make sure you get a high-quality instrument at a great price for your child, our top pick is the Squier by Fender MINI Strat. This is a ¾ size electric (22.75″ scale length) that is a smaller version of the very popular Squier Bullet by Fender. Its small size and light weight make it a great first instrument for kids ages 6 to 10. It plays well, stays in tune, and is the perfect size for younger kids. Once your kids move onto a full sized model the Mini Strat can be used as a travel guitar for players of all ages
The body is of course the standard Stratocaster shape, which has been proven over time to be a great design and is one of the most copied shapes around. The Mini Strat has nice vintage Stratocaster look to them that comes in classic colors like Black, Torino Red, Blue, Sunburst and not so classic pink. The finish is glossy and smooth, and both the body and the neck look and feel like a real Strat.
This is an easy instrument to play. The neck is smooth and very nicely finished and the strings are close to the frets, making it easy for small hands to play and progress quickly. Also, the smaller size and light weight of the body makes it comfortable and easy for kids to hold. Generally players can play this model right out of box with little in the way of modifications.
This is a decent sounding Stratocaster with a good strong tone. It sounds like a strat, so it’s a little twangy, which is nice. For the most part it stays in tune well and has no noise from the pickups.
The electronics on the Mini Strat are decent for the price. It has 3 single coil pickups which are standard Squier Strat features so it does sound like a typical Stratocaster.
The hardware is very solid on this model. The tuners aren’t the greatest but they are fine for kids and will work well enough to keep it in tune, and they are easy to use once they have gotten used to them.
All in all, for the price you would be hard pressed to find anything better. These Mini Strats are easy to modify and customize (if that is something that you are into). Everything on this guitar is solid, and it’s assembled and finished nicely. One issue with workmanship on cheaper guitars is frets that aren’t done well and the fret end can be a little sharp on this model which can be a bit of a turn off for kids, although in this price range it isn’t uncommon.
Things to look out for with this guitar
The strings that come with the guitar are a bit light for a short-scale guitar which can lead to tuning problems. It’s a good idea to switch to a heavier gauge string if you don’t like having to tune the guitar often. Although the more practice your kids get with learning to tune their guitar, the better, so you may want to leave the string as they are.
The tuners can be hard to turn when the guitar is right out of the box, but usually with use they will loosen up.