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Thread: Buying a Guitar for a 5 year old. Input welcomed.

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    Buying a Guitar for a 5 year old. Input welcomed. 
    #1
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    So, for over two years now my son has asked me every now and again to buy him a guitar.

    He's a kid, so at least 60% of his sentences start with "Papa, buy this ****, I need it".

    But he does seem to have a bit of an ear for music, and unlike all the other stuff, he has consistently come back to wanting a guitar.

    So, buy a kid sized cheapo china made guitar and just let him have it?

    or

    Buy a larger one, still cheap, that he can grow into?

    Should I let him hack away it and potentially lose interest quickly as he has a typical modern microscopic attention span?

    Or send him to lessons and risk him being stifled/bored/uninspired by some alcoholic instructor who needs money for that night's pints?


    I can't play guitar myself. I learned a bunch of chords and riffs around seven years ago, but don't have the time to learn now. I remember being my son's age and my foks refusing to buy me a guitar and forcing me to learn penny whistle instead. I don't want to repeat that.

    Players - how did you start. How could your parents have helped/did help?
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    #2
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    my parents started me on piano when i was little. i hated it, but i'm glad they made me play an instrument. good for development and whatnot. looking back, i don't know why they didn't let me play guitar instead -- which is what i requested and what i ended up switching to.

    if his hands are big enough, i'd look at fender's intro line, squire, or gibson's step-down line, epiphone. i also haven't played in a long time, but 10 - 15 years ago both made cheap, real guitars that could be used for a good bit before the player advanced to the point of wanting something else.

    seems like it would be really hard to learn guitar at five though. maybe that's why i started on piano. how cheap is a toy guitar? because you can get a real one for about $100. half that or less if used. it could be a toy until he's old enough that it's not. i'd hold off on lessons until he's physically able to hold cords and mentally able to focus for a half-hour to an hour, as those won't be as cheap. i'm sure you could show him mary had a little lamb, a basic scale, and a g cord in the meantime.
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    #3
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    I just happen to help out at a local music shop. There are kids in there all the time. Talk to a few teachers, and see what they have to say. Your kid has massive brain power at this age. Get a few instructors to give there opinon. I've seen scaled down real guitars for kids. The only thing you can do is try. In fact, people try guitars all the time. If you go to a decent music store, you might get away with testing this idea out without investing any large sum of money.
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    #4
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    I started on the shittiest cheapest electric I could get my hands on - it gave me callouses and pain that eventually helped a ton when I was good enough to get a better one.

    I was self-taught but I tend to be like that with everything I'm interested in. Depending on how small he is, I would go for a kid's size one, otherwise you only need to take a look at the North Korean propaganda vids to see that toddlers can play full size guitars too with a bit of practice (and dictatorial force).

    Also, steel string if he's into blues/rock/folk, nylon if you're going classical/jazz, rough rule of thumb

    As mentioned, take him to a store and let him hold one and see what feels most comfortable in his hands.
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    #5
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    A gift idea from uncle Bella

    Agree with speed king, lots of music shops let you play around with the floor models. Try before you buy and a great way to find out which one works best for him.
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    #6
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    If he is going to have a chance of having a successful career in music, he needs to start learning two years ago.
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    #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadie View Post
    A gift idea from uncle Bella
    What am I Santa Claus all of a sudden
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    #8
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    All the students at my last school were given high quality Ukeleles and taught to play. It is a fantastic way to go since they are child size and yet the chords are all the same for guitar so it can be an easy transition. And coming from the self-proclaimed Ukelele Capital of the World (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/art...NEWS/100218593 and http://www.coastnews.com/santa_cruz/uke/uke.htm) as well as harboring a true admiration for every five year old in the world I think it would be a happy match. There is also a fantastic little instrument that I just saw played in South America called the Charango that falls somewhere between a guitar and a uke.

    I'm a fan of giving kids the best quality materials possible (within reason). One of my favorite art teaching jobs was in a little private studio financed by a wealthy guy with a love of children's art. His philosophy was, "why introduce the frustration of shoddy materials to someone just starting out?"
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    #9
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    Ukelele also a good choice, but they're tuned differently aren't they? Still easy to pick up (no pun intended).

    Just stay away from 5 string banjos, such a pain to play!
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    #10
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    I agree. Get him somethign high quality. If you buy him some piece of crap from Walmart, it won't even be tunable. It will be miserable to try to play. He won't learn anything and will end up hating it. I say this from the experience of having been given a junk guitar to try to play when I was a kid. It is better to have nothign than to have a piece of junk that will ruin the experience.
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    #11
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    I also really like herby's idea, that was how I was introduced to sketching/painting/etc and other mediums as a kid and it has seemed to pay off

    When it came to music I was given a shit guitar that was so incredibly uncomfortable to play and wasn't able to get into it. As a young adult I got to experience a higher quality bass that blew my mind. Totally different experience.
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    #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bella Figura View Post
    What am I Santa Claus all of a sudden
    Did I stutter uncle Bella. Seems like quite your kind of item to gift. Either that or your time. Sadly jackal isn't exactly around the corner.

    Nice idea herb. Never even crossed my mind.
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    #13
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    ...and in case you are not sold by what Bob Brozman said about the Charango, listen to this guy:https://youtu.be/0-yCgpckMSs
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    #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bella Figura View Post
    I started on the shittiest cheapest electric I could get my hands on - it gave me callouses and pain that eventually helped a ton when I was good enough to get a better one.

    I was self-taught but I tend to be like that with everything I'm interested in. Depending on how small he is, I would go for a kid's size one, otherwise you only need to take a look at the North Korean propaganda vids to see that toddlers can play full size guitars too with a bit of practice (and dictatorial force).

    Also, steel string if he's into blues/rock/folk, nylon if you're going classical/jazz, rough rule of thumb

    As mentioned, take him to a store and let him hold one and see what feels most comfortable in his hands.

    ^^ another great example.
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    #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadie
    Did I stutter uncle Bella. Seems like quite your kind of item to gift. Either that or your time. Sadly jackal isn't exactly around the corner.
    The cost of shipping an acoustic guitar to his abode far outweighs the cost of my advice. That being said, I did gift a right handed guitar to someone for their birthday (i'm a lefty and had no use for it). So maybe I am Sss ss santa after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed King View Post
    ^^ another great example.
    Thanks man
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