How to choose a guitar size

Written by laura dixon
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Choosing the right-sized guitar is an integral first step in selecting a new instrument with staying power. Though adults generally use the same size guitar, selecting one for child musicians can be a bit more tricky. Discover some tried and tested guidelines to help you or your child choose a guitar that fits.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Narrow down the approximate guitar size for you by considering your age. If you are 13 years old or older, you should be using a full-sized guitar.

  2. 2

    If you or the guitar player in question are younger than 13 years old, again use age as a general guideline. For acoustic guitars, a half-size guitar will likely be the best fit for 3- to 6-year-olds, a three-quarter, 34-inch guitar is best for most 6- to 9-year-olds, and 9- to 12-year-olds should fit a 36-inch guitar.

  3. 3

    If you are searching for a child's electric guitar, remember that 6- to 10-year-olds will usually use a junior electric guitar, while a short scale electric bass is more appropriate for 9- to 12-year-olds.

  4. 4

    Choose the guitar suited for the next highest age range if a child is exceptionally tall or is on the cusp of joining that age group.

Tips and warnings

  • Always verify that a guitar is not too large for a child, and that she does not have to strain to reach the guitar strings.
  • Regardless of size, only choose a guitar that has been fully inspected and adjusted to allow for easy playing and accurate sound tone and tuning.
  • When in doubt, don't hesitate to ask a guitar salesperson for help and advice. They are professionals trained in matching up the right size guitar for each individual.
  • Avoid buying the cheapest guitar you find in the interest of saving money, as you will likely have to spend any initial savings on adjustments and repairs.

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