Other Guitars

Need advice on first acoustic for 10 yr old


A friend of ours (single mother recently widowed) has a Daughter that is interested and taking lessons. I gave her an electric a few years back, a Strat copy that was smaller that I found at a Show, leads me to believe that she is serious enough to get her something decent, first thing that comes to mind is a baby Taylor, they seem to be plentiful enough. But I was thinking also about one of the new Fender or Gretsch as well. She is a very small girl, so a smaller scale model would be good. I dont usually test drive these sorts of models so I'd appreciate any ideas. Her Mom wants it to be a surprise so I can't really take her in to try them out. Thanks


IIRC the Gretsch roots models all have 24.75" scales. Baby Taylors have 23.5". I've been really impressed with the Martin Dread Jr's which have a 24" scale; both the spruce top and the mahogany-esque top ones sound quite good and play well, the mahogany one a little mellower sounding. Is she a Taylor Swift fan?


Here's a demo of three smaller guitars: Taylor GS mini, Guild jumbo junior, & Martin Dread Jr.

The Guild also comes in maple; that version sounds better to my ears than the mahogany.

I think a small kid would find the Martin to be more of a bulky armful. The narrow waists on the Guild & Taylor would probably make them an easier fit for a small player.


Is she a Taylor Swift fan? Not really, she's more of a Rocker I'd say, sort of actually looks like Pat Benetar, with an attitude.


What price you want to go to is important here. You didn't say.

For under $300 you can get the perfect acoustic guitar for a ten year old (for anybody, really). My little niece when she was nine was given an Applause A-28. Applause are the budget Ovations. If you know anything about Ovations, you know they are the easiest acoustic guitars to play. Slim necks, low action...they play like electric guitars. The budget Applause we got for my niece is an amazing guitar. Us adults like it more than our "grown up" acoustics.

Low action, slim neck, great sound, affordable...Just put on a light gauge set of strings for little hands and you have the perfect acoustic for a ten year old's first acoustic guitar. Worked wonders for my niece. She still plays it a decade later.

Don't know what the low-end Applause model is now called, but any Google search can find one cheap.


Until you stated she is a rocker and has some Pat Benetar attitude, I was going to suggest an out-of-the-box option.

So I'll simply throw this out as something to consider...

A baritone ukulele is small and easy to play, and a good springboard for a young person to transition to guitar.

Just saying...


I'm with Sanctuary, Norm. An Ovation won't be a heavy investment and they cover the most critical aspect of a guitar for a child with small hands, that being the ease of play. Thin/slim neck, low action, short scale & LIGHT gauge strings! I don't know if this group of models has a nylon string version but there's that thought as well to add to ease of playing.


Jim Dandy or a Way Out West. Don't over-invest in something that may only be a passing fascination. If the 10 year old sticks to it and progresses, then get a better quality instrument.

I'd also suggest that you get one with a normal sized neck/fingerboard. Too many kids had issues trying to relearn piano after playing toy sized Casios.


Whatever you get, be sure it has light strings and low action. If it hurts to play, it won't get played.


A Taylor GS mini can be found used in the $300 CAN range which is probably about $50 US. They come with a very well made soft shell case. They walk all over the baby taylor soundwise (I found that the baby taylor wasn't very good sounding, very tinny) and of the small guitars I've tried they actually sound very good. I took one to the balkans this year and it was treat to have. For it's size and price range I would highly recommend one.

I do have a $75 used yamaha kids guitar that I bought to take to Morocco. You could derive some enjoyment from it and I had it playing well. It just sounded more like a tin can. I would look at used instruments. you get better value for price paid.


Have a look at a the Yamaha APXT2 it is 3/4 scale with a small body and pickup.


Iv'e got one of those little Yamaha APXT2 travel guitars and it's rock solid. It's the steel string version but I put some nylon strings on so I can get my Willie Nelson on, and that works too. Tuner and pickup built in.


I got my daughter a 3/4 size Yamaha.


Whatever you get, be sure it has light strings and low action. If it hurts to play, it won't get played.

– NJBob

I was thinking the same thing and why I was going to recommend the Taylor because of the easiest action. If the Guild and the Ovation are narrower at the nut, then they may be the best option.


Thanks very much for all of the suggestions. This is a perfect example of why I love this Site so much. As this is meant to be Christmas present, after the holidays I'll share a picture of her with her new Guitar.


I was asked to make a similar decision for a friend's grandson last Christmas.

Went with a Taylor Academy series model. Very easy to hold and play acoustically and includes an on board pickup with electronic tuner.

The grandson loves it. https://www.taylorguitars.c...


I bought my daughter a 3/4 size Yamaha and she never did much with it. The steel strings hurt her fingers and chords were challenging. A year later I got her a baritone ukulele which is the same as a tenor guitar (4 strings DGBE)

4 months later she played her first gig and made $120 in tips.

Two years later she paid for half of a Taylor (I paid the other half).

I started out on a steel 6 string when I was ten and it worked out pretty good for me. Mine was a real turd but I still managed to learn fundamental chords

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