The relationship between acoustic and electric guitars cannot exactly be characterized with battle or some sort of competition. These two instruments have their own players and even the most skilled electric guitarists sometimes tend to play the good ol’ acoustic guitar. However, when it comes to buying the instrument for your kid, things must be considered really carefully. Apart from the preferences, there are a lot of factors that should have an impact on your decision. If you are wondering whether you should get an acoustic or electric guitar for your kid, keep on reading as I list down all the things that might help you in your choice.
Before discussing these two instruments and their pros and cons for kids, it is important to mention one minor issue. The main determinant of your choice must be the requirements and preferences of your kid. If your little buddy loves the music that can be played with only electric guitars, you should definitely get him/her one. It is important not to force anything on them, since it can result in the hatred of the instrument in general. After all, there are great options in both cases, be it an acoustic or electric guitar. Now that we have this out of the way, let’s get started!
There are a lot of arguments in favor of acoustic guitars. First and foremost, they are easier to play in terms of the beginner ear. The mistakes the child makes will be more audible and, subsequently, it will be easier for him/her to grasp what should be changed. In this sense, acoustic guitars are better learning tools than electric ones. This is especially true if we are talking about the first ever guitar your kid will encounter. In a way, acoustic guitars are more righteous, they do not hide any incorrect chords and notes and allow your child to master the beginner techniques in a simple manner.
It is true, though, that acoustic guitars have a lot of action. This means that the strings move further from the frets which might be a bit difficult for a kid to get used to. However, you can easily find an acoustic guitar that has little action and is quite flexible.
Another factor that interferes with your choice is, of course, the size of the instrument. We must not forget that we are talking about a small person, someone who can barely pick up the backpack. Acoustic guitars can be found in all shapes and sizes, which makes it easier to find the perfect one for your kid. Electric guitars do not have this advantage, since they have relatively the same size. Depending on the height and the age of your child, you should try to pick out the one that will be easy and comfortable for him or her to hold. Generally, a small rule applies here: 3’10” – 4’5” children can utilize a 30” guitar, 4’6” – 4’11” can play a 34” one and 5’ and higher kids can easily play the 40” guitar. The weight of the guitar will vary depending on the size as well, so pay attention to that too.
And finally, acoustic guitars are generally cheaper. When I say this I do not mean just the guitars. I mean that they do not require any additional gear in order to be played. If you lean towards the electric guitars, you will definitely have to buy the amplifier as well (at least a smaller one).
What about the electric guitars?
What if your kid does not even want to hear anything about the acoustic guitars? What if he or she is insisting on having the electric one? Well, then you will have to put everything we talked about aside and grab whatever they want. But do not worry, electric guitars can be pretty great for kids too!
All the factors that we discussed above do also come into play in terms of electric guitars. You should certainly look out for their size, weight and playability. For a beginner kid, just about any electric guitar will work. Just make sure that they do not have any over-complicated features and messy electronics. This way it will be easier for your child to understand what he or she is doing and how to achieve the desired result.
Even though acoustic guitars are a bit easier to learn, they are not as fun and adventurous as electric guitars. If your kid is raised on rock legends and his/her ear just loves sustain, then there is no reason why you should deprive him or her of the opportunity to become those legends themselves. As they grow, they will change their taste and musical style as well and their first guitar will not be their last either. So why not?
No matter how much we talk and what factors we discuss, the main boss here is your kid. Let him or her listen to both instruments and see what they like better. Let’s be honest, they do not care about the technicalities. They just want to play what they love. Simply consider the factors that I have listed down today and make your final decision accordingly. The main thing is to help your child develop the skills that might turn into the actual career in the end. Embrace their creativity and both acoustic and electric guitars will be there to help. Good luck!