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Best Starter Guitars – Buyers Guide

Perfect Fit

A quality acoustic guitar must have good sound, durability and looks good.
 
The days are gone when you would have to empty your bank account to get a quality acoustic guitar. Now, many leading brands offer high-grade models that are available at budge prices.
 
Yet, you need to know how to choose a quality guitar. There are some on the market that look good, but don’t have the durability and have problems staying in tune.
 
The best starter guitar for any guitarist is one that fits well in the guitarist’s hands.

 When referring to something that fits well, we’re usually referring to an item of clothing. But a guitar must fit like a glove, otherwise, the beginner will soon giveup and quit. You must consider: 

  • Age and hand size of the beginner
  • Guitar construction
  • String action
  • Type of string
  • Music to be played
  • Budget.

Average Cost 

On average, a new acoustic guitar will cost between $150 and $5000 depending on the type of guitar you choose. A basic beginner’s guitar will cost between $150 and $750. The short-scale guitars start around $350 and go up depending on the manufacture.

To find the best starter guitar at a cheap price, look a leading trustworthy companies, such as:

  • Yamaha 
  • Fender 
  • Martin 
  • Epiphone
  • Ibanez
  • Taylor
  • Gibson
  • Takamine

Listed here are some of the best guitars for new beginners. They are the Fender CD-60S, Yamaha FG800, Epiphone DR-100, and the Ibanez  AW54OPN. These guitars are of good quality for a very affordable price.

Go online to eBay, find the guitar and check the customer ratings. You will find information to help you make your decision.

Fender CG-60S
Total 5 out of 5 
5 Star Rating

 

These little Beginner Acoustic Guitars sound Excellent for the Price! 

Yamaha FG800
Total 5 out of 81
5 Star Rating

This little guitar is outstanding. It’s ideal for anyone wanting to learn to play the guitar.  

Epiphone DR-100 
Total 4 1/2 out of 314-half stars

Great Starter Guitar. The tone, quality and setup is amazing. 

Age and Hand Size

This may be a strange question, but does the starter guitar fit well in the beginner’s hands? When referring to something that fits well, we’re usually referring to an item of clothing. But a guitar must fit like a glove, otherwise, the beginner will soon give up and quit. 

Smaller hands have less finger strength and power when playing a regular guitar. Play the chords on a regular guitar resulting in hurt and, sometimes, cut fingers.

The starter guitar must fit the body and hand size well. If the beginner is a small child or an older person with small hands, a child’s mini guitar or a short-scale guitar.

Child’s Mini Guitar

If the beginner is a small child perhaps a child’s mini guitar Loog Guitar would be a good choice.

The Loog Guitar designed for younger children with small hands, grows with the child. The Loog is new on the market and a great starter guitar for small children. You can get it disassembled so you and your child can put it together. As the child grows, the guitar can also grow by changing out the smaller parts for larger ones. 

 Ben Brill Music for Kids on YouTube does a complete review and recommends the Loog for his students.

Loog Guitar
Total 4.9 out of 5
5 Star Rating

 

The construction and finish are very high quality. Perfect for little hands and weak fingers.

Short-scale Guitar

The short-scale or shorter string length is easier for smaller hands to finger the chords for a full tone. They make it easier to reach between frets, which minimizes finger pain for beginners. They also use a smaller gauge string which is easier on beginner’s fingers.

A short-scale refers to the string length of 22” to 24.6” from the saddle to the nut. A short scale guitar is not a smaller bodied guitar, which we will review later.

If you use the same string gauge on a standard size guitar and on a short-scale the tuning is different. Tuned the same, the standard size guitar will have more tension. The standard size guitar has more volume capability. It also has more snap in the string action and resonance.

The Little Martins, the Taylor GS-Mini and the Ibanez AW54JR guitars are the best for small hands. These short scale guitars are more expensive than the standard sized guitars.

Taylor GS-Mini
Total of 26 Reviews5 Star Rating

The Taylor GS-Mini is great for smaller hands but is also great as a travel guitar. The guitar quality and sound are great.

Ibanez AW54JR
Total of 23 Reviews 5 Star Rating

This little guitar is one of the best buys on the market. For about $200 you get a guitar that compares in sound to an $8000 guitar. 

LXK2 Little Martin
Total of 7 Reviews 


The LXK2 is a great little guitar with amazing sound and volume. It stays in tune. Great travel guitar or for small hands.

Thinner Neck Acoustic Guitar

The flat, thinner neck guitars also make great starter guitars for smaller hands. The neck measures across the front of the neck, below the nut, not around the neck. 

Standard acoustic guitars usually measure about 1.9”. width across the neck just below the nut. Thinner necks measure between 1.61″ to 1,85″. 

Contrary to the short-scale, the thinner neck does not affect the sound of the guitar.

Fender FA-15
Total of 5 Reviews 4-half stars

The finish is perfect. The neck is straight. The action is low and easy to chord for small hands, perfect for a beginner. 

Small Bodied Guitar

A small bodied guitar is also a great starter guitar. They usually measure ¾  or ½ the size of a regular Dreadnought, Concert or even a Parlor guitar. 

The smaller diminutive body is easier to hold. Great to travel with, but still sounds good. Many artist are singing the praises of the small body.

Recording King Dirty 30’s Harmonella. Price: $199 Street
Washburn Guitars WP11SNS Price: $299 Street Price
Luna Henna Oasis: Price: $399
Epiphone EL-00 PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar: Price: $299 Est U.S. 

Yamaha APXT2 -size Thin-line Cutaway

Yamaha APXT2 
Acoustic-Electric
Total of 30 Reviews 4-half stars

This little travel guitar plays great with good action and tuning. Sounds a little thin acoustically, but great plugged in.

Six ways to help your guitar stay in tune

Guitar buyers want a good quality guitar that holds up over time even if its a starter guitar.

One of the most important things to be considered is whether the guitar stays in tune. Unfortunately, many cheaper guitars do not.

Maximize your playing time by taking the following steps to keep your guitar in tune. Take the following steps to keep you guitar in tune longer.

Here are a few tips that will help your new strings “settle in” quicker and stay in tune better.

According to the experts at Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars:  “New strings require at least of few minutes of breaking in (or stretching) before they achieve the ability to hold the desired tension, seat properly in the nut, tuners, and the ball end.”

String Action

A guitar is not manufactured correctly if the neck is warped or the strings are too high. The saddle or bridge, that supports the strings, could be cut incorrectly. (Pic of the bridge)

If the grooves are cut too deep, the string will be too low and will buzz when played.

If the string action is too high it will cause pain, calluses and even bleeding to the fingertips. Many beginners who experience finger pain stop playing.

Ways to check the action:

Purchase in store or online

On average, you will pay more to purchase a guitar in a store. My suggestion is to go into a store where the beginner can hold different guitars to determine which guitar is the most comfortable. If the instrument isn’t comfortable they will lose motivation to practice. Then, check the prices in different stores and online and choose the best deal for the best guitar for the student.

Purchasing a used guitar

Use the list above and your in-personal evaluation of the guitar that is the best fit. Check out the list of things, on our website, to be aware of when purchasing a used guitar. If you decide to purchase a used guitar buy it from someplace like eBay where you as a buyer have the opportunity to obtain a full refund if the guitar is not what was stated in the description. Don’t purchase from a pawn shop or an individual unless you take someone with you that can evaluate the quality of the guitar.