My 8 year old is interested in learning guitar. He’ll try to play mine but his small size prevents any meaningful attempts. Does anyone have any experience with their kids leaning on 3/4 sized guitars? Assuming he decides to actually use it, does it actually help/ease the transition to learning on a full sized guitar? Any recommendations? Thanks.
Kids starting on 1/2 or 3/4 is a totally common thing. I worked at a musicstore and we sold lots of them. They are usually moderatly priced, as kids dont care for super-sophisticated instruments and parents are careful to spent a lot of money based on their kids changing raptures. However, you might want to buy a better instrument if he sticks with it to boost motivation.
If you can afford it, the investment is definitly worth it, imo. Kids at a young age are great intuitive learners. If the instrument is too big, this potential is wasted as the physical limits will prevent motivating progress.
And kids often suck at motivating themselves to push through no-fun hardship, they generally just choose to do something else in case of stagnation.
I dont know if you are talking about electric or classical/acoustic but i would recommend to ignore the commonly repeated advice of “kids shouldnt start with electric because steel hurts their fingers” (or similar stuff). If he is motivated to play electric because he likes the sound of you playing rolling stones dad-riffs, he might be less enthusiastic about nylonstrings.
The transition from 3/4 to fullsize is not a problem at all. I started with 3/4s as a kid and getting a 4/4 was just exiting because “yay, new guitar”. You grow out of it fast, anyway.
Subjective advice from personal experience: If you plan on getting him a guitar teacher and you happen to run into the “the first 4 weeks will be spend on this very amusing sequence from spanish dance no.3”-species, make sure that you just show him two or three easy rock-riffs as well. They will excite the average kid much more. At least i would not play guitar anymore if i wouldn’t have had the iron man riff to play 24324 times while my teachers dragged me through the hell that is german public music education.
sorry, wrote another novel
when I started playing at the age of 8 my parents had bought me a smaller sized nylon stringed guitar (I assume it was 3/4). The smaller size obviously helped a lot at the beginning. I had a teacher and was in a group of 4 students and I still remember that two of them had an adult sized guitar which made it harder for them to play especially when we started learning chords.
The transition to a full sized model was super easy. I dont remember at what age, but since my dad played guitar as well and had an accoustic guitar I could just try his out to see if I was ready for the switch.
I sometimes still play the smaller guitar when I am at my parents house. Switching between small and full sized guitar is a bit like switching from 6 to 7 string. Takes some time getting used to, but it’s still a guitar and plays like one.
Hope that helps.
Before you go the 3/4-size guitar route, try sticking a capo around say the 5th fret of your guitar and see if that helps.
Thing with 3/4-size guitars is they can be a pain to get into tune and keep in tune due to the short scale length. These issues can be exacerbated by the cheap tuning machines typically found on 3/4-size electrics.
If you do end up going the 3/4 route, I think Phil McKnight has a video where he suggests using heavier gauge strings so they’ll be less floppy than 9s or 10s tuned to pitch at that scale length. I think he claimed that helps with tuning stability as well. He may have suggested tuning down to Eb or D to find a sweet spot of string tension with heavier strings on that length, I don’t recall for sure.
But especially since you already have a guitar, the capo could be a super cheap solution for you if it makes enough difference.
Another solution might be a cheap (possibly used) full-size guitar with narrower string-spacing than yours, plus a capo. If it’s cheap enough, you also might not feel bad about planing and sanding the back of the neck a bit if neck girth is part of the problem. But most “student” electric guitars nowadays don’t have super chunky necks to begin with anyway.
By 3/4 do you mean 22.5" scale? Because, man, that’s all I play. I run 12s on them but 11s are fine too. Going through life as a smaller person, buying sizes that fit right off the rack is a luxury I’m unaccustomed to. So when I discovered you can actually get a quality guitar in a scale length that feels like a custom fit, I was thrilled.
I believe 3/4 is 19" scale. Most of what I’ve read is that it’s suited for 8-12 year olds and Ed Sheeran. I tried one at Guitar Center and it would take some getting use to.
Troy… 12s??? Yikes
22.5 is called 3/4 by Fender.
People like a particular tension in a string. Then, given a scale length, the string gauge can be calculated. Exercise to the reader: How many pounds of tension does Troy like?
My guitar has a 25.5” scale and I like around 13# of tension (wimpy!), hence I play 8’s.
I didn’t take in consideration the smaller scale length compensating…
8s? Lol too light for me…
Yeah 13# is super wimpy. Troy is around 18#. 12’s on a Strat would be insane.
This is immediately what came to mind. Paul designed this after seeing Lisa-X.
I looked at many 3/4 guitars for my son when he was younger. None are great, but the best of what I found was the Squier 3/4 Strat. Now that he has outgrown it I use it as my travel guitar. It fits in an over head compartment on a plane and occasionally I have removed the neck (4 screws) and actually packed it in my luggage. It sure makes a boring business trip a lot more fun.
I’ve been exploring smaller scale guitars because my left hand isn’t capable of doing more than a standard four-fret stretch without severe tension. I think I’m going to try out the PGM model, it looks fun.
I could certainly play 11s on 22.5", that would be fine. But I wanted something that wouldn’t feel night and day when I have to switch to acoustic for our lessons, and the standard gauge that bluegrass players use when they buy a set of “mediums” is 13s on 25.5" — which is crazy if you’re not used to it. D’Addario also makes a “bluegrass” set which is light top, heavy bottom, which I think is 12 on top. But not everyone uses that. So to be on the safe side, we string the acoustics with “medium” aka 13.
Didn’t know about this! It’s nice to see a player of Paul’s stature throwing some influence behind smaller instruments, ironically considering he himself is giant. Only quibble is that the proportions look a little strange. What I like about the vintage Fenders is that they feel proportionately normal, just downsized for smaller players. So if you get your technique happening there, the general feel of it still translates to larger guitars if you scale up the body positions, reach farther / spread the arms wider, etc.
The Washburn N-series also has a nice smaller body with excellent upper fret access, but the scale is still longer than I’d like.