Although someone’s dominant hand may not seem like a big deal, finding anything left-handed, like a left handed children’s guitar can be a struggle. Or any products that fit their needs. Notebooks, baseball mitts, and scissors are among the many items made for right-handed people.
In reality, 10% of the world identifies as a leftie and faces struggles that I know all too well as a lefty myself. The guitar world is no different. Left-handed children’s guitars are not as easily accessible as others, which is why I have compiled this list of the best left-handed guitars for your child.
Top Picks for Left-Handed Children’s Guitars (Acoustic)
Top Picks for Left-Handed Children’s Guitars (Electric)
Can A Guitar be Played Left-Handed?
While Jimi Hendrix made it look easy by simply flipping his right-handed guitar upside down to fit his left-handed needs, it can be pretty difficult to play a regular, right-handed guitar with a dominant left-hand.
Since Woodstock, we now actually produce both right-handed and left-handed guitars, so all people can play the instrument. While some left-handed people prefer playing right-handed guitars after learning to adapt, others modified right-handed guitars by flipping them upside down and re-stringing it.
The ability to play a right-handed guitar also depends on the person’s left-hand strength. For example, someone may write with their left hand but throw with their right. Having strength and agility in your non-dominant right hand would make playing a right-handed guitar much easier compared to someone who uses their left hand for everything.
Now, in a world where we would all do anything to improve our kid’s lives, specially made left-handed guitars are more popular and becoming easily accessible.
Is it hard for a left-handed person to play guitar?
To answer bluntly, no. Some of the world’s best guitarists, including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, and Tony Iommy, were all lefties.
If your left-handed child is reluctant about playing the guitar, play them a Beatles song. A left-handed person can play guitar one of three ways:
- With a left-handed guitar: It is not much harder for a left-handed person to play guitar than a right-handed person, but it does come with a set of limitations. If you learn how to play on a specific left-handed guitar, you can not play easily on any guitar that you come across, but only on specially made guitars. While this may not be ideal at an impromptu campfire, I don’t think it would pose a huge issue for lefties in the long run. Unfortunately, the majority of left-handed guitars are more expensive than right-handed guitars. However, with the right tools and teachers, it is not harder for a leftie to learn the instrument.
- Adapt to a right-handed guitar: Besides getting a specifically made left-handed guitar, lefties can also learn by playing a right-handed guitar with some adaptations. It may seem impossible for a rightie to imagine playing the guitar with your non-dominant hand strumming, but through building up stamina and strength, it can be done with ease. It may not be the most comfortable option for lefties, but if it is the way you were taught, some can’t imagine playing any other way.
- Re-string and flip a right-handed guitar: If playing a right-handed guitar the way it was intended is just too difficult for a leftie’s muscle memory, some restring it or flip it upside down to ease the process. This has been done countless times by the most talented and famous musicians that did not have the privilege of a specially-made lefty guitar, and it seemed to work pretty great.
What’s the difference between left and right-handed guitar?
To most people, left-handed and right-handed guitars look virtually identical, however a professional can easily spot the difference.
The main difference lies in the strings, as a left-handed guitar will have the thickest string on the far right, while a right-handed guitar is reversed.
The guitars will also be mirrored in their looks, as the black pickguard on most acoustic guitars will be on the opposite side. Similarly, the guitar strap button, saddle angle, and nut are all on opposite sides of a left-handed guitar.
Basically, left-handed and right-handed guitars are perfect mirror images of each other and accommodate the reversed needs of each group.
Guitar Sizes for Children
There are four main sizes for children’s guitars, depending on the child’s age and size. These apply to both acoustic and electric guitars.
If you’re looking for a specific quality brand, know that many brands still do not make left-handed guitars for children, but a right-handed guitar can be re-strung and flipped to fit the needs of your child. The choice is yours, but there are many great left-handed options out there as well.
- Age 4-6 (3’3” to 3’9”) : ¼ size
- Age 5-8 (3’10” to 4’5”) : ½ size
- Age 8-11 (4’6”to 4’11”) : ¾ size
- Age 11+ (5’+) : full size
|4-6||3’3” to 3’9”||1/4|
|5-8||3’10” to 4’5”||1/2|
Of course, these sizes do also depend on the child’s comfort level holding the instrument, which is why taking your kid to pick out the guitar before buying is best. Some stores also sell ⅛ size for toddlers younger than four, but it is not very common.
You will probably see the ½ and ¾ sizes more common in stores, but online shops definitely have great options for children under six.
If your child is over 11 and already demonstrated interest and commitment to guitar, I recommend investing in high quality, more expensive instruments. Taylor and Martin are both top-notch brands that create guitars that will last a lifetime.
Acoustic or Electric?
Although your child might want to emulate their favorite rock star with a red electric guitar, learning on an acoustic guitar is much easier and cheaper for children. Without the amplifiers, pedals, and volume knob, your child can not get distracted and will focus on playing the instrument itself.
Acoustics force musicians to master the basic techniques of guitar, and there are no flashy distractions from your pure talent and skill. Acoustic guitars are portable and easy to bring from place to place. All you need is a case and the guitar, and you’re good to go to practice.
They are much easier to find in children’s sizes, especially for left-handed children.
Also, children can begin learning on acoustic and transfer to electric once they have proved their commitment to the instrument because no parent wants to pay hundreds on amplifiers and equipment that will only be used once.
Although I recommend learning on an acoustic guitar rather than an electric, electric guitars can have their pros for young musicians.
First of all, their strings are lighter and closer together, much easier to control for a young child. If you’re worried about the noise of electric guitar blasting through your household, remember that electric guitars can be practiced with headphones and have noise controlling buttons.
Electric guitars are more expensive, but they also last longer and can be a great investment if you choose a good one. If you can find an electric guitar that can fit your child in size and weight- or if your child can play a full-sized one- then go for it.
If your child has aspirations of playing electric and becoming a rockstar, there is no apparent need to start them out on acoustic- let them follow their dream!
If you’re worried they won’t stick with it, or it may be too difficult, start them out on a ukulele. The chords are much simpler and easy to learn, the instrument itself is quite inexpensive, and it won’t be a huge investment lost if they do not take to it.
When purchasing whichever guitar you choose, don’t forget about a comfortable strap, safe case, and some picks- as these accessories can make their learning experience a lot better.
Remember, they may not stick with it forever, but learning an instrument can be a great learning experience and can improve brain activity.
A great teacher can also make a world of difference, so be sure to research the best local teachers in your area. Group classes can also be a great option depending on your child’s comfort level and preferences, as they are usually an uplifting and community-based atmosphere.
Acoustic Top Picks
- Oscar Schmidt ½: This ½ natural guitar has a mahogany neck, catalpa sides and back, high gloss finish, and an adjustable truss rod. Available in both the Engineered Wood Fretboard and Rosewood Fretboard styles, this little guitar is easy to tune and has a beautiful shiny finish. For $160, this guitar is perfect if you have a 5-8-year-old interested in learning guitar, but want to purchase something more durable and higher quality than a cheap toy guitar.
- Martin ¾: Although it’s more expensive at $349, this top-of-the-line children’s guitar is made by one of the best brands with the best materials. If you’re looking to invest a little more in your child’s musical career or hope to hand it down, this is the guitar for you.
- Baby Taylor ¾: Another one of the highest quality guitar brands, this baby Taylor dreadnought is $369 and made from world-class materials. Again, it may be a bit more expensive, but a great deal as a long-term investment.
- Fender full size: This $289 full-size acoustic guitar comes with a solid bruce top and 20 vintage size frets, perfect for kids 11 and up. Its slim body type makes it lighter than the average acoustic, and a thin neck that is easy to handle.
- Master-Play ¼: If you’re looking for a cheaper option to see if your child enjoys playing guitar, this $40 toy wooden guitar is a great start for any young child. It comes in a variety of fun colors, along with a case, strap, and picks.
- Stagg SW ¾: This $137 starter guitar is a solid choice for your child to learn on, as it has full-size strings on a smaller body, so children can learn on real strings yet handle their instrument with ease. It comes in a variety of colors and has a protective film to prevent scratches.
- Omega Classical ¾: At just around $100, this classical acoustic guitar is a great deal and the perfect model for children learning how to play classical. It has steel and nylon strings and comes with a free bag.
Electric Top Picks
- SX RST ½ and ¾: For $139, this full electric guitar starter pack comes with an amp, instructional DVD, bag, strap, cable, and tuner. The guitar itself comes in 7 different colors and a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. This package is a steal and great for young kids just starting out.
- Rise by Sawtooth ¾: This package comes with a practice amp, gig bag, strap, and a tuner, along with an excellent starting guitar. With a basswood body and maple neck, this quality guitar package is just around $80.
- Ibanez full size: This $169 full-size electric guitar is not the best quality, but worth the cheaper price for early learners. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but the electronics and sound are great and easy to practice.
- Squier full size: This standard single-coil Fender is a fantastic, cost-affordable option at $202 for all beginners. It’s easy to play and tune, with over 54 positive reviews on Amazon.
- Yamaha full size: For $247, this electric Yamaha has chrome die-cast tuners, alder body in black or yellow, and a C-profile maple neck. Although it is full size, it is still a comfortable weight and height for a young beginner.
- LyxPro ¾: This $149 package comes with an amp, picks, straps, and gig bag along with the hot pink electric guitar. Given the cheaper price, this kit is leaning toward the toy-department, however, it is still a great starter guitar for kids.
- LyxPro Full size: This $169 guitar kit is a step up from the ¾ model, and adds a maturity to the instrument. Great for both kids and beginners, and comes with all bells and whistles every electric guitar needs.