Having potential is one thing, but having the best instruments to develop that potential is another. Learning the guitar is no different.
There’s a whole sea of guitars out there, and you can be overwhelmed trying to decide which guitar would be perfect for your child; what texture, what build, what weight, and most significantly, what size.
So, what is the ideal guitar size for an 8-year-old?
The ¾ guitar size is the best for an 8-year-old child because it’s small enough for the child to be able to reach chords and play comfortably.
Let’s go through the right ways to measure guitar size and what to look for when choosing a guitar for your child.
How Are Guitars Measured?
There are two ways guitars are measured:
To measure the total length of a guitar, measure from the headstock to the very end of the body.
Although the total length of a guitar doesn’t necessarily affect the way you play, you should keep in mind that it would affect traveling or storage.
Scale length is the recommended method of measuring a guitar size if you’re a beginner. Instead of the entire length of the body, you measure from the bridge to the guitar nut.
The scale length is crucial because it affects the way you play. For example, an 8-year-old would find playing on a full-size guitar uncomfortable because the lower frets would be too far away from the body.
What Are the Different Guitar Sizes?
Guitar-producing brands have broken down their size options into four. Each of these four options has relatively similar sizes across each brand.
The ¼ size guitar is also called the 30-inch guitar. Because of its small size, it is quite popular with children and is tagged ‘the perfect travel guitar.’ It measures about 30 inches in total length and about 19 inches in scale length.
Also called the 34-inch guitar, the ½ size guitar is prevalent among young guitar students between 5 and 8. It is also commonly found with travelers and backpackers because of its compact nature.
By the way, this guitar isn’t exactly half the total length of a full-size guitar. The size options aren’t based on actual measurements. Instead, they are based on a sizing convention to fit students’ hand-to-instrument size.
It measures about 34 inches in total length but 21 inches in scale length.
¾ size is the perfect guitar size for children between 8-11. The ¾ and the ½ sizes are the most sold guitar sizes for kids. It is also called the 36-inch guitar.
4/4 Size (Full Size)
The 4/4 size guitar is the most prominent guitar size you can find. It is perfect for kids 12 years and older, including adults. They are also called 40-inch guitars or full-size guitars.
What To Consider When Choosing a Guitar for Your Child
Here are some factors you should consider before choosing a guitar for your child.
There are three major types of guitar: classical, acoustic, and electric. I’d recommend getting the classical guitar for your 8-year-old.
Classical guitars are much lighter than electric guitars of the same size option. They are built in an hourglass shape, ideal for modern and traditional playing techniques.
Their softer nylon strings would also be easier on your child’s fingers while practicing.
Adjusted for Playability
Most people buy their first guitar and expect it to be playable out-of-box, but they get very disappointed. Before purchasing a guitar, check whether it’s playable, at least.
You have to ensure the neck is straight, the saddle is radiused and has a slight angle, so the intonation isn’t off, the string isn’t too far from the first fret, and the frets aren’t too sharp.
If not, it would be pretty challenging to play, and no amount of practice would help.
The hassle of getting the perfect size guitar for your child is real. For an 8-year-old, I’d recommend a ¾ size classical guitar because it’s the best for kids that age.
When your child is learning with the best guitar size, they’ll progress much faster.