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Old 12-08-08, 02:46 PM   #1
substructure
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Buying a guitar for my young'un.

My daughter, 9 y.o., wants a guitar for Christmas. We actually want her to start taking lessons. But we are afraid to lay down serious coin on one if she's really not going to go at it wholeheartedly.

So, what should I look for if I go to a music shop? Or should I go to one?
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Old 12-08-08, 02:55 PM   #2
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We got a small Kiss amp, tuner, electric guitar and case as a package from a guitar shop for 200 bucks, (she was 8 at the time)
Several years of lessons she has an acoustic as well now. None of the gear is expensive as she will be outgrowing it sooner than later. You can get small acoustics for not much scratch. Now 11, It's helped her singing in the choir too, her musicality has grown in leaps and bounds, both theory and practical. Next up platinum CD to help folks retire.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:07 PM   #3
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My first guitar was a walmart-type junior size acoustic guitar.
I never did get into it

At age 9, that might be enough to get her feet wet- then in a year or two look at dropping a few more bucks.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:08 PM   #4
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Thank you.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:10 PM   #5
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Most music stores will have a series of lower priced instruments which are fine for learning the basics on. If she's 9 and wants to play guitar, I'd go with a lower priced electric guitar kit. This will come wil a guitar, amp, gig bag, and maybe a music stand and book. The electric guitar will generally have lighter strings and be easier to learn on. A steel string will be hard for a young child to learn and will hurt her fingers more. A classical will have lighter strings, like the electrical, but the wider neck will make it difficult for small hands to finger properly.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:14 PM   #6
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^+1^

The electric was definitely easier on her fingers as she didn't need to press quite so hard.
the distortion helped too, a couple power chords nice and loud and she was hooked
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Old 12-08-08, 03:17 PM   #7
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Most music stores will have a series of lower priced instruments which are fine for learning the basics on. If she's 9 and wants to play guitar, I'd go with a lower priced electric guitar kit. This will come wil a guitar, amp, gig bag, and maybe a music stand and book. The electric guitar will generally have lighter strings and be easier to learn on. A steel string will be hard for a young child to learn and will hurt her fingers more. A classical will have lighter strings, like the electrical, but the wider neck will make it difficult for small hands to finger properly.
Thanks. I will be discussing this with my wife. Much appreciated.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:35 PM   #8
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Yup, a kit is a good deal in this case. Keep all the boxes and what not and maybe you can re-sell if it's a good brand name and she loses interest down the road. Stick with Squier (Fender) or Epiphone (Gibson) if you can, for resale value and upgradability. That might run around $200ish, but check places like Guitar Center and Musician's Friend.

A Fender will be easier for a beginner. They have narrower nuts than Gibson style guitars. If you can, get a short-scale guitar (24" would be good - less is too short to get a good tone. 25" and up is hard for small hands). The average Gibson/Epiphone is 24.5-24.75"; the avg. Fender/Squier is 25.5" but both should make beginner's models with 24" scales or thereabouts.

Don't underestimate the value of a very good teacher who can inspire her. Well worth every penny, assuming she shows enthusiasm to stick with it.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:39 PM   #9
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Yup, a kit is a good deal in this case. Keep all the boxes and what not and maybe you can re-sell if it's a good brand name and she loses interest down the road. Stick with Fender or Epiphone if you can. That might run around $200ish, but check places like Guitar Center and Musician's Friend.

Don't underestimate the value of a very good teacher who can inspire her. Well worth every penny, assuming she shows enthusiasm to stick with it.
M'kay.

She's gifted vocally. Loves to sing. She stops me dead in my tracks when I hear her sometimes. So, I'm hoping she will pick this up to complement her other gift - or vice-versa.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:41 PM   #10
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M'kay.

She's gifted vocally. Loves to sing. She stops me dead in my tracks when I hear her sometimes. So, I'm hoping she will pick this up to complement her other gift - or vice-versa.
That is a good sign - this should be an awesome gift!
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Old 12-08-08, 03:50 PM   #11
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See if you can borrow a guitar from a friend that hasn't picked it up in a while. I lent my first acoustic to my friend to see if she would like it. She took lessons with it for a month or so and then gave up. Also, some shops offer demo classes to see what its like for a new student. They should lend guitars too, but only for one time purposes.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:54 PM   #12
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Look at a company called Daisy Rock Guitars.
They specialize in guitars made for females and those with smaller parts.
Sometimes the wacky heart shaped versions can be had for next to nothing. Ive checked
them out and it is a quality piece especially for what you pay.
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Old 12-08-08, 03:58 PM   #13
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See if you can borrow a guitar from a friend that hasn't picked it up in a while. I lent my first acoustic to my friend to see if she would like it. She took lessons with it for a month or so and then gave up. Also, some shops offer demo classes to see what its like for a new student. They should lend guitars too, but only for one time purposes.
^^^ +1. I would go this route. Her lessons could be her gift. Get some basic lessons and if it shoots off for her, then maybe you can get a discount for the guitar at the shop because you took lessons.
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Old 12-08-08, 04:23 PM   #14
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That's a great idea. Once the lessons take hold she'll also know better with her instructor what type of instrument would be best.
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Old 12-08-08, 05:05 PM   #15
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My co-worker just got a C850T and it sounds terrific. I'm thinking of getting a C250. Can't beat the price for the quality.

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/group.php?cid=75
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Old 12-08-08, 06:06 PM   #16
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A first Act guitar will be fine for experimenting. If she really enjoys it and wants to explore other options, then look into some of the more expensive guitars. Martin and Taylor make a great acoustic. I have two guitars: an Ovation and an Ibanez (both acoustic) and I wouldn't trade in either of them...besides my daughter has already claimed the Ibanez. She's 6 and has been playing on and off for about a year. She gets really into it and then decides she wants to do something else for a while.

Good luck!
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Old 12-08-08, 06:25 PM   #17
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I appreciate all the help with this. I'll be discussing all options with the wife.
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Old 12-08-08, 07:21 PM   #18
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Flying (lower-case) V!

But seriously, I like the borrowing idea. Lots of people have instruments languishing in their closets, and after some kind of intro course, she'll know better if it's something she wants to pursue further.
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Old 12-08-08, 07:41 PM   #19
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Yamaha makes great sounding classics. The sleeker body of Yamaha guitars will fit right with younger people as well as adults. The price is right too. I like the Yamaha CG111 . But I haven't practiced on a classical guitar in a couple of years now.
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Old 12-08-08, 09:09 PM   #20
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I think that for the money, Ibanez's are the best deal, at least that I know of. You can get a used one pretty cheap, than later sell it for about as much, assuming the economy doesn't go completely belly up.

I think a large problem with getting a cheapie (or any Fender) is that they aren't so forgiving if you don't perfectly finger the notes, and they can sound downright nasty by having a lot of static that you can't get rid of. That can make it a downright chore for someone just starting to learn, rather than something that they might otherwise enjoy.

Ibanez guitars are very forgiving, sound real nice, and you can get a pretty nice package deal on them with a sale or at a pawn shop. My friend got fully equipped with one for under 200 bucks.
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Old 12-08-08, 10:22 PM   #21
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I think a large problem with getting a cheapie (or any Fender) is that they aren't so forgiving if you don't perfectly finger the notes, and they can sound downright nasty by having a lot of static that you can't get rid of. That can make it a downright chore for someone just starting to learn, rather than something that they might otherwise enjoy.
true about ease of play being important - get a service contract when you buy it so they adjust and set up the guitar properly. You could learn to do this yourself in a day or two if you know how to use allen keys. Any guitar's playability can be improved.
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Old 12-08-08, 10:39 PM   #22
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Any guitar's playability can be improved.
I am sure that's usually true, but I have seen a very reputable pro try and fix up a really nasty Fender that was deemed by him to be hopeless. He told me that any Fender of any sort will usually be about the same. I've talked to a number of talented musicians who agree with him.
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Old 12-09-08, 12:45 AM   #23
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Im one. I just gave away a pos Fender Squire electric. As far as going to any wall-chain dept. store, please don't. Go to a music store or even better as mentioned above see if you can borrow one. Let her play a variety of instruments before you buy one, some music stores have a rent to own policy. One of my current students has bought her guitar this way.

Another point is that if you buy a wall mart special or anything like it you will never be getting a good guitar and that type of guitar tends to make tender young budding musicians run away from the instrument. Worse than riding a cheap bike.

Good on you for trying to get her a good instrument.

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Old 12-09-08, 01:06 AM   #24
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I disagree with all the suggestions for an electric. A nylon string classical guitar is just as playable, with far less pain to the fingers when compared to the electric. Especially if she likes to sing, chances are, she'll like the acoustic sound of the nylon string better than the electric sound, and she'll be able to strum along while she sings. Besides, the shape and form of a classical guitar is very kid friendly.
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Old 12-09-08, 05:09 AM   #25
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I still say let her borrow one or more instruments first. Focus on the lessons.

If she gets them in a store, they may even lets her try different types of gtrs there for the lesson so she can get an idea of what she likes before you buy something.

Mich, I am not doubting your experiences, but aside from the longer scale, my Fenders have all played beautifully, and I've had everything from the cheapest imports to the nicest US made ones sort of a Custom Shop model. I would tell someone in general a fender will have a narrower but a longer neck, while a gibson style will have a shorter but wider neck...since beginners often stick with first position chords for a year pr longer a Fender (even a full size scale) is often better because the left hand can grasp the neck more fully by the nut. Something like a Jaguar (24" scale, narrow nut) is very easy to play, and you see lots of smaller women -eg, Liz Phair - playing short scale Fender Musicmasters and the like for this reason. Joan Jett started on a Le Paul with the Runaways but went to Melody Makers for many many years now with Gibson scale but super narrow nuts width, which is where she plays a lot anyway.
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