Give your kid an early start on music with one of these beginner guitars
It's never too early to get your kids excited about music, and what better way than putting an instrument in their hands? Learning (and teaching) guitar can seem intimidating at first, but there are plenty of small, short-scale models that make it much more approachable for beginners and kids. For our money, the Martin LX1 "Little Martin" is a nearly perfect acoustic guitar for kids, but there are plenty of cheaper options out there.
Best Overall: Martin LX1 Little Martin
The Little Martin isn't the cheapest guitar when it comes to getting started, but it offers everything you could ask for in a simple acoustic, and brandishes the famous Martin name. The Little Martin is a 3/4 scale guitar with a 23-inch scale length, meaning it's smaller and easier to play than most acoustics, making it perfect for young musicians still building calluses in their fingers.
The HPL mahogany back and sides of the guitar give the LX1 the warm tones that Martin is legendary for, and the sitka spruce top helps it look as nice as it feels and sounds.
The only potential downside to the Little Martin is that it lacks the electronics found in some other acoustic guitars, meaning you won't be able to plug this one directly into an amp or find an onboard tuner. Of course, being an acoustic guitar, the sound hole naturally projects your playing, but you'll need to mic up the LX1 to record audio.
Short scale for convenience and comfort
Great build and design
Naturally warm sound
Includes a padded case
Expensive for a first guitar
Martin LX1 Little Martin
$349 at Amazon
A nearly perfect short-scale acoustic
Martin is one of the most revered acoustic brands, and the LX1 is an excellent short-scale guitar that's easy on the eyes and ears.
Best Nylon Acoustic: Yamaha CGS103All
Nylon-stringed acoustic guitars are a whole different ball game than steel-stringed ones, and while the wider neck can be intimidating for some, the payoff is well worth it for fans of the unique sounds that a classical-style guitar can offer. Nylon acoustics are an excellent option, particularly for finger picking styles.
Yamaha's CGS103 is another 3/4 scale acoustic, helping make the neck more easily approachable. The neck profile is surprisingly comfortable, and the pearloid tuners keep the strings from slipping out of tune. Like the Little Martin, the CGS103 has a spruce top, though the back and sides are made of meranti. This is an overall fantastic introduction to classical guitars.
Excellent for finger picking
Comfortable neck profile
Warm, dark sound
Wider neck could be a difficult adjustment
Best Nylon Acoustic