Buying your child the perfect guitar can certainly be great fun and yet can also be massively frustrating.
You have a huge selection of brands, styles, and colors to choose from. There are many factors to consider before purchasing your child’s first guitar. What brand should I buy? What color would my child like? Can I afford this? These are all questions that will arise, so I would like to help you plan a strategy to make your guitar-buying experience easier and more fun!
Unlike any toy guitar you may have purchased when your child was younger, this new guitar will be a life-long investment. Please remember you are providing your child with a beautiful opportunity to play music. This new guitar will be with them for many years. I still have the first “real” guitar my parents purchased for me; it is a 1987 Fender USA Stratocaster in charcoal grey with a maple neck. I cut my teeth on that guitar, so to speak, and it certainly helped me become the player I am today.
Now let’s get started on your shopping experience. The first thing to consider is how much you are willing to spend? There are two factors. First, what style of music does your child prefer and second, what is their level of interest? Just how serious is your child about playing the guitar? Let me give you a personal example – as a youngster, I used to jump around our living room with a toy guitar jamming to Skynard. Later when my dad was given his father’s 1939 J-45 Gibson, I played the fire out of that guitar. As a parent, my father could observe the style of music I preferred and my level of interest in playing guitar.
Once you have a price in mind, the next step is to go to a local music store to check things out. Ask lots of questions. Tell the clerk what styles of music your child listens to and their level of commitment to playing music. Ask what guitars would best meet your child’s needs and why. The clerk will (hopefully) ask about your price range and then assist you as best they can with choices within your range.
After looking at your options in the stores, I would recommend researching the guitars you liked on the Internet – take the time to educate yourself. An unexpected source of information may be your child. At this point you may have several specific brands/models in mind. Try hinting about certain brands to your kid. Your child may know more than you think and it may help you to narrow your choices.
So you have broadened your knowledge of guitars by shopping in person – seeing and touching – asking questions about guitars in stores and by shopping via the Internet. You have narrowed your choices by slyly “consulting” with your child. Now it is time to shop by phone. Call all of the local music stores to shop for the best price. Find out who has the best deal.
Now, you’re ready to re-visit select stores. At this stage in the process, you need to decide whether or not to take your son or daughter to the store with you. Obviously, you want them to love this guitar and you may want to involve them directly in the purchase process. However, be careful of their excitement level in choosing. If you choose to take your child with you, it may benefit you to invite a third person, someone else who knows guitars, to join you on this final phase of shopping.
Well, you have done your homework and now your child has an awesome guitar he or she will cherish forever. Your investment will never go unnoticed and it will make you happy when you see your child enjoying such a fine instrument. Whether they choose guitar as a hobby or go on to become a professional player, you have provided a gift like no other. I know I have certainly been very blessed. I am thankful my parents were willing to invest the time and money in the whole process of buying a guitar for me.
To all you young guitarists out there, never give up, stay true to yourself and your dreams, and keep on pickin’. God Bless!
Guitar Player Extrodinare