Hohner is a brand that is more well known for their harmonicas and accordions. They produce some of the best instruments in these categories. You could even say they are industry leaders in these niches. While this guitar is not quite up to the same standards, it is a decent entry-level instrument. It also comes at a more than fair price.
The construction of the body of this guitar is Agathis wood. It’s not the most resonant tonewood but for the price you pay, it is pretty decent. The fretboard is also generic hardwood. With these features, you can’t expect this guitar to sound like a guitar that costs twice as much. However, this guitar is not a toy like some of the even cheaper classical guitars available. This guitar actually plays fine and sounds like a real guitar and is not built of plastic.
This guitar will hold its tune for long enough to play a few songs. The tuners are budget and with a plastic nut so it will need tuning after it has been idle for a while. Yet, it is ready to rock once tuned.
You may want to switch to a new set of strings once you get this guitar. The included ones are a little dodgy. Consider buying a set designed for small guitars. They are relatively cheap to buy and easy to change.
This is the lowest budget guitar we can wholeheartedly get behind. Spending less will likely net you a generic rebranded Chinese guitar. These often have no quality assurance standards. These kinds of guitars can have a range of issues from tuning to sharp frets and warped wood.
Martin is one of the most popular manufacturers of premium acoustic guitars. They are well known for making beautiful rich-sounding instruments. Of course, these little guitars don’t sound as good as their $2000+ models but they are one of the best for a tiny guitar.
These guitars are available in a range of different tonewoods. This means you can get the sound and aesthetics you want out of your guitar from the get-go.
These guitars are also available as an acoustic/electric model. Having a pickup means they are perfect for a working musician to travel with. The internal pickup is of decent quality and sounds good when plugged in. You may need to boost the bass a little on the PA but then you will sound like you have a full-size guitar.
All the hardware and bracing are of a standard you could expect from a big brand guitar manufacturer. That means this guitar suffers less tuning stability issues than many other small guitars. It also implies a rich and full sounding tone.
These guitars are available as an Ed Sheeran signature model. They are a little more expensive and don’t add a lot of value to the overall quality of the guitar. I would steer clear of the extra spend unless you or your child is a massive fan.
At a 23” scale length these guitars teeter between a 1/2 size and 3/4 size guitar. The small body is much smaller than most 3/4 guitars though so they are still a suitable choice for children.
If you are after something a touch smaller I recommend a Baby Taylor. They are similarly priced, slightly smaller, and of similar quality to Little Martins. It was a tough choice to choose a favorite between these two types of guitars for this position on our list. Both of them definitely leave most of the competition in the dust.
Okay, these guitars don’t sound as good as the Little Martins. However, you can often pick these guitars up for less than half the price of the Martins'.
They are a good instrument for the cost. A perfect choice if you don’t have the budget for the more expensive 1/2 size steel strings.
They have good tonewoods with a spruce top and mahogany neck. The rosewood fretboard also plays well and adds to the sparkling tone of these guitars.
Sometimes, these guitars come equipped with a composite fretboard. These are not as good as a rosewood one so check before you checkout on Amazon if you decide to get this guitar.
These are available in a range of different colors. The clear gloss finish is my favorite but the other colors may suit your children better. The bright pink one is a particular standout.
The hardware on these guitars is of acceptable quality. You shouldn’t expect any major tuning issues or immediate problems with warping.
An overall decent guitar. Definitely our favorite ½ size steel string in this price range by a mile.
Electric guitar sizes are a little different. The scale length of a 3/4 electric is similar to a 1/2 size acoustic. Therefore, your child could be comfortable playing one of those instead.
Since we have a full article on the best ¾ size electric guitars we have only included super small guitars here.
This little bad boy eats all the dodgy 1/2 size generic electric guitars on Amazon for breakfast. There aren’t many options for ‘real’ 1/2 size electric guitars and this is one that can rock the house.
This small scale length of this guitar makes it an amazing choice for a traveling musician. The fact that electric guitars also have a smaller body than acoustics doubles down on this fact. For these reasons, this is likely the best 1/2 size guitar in terms of portability.
This guitar can fit pretty much anywhere. Its small size also makes it easy for small kids to pick it up and reach around the body and fretboard easily.
This guitar has high-quality tuners and comes with strings designed to stay in tune. As mentioned in our FAQ, tuning stability is a common problem for small guitars. Avoiding this is a godsend when starting to learn.
Unfortunately, this also means the string tension can be more like a full-size guitar. This can cause sore fingers as your child first begins to learn. They will develop calluses, but nobody wants to see their kids in pain. Even if it’s only mild and just for a few days.
The pickup is also of a higher standard than most other 1/2 size guitars. This means the guitar will sound better plugged in. Couple this with superior tonewoods to the competition and you have a guitar that stands head and shoulders above the others.
I have to be honest here. Most 1/2 size electric guitars in this price range come from the same factory. Even if they are different brands. You can tell by looking at the headstock shape, the body shape, and a few other giveaways. They are mass-produced rubbish.
These guitars are more for sparking an interest than for long term learning. You would be much better off going for one of our recommended ¾ size electrics. Getting a nylon string guitar could be another option to save money.
These will work and sound okay but will be very susceptible to many problems. These can include tuning issues, warped necks, and bad fretwork. This will especially be the case after prolonged use.
Forget about age. The size of the guitar is relevant to the size of your child. This is so they can get their hands and arms where they need to be.
A 1/2 size guitar is suitable for a kid that is around 3’9” to 4’6”. Other factors can also come into play. For example, your child could have large hands for their height. They may be more comfortable with a 3/4 scale guitar if this is the case.
If you think they are due for a growth spurt it’s better to go for a 3/4 size guitar. That way they can grow into it. Just like buying a pair of shoes a few sizes too big.
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Usually 18-22. If you’re new to learning guitar you won’t often go past the first 5 anyway. If you’re a shredder that wants the extra reach you won’t be able to get as much sonic range as some full-size guitars. Sorry.
Small guitars often have trouble staying in tune. This is because the tension of the strings is lower than on a standard size guitar. Less tension means less stability in the strings. This is also not helped by the cheap hardware on many small guitars. It is a good idea to get a clip-on tuner to help keep the guitar in tune.
Smaller bodies on 1/2 scale acoustics cause them to project less sound. This is because the sound from the strings resonates inside the body of acoustic guitars. A smaller body means less resonation and less volume. Electric guitars don’t have this problem. They get their power from the magnetic pickups rather than the body of the guitar.
Nylon string guitars are usually the best for beginners. They are easier on the soft fingertips of new players. They often have a little bit more space between the strings too which makes it harder to pick at the wrong ones.
Playing steel-string and electric guitars will take time to build callouses on your fingertips. They form after a short while but can put you off wanting to go back and practice in the first few days/weeks. Many prefer the tone of steel-string guitars. For you, it may be worth going through this short period of discomfort.
Electric guitars also need to plug into an amplifier. If you don’t have an amplifier already you have to consider the extra cost of buying one.
This depends on how much use you think it will get. An expensive guitar in all categories will play, sound, and even look better in most cases. The potential problem with a 1/2 size is that it may only see use for a short while before another guitar replaces it.
It’s a matter of choice for the individual. Personally, if I had the budget, I wouldn’t look twice at a dirt-cheap guitar. Something in the middle will always be better than the bottom if you can’t afford the premium products.
Hi, I'm Chris, the owner, creator, and head writer for InciteMusic.com
I have been a touring cover musician and a teacher for the last 10 years and take helping people to achieve their musical goals very seriously.
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