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tuned guitar/ukulele for small kids?

605 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  carmel23
I think my 3yo would really like a small guitar (she always wants to play my big one), but I'd like to find something that comes tuned in such a way that she'll be able to strum and have it sound pretty- any inexpensive ideas? There are some kids guitars for around $20- should I just get one and tune it myself so that it makes a pretty chord? Should I be concerned about strings breaking and being a safety issue?
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i have never found a good sounding cheap guitar. but i have found good cheap ukelele's. you have to be careful about the bridge that keeps falling off.

i looked for deals and actually bought my dd a real guitar. she used to play with her friends toy guitar - but oh what a different way she had when she was strumming her own real one. she was really 'playing' her guitar but fooling around with her friends.

so i would say spending the money on the real stuff made a huge difference to my dd.

oh and check out freecycles. i found a real children's violin that way. all i did was ask.
For a three year old, I probably wouldn't bother with a real guitar. We got DS one of those $20 ones for his third birthday and it has seen a LOT of use. It doesn't sound pretty, exactly, but neither would one properly tuned given how he plays it. A kid doesn't want to spend a lot of time tuning a guitar and I don't know that any guitar for any amount of money will actually stay tuned.

Depends on the kid. At almost 5, DS is still pretty happy with his cheapie kid guitar. In another year or so, we'll probably see about starting him on a real instrument.
I would like to get one too. If anyone has a brand recommendation or a web link where they bought one they liked (guitar or ukulele) that would be appreciated!

Originally Posted by meemee View Post
i have never found a good sounding cheap guitar. but i have found good cheap ukelele's.
Me, too. I got rid of dd's guitar because it wouldn't stay in tune (the tuning knobs weren't designed well enough). I found her ukelele at Goodwill and it's great.
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DD is a small 3.5 YO and we decided to get her a uke, too. Her dad is a musician, so I knew he'd have very little patience for something that sounded like heck and didn't stay in tune. We've been really happy with the $25 uke! (Oh, and by the way, you can get guitar style tuning pegs and violin style ones. I think the guitar style stay in tune better, but that could be just my non-musician ignorance speaking...)
First Act kid guitars do not stay in tune at all. My husband would tune it, strum it twice and it would be out of tune again. I do not suggest getting one of those.
One more idea - our neighbor gave us a lap guitar that used to belong to their son, and my 4 YO DS loves it. He can follow the "sheet music" to play songs, and creates songs on his own.

My son also has a ukele that my sister gave him some time ago, and he will often "play" along when my husband is playing the guitar.
There are a few things you can do. You could look for a place that has a McNally Strum Stick

Which sounds good no matter what you strum. Although it is a little longer then a ukulele, it is really small and kids love it.

Or get a ukulele and learn how to tune it so that it is "an open tuning"-- basically, so that the strings are all tunes to play a note even if they aren't pushed down on on the fret board, if that makes sense? The beauty of guitars/ukuleles are that you can tune them ANY way you want!

The strum stick is really cool and our kids love it. Please don't waste your money on the "kiddy" guitars. They usually really bad, all apart and discourage kids from play because they are made so poorly. If you do buy a real instrument, just show your child how to hold it, and try to not let them walk/run with it. We have a special place in our house where the instruments can be played, they can be moved CAREFULLY are just work hard to train the kids to always sit down before playing. Sometimes they want to rock out and need to stand, so a shoulder strap that actually fits them is a good idea, but watchout for going through doors.

But just like anything, kids learn to treat them with respect and love. See if there a is music store with a strum stick nearby... they're totally fun. (it is also known as a mountain dulcimer. )
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