Best Electric Guitar for Kids – We Review Our Top Picks For 2020

So you’re in the market for an electric guitar for the aspiring young musician in your life. Maybe you’ve been hunting through pawn shops and local music stores and haven’t had any luck, or you just don’t know where to start.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. These are the best electric guitars for younger players. And don’t worry, we’ve covered just about every budget and price point imaginable.

Snapshot: Top 9 Best Electric Guitars for Kids

  1. Fender Squier 3/4 Size Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar
  2. Dean Custom Zone Solid Body Electric Guitar Fluorescent Green
  3. GROTE Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar
  4. Squier Affinity Telecaster
  5. Ibanez GRGM21BKN 3/4 Size Mikro Electric Guitar
  6. Ibanez AX 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
  7. ESP LTD EC-256
  8. Epiphone Les Paul SL
  9. Epiphone SG Special

The 9 Best Electric Guitars For Kids

There are a lot of reasons why you might be shopping for an electric guitar for that young rock star in your life. Maybe they’ve outgrown that $30 acoustic you found at a flea market when you weren’t sure if they were going to stick with guitar lessons.

Whatever the reason you need an electric guitar for kids, this list should help you tremendously. We put together this list based on real-world feedback to help parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and just about anyone else pick the perfect electric guitar that 3/4 sized or full size and is easy to play for a child or someone with small hands.

Having a good instrument for a child to learn on is vital during this stage because a low-quality guitar can cause frustration and heartache …especially if your budding guitarist ends up spending more time tuning than playing.

The guitars on this list are in various sizes perfect for younger players four to twelve, so that they can play comfortably and successfully for years to come. Many of these electric guitars are also priced very affordably, so you won’t be spending a fortune just to find out your little shredder is actually a monster of a drummer.

Finally, while they’re all great guitars out of the box, many of these are ripe for upgrades and improvements as well, so they can grow with your child as they grow in knowledge and skill (and size).

1. Fender Squier 3/4 Size Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar

Fender Squier Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar Bundle

We have to start with the classics, and nothing is more classic than a Fender Stratocaster. The Strat has been played by everyone from Hendrix to Halen, and is perfect for your future rock god.  

Body & Neck

The first thing that must be addressed here is that this is a 3/4 sized guitar. This guitar is intended for a smaller, younger player. It’s perfectly sized for your childs growing hands and will last them into their teens, maybe even longer as a guitar they can travel with.

That being said the neck on this 3/4 sized Strat is a classic C shape with 20 frets and is made of maple with an Indian Laurel fretboard. This gives that classic Rosewood look at Maple prices. It’s a scaled down version of the timeless Bullet Strat. The Poplar body is available in every classic Fender color plus an orange finish I haven’t seen before.

Electronics & Hardware

In keeping with tradition Fender has opted for three single coil pickups wired with their 5 way switch. This allows for the choice of Neck, Neck & Mid, Mid, Mid & Bridge, or just Bridge. This is the same set-up as 95% of full sized Strats on the market. Something unique to this model is its fixed bridge. Most Strats have a tremolo bar. However, tremolo bars are hard to balance, hard to tune, and are kinda fragile. The fixed bridge, while simple, is bulletproof and a perfect feature for a guitar that will definitely take a beating over the course of its life.

This kit includes an instructional DVD, a clip on Tuner, a strap, a few guitar picks, and a trial subscription to Fender Play (virtual guitar lessons).

An important thing to note is that the more expensive version of this bundle contains a 10 Watt amplifier that will be more than enough to shake the walls of their bedroom/studio.

Sound

Squier Stratocaster Single Coil Pickups: These pickups have the classic warm tone with a very crisp high end that you would associate with a Strat. And while I wouldn’t use them to play a theater or record a multi-platinum album, they are more than fine for backyard concerts, jam sessions, and family get togethers.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Indian Laurel
  • Pickups: Stratocaster Single Coil Pickups
  • Bridge: Fixed Fender Hardtail Bridge

Nothing beats the classics.

Final Thoughts on Fender Squier 3/4 Size Kids Mini Strat Electric Guitar

There is a reason that the Strat is a classic. It’s iconic, versatile, and elegant to boot. With this option being perfect for many of the rock greats, and the smaller 3/4 size form factor is perfect for a child and younger players.

2. Dean Custom Zone Solid Body Electric Guitar Fluorescent Green

Dean Custom Zone Solid Body Electric Guitar Fluorescent Green

Is your aspiring musician trying to stand out from the crowd, make an impression, or scare their Grandparents? Then this is the electric guitar for them. Available in both green and pink this guitar screams punk and metal, and being a Dean it is incredible quality for its price point.

Body & Neck

The body is Mahogany, but no one can tell beneath the radioactive fluorescent green paint job that covers both the body and neck. Speaking of the neck it’s made out of a single piece of maple and has a C profile sporting 22 jumbo frets. The Strat style double cutaway body makes the guitar feel familiar and classic, while the paint makes it more outlandish than a Gibson Explorer.

Electronics & Hardware

This electric guitar has dual humbuckers that are designed to avoid feedback and should be able to handle whatever passes for a punk venue now-a-days. They are wired into a 3-way switch with one volume knob and one tone knob; all you need. There is a “Vintage Tremolo” bridge which has individually adjustable saddles, and at the other end of the guitar are Dean tuners. The hardware on is all black, making that slime green pop even more.

Sound

DMT Humbuckers: These are the in-house brand for Dean, and are quite good pickups despite not being a household name. These pickups really are intended for heavier music. They respond really well to low and mid range notes while still having decent high end response. Their primary goal is to sound good while distorted, and they deliver on their promise.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Painted Maple
  • Pickups: DMT Humbucker Pickups
  • Bridge: Vintage Tremolo

A loud guitar, both sonically and visually.

Final Thoughts on the Dean Custom Zone Solid Body Electric Guitar

This electric guitar is so cool, your child will love it. It takes me back to being in middle school staring at the crazy guitars wishing I could afford them, except this Dean is extremely affordable! It is an insane looking guitar that will match the Dead Kennedys and Misfits poster on your lil’ anarchist’s wall.

3. GROTE Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar

GROTE Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar

Let’s switch things up a little. Maybe you want your small noisemakers guitar to be a little more versatile? Then try this Semi Hollow body guitar. With natural amplification, the Grote Semi Hollow Body is a multi-faceted guitar. Similar guitars have been used by artists like B.B. King to artists like Streetlight Manifesto. With its classic 335 styling, this electric guitar always belongs, no matter where it is.

Body & Neck

So, unfortunately, this guitar is from a Korean company and they have not put too much effort into translating their product descriptions for the english speaking market. For example, its only listed as being made of “Solid Wood”, however guitar has pretty astonishing resonance for unknown wood. The semi-hollow body guitar is perfect for practicing un-amplified, then showing up to the school talent show, plugging in, and rocking the house. This is a full-scale guitar with a set-neck, a feature usually found on more expensive guitars like Gibson.

The neck appears to be made of a Rosewood-esqe material with Mother-of-Pearl style inlays into the fretboard. The guitar is finished in gloss cherry and looks 2 cool 4 school.

Electronics & Hardware

Dual-Coil Humbuckers: This guitar comes with two Humbuckers that have an astounding amount of clarity and high end. Almost every time I’ve heard a student on this guitar, they’re playing some tasty jazz riffs with crystal clear sound. These Humbuckers are wired to a 3-way switch, with each pickup having its own volume and tone knob.

Sound

For a relatively unknown brand, Grote has some surprisingly good sounding guitars. The volume off of the acoustic side is loud and has a good amount of resonance, while the electric side is clear and bright. A perfect starter guitar that you could play if the musician in your life decides to move onto something else.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: “Solid Wood”
  • Neck Material: “Solid Wood”
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood?
  • Pickups: Dual-Coil Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic Two piece fixed bridge

A cheap version of an expensive icon.

Final Thoughts on the GROTE Semi Hollow Body Electric Guitar

It’s a cheap version of an expensive icon, and it holds its own. A really great beginner guitar with room to grow.

4. Squier Affinity Telecaster by Fender

Squier Affinity Telecaster by Fender

You may be thinking “that doesn’t seem like a kids guitar, that’s a real guitar” and you’re right. The reason I’m putting this guitar on this list is that this was the guitar I had as a child. It’s a fantastic and flexible guitar the feels at home in a Honkey-Tonk as well as a basement show.

Body & Neck

One of the main reasons I recommend the Tele as a kids guitar is the neck. This piece of maple is perfect for smaller hands while still being playable by full sized adults. It is a guitar that you can grow into. The Alder body is literally the oldest electric guitar design in America and while the guitar isn’t a double cutaway like it’s brother, the body feels natural and doesn’t get in the way of using the higher frets.

Electronics & Hardware

Telecaster Pickups: This pair of single coil pickups sounds great no matter what you are doing. Any style sounds great coming out of this guitar. A new style Tele hardtail allows for each string to have its intonation perfectly set while the tuners on the head keep everything perfectly tensioned. Everything on here is durable and battle-tested. It can survive whatever is thrown at it and keep going.

Sound

Telecasters have, in my humble opinion, some of the most iconic pickups. Period. Their sound is so clear and bright, while possessing the classic twang. It sounds perfect running through a vintage tube amp, or through the most affected Line 6. While these pickups are a little prone to feedback, learning how to properly set the levels on your amp will solve this problem. This guitar properly screams, and you should try it out.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Alder
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Maple
  • Pickups: Telecaster Single Coil Pickups
  • Bridge: Fixed Fender Hardtail Bridge

A guitar you can grow into.

Final Thoughts on the Squier Affinity Telecaster by Fender

Again, there is a reason that the classics are still around. Fender has had 70 years to fiddle and hone this guitar. If it’s good enough for both Tom Morello and Jimmy Page, it’s good enough for the aspiring musician in your life.

5. Ibanez Mikro Electric Guitar

Ibanez Mikro Electric Guitar

So your shopping for a younger, smaller guitarist. But this young shredder was raised on Metallica, Steve Vai, or Alien Weaponry and wants a guitar that matches their preferred genre of music. Then look no further, Ibanez has the guitar for you.

Body & Neck

This is another 3/4 guitar, like the Strat we recommended before. Unlike the Strat, this guitar was built to shred. In true Ibanez fashion it has a low profile maple neck with 24 frets embedded into the Jatoba fingerboard, allowing your metal master to shred in two octaves. The body is Basswood finished in Blue, Black, White, and Sunburst. And while I prefer the look of stained Basswood, these finishes are so shiny you can’t not love them.

Electronics & Hardware

There are some unique Japanese electronics here. There is a 5-way pickup selector that allows for some funky pickup layouts, including one that uses one coil from each of the Humbuckers. A six saddle fixed bridge makes string changes quick and easy and the chrome tuners do their job just fine.

Sound

Ibanez Infinity Pickups: A solid pair of humbuckers. These pickups are great for practicing through heavy distortion and will have no problem capturing the sickest pinch harmonics and the fastest sweep picking. These pickups sound amazing no matter what distortion you throw at it, whether its a DS-1 distortion pedal or a Metal Zone the guitar with cut through and sound perfect. However, what this 3/4 size electric guitar has in overdriven clarity it lacks in warmth of tone. If you’re looking for a guitar for your Jazz trio, maybe keep looking.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Basswood
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Jatoba
  • Pickups: Ibanez Infinity Pickups
  • Bridge: F106 Ibanez Bridge

An amazing guitar in an amazing form factor.

Final Thoughts on the Ibanez Mikro 3/4 Size Electric Guitar

It’s a tiny Ibanez for a tiny shredder. There’s not much more to it. It’s a rock-solid 3/4 sized guitar from one of Japan’s best manufacturers. Pick one up and watch your favorite little musician practice their craft. This is an amazing guitar in an amazing form factor.

6. Ibanez AX120

Ibanez AX120

This Ibanez is very different than the last one on this list. This guitar is a recreation of a double cutaway Gibson Les Paul, but at a price tag we can all enjoy.  A re-imagined vintage that feels like new-old-stock. A perfect guitar for a beginner that wants to look like a pro.

Body & Neck

This super old school Basswood body looks great. From its irregular shape to its metallic paint job (I’m a sucker for metallic red) it is a showstopper. There’s something so funky about the body shape, halfway between an SG and a Les Paul. It’s got a maple neck with a classic rounded profile and 22 medium frets. It really can handle anything from Kumbaya to St. Jimmy with ease. The more I talk about this the more I wonder why it isn’t in my collection!

Electronics & Hardware

Ibanez Classic Elite Pickups: These humbuckers work and sound great. They are wired in the Gibson style, with two volume knobs, two tone knobs, and a 3-way switch. The two piece fixed bridge is really nice, and has groves strategically cut into it to allow for speed-of-light string changes. This guitar is gig ready out of the box and it can’t wait to start playing shows.

Sound

They sound as they are advertised. They are really well rounded, with an emphasis on midrange. They sound “classic” reminding me of every classic rock song recorded on a Gibson. This is a do anything guitar. No matter what you ask it to play it can handle. More flexible than a contortionist,  this guitar is truly special. You just have to hear it with your own ears.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Basswood
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard Material: Jatoba
  • Pickups: Ibanez Classic Elite Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Gibraltar Performance Bridge

Ready for anything, and any type of music.

Final Thoughts on the Ibanez AX120

I love this guitar. I used to play a guitar similar to this and it was one of my favorites of all time. It’s good at everything, sounds good through anything, and looks amazing. This one really is a no-brainer and perfect for any young musician 9 and up.

7. ESP LTD EC-256

ESP LTD EC-256FM

Want vintage style with modern performance? Check out the ESP LTD EC-256! Don’t let its 68 year old styling fool you, it is cutting edge when it comes to features.

Body & Neck

The mahogany body has a nice weight to it, with only the pointy cutaway hinting at its true nature. This guitar looks absolutely stunning in white with its black hardware and binding. And while I prefer this colorway, it is also available in Matte Black. This time the mahogany neck is glued to the body instead of bolted on. The 22 fret Jatoba fretboard is inlaid with stunning asymmetrical white accents. But that’s not the most interesting thing about the neck. The most interesting thing about the neck is the “Thin U” profile. This makes it perfect for playing fast higher up the neck. If you have a young metalhead but want them to have an understated guitar, this is the way to go.

Electronics & Hardware

ESP LH-150: This pair of humbuckers is unusual for ESP. Most ESP’s come with active pickups from EMG, however those require 9-volt batteries and take a little too much maintenance for my taste. This pair of humbuckers are wired to two volume know and a push-pull tone knob. The push-pull splits the neck pickup from humbucker to single coil which allows for absolutely screaming single coil solos, with a more balanced humbucker for the verse and chorus. A Tune-O-Matic bridge allows for perfect fine tuning and the Headstock is adorned with 6 blacked out tuners. This thing looks powerful and I love it.

Sound

The sound is warm and full bodied. These humbuckers are intended for practicing and playing live. They’ll sound good through most distortion and other effects, but they lack the warmth a body usually associated with higher-end humbuckers. Overall a great guitar for day to day use, but maybe when your tiny creative is heading to the studio they should use one of the guitars there.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Jatoba
  • Fingerboard Material: Mahogany
  • Pickups: ESP LH-150 Humbuckers
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic

Looks cool, feels fast, plays smooth.

Final Thoughts on the ESP LTD EC-256

A minimalist and understated guitar packing raw shredding power. There is nothing not to love here. It looks cool and feels fast. A perfect introduction to the world of guitars for the young virtuoso in your life.

8. Epiphone Les Paul SL

Epiphone Les Paul SL

Another kit for beginners, this time from another giant in the guitar world. The Epiphone Les Paul SL is a cross between a Les Paul and their old Melody Maker guitar. With the best parts of two icons, there’s more than enough to love here.

Body & Neck

The Poplar body is cut in the familiar Les Paul shape, but with a plastic pickguard housing the electronics. A bolted-on D-profile Mahogany neck helps drop the price while still providing an Epiphone profile that is preferred by so many guitarists. With simple dot inlays you can quickly distinguish which of the 22 frets you are on. While this electric guitar comes in Black, Cherry Burst, and a Heritage Burst I much prefer the Turquoise, Pacific Blue, and Sunrise Yellow paint schemes. A kids first guitar should look awesome, and an obscure paint color makes your guitar feel a little extra special. The headstock is a classic Les Paul Headstock, which is much nicer than the Melody Makers slim headstock, which prevented it from being hung on a wall. This is the perfect guitar for banging out power chords or jamming along to some vintage Taylor Swift.

Electronics & Hardware

Epiphone Single Coil Pickups: This is where more of the old Melody Maker shows itself. These single coils are a departure from Epiphones preference of humbuckers. They are wired to one volume knob and one tone knob, with a 3-way selector switch allowing for full control of the sound. A seriously throwback component, the one piece bridge, comes set up from the factory and is completely mistake proof. You could knock this off your guitar and drop it down a staircase, and it would still be properly intonated.

Sound

These pickups are really unique. The bridge pickup is twangy, almost like that of a Telecaster, but the neck pickup is very bassy with a really good break-up. If you use both pickups at the same time this kids electric gets some really wild tones that are warm, bright, and really rich. You have to give this one a listen. It’s so good. 

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Poplar
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: Epiphone Single Coil Pickups
  • Bridge: Epiphone Wrap-around Bridge

Looks wild, but with classic Les Paul style.

Final Thoughts on the Epiphone Les Paul SL

A really cheap entry into the Epiphone/Gibson family with unique tones and wild styling. This electric guitar is so simple, yet still punches well above its weight class. It also shipped as a kit with gig bag, picks, a strap, a tuner, and a tiny battery powered amp. While this amp won’t fill a school auditorium, it will make the recipient feel like a rock star right out of the gate. 

9. Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone SG Special


So when I was a kid, The SG was the coolest guitar. The SG was the Guitar Hero controller as well as the axe of choice for AC/DC. So while I may currently be living in camp Fender, the SG still has my love.

Body & Neck

Both made of Mahogany and finished in either Cherry Red, Pelham Blue, or Ebony  this guitar looks amazing and feels amazing. It has some really weird and unique dimensions. While the body is incredibly thin, the neck is incredibly fat. This neck feels great whether you are trying to be Green Day or trying to be Angus Young. The neck is bolted on as a cost saving measure, but it is the same shape as the significantly more expensive Gibson Models.

The signature “devil horns” allow for easy access to the higher of the 22 frets, which gleam next to the rosewood fretboard. This legend of a guitar will make anyone look like a rock star, even if they can only play Seven Nation Army and Smoke on the Water.

Electronics & Hardware

650R and 700T Epiphone Humbucker: These pickups have the classic Gibson sound but not the classic wiring layout. This guitar instead opts for one volume and one tone, with a 3-way selector switch for pickup choice. A Tune-O-Matic bridge keeps everything in check and 6 Epiphone tuners keep it tight at the other end. An unusual feature of all SG’s, the one strap button is on the end but the other one is attached to the back of the guitar. This takes a little getting used to but is totally fine once you’ve adjusted (or if it’s your first guitar and you know of nothing else).

Sound

The SG sounds so good. I could describe the sound more to you, or you could listen to Thunderstruck on repeat. This is the sound that rock and roll is built on: a full mid and bass, with solid high end that doesn’t sound twangy or excessively bright. I know that I have said “Classic Sound” so many times in this article but there is no other way to describe an SG. It’s a legendary electric guitar for a reason.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: 650R and 700T Epiphone Humbucker
  • Bridge: Tune-O-Matic

It’s a legendary guitar for a reason

Final Thoughts on the Epiphone SG Special

I love the SG. It’s so freaking cool and would make for a great beginner guitar for your child. As a kid I wanted this guitar so bad but could never scrape the cash together for one. Don’t suffer my fate, Start your kid with an SG and watch them prosper on a rock icon.

Real Guitars for Budding Rock Stars

Just because an electric guitar is being given to a kid doesn’t mean that it is a toy. Giving children proper tools allows them to practice skills properly. By getting your child a real electric guitar to learn on you are giving them a chance to pick up a lifelong skill, passion, and hobby.

Some guitars were omitted from this list because they were on our 9 Best Intermediate Electric Guitars In 2020 list. I highly recommend the Jem Jr. not just because I am a Steve Vai fan, but because it’s a solid guitar that would be great for beginners.

Want one last trick to make one of these guitars feel amazing? Try putting Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings on it. They make a world of distance and cost so little. I would put them on any guitar before I gave it to a young player. Other than that, many of these guitars come with all the basic accessories that are needed as a kit, so you’re not going to have much more to buy.

When it comes to learning to play the electric guitar, it is best to get started by finding the right size kids electric guitar for your child as it will be easier to play.

All of the guitars on this list are endorsed by us and will bring joy to whoever ends up receiving it. Whether they want to strum along to the radio or learn to play guitar at the speed of lightning, there’s something on this list for everyone. So have fun gifting, and make your future rock star’s day with one of these awesome electric guitars for kids! 

Further Reading:
About Tim Grgas

I am a freelance writer and musician, currently based out of New York. I love making music and all the tools involved in the process. I love sharing my knowledge in a way that helps other musicians on their own journey, and helps build and improve their craft.