Getting the right guitar for your lessons!
Purchasing your first guitar can be a confusing pursuit. What size should I purchase? Which brand? And over the years we have helped so many students and families find the right instrument to start guitar lessons.
The first consideration is to determine the proper size for you or your child. The best way to be sure the guitar fits is to bring it to your first guitar lesson and have the teacher check!
The main factor in guitar size is measured by the scale length which is the distance on a guitar from the bridge to the nut:
A pretty good guideline for picking the right scale length is to measure your child from the floor to the belly button, and consider a guitar with the scale length in this table:
Child from floor to belly button—Guitar scale length
24 inches - 40 cm
26 inches - 45 cm
28.5 inches - 50 cm
33.5 inches - 55 cm
35.5 inches - 60 cm
36.75 inches - 63 cm
Higher - Full size (65 cm)
Some guitar manufactures also designate the size of their instruments by either 1/4 size, 1/2 size, 3/4 size and Full size. While the specs associated with these sizes can vary from maker to maker, a quarter size is 44 centimeters, a half size guitar is around 53.5 centimeters, a three quarter size guitar is about 58 centimeters, and a full size is 65 centimeters.
There are of course a few different components that go into the playability and sound of an instrument, and like anything you tend to pay for what you get. Since the focus of this post is largely to help families new to The California Conservatory of Music find the right instrument for them, we suggest three options to get getting started:
These guitars are good starter instruments because they are very affordable, and the necks are not too thick, which makes it easier on students to progress and build up strength. The down size is that they do not sound incredible, and the quality of tone production a student can achieve will always be limited (more on this below). That said these are a pretty good option.
At CCM, we sell new guitars made by the company Kremona. They are of really great quality for the price point. Since the instruments are made of solid wood, the tone is exponentially more rich than that offered by Yamaha, and while this seems like something not so important for a beginner to most, it is in fact crucial. Learning to create a beautiful round sound on the guitar requires the student differentiate between the thinner, “tin-like” tone that most students start to produce at first, and to be able to differentiate between the two makes the student LISTEN deeply and with focus. This is so key!
Kremona Price List (Tax included)
52mm neck width at nut, 650mm scale length
48mm neck width at nut, 620mm scale length
46mm neck width at nut, 580mm scale length
46mm neck width at nut, 560mm scale length
42mm neck width at nut, 510mm scale length
42mm neck width at nut, 440mm scale length
Student Guitar Exchange
If you are current student at CCM, you can always login to our Student Login Page and go to our “Family Guitar Exchange - Buy/Sell Used Guitars “ Here you can find guitars owned by families who either took or take guitar lessons at the school, and have out grown their guitar. Please contact the families directly for more information about their guitar!
We hope this helps you find the right instrument and are always happy to help you find the right instrument for your needs. If you need any help at all, please contact us immediately! Follow this link to learn more about guitar lessons at our school.