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Strat, Tele or Acoustic for first guiltar?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by draggindakota, Oct 3, 2017.

What Type of Guitar for a Beginner

  1. Strat style

    4 vote(s)
  2. Tele style

    10 vote(s)
  3. Acoustic

    18 vote(s)
  1. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2017
    Lehigh Acres, Florida
    My son is 8 and has been showing some interest in learning guitar. I've taught him a couple of chords, and have him practicing on making the shapes and getting clean sounds.

    Which leads me to my question: I want to get him his own guitar for Christmas, but I'm torn on what to get him. He usually practices on either my Dean acoustic or my Douglas thinline tele. He can hold the tele more comfortably, but frets chords cleaner on the acoustic at this point.

    I know he would pick an electric if asked, but I'm not sure what would be the best for his development. I'm considering either the SX RST starter pack, or the SX Furrian from Rondo, or possibly a used Squire. Not sure yet on an acoustic option.

  2. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Part of it depends on whether he wants to play electric or acoustic music. My mom got me a classical acoustic when I was 10. Took lessons from a guy who was teaching me how to read music and play Mary Had a Little Lamb. Consequently I never practiced. I wanted to play rock and roll.

    If you go electric, I voted Tele, even though I've got both Tels and Strats. The Tele is simple and the controls are intuitive. IMO the Strat requires a bit more finesse to play, and I'm still figuring out how to dial in my tones with my knobs.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    rich815 and mnutz like this.

  3. mnutz

    mnutz Tele-Afflicted

    Get him whatever he is most excited about playing.

    I spent several years managing a group of guitar instructors and can say 100% that what matters most is what the kid is interested in. Kids can work around development issues if it's a guitar they are excited about.

  4. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 22, 2003
    Consider a Martin Dreadnought Jr. or a Taylor Mini GS, both short scale and smaller bodies. As a first guitar I vote acoustic.
    JayFreddy and 41144 like this.

  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member


    Sure, the boys will make fun of him, but he'll have to fight the girls off with a stick!
    xafinity, Sounds Good and 4 Cat Slim like this.

  6. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    If he has shown a normal amount of interest in an activity for an 8 year old, get him whatever will hold his attention best, what he thinks is cool and what he thinks others will think is cool. He'll keep at it as long as he thinks it's fun.

    If he has shown a burning passion to make music no matter what obstacle will get in his way, then you consider development and get an acoustic and a good teacher. Taylor and Martin both make small dread-style guitars that are pretty well-made and sound good as well.
    mnutz likes this.

  7. Jules78

    Jules78 Tele-Holic

    Dec 12, 2016
    Northern VA
    When I was starting out I didn't care what the guitar looked like or sounded like as long as I could play it comfortably. I was around 14. My first was a Washburn acoustic and it tore the hell out of my fingers. Second was a Floyd rose yamaha that was a pain because of the Floyd. In school we had classical guitars which were easy to play but I needed to plug in. Then I had an ovation acoustic electric. It was mostly plastic but I love that thing. Still got it. Strats are easier to bend but fight you a bit and always need a setup tweak. Strats are more comfy too. Teles hold a setup better for me but the fixed bridge makes bending a bit tougher and they are easier to play but don't hide mistakes. Anyway that's been. My experience, my vote is an acoustic electric with lighter gauge strings.

  8. William SantAna

    William SantAna Tele-Meister

    Aug 22, 2017
    Tele always. Start with the right foot.
    RoyBGood likes this.

  9. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    Ditto - less controls to worry about. If acoustic, consider a 3/4 size.

  10. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 24, 2011
    A cheap Squier tele is a good guitar, easy to play and almost indestructible. Spend the same money on an acoustic and you'll be lucky to get something halfway playable. My son is thirteen now. He started playing on a Squier strat when he was 8. Now he's in love with classical guitar, won't touch a pick or an electric guitar. But the electric and the rock teacher first hooked him.

  11. 9fears08

    9fears08 Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2016
    Bristol, UK
    I would definitely go with what you think will hold his attention most. My parents bought me a classical guitar and lessons when what I wanted was an electric. I dropped the lessons pretty quickly then pottered about on the classical until they finally conceded and I got an electric. I reckon I'd've gotten an earlier start on an electric and perhaps not felt overtaken by my peers who'd already been playing a couple of years earlier than me.

    In terms of an electric if you go that route I would definitely avoid one with a trem mainly so tuning is more straightforward. thoughts for what they're worth..either way, I hope they find a life long love for making music :)
    nojazzhere and Sounds Good like this.

  12. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Tele-Afflicted

    May 3, 2016
    In the South
    Ask him what he wants. Buy that.

    My first guitar was a cheap acoustic with an action you could drive a bus under. I hated it, I wanted a Strat.
    mnutz likes this.

  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Since he's playing your Tele, a Tele of his own would be best. Get a good local setup/fret level even so it plays like a million.

    Avoid the acoustic as the tension is higher. He won't notice it now when you show him ten minutes of this n that but play for a while and those strings dig in.

    If a Strat, get a hard tailed one or block the trem. Tuning up a guitar is more difficult with a trem and a trem is needlessly distracting. He'll whammy like a rock star then spend a bunch of time playing out of tune or trying to tune it or graphite the nut, on and on.

    lizzywaffles likes this.

  14. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    May 29, 2016
    I saw this somewhere and adopted it for my own use, but there I think there are four things that are good to have when it comes to learning an instrument:

    A little bit of talent
    An ear for the music you're playing
    A teacher
    Motivation to learn

    You can have all the talent, be able to play by ear, have a great teacher, but if you lack the motivation, you'll never pick it up. However motivation can easily overcome the other three if that's all you have.

    So I agree with what the others have said, get him the thing that makes him want to play the instrument and keep playing it.

    I happen to prefer electric guitar myself and I think the same $$$ will buy you a better electric than acoustic. That's to say that if you plan to drop $200 that $200 electric would be higher quality than the same $200 acoustic. Now I'm sure that's not true for every case, but electrics are cheaper to make and if you get one from the factory that isn't set up well, it's an easy fix for someone that knows what they're doing. However if the acoustic isn't built right, it's far more expensive to fix than it would be just to buy a new guitar. (I hope I don't get scorched by acoustic enthusiasts over this, but I believe it to be true.) Case in point, I had a student that had a pretty cheap blue acoustic guitar (don't remember the brand) and the intonation was so far off that the octave was on the 11th fret instead of the 12th. I told him and his mom that the guitar was fine to learn on for chords and determining if the guitar was something he wanted to keep playing, but at some point that guitar just wouldn't cut it simply because the bridge had been placed wrong, and it would never play in tune down the neck.

    Anyway my advice as a teacher and someone who loves to see people pick up the guitar, get them whatever they'll play! My advice as an electric man, get him that strat :cool:
    lizzywaffles likes this.

  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Make it a Tele, and he can fight 'em off with that, and it won't even go out of tune!!!

    I initially voted acoustic, but reading the replies, I have reconsidered....if he wants an electric, (and likes a Tele) get that....he does need to be inspired and motivated.
    My first, like many of you guys, was an acoustic with horrible action. Unlike some opinions, it does not "build strength" creates bad habits and holds back your progress and improvement. IMO.

  16. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I'm in the camp that electric is easier to learn because of the action and smaller string gauge. I would suggest a short scale something. With that said, I agree with others that whatever he wants to play is the inspiration that counts most.

    Good luck. I have a 6 year old grandson that is learning on a mini strat and a nylon strung classical acoustic. Fun to watch them learn.

  17. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2003
    I have no opinion about the original question, but do think about getting an 8-year-old a guitar and starting him down this lost highway, or road to ruin. Next thing you know, the kid will be wasting time reading TDPRI and debating whether tone really in is in the underpants and whether cargo shorts are appropriate gig attire instead of doing his homework...

  18. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011

  19. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    I was joking about the yes. I have one grandchild that was exposed to the piano very early in life because her mother is a wonderful violinist and pianist. By the time she a little more than sixteen years of age, she and her mother were playing Rhapsody in Blue a duet for piano on two baby grand pianos. (at great cost to my son I might add) I also, have two other grandkids that will stick with a new instrument sometimes for as long as a week before they say they are bored and move on to something else. It would be good if you could look into a crystal ball, and see if they will stay with what you get them, but you can't. You just have to spend your money and takes your chances. It really doesn't matter what you get him if he sticks with it, and it really doesn't matter if he doesn't. Glad to be of help!

  20. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

    Sep 5, 2017
    West Midlands
    Surely Thinline Tele = best of both worlds?

    I have great sympathy with the idea of buying what he 'wants' as being a great motivator... But, most teachers will try and get all/any ages to learn on a acoustic... to prepare players for being able to play guitar.. Whatever the guitar.
    Not sure about modern players, but Keef swears by learning first on an acoustic... I think we all pretty well know that's where you learn real technique and expression.
    . .. Just my 2p worth....
    Whatever, I hope your son develops a lifelong enjoyment in music.

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