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Need starter acoustic for my son that's easy to fret

clay49

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,633
My 13 year old son wants to learn to play, but the $250 Alvarez I picked up for him is incredibly hard to fret, which is discouraging him greatly. I was thinking about picking up a used Michael Kelly Hybrid because it is a thin hollow-body acoustic-electric that basically has the neck of an electric guitar, which would be much easier to learn on. Any other options under $500 I need to investigate?
 

jhumber

Member
Messages
1,435
I cannot recommend the Taylor GS mini enough. Amazing neck, very comfy 23.5" scale, and a scaled-down GA shape. Oh, and tone that will leave you dumbfounded at the price of the guitar!
 

BigPapiFan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,555
I don't want to dissuade you from spending more money, but perhaps a good set-up and a lower gauge string set would make the Alvarez more playable.
 

CyberFerret

Member
Messages
10,036
I don't want to dissuade you from spending more money, but perhaps a good set-up and a lower gauge string set would make the Alvarez more playable.
Good point. I got my 9yo son a fairly cheap (but surprisingly good) Cort acoustic as a starter guitar. He was playing it OK but finding it difficult with the .12 gauge strings that came on it. I lowered the action slightly and put .11s on there for him and he is finding it MUCH better and easier to play.

Probably doesn't sound as good to my ears, but he doesn't care as long as he can fret some bar chords easily. As his hands get stronger and his technique gets better, I might go back to a heavier gauge...
 

Sweetfinger

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,744
Get the Alvarez set up. It doesn't matter how expensive or "good" the guitar is, you need to spend the fifty bucks or so that it will take to get a low action with some lighter strings. There's no need to run out and buy a more expensive guitar that will likely need the same work.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,583
yep, it's all about the setup; if he's learning to drive and the steering wheel is too far away, do you buy him another car?
 

RussB

low rent hobbyist
Messages
11,158
Yes, a good set up is what your sons guitar needs. A set of .010 gauge strings help a beginners fingers as well. You are experienced enough to know that, too. ;)
 

facesfan

Member
Messages
423
It's not just about a good set up on an Alvarez. Highly recommend, a great set up on any guitar but the Alvarez necks are too cramped and skinny. OTOH,Seagull,Simon and Patrick and all those Canadian brands have too big of a neck. It's really hard for me to think of anything in that price range to except for the previous Taylor GS Mini but there again, the scale is pretty short feeling but could get your son up and running with good playability and sound. I think those come with Elixr mediums from the factory....get them off of there and put Daddarrio ph. Brz. Lights (or lighter) on and you'll give your son a great chance at success.
 

SideBMusic

Member
Messages
1,520
Yes, a good set up is what your sons guitar needs. A set of .010 gauge strings help a beginners fingers as well. You are experienced enough to know that, too. ;)
Agree. And I have a Taylor GS Mini. Light strings will be important there too.
 

porterfield

Member
Messages
123
Get the Alvarez set up. It doesn't matter how expensive or "good" the guitar is, you need to spend the fifty bucks or so that it will take to get a low action with some lighter strings. There's no need to run out and buy a more expensive guitar that will likely need the same work.
Best advice ever! Most guitar shops that sell lower end guitars do not set them up and in most cases have no business doing so. Find a quality tech and invest $75 on a good set up. Then teach him G,C,D and watch him go!
 

tastylicks

Member
Messages
936
Consider buying a used Yamaha. Necks are usually medium sized, and as long as you can check it out first (craigslist) so you know the action is ok, you could very well get a nice, playable, durable acoustic for 100-200 beans. Also you can find them just about everywhere, so you wont have to search for something super rare.
 

TheGuildedAge

Senior Member
Messages
13,063
I might get flamed here, but what about an electric instead? He can strum it unplugged, it'll be easier to play too. String it up with .9s?
 

Gearaddict

Member
Messages
1,431
I played a 000 beaut at Elderly Instruments for $250. Check their website. Blue Ridge subsidary.Chinese but what the hay. Super easy to play and gorgeous tone. Sorry can't remember the name but look for acoustics priced at 250. I'm serious great guitar.
 




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