Ukulele vs Small Guitar: The Best Starting Instrument for Kids

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Today’s kids are growing up in the digital age, with smartphones and computers challenging them to think digitally. They spend a lot of time on screens and not enough time playing outside or exploring creative hobbies.

The good news is that these activities are as easy as picking up an instrument!

But considering ukulele vs. small guitar options: which is best for a budding musician? Both the ukulele and guitar are excellent beginner instruments for kids.

Their compact size makes them easy to store, and their ability to be heard when played with others makes them excellent group instruments.

We’ve already considered the pros and cons of ukuleles and guitars for adults, so lets examine what option might be better for kids.

Let’s take a look at which instrument might be best for your child:


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Hola! Music 21″ Maple Soprano Ukulele in 10 Colors

The ukulele is a lovely, portable stringed instrument that is becoming increasingly more popular. Its compact size and simple tuning make it an excellent first instrument for children.

This is especially true with very small children, as a full-size soprano ukulele is easy enough for even a child of five to hold.

Its design also makes it easy to transition to other instruments later on down the road, like the guitar or even the piano.

The ukulele is also great for adults, either as a hobby or as a way to stay in tune with the musical side of life. It’s a fun instrument that can be played anywhere.


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30″ Wood Classical Guitar with Case in 11 Colors

The guitar, with its six strings and open-ended potential, makes an excellent first instrument for children.

Some guitars are made smaller for kids or have less strings to fit a child’s hands.

The instrument is not only portable, but it can be played in many different styles, from classical to jazz to rock.

There are also many different types of guitars that can be used for different styles or sound. The guitar’s open-ended potential and variety make it a great jumping off point for kids who want to explore music.

Guitar can be difficult to play well and really hard on tiny hands, so small children may get discouraged from practicing. It might be a better instrument for older children and those who aim to play popular music.

Which is easier for kids to play?

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Kala Glow-in-the-Dark Matte Soprano Waterman Ukulele KA-SWG-BL Bundle in 4 Colors

The question of ukulele vs small guitar for kids doesn’t have to be difficult.

Ukuleles are a bit easier than guitars for kids to pick up on. Ukuleles are much smaller in size, which makes it easier for children to hold and play.

They also tend to come in brighter colors and more interesting shapes, which can appeal to kids.

Ukuleles also only have four strings, usually made of nylon, which tends to make them much easier on the hands. I actually continue to play the ukulele long after leaving the guitar behind because of the pain from playing guitar.

Read our guide to ukulele strings for more information.

Guitars, on the other hand, are more commonplace and in higher demand as they get older. Guitars also have six strings, which can make them more complicated to learn and to excel, which might not be ideal for a reluctant student. Their versatility is great for children who have an interest in playing in groups.

Ukulele vs Small Guitar: What’s the Verdict?

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CLOUDMUSIC Soprano watermelon Ukulele Kit in 5 Styles and Colors

This is a hard question to answer since they are both excellent instruments that can be played by kids and adults alike.

The choice between the ukulele vs small guitar comes down to your child’s interests, hand strength, and goals. If your child is more interested in playing a group instrument, the ukulele is a better choice.

If your child is a bit older and wants to play a solo instrument, the guitar might be a better fit. If your child is just starting out, the ukulele is slightly easier to play, whereas the guitar has more potential for growth.

The one thing that really makes the difference between these two instruments is the cost. Ukuleles are generally cheaper than guitars, making them a better choice for kids just getting started.

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Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar for Children in 6 Colors

However, many people who learn ukulele vs small guitar go on to playing the other instruments like bass guitars, banjos, and mandolins, so ultimately, the decision might be better left to whatever instrument interests the child most.

If you are interested in a ukulele for your child, here’s our guide to the best ukuleles for kids.

Both the ukulele and guitar are excellent beginner instruments for kids, but letting the child decide may help them progress farther than choosing for them.

Ukulele vs Small Guitar: The Best Starting Instrument for Kids
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