Fender has partnered with Loog Guitars on a collection of mini, 3-string Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars which are aimed at kids. Loog guitars have been around for a number of years, but now you can buy Fender-branded models. But are these really good value for money for parents?
These new guitars are designed by Loog in collaboration with Fender. They are aimed at parents that want their children to play an instrument.
They are being offered in mini Stratocaster and Telecaster formats. Each with three strings and one pickup with a single volume control.
Why only 3 strings?
Well, the idea behind having fewer strings is to help budding young musicians be able to take on basic shapes and not be overwhelmed by a standard guitar layout with 6 strings.
As both ukuleles and a Loog guitar are similar in size, this will, in theory, help parents to get a better understanding of if their child will feel comfortable or not before they make an investment in a full-sized instrument.
Smaller guitars are certainly easier for younger children to manage.
Loog also produces a mini amp ($79) and a range of basic accessories. These include a gig bag priced at $39 and straps ranging from $19-29.
Once you add these to the guitar will push your purchase to around $300 or more. Which, could be an expensive way into learning the guitar for any family.
Take into account you may have to also pay for lessons for your child, and most guitar teachers will be using a 6-string guitar to teach with.
Value for money?
I’m a parent myself and all my children at some point in their lives have wanted to have a go at playing the guitar (and drums). Which was something I was very keen for them to try out.
Smaller hands need a guitar that has scaled-down proportions, as if not it will be a major obstacle for a child. As a parent, we would like to see our children enjoy learning and for it to be fun.
Therefore, something that is practical in terms of size, that is going to last and not be a waste of money is the ideal purchase. Children go through fads and as we have to pay for all these things, we want to make the right purchase.
My thoughts, on these Loog/Fender models are that the price is very high for an instrument which is limited in terms of its lifespan. I can see it being useful for many children though and if you are willing to invest $199 in a basic instrument for your child it could be the first step on a long journey of musical discovery for your child.
School of Rock
I’m all for children being given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
All of my children have at one point been in school bands or attended those ‘Rock Star kids courses’ where they play covers of famous songs.
That whole School of Rock thing is now very popular in many schools across the UK and my kids all really enjoyed playing in bands with their friends.
However, I would prefer for them to at least try out a 6-string guitar, as that is what they are eventually going to want to play. As a parent who plays the guitar, I can always tune that 6-string guitar to an open chord and let them go wild.
For example, Open G will allow your mini-Keef or mini-Joni Mitchell to enjoy the guitar straight away, without the need for complex guitar chord shapes.
As I have been down the road of purchasing guitars for my own children, I have a great example of a guitar which is under half the price of the Loog/Fender.
And it has lasted in my family for well over 10 years and is still going strong to this day.
I purchased the Harley Benton ST-Mini BK when my eldest daughter was interested in playing the guitar. It is the guitar in the photo above, she is now 17.
Plus, it has 6 strings, 3 pickups and plus more than just a single volume control, which means kids can experiment with tones and have fun learning, whilst discovering new sounds.
This extra engagement was a big plus for my own children and made learning a lot more interesting for them.
Great Value and it Lasts
Though all my children have at some point played the exact same Harley Benton guitar and it has been going strong all this time. Plus, it is still working fine, stays in tune, gets played to this day and I can show them real chords on this guitar as it has 6 strings.
For me, as a parent, this was a great investment and has lasted for over a decade, which I think is a good example of a quality instrument.
MSRP – EUR 79 *
They also do a few other electric guitar styles. Perfect for if you want something less Strat-like. So there are some good style choices for budding musicians.
Mini Guitar Amps
And for guitar amps, my kids all used the Marshall MS-2 * which is still going and offers some great guitar tones and is also super portable and can be battery operated.
Plus, it will work on headphones, which is great for everyone.
More Mini Amps
Below are a few mini amps you can buy that work well for children (and adults) and aren’t going to cost a fortune.
They can power from a battery and are perfect for any budding guitarist.
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- Loog 3-String Stratocaster: Loog Guitars
- Loog 3-string Strat: Loog Guitars
- 3-string Tele: Loog Guitars
- Loog Mini Amp: Loog
- Harley Benton ST-Mini BK: Jef Stone
- ST-Mini BK with 6 strings and 3 pickups: Thomann
- Marshall MS-2: Thomann