Guitars are among the world's favourite, most loved instruments. If you include the 'air guitar', it may even be the most-played instrument of all time!
Buying a guitar can be particularly daunting because of the various types, shapes and sizes available. As a beginner who wants to learn around young children, a few features will help you make a better choice to suit you and your young musician.
Classical (or Spanish) guitars have nylon strings that are softer on the fingers as compared to steel strings. Classical guitars are lighter too. The neck on classical guitars is broader, meaning that your have to stretch further stretch to play chords. Nylon strings are great with very young children who will want to pull and tug at them while you play. Little hands are safer from getting cuts from tugging at nylon strings. Classical guitars have a gentler, more muffled tone than their steel-strung counterparts.
Steel-strung acoustic guitars are great if you like full-bodied, strong accompaniment to your singing and also great to play around older children who understand that they might get hurt if they pull at your guitar strings. Steel strings are harder to play, especially at the initial stages, when your fingers need to get used to pressing down firmly to get clear sounding chords.
Electric guitars are great, and sometimes much easier to play, but take much longer to set up if you have to keep your home clear of wires and equipment. They are also quite heavy and less portable than acoustic guitars.
When buying your first guitar, remember to get a size that suits you and make sure the strings are close to the fretboard (this is called the action). A good action will save you loads of aches as your fingers acclimatise to your new instrument. Choose a guitar that suits your environment. I've listed a few, just as a guideline. When buying a guitar, you'll come across the words dreadnaught, classical, Spanish, cutaway, parlour, etc. Find out more about the jargon and guitar sizes here. In addition to size, the shape of your guitar is important for your comfort when you play.