Guitar and Piano lessons Fort Mitchell, Kentucky


Guitars and Pianos

guitar lessons NKY
Too young for lessons!

Let's look at guitars

  • NO TOYS, please.
  • Buy from a music store - not a discount warehouse.
  • Buy local -- There is NO advantage to buying on the Internet. Local dealers routinely match Internet 'bargains' and there is no risk when you buy local.
    • Here's a Guitar World guide to acoustic guitars.
    • Consider a 1/2 or 3/4-size models for ages 6-9.
    • 3/4 size models for ages 9-12 I played a 3/4 size Gibson into my teens - wish I still had it. Little guitars are useful for years as travel and camping guitars.
    • Full size guitars for age 12 and older; (can't count the times I've watched an 11 year-old struggle just to hold a full-size guitar)

  • TUNING - All guitars need to be tuned every time they are played. It is not difficult to learn to tune your guitar. There are phone apps for tuning the guitar.
  • STRAP - It will help the beginner hold the instrument and also prevent dropping it. If a child can't HOLD it comfortably, then she can't PLAY it.
  • QUALITY - Don't skimp. That little guitar is a future travel guitar - IF you buy a good one. Consider also resale and investment value. Spend $400 - if it doesn't work out, there will be plenty of buyers at $350.

NKY musical instrument buyers guide
1/2 size electric model

Buyers guide


Classical or Acoustic?

  • Check before you buy a 'classical' guitar; the neck might be too big and wide for little fingers.

Acoustic or Electric?

  • I'm asked this a lot. Here's the answer:
    • A beginner can learn on either acoustic or electric.
    • Electrics require a small amplifier - additional investment.
    • Acoustics are quieter -true, but many amps have headphone jacks, so practice can be SILENT!
    • You can't play heavy metal on an acoustic guitar; so if that's what your teenager wants to do, then buy an electric guitar and amplifier.

  • Better Beginner Acoustics for small students: (No off-brand, Chinese toys! They break and they do not have a nice tone.)

guitar lessons 41017
Electric guitars require an amplifier.

There is no need to buy a big amp - until tour dates are scheduled!

Weight is a consideration. Remember, YOU might be your child's roadie!

  • Better Beginner Electrics for small, young students. Unlike the small acoustic guitars, students will outgrow these half-size instruments. But I had a 3/4 size Gibson when I started and I wish I still had it.

Recommended amplifiers for electric guitars

  • Beginner Guitar HQ has provided a link to more in-depth information on the subject of amplifiers. You can subscribe to their newsletter, too. Thanks, Jen!
  • More important than the brand is that you buy from a local dealer who provides service.
  • Peavey, Yamaha, Fender, Line6, Roland, Vox, Marshall - all are good brands
  • Many models have built-in effects, tuners, and a headphone feature.
    • CAUTION: supervise the use of headphones to avoid damage to your child's ears! (I suffer from permanent hearing loss; once it's gone, it's gone).

    recommended amps  buyers guide recommended ampsrecommended amps

  • Fender - set the standard.
  • Peavey - offers effects features.
  • Line6 - lots of cool effects!
  • Roland - a good choice, too.
  • The Acoustic amp has no effects bells and whistles.

Squier Deluxe Strat

Guitars for Adults

  • Full-size, professional electric guitars - for well-heeled adults
  • Yes, price certainly is a legitimate indicator of quality - you get what you pay for. Absolutely.
  • Good quality indicators:
    • the guitar resonates with good tone
    • it is easy to play
    • it is easy to tune and stays in tune
    • it is well-crafted and finished

Tip: Let a pro "set up" your new guitar; it makes it easier to play.


Gifts - Guitar Accessories/Essentials

  • a Guitar 'Method Book'
  • a case or bag
  • a comfortable strap
  • a digital tuner (there are free iphone apps)
  • spare strings and some picks
  • a Care Kit - polish and a soft cloth
  • a capo
  • a guitar stand
  • a guitar cable (for electric guitars)
  • guitar effects pedal (for electric guitars)
  • BEST GIFT - Private lessons with Cliff Adams

beginner piano lessons NKY
Casio Privia


piano lessons Northern Kentucky KY 41017
practice with headphones

Recommended Pianos

This is an easy recommendation. Yes, buy a digital piano. A 'real' piano costs as much as a new car, (a used Steinway grand piano costs at least $80,000).   Digital pianos cost about as much as a set of tires. Digital pianos are easy to move, never need to be tuned, and they sound great.

The instrument's action (the black and white keys that you press to play) is a very important consideration. To learn to play the piano, you need to get an 88-key, weighted piano action, with 'piano feel' - but not too stiff. Try a couple in the store and you will see what I mean. Keyboards with 'organ' action offer very little resistance; you want a piano action.

Pianos have a different feel than a 'keyboard.' You want a piano - not a keyboard. The term "keyboard" encompasses toy noise-makers. Avoid cheap toys if you want to take piano lessons; they are not suitable practice instruments.

Some digital pianos also have many other sounds, such as strings, horns, organ, and effects.

I like the Rolands that have an easy action. Some of the Casio Previa series digital piano come close to a real piano feel. Some, not all! of the Yamaha pianos are easy to play. I have found that on many digital pianos the keys are stiff or have a rubbery bounce that makes them hard to play. This is an important factor, especially for a beginner.

Shhhh! Your budding artist can practice on a digital piano while wearing headphones and all that you will hear is the gentle clicking of the keys. CAUTION: supervise the use of headphones! Exposure to loud noise can cause hearing loss!