For anyone who is looking for a beginner electric guitar package for a child, a decent budget option is the SX RST. You can get this series in a 1/2 size, 3/4 size or even full size instrument. I wouldn’t recommend the full size guitar because I think there are much better options available. For kids ages 5 to 11 there aren’t really a huge number of short scale electric instruments to choose from, so the RST models are worth taking a look at.
The SX brand of guitars are produced by a company called Team International Music Co., who manufacture a bunch of different musical instrument out of China. This company produces Malaholo Ukuleles, Gypsy Rose and Valencia Guitars among other things. The brand SX Guitars was created in 1989, so by comparison to most of the major companies, they are pretty new. I usually like to stick to the major brands when buying guitars, but if you are on a budget and you want an okay instrument for your child for under a $100 then this is a better choice than a First Act or some of the other ‘kids’ branded guitars out there.
The SX RST comes as part of a package, you get an amp, instructional DVD, gig bag, strap, and cable. (Although don’t put too much stock in the value of the accessories, as with a lot of package the quality of the accessories isn’t the greatest, but is probably okay for small kids).
These instruments are imported by Rondo Music and are sold via eBay, Amazon, used or directly through Rondo’s webs site.
This is a pretty standard Stratocaster copy, designed with the dual cutaway – which is the same style as a regular Strat. The headstock is not great looking, but if you are going to get a Strat copy the headstock is where companies make the changes to the design to avoid getting into legal action from Fender (the original makers of the Stratocaster). I think you can get both ½ and ¾ sizes in various colors including sunburst, red, pink, black, white, electric blue and purple. The RST also has a tremolo bar (whammy bar), that kids will have a lot of fun playing around with.
The fact that you can get the SX RST as either a ½ short scale or ¾ short scales make them a great choice for kids. If you are looking for an electric for a child aged 5 – 8 have a look at the ½ model (this just means it is half the size of a full sized guitar). While for ages 9 to 11 (or 12 if the child is very small) a good size would be the ¾ size.
If you get a small sized model that your child can hold comfortably and wrap their fingers around the neck, it will be much easier to learn to play. If you are looking for a guitar for a small child who is left handed, the RST does come in left handed versions of both the 1/2 size and 3/4 size.
Short scale guitars don’t usually have the same type of sound you are going to get from a full sized, so when you are trying out short scale instruments you need to keep that in mind. For the price you are paying the sound is good. You can get the classic Strat sound (a little twangy) out of the SX RST if you mess around with it a bit.
For a budget guitar SX have done a nice job by adding three single coil pickups, one volume and two tone controls, plus a five way pickup selector switch. All these options will allow your kids a lot of room to modify the sound and tone.
Sometimes on cheaper instruments you get really substandard tuners, but luckily the tuners that come on this one seem okay. The bridge is a Vintage fulcrum bridge with six adjustable saddles.
The quality seems pretty good, it is solidly built, with no obvious flaws like sharp frets and the neck is straight. You will probably have to adjust the action a little bit (you can have this done at your local music shop, or if you want to do it yourself there are lots of videos on how to do this on YouTube if you aren’t sure).
Things to Look Out for with the SX RST
As with a lot of short scale models, the tuning can be a bit of an issue. Nothing major, just be aware that you may have to retune a bit more than your child (or you) might expect if you own a full size. Also with most budget guitars you are probably going to want to change out the strings. I don’t know why guitar companies love to put terrible strings on new guitars but they just do.
I think this is a good starter package to get a child if the parent isn’t particular about guitars and they want an inexpensive option to get their kids started. Even though the stuff the package comes with isn’t the greatest (amp, DVD, bag, strap, and cable), you are getting an okay instrument and lots of other things for a pretty decent price. A lot of kids would be pretty happy to get this guitar.
Anyone who is particular about brand, sound or headstock or anything like that isn’t going to like this guitar for their kid. If you are looking for a 3/4 size and you are able to pay a bit more then the Mini Strat or the Ibanez Mikro are better options.
Specifications- SX RST 3TS 1/2 Size Short Scale
Fret- 21 Jumbo
Tuners- Die Chrome Tuners
Pickup- Three single coil pickups
Electronics- Volume and Tone control
Weight- 7 lbs.
Image from RondoMusic