Hello all,

Hopefully you will be able to offer a little advice...

I am currently thinking of trying to make a mini guitar which could be played by a young child, which would have 3 strings, diatonic frets and obviously quite a short scale, I'm currently going off an estimate of around 20" for the full length of the instrument, including headstock with a scale of around 13" - have any of you attempted anything like this before?

I imagine I would use nylon (ukulele) strings so there is nothing sharp on the instrument. I also probably need to look into non-toxic finishes etc, but I imagine acrylic paint on the box and danish oil on the neck etc should be safe once it is cured.

Let me know if you think this is a fool's errand... but I thought that an instrument which produces music quite easily would be more easy on the ears of the parents!

Thanks in advance,


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i made my daughter one for her third birthday, she's six now and plays it real well. I used fishing line in 10lb increments, from memory 10,20,30lb.. It's still on the original strings.
She painted it herself, which really gave her some ownership and involvement.
As you'll see it's basically a solid body with a tiny hollowed chunk of cedar for a soundboard (didn't want it too loud) it actually turned out surprisingly loud and warm for such a little size. Can't remember the scale length, probly just fret four or so on my regular 600mm scale template.


Have fun with it :)

Thanks for that buddy - here's a plan I just drew up... my idea was to try to get 2 guitars from one fretboard/neck blank. Might as well give it a go and see what happens!

Ps no, take it from a music teacher, it's a great idea!!
So many parents give their kid a $99 3/4 size classical.. Kids finds it 'too hard' gets frustrated, quits..
A strummer is a much better start imho

That's the idea!

Made for my 2 year old nephew. Strings really needed to be lighter. Fishing line sounds good. I electrified this one so that I could be sure it annoyed his parents!!! It does! Mission accomplished, and as a bonus he may one day become a musician :-)

I've done a few in that category as well...

In Fact, I have a 1 string stick dulcimer that I sell on Ebay.


It is just at 20 inches over all, with a 14 inch scale length. It can easily play simple melodies and is a great beginners instrument. As for nylon strings, I find that #45 fishing line works very well.

I really like that!
Altho sacrificing the drones cheats you of all those 'magic' chord changes that make a strummer so cool, a one string one will at least always sound in tune with no effort from mum or dad.

Great idea I like it a lot

Thanks for your input everyone! The guitars look fantastic. Looking forward to getting started.


Hello all - thanks again for your input. The project is now finished and there are some pics on my page. The end result turned out pretty much exactly as planned, although I think I would have needed much thicker fishing line to use the tuning I wanted. Ended up using soprano ukulele strings tuned Bf#b.

I'M working on something like this my self.  I'm not good at chording, so I wondered how a uke would sound noter and drone style.   I'm going for a fifteen inch scale length, like a concert Ukulele.

Finished it. Mostly. Since taking this picture I've added marks where the diatonic frets would be. Thinking about using zip ties to make actual frets.


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