Thursday, September 14, 2023

Fender Three String Guitars - These Are New Kids Guitars


Fender X

A few weeks ago I ran across a news article stating that Fender is offering a 3 string electric guitar. My first thought was,  Say what!? 

I investigated this and realized this is a tiny guitar marketed for children as their first guitar. 

I recall those long-ago years when I got my first guitar at age 12. It was an old Harmony Patrician archtop model from the late 1940’s strung with heavy gauge Black Diamond strings that were almost an inch off the neck at the 12th fret. But it did have six strings. At the time I wasn’t aware there were any chords above the third fret. 

Guitar Class
I took a class at the local YMCA with a neighbor girl. We actually started learning chords on the first 4 strings. The book we purchased had some little stick-on colored dots that we put on the fret board to remind us what string to put our fingers on to make C – G – D  and A chords. 

We strummed guitar and sang along with some well-known folksongs. Within a year I had acquired a much better guitar and learned how to use the fourth and fifth string. Heck, I even learned how to play a barre chord. 

But you know, I sometimes wonder what became of that neighborhood girl?  She was so very cute.

It is just my opinion but I believe that a child of that age would be better served leaning on a ¾ or ½ size guitar, such as a mini-strat.  The Fender Mini Strat and Mini Jazzmaster are even $10 cheaper than their 3-string model.  

But after taking a deeper look into these FenderX Loog guitars, it become evident these guitars are more in the line of toys. I recall those tiny Suzuki violins that some of my friends kids started out playing.

The bodies of these guitars are quite tiny and made for smaller hands, kids perhaps 6 to 9 years of age. They come with the Fender Learning app, chord flash cards, picks, stickers, and a Leo Fender book for kids. Tuning is GBE as the first three guitar strings.

When I started playing there was no Leo Fender Story Book for kids. We had to settle for Mel Bay's Big Book O' Chords.

Fender has partnered with a company called Loog that specializes in building and selling 3 string guitars for children.  This company also offers a six string model. These instruments are aimed at the pre-school market.

Martin Guitars have done a pretty admirable job of marketing and selling their small  Backpacker travel guitars. 


This Backpacker was developed through a relationship to a luthier/guitar teacher, Bob McNally, who invented a 3-string instrument that he called The Strumstick. Chris Martin saw McNally's booth at a NAMM show and became interested. The six string Backpacker shape is similar to The Strumstick, 

At risk of being unfair to a new generation of players, I may be wrong, and I hope the little guys and girls have a great time playing their Fender 3 string guitars playing Guitar Hero. After all, it is essentially a toy.  Mom and Dad can add a tiny 3 watt amp for an additional $45.

But if their kiddoes show interest in developing their skill as guitar player, it won’t be long before Mom and Dad will need to purchase a more practical instrument 

I suggest starting out with a full sized guitar.

©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)
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This little girl is only six years old!

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