I cannot play the guitar. I'm also inept on the drums, harmonica, kazoo, trumpet, bongos and triangle. I cannot play anything. Got no musical game at all. That's why I RAN a record label, as opposed to being in a band that's ON a record label.
While I don't know how to use musical instruments to produce sounds worth hearing, I do have a good enough sense to tell if an instrument is well made. Okay, maybe I couldn't tell you about the differences, pro and con, between a Gretsch and a Ludwig drum kit but in general, I can put stuff through a decent eye test.
With children's musical instruments, these tests are usually a breeze. That's because there is so much junk for sale and said junk is usually painted with a multitude of primary colors (you know, just like real instruments!) and are predominately made of cheap plastic. Throw some images of the latest Disney branded "stars" onto the packaging or the product itself (or both!) and the job of deciphering between quality and crap gets even easier.
When I first saw the First Act Discovery 30" guitar, it had already passed it's first test - it actually looks like a real acoustic guitar. It also feels like a real guitar and that's because it's a real hardwood instrument. Now, it's not a Gibson - First Act certainly isn't giving tours of their guitar factory - but it's much more than a toy.
The guitar, at 30 inches long, is the perfect starter instrument for the music-lovin' kindergarten/grade school age child. The size is perfect for 4-8 year olds...the Bear, a tallish gal who just celebrated her 5th birthday, has no problems grasping and hanging on to this axe.
The First Act Discovery Guitar comes complete with chord cards that your child can slide between the fret board and the strings. Doing so will show your future Jimmy Page where exactly they must place their little fingers to make a C chord, D Minor, etc. It's a nice touch that can only assist in the musical development of a young child. Additionally, the guitar features a zero fret that ensures low string action for easier playing.
Missing here (and to be fair, it's missing with every kid's guitar I've ever seen) is a way to tune the thing. It'd be a nice touch to find a way to incorporate some sort of basic tuning device so a child can hear how an acoustic guitar is supposed to sound, you know, the way the instrument sounds on the great kid's records that I review here on OWTK.
Priced at a fair and friendly $30, you should set your expectations accordingly. You won't be stunned by the craftsmanship, as you might if you'd plunked down 4-5 times this dollar amount for a pint-sized guitar from a music shop. Rather, you'll be quite pleased that you've found a sweet little acoustic guitar to launch the musical life of a young child...and did so for less than the cost of a new Nintendo DS game.