Have we gone crazy? You may feel that way as you glance at the alien-looking Loog Mini Acoustic Guitar, but it’s actually well worth your time if you are shopping for an acoustic guitar for your child. Arriving on the scene thanks to a Kickstarter project, this mini guitar was created by a man who wanted an easier version of a standard guitar to help his 6-year-old niece learn to play. The Loog is t he result! Let’s see what it has to offer…
Starting with the obvious question and no – it’s not a ukulele, despite looking like one. It features a very small body, which is of a similar size to a concert uke, but the strings and tuning are that of the first three of a six-string guitar. The idea is that, once the child has gained experience and confidence with the first three strings, playing a full-sized guitar will be easier to handle.
There’s not much to say about the construction. For an affordable guitar its build quality is decent – nothing spectacular, but it is robust enough to put up with some abuse by an enthusiastic kid. Thankfully, there’s no plastic in the build, with the body and neck made from real wood. With a funky, retro 1950s-style body and available in a selection of finishes (including green, red, pink or white), it looks pretty cool too. That always helps.
Due to the reduced size of the instrument, a low action and the fact there are only three strings, this lightweight guitar offers great playability for small hands, allowing them to wrap around the fretboard and make chords without too much of a stretch.
Like the build, the hardware on the Loog is basic but functional. At the top you’ll find three open-geared tuners with white buttons, complemented by a small wooden bridge that helps keep the tuning relatively stable. The Loog uses classical guitar strings (i.e. nylon strings), which makes sense, as these are softer on beginner fingers.
A nice touch is that this guitar comes with some flashcards with chord diagrams to help make learning a few quick chords simple and fun, as well as providing full access to the Loog Guitar app (compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones). This has a tuner feature, some handy video lessons, as well as a songbook featuring tunes from artists including the Beatles, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars.
For such a small and affordable guitar, the sound is not bad at all! Of course, it’s pointless discussing complex overtones (there aren’t any!) and, due to the size, it is a little quiet and tinny. However – most importantly – it actually sounds like a classical guitar. It provides decent volume for practice with clarity and the balanced tone that comes from real wood and nylon strings.
For a guitar with just three strings, we like this a lot more than we should! For a wallet-friendly price you get a basic but fun little instrument that kids will certainly benefit from, as well as some priceless tuition. While it shows great value, this is one instrument your child will probably outgrow after a year or so. However, if they do outgrow it, you know it will have done its job!