True life: standard guitars aren't built for 4-year olds.
Just for a minute, picture yourself studying music at a university. You wouldn't bring an audio engineering textbook to songwriting class, right?
No. You need your songwriting textbook (yes, they actually have those).
If you brought the wrong textbook, it would be useless. Even though songwriting and recording are related, they have two totally different methods with different information.
The two textbooks are not the same thing. And the same goes for guitars.
Don't let kids use instruments that are too big.
This is exactly what young students (and their parents) do with their guitars. They think all guitars are the same thing.
They just buy anything, thinking it will do.
But it ends up being too big for their child's hands, or the strings aren't soft enough for their fingers.
Then what happens? They get frustrated and quit. And that sucks.
Promise me: never let this happen again.
You are now the expert.
You can insist that your little one play the perfect-sized guitar for them.
And you can do that by using my cheat-sheet PDF: "Affordable Instruments For Small Hands."
Two HUGE tips that have helped me through this process are:
Tip #1: Nylon strings are lighter than steel strings
If you have a student who is just starting out and everyone's clueless, it might be best to suggest a nylon string guitar. It will keep the little fingers from hurting - but remember that most nylon string guitars don't have a bolt for a guitar strap.
Tip #2: 1/2 size guitars fit pre-schoolers the best
Anything bigger is going to be impossible for a little kid to maneuver. The smaller, the better.