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Is Piano Easier Than Guitar? | Differences Explained!

is piano easier than guitar

Learning one instrument over the other often boils down to personal preference. But what if you’re starting from scratch and can’t decide which instrument to learn? The piano and the guitar are two of the most popular instruments in the world, and most individuals who want to learn to play an instrument often wonder which among the two is easier to learn.

Generally, the guitar is easier to learn compared to beginners when it comes to playing the piano. This is when we consider the overall layout of the instrument, the ability to play songs even with basic knowledge of chords, and the ability for it to be self-taught.

However, this doesn’t mean that the piano is a more difficult instrument to learn. In fact, there are certain aspects of learning the piano that makes it an easier instrument in some cases. If you’re on the verge, whether for yourself or for your kid, we’ll go through some of the key differences between the two instruments to give you a better idea of which is the better instrument for you.

What are the Differences Between Guitar and Piano in Terms of Playing

For anyone who has ever picked up a guitar or sat down at a piano, it is abundantly clear that these two instruments are vastly different. From the way they are played to the way they sound, guitar and piano offer two entirely different experiences. But what exactly are those differences? Let’s take a closer look.

How the Instruments are Played

One of the most obvious differences between guitar and piano is that guitars are strummed with the fingers or a pick. In contrast, pianos are played by hitting keys with the fingers. For beginning guitarists, this can be one of the most daunting tasks as it requires a level of dexterity and control that many people do not have when they first start playing.

is piano easier than guitar

Piano playing, on the other hand, is much simpler in this regard. As long as you can press down on a key with your finger, you can make a sound. Of course, playing the piano well is another story altogether, but the basic premise is much simpler than playing the guitar.

Sonic Differences

In addition to the way they are played, guitars and piano also sound quite different. Guitars, thanks to their strings, have a very distinctive sound that can be either mellow or harsh, depending on how it is played. Pianos, on the other hand, have a much fuller sound that is often described as being “smoother” than the sound of a guitar.

Again, this is a difference that boils down to personal preference. Some people prefer the sound of a guitar, while others find the piano to be more pleasing to the ear. Ultimately, the decision of which instrument to learn should come down to what you want to sound like.

Sustain Sound

Pianos produce what is known as a “sustain sound.” This means that when a key is pressed down, the note will continue to ring out until either the pedal is released or the key is lifted. Guitars, on the other hand, do not have this sustain sound. Each time a string is plucked, it produces a brief sound that quickly dies out. This lack of sustain gives guitars a much more staccato sound than pianos. 

Another difference between these two instruments is dynamics. Pianos can be played very quietly or very loudly, depending on how hard or soft the keys are pressed. Guitars, however, are generally played at only one volume. Players must use techniques like strumming patterns and palm muting to create dynamics on a guitar.

In-Depth Knowledge of the Music Theory

Finally, one of the biggest differences between playing guitar and piano is that guitars can be played without any prior training or knowledge of music theory. Sure, it helps to know things like chords and scales, but ultimately, anyone can pick up a guitar and start playing without any formal training. Pianos, on the other hand, require at least a basic understanding of music theory in order to play simple songs. 

Is Piano Easier to Learn than Guitar? Which Instrument is Easier to Learn

Overall, the guitar is much easier to learn, considering the ease of learning new songs, the ability to play without any formal training, and the production of sound. If you are looking for an instrument that is easier to learn, the guitar would be the better choice.

However, take note that this is the easiest if we’ll base it on all learners – young and young at heart. There are some other external factors to take into account, such as:

young boy holding a guitar

1. The Guitar is Easier for Beginners

For someone with little to no prior experience playing any type of instrument, the guitar may be the better option. The reason for this is that guitars are generally much less expensive than pianos, and they are also much smaller and more portable. Guitars can also be played without any formal training or knowledge of music theory, which makes them ideal for beginners.

2. Learning Songs is Easier on the Guitar

Inarguably, learning songs is easier on the guitar. Learning a few chords can open up a whole world of songs that can be played on the guitar. Additionally, guitar students don’t have to worry about music theory. Understanding some basic strumming patterns and chords allow learners to play any number of songs.

3. Learning the Piano May Be Easier for Intermediate Students

While the guitar may be easier for beginners, the piano may be a better option for intermediate students. This is because pianos offer more challenges than guitars and can help intermediate students to improve their musical skills. Additionally, those with a basic understanding of music theory will find the piano to be much easier to learn than the guitar.

image of a guitar, piano and music sheet

4. Playing the Piano Doesn’t Require Technical Skills

In guitar, some chords are more difficult to play than others. For instance, the F chord requires the use of all four fingers and can be difficult for beginners. According to some students, bar chords are also more difficult to play than open chords.

Additionally, some guitar players may find it difficult to switch between chords quickly. Pianos, on the other hand, don’t require any technical skills. All of the notes are played with the same finger position; therefore, there is no need to learn how to play chords or fret notes. Additionally, piano students don’t have to worry about strumming patterns or timing.

What are Some Piano and Guitar Similarities?

A fresh take on an age-old question – what are some piano and guitar similarities? Disregarding the fact that they are both musical instruments, what else do they have in common? Let’s take a look.

1. They are Both String Instruments

Contrary to popular belief, pianos are actually string instruments. The strings inside a piano are struck by hammers when the keys are pressed. Guitars, on the other hand, have metal strings that are plucked by the player’s fingers or a pick.

2. Both Instruments are Made from Wood

Another similarity between these two instruments is that they are both made from wood. The wood used to make pianos is typically a high-quality hardwood such as maple or beech. The wood used to make guitars is also typically a high-quality hardwood such as mahogany or rosewood.

3. Notes are Similarly Structured

What does this mean? Simply put, the notes on a piano and the notes on a guitar are similarly structured, having the same gaps, such as the flats and sharps. Both instruments have chords and can play melodies, and both instruments use a major and minor scale.

What are the Differences Between Piano and Guitar?

Though they both create beautiful music, there are many differences between piano and guitar. Let’s explore some of the most striking differences between these two popular instruments.

1. Playing Style

One of the most obvious differences would be their playing style. Playing the piano requires pressing a key, or a series of keys, with the fingers to create a sound. The piano also has pedals that can be used to sustain notes.

Guitars, on the other hand, are typically played with the player’s hands and fingers. The right hand is used to pluck or strum the strings, while the left hand is used to hold down the strings to play different chords.

2. Sound Production

Another difference between these two instruments is the way they produce sound. Pianos create sound when the strings are struck by the hammers. Guitars, on the other hand, create sound when the strings are plucked or strummed.

3. Musical Styles

On a general note, both instruments can be played and are adaptable to different musical styles. Pianos are more commonly used in classical and jazz music, while guitars are more popular in rock, pop, and country music.

4. Portability

Another difference between these two instruments is their portability. This might be obvious to some, but pianos are not as portable as guitars. Pianos are large and heavy instruments that typically require professional movers when being transported. Guitars, on the other hand, can be easily carried around and taken with you wherever you go.

5. Price

Depending on the brand, make, and model, pianos can be quite expensive. Guitars, on the other hand, are relatively more affordable.

Piano vs. Guitar: How do You Choose the Right Instrument for You

Deciding between a piano and a guitar seems like a big decision – because it is! But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Here are a few things to consider when trying to decide which instrument is right for you:

How Much Time Are You Willing to Commit?

Both piano and guitar require time and practice to master. If you’re not willing to put in the time, then neither of these instruments is right for you.

Long-term, learning how to play the piano takes longer than learning how to play the guitar. This is because there are music theories involved with piano playing, and it may take a bit more time to be able to play a song on the piano than on the guitar.

How Much Space Do You Have?

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time practicing, you’ll need to have enough space to accommodate your instrument. If you live in a small apartment or home, a piano might not be the best option for you as they are large and require a lot of space. Although there are piano keyboards that are smaller in size, they still might not be the best option for someone who doesn’t have a lot of space.

On the other hand, guitars are much smaller and can be easily stored away. If you live in a small space, a guitar is probably a better option for you.

What is Your Preferred Music Genre?

If you’re interested in playing classical or jazz music, or if you envision yourself playing in a symphony one day, then the piano is probably the better option for you. If you’re into rock, pop, or country music, or if you see yourself jamming out with friends in a garage band, then the guitar is most likely the right instrument for you.

How Much Money Are You Willing to Spend?

Piano and guitar lessons are not cheap. If you’re not willing to spend the money on lessons, then these instruments are probably not for you.

But aside from paying for lessons, you also have to factor in the cost of the instrument itself. Because of the intricate inner workings, pianos are typically more expensive than guitars. If you’re on a budget, a guitar might be the better option for you.

Can You Learn Both Instruments?

Definitely! Take note, though, that it will take a lot of time and effort to learn both instruments. If you’re just starting out, we recommend focusing on one instrument first before learning the other.

airy living room with a piano and guitar by the window

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your skill level and age, both instruments can be learned. Playing the guitar is a little bit easier in terms of being able to play an entire song faster, but the piano is more versatile and easier to create different sounds.

Beginners find it easier to learn the guitar since they can be self-taught, but the overall technique of the piano is easier. If you have small hands, you might find it challenging to reach some of the chords on the guitar.

In the end, it really boils down to preference. Choose the instrument that you’re most drawn to and that you’ll enjoy playing the most. After all, that’s what music is all about – enjoying the process!