Piano vs. Guitar: Which Is Easier to Learn?

There are various reasons to decide if you want to play the piano or guitar. It can be a hobby or your dream of becoming a professional musician. In either case, it all starts with deciding which instrument you want to learn to play.

The piano and guitar are among the most popular instruments. You can start playing on them relatively quickly in several different ways, including studying alone, online courses, and private lessons with a tutor. The only dilemma is the piano vs. guitar: which is easier to learn?

Piano vs. Guitar: The Learning Process

The piano training

The first things you will learn once deciding on the piano are notes and scales. Then, you will combine them and make chords. Typically, the piano tutors initially teach adults only the white keys, but kids always begin with the black keys.

Only when you master them, you continue with the rest of the notes. It is easy to remember the system because they repeat in a pattern across the keyboard. Besides, if the signs on the sheet move up, you know that the notes are to the right side. The same oppositely, for notes going downwards, you will play the keys on the left.

You can quickly learn to recognize the intervals on the sheet, and after you learn scales and chords, you will be able to represent simple arias after several weeks of practice. Therefore, you will also learn the basics of music theory along with piano practice.

The guitar studies

The guitar studies
Image: Noname Music

If you are a person who wants to learn only the basics and perform a couple of your favorite songs to friends, you are more likely to choose a guitar. It will be enough to learn only a few chords, to be capable of playing some popular pop and rock songs after a month.

However, learning the note system on the guitar is more complicated than on the piano, where one note fits one key. Each string on the guitar has a different arrangement of notes. That can confuse a beginner, who doesn’t know which string to use when a pitch goes high or low.

The guitar has six strings with twenty to twenty-four frets on each string. That means you have up to 144 notes on the guitar. On the other hand, there are only 88 notes on the piano lined from the lowest to the highest. Therefore, it is easier to learn notes on this instrument.

Even more confusing is repetitive tuning when one note is available at different points on the guitar fretboard. That means you can make the same sound on two or more strings, and the synonym for those notes is the unisons.

Which Is More Rewarding?

All you need to make a sound on the piano is to press the key. In the first days of practice, piano lessons are more straightforward, less complicated, and can motivate students to continue working on their skills.

On the other hand, the guitar takes more patience, and you need to learn how to pluck and fret the string simultaneously. It can be quite frustrating in the very beginning. Therefore, many guitarists use a capo, a small device that you attach to the guitar’s neck. It simplifies changing the keys on the guitar and using the same chord shapes.

However, as learning progresses, piano lessons will become harder, and instructions for guitar performance easier. Once they have mastered the basic chords, many guitarists continue to play by ear. On the other hand, it will become more complicated to change the rhythm and combine chords on the piano.

Your enthusiasm and dedication have a significant role in the speed of progress with both instruments. If you want to start making music as soon as possible, the guitar is a better choice. However, if you want a solid foundation in music theory, think about taking piano lessons.

Differences between Piano and Guitar

There are very few similarities between piano and guitar. Some aspects of learning the piano will be easier to learn than on the guitar, and the opposite.

The challenges of playing the piano comparing the guitar:

  • Over time, pianists learn to do two things simultaneously. That means they use the left and right hands to play different chords. It is almost impossible to do this trick on the guitar.
  • During a performance, you need to use ten notes at once instead of six on the guitar.
  • Some composers write complicated arrangements exclusively for the piano. That includes many black notes at the same time. Besides, such works require you to follow different melodies with both hands.
  • Both instruments have the strings, but you don’t need to think about them while playing the piano. Instead, you will use the keys on the piano to operate the hammers, which strike the string.
  • The sound while playing the piano depends on how hard you hit the keys and how you use the pedal system. Therefore, you need to think about several things at once, which is unnecessary if you choose the guitar.

On the other hand, some aspects make learning the piano less complicated than playing guitar:

  • The arrangement of notes on the keyboard is logical and predictable. From left to right, the keys go from low to high, from A to G, octave after octave. It is easy to remember how to produce a particular sound.
  • The patterns on the keyboard are repetitive. You can repeat the melody you play in one octave in another. The only difference is that the pitch is higher or lower, depending on the octave position on the keyboard.
  • You can make a sound on the piano with just the touch of a finger. The guitar requires the coordination of two hands to make a tone at all. Moreover, the movements need to be so coordinated that the fingers touch the strings simultaneously.


The approach to learning the piano and guitar is different. While it is easier to master the basics of the piano, guitar lessons require more patience. Which instrument you should choose depends on your goal, dedication, and the style of music you prefer.

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