Piano vs guitar: Is it easier to learn piano or guitar?
There always has been a debate between playing piano vs guitar. Some people prefer piano over guitar and vice versa.
We can tell you that the piano is the most popular instrument all over the world, but that doesn't mean that the guitar doesn't have any qualities.
We’ve covered some interesting facts about the two instruments. Looking at similarities and differences between both and trying to give you the most genuine comparison.
However, let’s dive into the piano vs guitar comparison.
Similarities between piano & guitar
The biggest similarity might be that both instruments are in the string family. This might sound weird for you because you can only see strings on the guitar.
But the truth is that a normal piano has about 230 strings, while the guitar only has 6.
But the piano strings can only be seen if you open up the piano, which means that when you press a key, it engages a little hammer which strikes the strings inside the piano. And therefore producing the piano sound.
So if your interest is in playing instruments with strings, then both piano and guitar might suit you.
Another similarity worth mentioning is that both the piano and guitar are chromatic instruments. Which means that they can produce every note in the chromatic scale.
You might wonder what the chromatic scale is, because that isn’t really the first thing you’ll learn when learning a new instrument.
However, the chromatic scale consists of rising or falling sequences of pitches proceeding by semitones. A sequence like that is produced when playing all the black and white keys in order.
When you first think of a piano, you might think that it is not portable. On the other hand, a guitar is more likely to be recognized as portable than a piano. But the thing is that both piano and guitar are portable.
However, the guitar is more portable to a greater extent, but there are still many pianos that aren't that heavy to take on the go. We’ll go through that further down.
Differences between piano & guitar
Well the first thing is that they look completely different. The guitar provides six strings with a total of 144 notes where you can use your creativity.
While the piano has a total of 88 notes and sometimes even less.
But six strings with 24-fret per strings covering only 4 octaves, compared to a full size piano with 7 octaves plus some few more notes.
Well, learning notes on a guitar might seem a bit confusing. You can find two notes that sound exactly the same on a guitar. That’s called unison and this can’t be found on a piano.
The piano notes don't repeat themself, they can only be found at one place and not several times.
That’s why the guitar is more like a two dimensional instrument while the piano has every note in line.
The feeling of just being able to sit down and play an instrument without any problems is a freedom for many people.
However, when you sit down at your piano and press the on button, you can start playing immediately.
That’s not always the same with a guitar. The guitar needs more regular maintenance than a digital piano.
It’s not uncommon that you’ll need to tune your guitar every time you play it. And for some people that may be disturbing and not so easy all the time.
Luckily today's technology has developed guitar tuning apps you can easily download, and tune your guitar after that.
Worth mentioning is after all that an acoustic piano also needs to be tuned once or twice per year. Not a digital piano, only acoustic pianos.
Which is easiest to learn?
By just looking at a piano and a guitar, many of us would say learning piano seems much easier.
You are literally just pressing down keys. Right? And every key is in a straight line on the piano which makes it even more easier.
While at the guitar you can find the same note multiple times. This makes it a bit confusing for aspiring students, as mentioned earlier.
But that’s not the conclusion. The thing is that when you’re learning guitar, you'll probably learn a bunch of different chords in a short time frame.
The good part is that with a bunch of chords, or just a few, you can literally play hundreds of songs in no time. Playing chords with a guitar aren't’ especially hard to get a hang on.
One of the hardest parts about playing guitar in the beginning is that it can hurt your fingertips in the beginning. As you can hear yourself, it is not a particularly extensive problem.
While this isn't particularly directed at guitar, it also applies to the piano but to a lesser extent. The piano will require you more technical skills to play hundreds of songs, and it might take a while to build proper hand technique to be able to play that.
Which instrument you’re gonna learn is totally up to you. I’ve played both guitar and piano. And I have learned to play them in different ways. But in recent years i’ve only played piano, that’s what satisfied me the most.
My recommendation for you is to just grab an instrument and start playing immediately. The biggest difficulty for people is to get started. While that also is considered as the biggest step.
However, if you’re interested in learning more about pianos and what you as an individ can benefit from it. I’ll recommend you reading our 11 benefits of playing the piano article.
While both the guitar and piano are portable, the guitar is a clear winner here. You’re more likely to see a person with a giant guitar bag on the back instead of a giant piano.
Well the reason for that is even the heaviest and bulkiest guitars can be transferred on busses and trains.
There is also a large selection in the market for guitar cases, big, medium and small cases to fit every guitar. As long as you have a guitar case, portability will not be a problem for you.
On the other hand, pianos come in more shapes than guitars do. Some of the pianos are as portable as a guitar, or even more, but some are not portable at all.
The acoustic piano is not an option to bring on your vacation. It’s just too big, you might already know that. Anyway, a midi controller could be a good option to bring on your vacation, and it is also relatively small compared to an acoustic piano. Though you will need a computer to use your midi controller.
But we’ve also got 61 key keyboards that in some cases can be a good portable piano, not all of them, but some. 88 key digital pianos on the other hand can also be easily taken with you. But the majority won't be that easy, many of them are big and heavy and will just be disturbing.
Learning chords on a guitar will be taught with chord charts. Because that's the main notation form, and also the easiest. The chord charts will tell you when to play a chord by showing them. Easy as that.
Another notation you might be familiar with is the tablature, many recognize it as TABs. The TABs are similar to guitars and are specific just to guitars.
The guitar strings will be represented as the six lines on the TAB, therefore the numbers will show what freet to press.
However, TABS are easy and simple to learn, and It allows you to play many different songs. Though, they’re not always as precise as standard notation.
Piano notation on the other hand is generally more complicated to learn. Chord charts are still used for learning piano but might seem harder.
Learning stand notation on piano is pretty easy actually. The notes on the piano climbs from left to right & the notes on the staff also climbs from low to high.
Entry level pianos can be bought relatively cheap, 100-200 dollars is a normal price range for beginner keyboards. You can find both 61 and 88 key keyboards.
What determines the price for a beginner keyboard is the key action and number of keys. In this price range you’ll probably find keyboards with non-weighted keys only. Which suits beginners and not pros.
If you didn’t buy a 88 key keyboard in the beginning, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a 88 key sooner or later. 61 keys will limit you when you have developed good piano skills.
However, the next price range is where we found the most usual pianos. 500-1500 dollar for a good digital piano. These pianos are a bit more expensive than entry levels but sure they provide a lot more.
For instance, high quality sound, good speakers and real hammer action weighted keys.
These are the types of pianos I’ll recommend everyone start with.
But there are also acoustic pianos you can buy, maybe not all of them, many are very expensive but there are still a few ones for 1500-2000 dollars.
The guitar on the other hand is somewhat similar to a piano in the entry level section. Beginner friendly guitars can also be found for typically 100-200 dollars.
There has been lesser competition in recent years for selling guitars. So be sure to test the guitar before you buy it, which you always do no matter what.
For the real pros, they’ll have to put up approx 500-1000 dollars for a ‘’pro’’ guitar. But you can easily find a good decent one for 250-500 dollars.
Learn both at the same time?
Well yes obviously, nothing hinders you to do it. As long as you are passionate and dedicated and have the time for it, then there won't be any problems.
Though my recommendation is to learn one at the time. It’s easier to put 100 percent on one instrument at the time rather than putting 50 percent each. Risks are that you get burned out by playing both at the same time, which results in quitting your instrumental journey.
As long as you start playing one of them you’ll do yourself a favor, remember that.
Piano vs guitar overall
I’ve learned both guitar and piano as well. Starting as a little kid with playing guitar and going to a guitar teacher once every week. But after some years I got tired of playing guitar and I decided to quit.
Maybe i never even ever wanted to play guitar, but my parents did.
However, In recent years, I have only been playing the piano, and I actually do not think I can play the guitar especially well nowadays.
The thing is you must be sure on which instrument you’re truly passionate about. Test both and then evaluate which one suits you best. I didn’t and it resulted in quitting guitar lessons and started playing piano 8 years later.
For your own sake it would probably be more fun if you didn’t do what i had to do.
However, guitar can be good for aspiring students. With just a few chord knowledge you can play some of the greatest hits. If that’s enough for you then fine. But for many just playing guitar chords isn’t that funny, me for instance.
If you do want a permanent foundation in music theory, playing piano will help you with that. Remember that the piano is the most popular instrument over the world even though a guitar is more accessible than a piano, in most cases.
And there is of course a reason for that. People just enjoy playing piano more than guitar, easy as that.