Is Piano Harder Than Guitar?

When you first start thinking about picking up a musical instrument and start learning how to play it, it’s only natural for your mind to go to which instrument is easier to pick up. Not everyone has unlimited time to devote to their music, and many times, picking up a more difficult instrument can make you lose your confidence and give up. While instruments like the violin are extremely difficult to pick up, some of the easier instruments to learn for beginners are piano and guitar. When you’ve narrowed your selection down to these two instruments, you may wonder, “Is piano harder than guitar?”

The truth is that the answer depends on several factors. Some people consider the piano harder to learn than the guitar, and others think it is easier. There are also factors like the care that go into it that may influence your choice. In this article, we will break them down for you, so you can come to your own conclusion regarding the question, “Is piano harder than guitar?” and which one you should end up choosing.

Piano vs. Guitar: Is Piano Harder Than Guitar?

Both the piano and the guitar are great starter instruments. They’re relatively simple to pick up (as compared to other instruments), and many online resources are available to help you through the process. However, the answer to “is piano harder than guitar?” relies on which learning components you find more difficult. We’ve discussed some of those aspects below.

Reading Music

This is where the piano is a lot more difficult to pick up than the guitar. While guitar instruments don’t focus on reading music as much, piano learning relies on it. Additionally, reading tabs is much easier than mastering reading sheet music. While it’s easier to sound better with the piano initially, playing becomes more complex very quickly. This is especially true for classical music and more complex pieces that require understanding many different rhythms.

Layout

The layout of a piano is much simpler than that of a guitar. The keys have the same pattern, and the notes are divided into octaves and so forth. Once you understand that the lower keys are on the left and the higher on the right and that every octave is five black notes and seven white notes, the instrument itself is fairly straightforward.

However, things aren’t as straightforward with the guitar. All you have to do is play the keys on a piano. On a guitar, you have to ensure that the string’s pitch is just right. Only when the guitar is horizontal can you rely on the bottom strings being higher and the top strings lower. While learning songs is easier on the guitar, the layout is anything but simple. If you’re learning to play the guitar, you need to focus on learning placement rather than rely on learning individual notes.

Time

When it comes to the initial time needed to sound good and learn a few songs, the piano emerges as the winner. Learning a short song or two takes less time than it does on the guitar. In addition to having to learn to coordinate both hands, your fingers need to be able to handle the strings and be strong enough to play faster tunes.

Number of Hands

Many people don’t think of this, but synchronizing your movements is much more difficult on the guitar. The piano is easier to learn in terms of this, especially for younger students and beginners. This is because the piano can be taught one hand at a time and gives the pupil more time to absorb the information and get used to it. If you’ve ever noticed a young child playing piano, they’re able to pick it up more quickly because of this.

However, you can’t do the same with guitars. You always need both hands for playing since you don’t just have to strum – you also have to take care of chords and notes that aren’t open.

Learning Songs

In order to fully learn a song, you’ll need to be able to play the chords. This is easier on the guitar than on the piano because chord formations and strumming patterns are easier to pick up on a guitar. If you learn a few chords and pick up a strumming pattern that’s relatively simple, you can learn a song in a day.

When it comes to playing the piano, you can still master chords quickly, but you have to start with music theory to fully understand and pick up the instrument properly. That, and having to pick up the second hand makes learning songs harder on the piano than on the guitar.

Tuning

If you’re wondering, “Is piano harder than guitar?” This is certainly not the case when it comes to tuning. While this isn’t directly related to learning to play the instrument, it still contributes to the guitar being harder than the piano. You don’t have to worry about tuning either a piano or a keyboard, but this is something you need to learn when you take up the guitar.

If you don’t know how to properly tune your guitar and rely on your instructor to do so, you won’t be able to practice as much. While this is something you’ll probably master quickly, it’s still a factor to consider when making a decision about which musical instrument you should pick.

Final Thoughts

If you were stuck between choosing the guitar or the piano to pick up and were wondering, “Is piano harder than guitar?” We hope this article helped. While both instruments are excellent, they’re each suited to a different type of musician. If you’re willing to learn how to read music and want to play more classical or jazz-style tunes, the piano is for you. If you think you’d do better at strumming and learning songs faster, the guitar is a great option. Consider the explanations above carefully before deciding which instrument will be easier for you to learn. Good luck!

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Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.