Is Guitar Harder Than Piano?


is piano harder than guitar?

Whenever someone decides to pick an instrument to learn, one of the biggest concerns is how difficult it will be. Two of the most popular choices are piano and guitar, and potential students often don’t know enough to decide which instrument best suits them.

Because of this, one question many beginning musicians ask is: Is Guitar Harder than Piano?

Best strings for electric guitar x
Best strings for electric guitar

Learning to understand and play the piano is a long process that involves many different areas. Piano students may play for years without feeling wholly comfortable or confident in their playing. In contrast, once guitar players practice and learn the basics, playing the guitar generally starts to feel like it’s getting easier.

So whether guitar is harder than piano is not that simple of a question. Difficulty is subjective and based on individual perception, but learning to play the piano is a long, more detailed process. The fundamentals of each will always be reasonably basic, and reaching mastery of any instrument takes years for almost all of us.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of learning guitar compared to piano to see what may be easier or harder about each of them.

Reading Music for Guitar: Easy

When it comes to reading music, guitar players definitely have an advantage.

This is because guitarists have their own easy-to-understand option when they’re learning to play called guitar tablatures, or tabs for short. The tabs use numbers rather than standard music notation, and they also show correct finger placement. Even if you can’t read music, the tablatures help newbies play music smoothly, even tricky and more complicated music.

You won’t learn which notes you’re playing, but you’ll learn where to play them so you can play your favorite song. Tabs are an excellent alternative for people who may not be able to afford regular lessons. It’s not enough instruction on its own, but it will help you develop dexterity, speed, and technique.

If you’re wondering whether guitarists should even bother learning to read formal music notation, I wrote a whole post on that subject!

Reading Music for Piano: Challenging

When it comes to reading music, on the piano, pianists have things a little bit more difficult and there’s more of a learning curve.

Piano players don’t have the luxury of using guitar tabs or similar short-hand notation. You’ll have to learn all the notes and their place in what is referred to as the Grand Staff (written down, you would recognize the grand staff as sheet music). In addition, piano players learn both bass clef and treble clef, which represent two different musical registers (low and high).

The musical notes are different in each of those. For instance, on the treble clef, the note on the lowest line of the standard graph is a C, whereas in the bass clef, it’s a G. Piano requires you to read two lines of music for everything that is played, and each hand plays a different line of the music.

Why You Should Play Piano

Given the reasons stated above, I think when you’re first starting out, the piano is a little bit more difficult than the guitar.

But deciding to learn how to play any instrument is a great idea, and this is especially true for the piano. It is a fantastic skill that will stick with you through life and give you a solid understanding of how to play most other instruments. There are many benefits of playing the piano, starting with the fact that you will have the power of making beautiful music with your very own hands. 

Playing the piano exercises both lobes of the brain and improves abstract thinking and math skills. Other benefits include developing stronger memory, hand-eye coordination, improved senses, and sharpening your fine motor skills. If children learn at a young age, learning the piano may even help improve IQ.

To start learning the basics of playing the piano, begin with:

  • Learning to read piano sheet music
  • Understanding posture and hand position techniques 
  • Learning about music theory 
  • Practice, Practice, Practice and more practice 

Why You Should Play Guitar

In my opinion, it’s easier to get started on the guitar than it is on the piano.

With a quick look around on the internet, you will see countless tutorials, videos, and articles with tips and tricks to quickly learn how to play the guitar. It is quite common for people of all ages to pick up the guitar, start practicing daily, and get the basics down quickly. Besides the music tabs, new guitar players can use various tuners. 

The only downside to learning how to play the guitar is fingertips hurting until you build calluses, and some of the chords are a bit painful if you have small hands. You can learn the fundamentals of guitar playing by-. 

  • Learning the basics
  • Trying more challenging and in-depth pieces of music 
  • Studying music theory 
  • And of course, the hours and hours of practice 

So Which Is Harder: Piano or Guitar?

So, Is Guitar Harder Than Piano? Probably not for most people. Learning to play any musical instrument at any point in your life is always a great idea. It will be super beneficial in many ways. If comparing the two, it would probably be the piano that is more difficult to learn to play. 

No matter what, though, you should choose to play the instrument that you feel most called to, and which inspires you to play music! Whether something is slightly easier or harder shouldn’t majorly influence your decision. Do what you love!

Music is a beautiful form of art that allows for creative expression. Whether you choose to play the guitar, piano, or any other instrument, you are opening up a new creative world you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:

Best Strings

Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings

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Best Guitar

Martin D-18

  • Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever.
  • An excellent, premier quality acoustic guitar for bluegrass, country, folk, rock and more. This is what I play myself.

Free Guide

Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs

  • This free guide from Acoustic World gives you chords, tabs, and video lesson for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar.
  • I spent hours putting this together all by myself to help you get better at guitar, faster!

Free Book

Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar

  • Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style.
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Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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