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Guitar vs Piano – Differences, and Which is Better to Learn?

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Being musically inclined is a gift. Gravitating towards learning a new instrument will harness your talent, and it will develop skills that you didn’t know you had in you.

If you are wondering where to start, some piano or guitar lessons are among the most manageable music programs. But have you wondered which instrument is the right fit for you? Know the differences between these chromatic instruments to narrow down which one suits you best.

guitar vs piano

Guitar

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A guitar is a stringed instrument that gives harmony to a musical piece. It is played by strumming or plucking out the strings, and it produces a cool and calm sound. It mostly needs accompaniment, like vocals or some other instrument, but some are comfortable in playing the instrument alone as a musical piece.

Read: Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners

Piano

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The piano is a percussion instrument, although some consider it as part of the string family because of the strings attached underneath. It is a complete instrument, producing harmony, rhythm, and melody. It has a cleaner and clearer sound than guitar, and it can be played as an independent musical piece.

Read: Best Digital Piano for Beginners

The Look

You can’t mistake the piano for a guitar the moment you are introduced to both instruments. They differ mainly in the overall look. The piano has black and white keys which are played together to produce a note. The guitar has strings that are pressed on one hand and strum on the other.

With the differences in the overall look, they are played differently, and are cared for in different ways. With this, the guitar is very accessible and it can be very portable for various gigs and performances. The piano on the other hand, since it is heavier and bigger, will need assistance for transfers.

Playing the notes

One of the striking differences in each instrument is how music is played out. As a stringed instrument, the guitar has frets that can potentially play out a note on different parts of the fretboard. The piano keyboard does not really repeat itself, with a note being played from the left to the right, in the lowest to the highest pitch respectively.

Some people would prefer to learn the piano more easily than the guitar. If you are introduced to the piano early, reading the musical sheet becomes easy because everything is laid out properly.

However, that is not always the case when learning an instrument, because some learners are introduced with guitar chords even at a young age. The guitar is accessible, and musical sheets are not necessary to learn how to come up with a musical piece.

Reading music

Reading music for the piano can be more challenging because you will have to read both the bass and treble staff. This is in contrast to guitar players who are more of a soloist, who are eased out in reading just the treble clef.

At first, it is expected that you will not master reading music easily for either instrument. Beginners will take time in getting used to reading what is for the guitar and for the piano players. The same goes if you will shift from being a guitarist to a pianist, and vice versa.

Tuning

One of the key differences in each instrument is how they are maintained. In general, guitars will need tuning more often than the piano. Because of its portability, the tuners may tend to be tuned out during practice.

The piano requires less maintenance when it comes to tuning. They only need to be tuned or inspected once or twice a year, depending on the usage or humidity.

Conclusion

The piano and the guitar are both versatile instruments. They can be played with a variety of musical genres, and learning either instrument has a lot of benefits. The choice on which instrument is better relies heavily on the preference of the user. Most people would prefer reading chords alone with a very portable instrument so they love playing the guitar.

Others also love having a musical sheet, and are happier with how the keys produce a great sonic experience. These musicians prefer to sit down and enjoy calming musical notes from the piano, and are satisfied with how music turns out.

The overall decision depends on the taste, the budget, and the time they have in learning an instrument. Not everyone will learn as fast, but you can rest easy that both instruments are very adaptable and versatile for various musical performances.

 

Guitar Junky
Hi there, I’m Charles, chief editor here at The Guitar Junky. I'm a professional guitarist, and have over 10 years experience in playing guitar, piano, and other music instruments. When not working, I love playing with my two lovely kids, Caryss and Philip. Read more about our team of music experts here.

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