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Piano vs. guitar: which one is more popular?

Posted by Mariana Del Rosal on Sep 8, 2020 2:45:40 PM

Quite often, people that decide to learn how to play a musical instrument can’t make up their mind between taking piano or guitar lessons. Both are extremely popular instruments, and in case you are wondering, you’ll find plenty of tutors available for any of them! So, instead of deciding which one beats (pun intended) the other one in popularity, we will evaluate them to help you decide the most appropriate for you.

Of course, basing your decision upon this article is pointless if you have already fallen in love with any instrument! Just follow your instincts! However, if you are not sure if you should sign up for guitar lessons, or better start with piano lessons, here is a comparison that may help you decide.

Both equally appropriate for beginners!

Let’s begin by stating that both piano and guitar are undoubtedly the two most popular instruments, and this is because of their versatility and their autonomy. You can play both melodies and chords with either of them and learn music theory while enhancing your performances. Besides, either with a piano or a guitar you can join a band or play solo, you can also sing while playing them, they are both great for composing music, etc.

One little difference applies when the student is a young child: the guitar is not so easy to hold, and the little fingers may not have the necessary strength to play the strings. On the other hand, even a 3-year old can play easy little tunes on their keyboard. This doesn’t mean the guitar isn’t suitable for kids! But if the future student is a young child, you may consider buying a small-size guitar and following other tips for guitar players with small hands.


If you have to base your decision on the instrument’s price range, you’ll probably pick a guitar, since there are really decent models you can get even for $200 (the price depends if you want an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar). In any case, the best guitar is way cheaper than the best piano.

However, there are electric keyboards you can purchase for a beginner player without spending too much money. And afterward, you won’t need to invest money in your keyboard. The guitar, on the other hand, requires regular changes of strings.


The guitar is such a popular instrument mainly because it is lightweight and easily carried. You just need a guitar suitcase and you can carry it around with you, and play almost anywhere! It is perfect for playing outdoors, bringing it with you to parties, to school, to trips, etc. As for the piano... it is not so much of a travel-friendly instrument. However, electric keyboards are also portable, so if you love this instrument, portability shouldn’t be a concern.

Learning curve

Both piano and guitar are extremely popular instruments, but which one is easier to learn? This is a trick question because the learning curve is different. The piano usually requests you to learn melodies before learning chords, you should practice scales, and learn some music theory, as well as how to read standard notation before you can actually play songs you enjoy and have fun with your instrument. However, this shouldn’t scare you! The piano offers a huge advantage when it comes to understanding music theory, because of its visual layout: unlike the guitar, the notes on a piano are ordered side by side.

The guitar, on the other hand, allows you to jump really quickly to playing songs since once you’ve learned the first few chords by heart (and you have “finger memory”) you can perform quite a lot of pop songs you are probably familiarized with. Using a capo is a great help if you need to change the guitar keys, and you can do it without learning music theory at all! Still, advanced guitar playing will require you to learn music theory, reading tabs, and practicing for many years if you really want to seize all the possibilities the instrument offers. In a few words, you could stick to basic guitar chords, but only for having fun and accompanying other instruments or your voice.

Pitch range and expressiveness

This is easy: the piano offers you the highest pitch range of all musical instruments. Guitars only have half of the octaves. On the other hand, the guitar offers you to change the way a note sounds by adding vibrato and bending notes. It is a more expressive instrument. The piano keys always sound the same.

Best musical genres

Last but not least, your decision should be based on your personal music preferences. Both guitar and piano are great instruments for classical music, as well as for jazz, and popular music as well. However, if you are a classical enthusiast, this may tilt the scales in favor of the piano. This is because there is such a rich musical tradition, with so many classical pieces composed for piano.

On the other hand, if you love rock, the guitar is probably best for you! Most rock fans would rather play the guitar since it is the quintessential instrument of this genre. The guitar is also appropriate if you love country music. As for pop songs, there are at least as many that feature piano than guitar.

If you cannot make up your mind and you love all music genres the same, consider your selection as choosing between a classical and a jazz formation: it is easier to switch from improvisation to reading music than the other way round.


So, have you made up your mind between taking piano or guitar lessons? The important thing is that you want to learn music. Don’t take too long to decide: signing up for your first trial lesson is really simple, and you can do it in 3 minutes, or less. In the end, it is not a popularity contest but a matter of personal preferences. Only you have the right answer! As for myself, I love the Irish tin whistle and I know it’s not as popular or as versatile, but that’s the way my dreams sound. What about you?




Topics: Piano, Piano Lessons, Guitar, Music Lessons, guitar lessons

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