The piano and guitar are both amazing instruments.
Many people who play one of them have a biased opinion about which is best.
For that reason, choosing the right one to learn isn't the easiest decision.
However, there are some things you might consider to guide you in the right direction.
Guitar vs Piano: Which One Is Easier To Play?
There are several levels to this question. While both instruments take lots of practice to get good at, the learning processes are different. In the beginning, the guitar is harder to learn. Why?—you may ask.
Let's look at the most obvious level of playing both instruments. Anyone can create sound on the piano. All you need to do is push down on the keys with your fingers. The instrument is a lot easier to play at first because beginners can make instant music. On the guitar, you put more effort into playing the notes. One hand holds down strings while the other plays the strings.
With that said, playing the piano gives beginners more instant gratification. You can compare both instruments to gears on a bicycle. It's easier to start on a lower gear as you're first starting to pedal. Learning the guitar is like starting on gear 14, while learning the piano is like starting on 7.
However, once you start getting the hang of the guitar, things can change. After a month or two, you'll start being able to play chords more fluently. Then, songs are much easier to learn, and guitarists have much better experiences than before.
With both instruments, things start leveling out after some time. The only difference is, with the guitar, it might happen a little bit quicker. Leveling out means getting to a point where you can confidently say, "Okay, I'm pretty good." However, in terms of mastery, both instruments require a bunch of practice.
Which Instrument Should You Learn?
Music is a language. Within this language, there are different niches for different people. The biggest factor when deciding to learn the piano or guitar is your desire. How many times have you had the urge to learn the piano? How about the guitar? Both instruments can give you and others around you lots of joy. They both take time to learn.
If you want to see instant results, I'd say go with the piano. Learning the piano takes technique, but it's not as complex as the guitar at first. Playing the guitar, you almost have to use good technique to produce a good sound.
If you're willing to get past the guitar's learning curve, it might be best for you to learn. Learning the guitar, you also have to go through some finger pain.
Experienced guitar players have calluses on their fingertips that enable them to play without pain. If you play each day, it takes about 2-4 weeks to develop guitar calluses. But, for those first several weeks, you have to brave the pain.
Learning the piano also has a learning curve. Like the guitar, playing the piano takes a lot of precise fingering. When you reach an intermediate level in piano lessons, things seem to slow down. You start focusing on specific pieces that take weeks or months to learn. Since you don't learn a large number of songs, it's harder to see your own progress.
However, what I'm describing is the piano lessons route. This route isn't always necessary. If you reach an intermediate level without traditional piano lessons, you can do what you wish with your skills. You could learn a high amount of simple music or a low amount of harder music. There are many great ways to reach the intermediate level with the help of the internet.
Guitar vs Piano: Important Factors to Consider
The price of pianos and guitars vary widely. However, a beginner pianist doesn't necessarily need a $1,000 piano. And, a starting-out guitarist doesn't need a crazy expensive guitar.
Beginner pianos and guitars are often under $300. You can certainly get started on one of these and upgrade later. With pianos, one thing to consider is weighted keys. Weighted keys are a must-have for people who want to pursue the instrument loyally. However, weighted-key keyboards can be $300-500 and more. It's the same deal with guitars. If you want an instrument with a better tone, it might cost a little more than $300.
Keyboards and guitars are both portable instruments. However, guitars are much lighter. The portability of a guitar depends on what type it is. Though electric and acoustic guitars don't have much of a weight difference, you'll be lugging around an amp with an electric guitar. Pianos and keyboards obviously have a more significant range of differences. If you buy a real piano instead of a keyboard, it's in your home to stay.
Both instruments can play most genres, but each one caters to certain genres better than the other. For example, if your favorite genre is rock, you might enjoy the guitar more. Since the beginning of rock and roll in the 1950s, the guitar has been the genre's prominent instrument. Famous guitarists like Van Halen, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix set a high standard for rock and roll guitar playing. Though keyboards are common in rock, they aren't nearly as important as the guitar.
In terms of playing different genres, the piano is a more versatile instrument. Many excellent guitarists can play all types of genres, but there's still a difference. Some genres, like jazz and classical, are much more challenging on the guitar. Jazz has lots of intricate harmonies and chord changes. It's a lot easier to play advanced chords when you have 10 fingers to work with on the piano.
Both instruments work well in pop music. However, the guitar slightly edges the piano in terms of relevance. Lots of people have seen that one dreamy guitar player that seems to woo everyone in sight. The singer-songwriter genre has many more guitarists/singers than pianists/singers.
There are many ways to maintain both of these instruments. Here are some guitar maintenance techniques:
When the guitar strings are too high or low on the fretboard, that's a sign the truss rod needs to be adjusted. While music repair shops can do this, you can do it relatively easily with an online guide. The bridge saddle on guitars is the most significant factor when it comes to adjusting the action. If the guitar starts rattling or buzzing, that could be a sign of loose tuners. When it comes to cleaning a guitar, the best things to use are damp cloths or 100% cotton T-shirts.
Keyboards don't really require that much maintenance. As long as you take decent care of them, they can last for a very long time. However, real pianos are a different story. Here are some great ways to maintain an acoustic piano:
All these tips are very beneficial but not always necessary. One thing that is necessary is tuning. For the best experience, it's recommended that a piano gets tuned twice a year. Cleaning is also essential. Over time, dust can significantly lower the piano's quality and make it more prone to damages.
Regulation, voicing, and humidity control are all optional maintenance techniques. Regulation keeps the piano keys consistent, and voicing changes the tone. If you live somewhere with lots of seasonal differences, it might be beneficial to get a humidity control unit. Changes in humidity can bring a piano out of tune very quickly.
Even though they have many differences, the piano and guitar are both excellent instruments for anyone to play. Finding out which one is best for you is ultimately your decision. The piano offers a bit more instant gratification, and the guitar better suits genres like rock, blues, and pop. Figure out what musical qualities you desire most, and get to playing!