How Hard is Learning Guitar After Piano? Let’s Bring it to Light

Even though I grew up learning to play piano, I always wanted to learn a more portable instrument, such as the guitar. Before the digital piano era, pianos are really hard to be moved around. Eventually, I learned to play the guitar by myself. I am far from “playing like a pro,” however, I can play some chords and riffs on the guitar.

How hard is learning guitar after piano? While it depends on each individual’s talents, understanding of music theory and chords, and natural ability to learn an instrument. On average, for people who already play piano, it is probably easier to learn guitar than for someone who does not play any instrument.

Let’s find out!

How Hard is Learning Guitar After Piano?

playing piano and guitar

If you are already playing an instrument, it will be easier for your to pick up another instrument. In this regard, it really does not matter if you learn guitar after piano, violin, or any other instrument. Do not be afraid that you will start as a beginner because there is a lot of transferrable knowledge from piano to guitar. After all, both are musical instruments. The musical fundamentals are the same.

Guitar and piano are two drastically different musical instruments. The guitar is a string instrument that makes music by plucking the strings and resonating sound in the guitar body. On the other hand, the piano is a keyboard instrument that produces sound by a felt-covered hammer striking the strings inside the piano chamber. However, you still can leverage your piano knowledge into guitar learning in many ways.

Your Piano Experience Helps You to Learn Guitar

The music theory knowledge you’ve gained from the piano always helps you learn a second or third instrument. Of course, it applies to the guitar. Being able to see how chord structures worked on a piano makes it easier to apply them to a guitar.

You Already Have the Basic Music Knowlege

When you start with Piano 101, you have already learned music notations. Additionally, you are probably familiar with tempo, rhythm, scales, and key signatures and how they work. The knowledge will make learning the guitar a lot simpler.

If you have a strong understanding of chord and harmony theory and know how to create and use chords, then you can really make a more comprehensible leap in guitar learning.

On the piano, you can see how the intervals and chords on the piano keys in a logical order. Although on the guitar, the notes are on multiple strings in a less logical way, it is not that hard to figure them out when you already have a good understanding of music fundamentals.

You Know How To Read Notes

sheet music and tablature

Moreover, you will appreciate the fact that you know how to read music scores. This offers you a great advantage when learning a new instrument including the guitar.

Classical guitar sheet music probably is more attainable than piano sheet music because piano music has two cleves (a treble clef and a bass clef) vs a single clef on guitar sheet music.

If you start with learning classical guitar as I did, you can easily reduce the effort of learning to read music. However, if you want to play rock, metal, or electric guitar, tablature (a.k.a. TAB) is part of the learning.

Your Finger Strength Helps

While playing the guitar is very different from playing piano, your finger strength can still be useful. Through playing piano, you have developed your finger flexibility, strength, and good control of your fingers. These qualities can be handy when you learn to play chords and movements on the guitar.

In addition, piano players usually have very good coordination between their hands which makes learning guitar easier.

It Can Be Self-Taught

It could be really hard without a teacher to learn your first instrument. From music theory, notations, and techniques, to instrument maintenance and turning, a music teacher can lead you on the right path and ultimately save your energy and avoid unnecessary frustration. Hence, I usually will recommend you find a teacher.

However, many musicians learn their second or third instrument without a teacher especially when they have confidence in their musical aptitude and knowledge. On the other hand, you will still need outside resources. There are plenty of online resources to get you started including free information or paid courses. Normally, online courses are much more affordable.

When you have a solid musical background and already play piano, the guitar surely can be self-taught, especially by leveraging online resources. That being said, it does not mean you do not hire a musical teacher. It is solely your choice of how you want to learn the guitar. Having a guitar instructor will probably help you to come up to speed faster, although, the practices are still your responsibility.

Challenges of Learning Guitar After Piano

As we mentioned earlier, the guitar and the piano are two completely different instruments, hence they require very different techniques to play.

When playing guitar, you use the fingers of your left hand to press the strings on the fretboard while your right-hand fingers pluck the strings. I would recommend you start with a classical guitar with nylon strings to learn and master the basics, then branch out to your favored styles like electric rock and etc.

Using the nylon string guitar is a bit easier on your fingers. You may ease into steel string acoustic guitar later which could be tougher for your fingers.

Just like learning and playing any instrument, practice makes it better, and so is learning guitar.

Sometimes it Might be Tough

There are always challenges in life, and learning guitar is no exception. At the beginner, especially, you might not get the correct finger position to produce desired tones, or your fingers are hurt. It is understandable that you encounter some difficulties. Through consistent practice, normally these difficulties disappear after a few weeks.

You might also experience some discouragement when your progress is not as you expected or you lose interest to continue. These are common emotional reactions at the beginning stage of learning a new instrument. Once you overcome them with your persistence, you will start enjoying playing and feel fulfilled.

Tips For Sucess in Guiter

playing guitar in spot light

Learning is a journey, it is not happening overnight. You do it one step at a time and keep moving forward. Here are a few tips to help you succeed in your guitar-learning journey.

Set Achievable Goals

You may have a goal to perform on the stage with your guitar. However, how to get there? That’s where having a plan with achievable goals comes in.

Having a practice schedule is only part of your plan. You would want to set your goals by week, by month, then by year. This way, you can measure your progress every week and celebrate your achievements. Little by little, you are getting closer to your big goal. Before you know it, you are able to perform on a stage with your guitar.

Naturally, everyone has different goals and works at various paces. As long as you have a plan working toward your goals, you will be successful.

Create a Learning Environment

Your learning environment will help your mood and productivity. Set up a corner at your home where you can put up your computer to access the online resources, and a chair for you to sit comfortably with your guitar. It will be a convenient spot whenever you want to learn and practice.

It will be a good idea to decorate this space as attractive to you as possible, so you would love to be there.

Be Patient and Consistent

Patience is another attribute required to learn an instrument. Initial learning of techniques may take longer than you thought. Be patient and practice consistently, you will get there and eventually play the songs you love.

Just like when you develop your piano skills, practicing every day will go a long way.


Back to the questions: how hard is learning guitar after piano? I would say it is easier than from scratch because you already have musical knowledge, ears for the chords, and hand coordination.

You will encounter difficulties along your learning journey. However, your patience and persistence will overcome the challenges and you will prevail.

Both piano and guitar are cool instruments. They will bring a lot of enjoyment for you. Keep up the good work and enjoy!!!

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