What is Harder to Learn Drums or Guitar?

What is harder to learn, guitar or drums? Guy holding a guitar.

This is a great question, and I’m going to do my best to answer it. However, keep in mind that part of it simply comes down to which one you enjoy playing the most.

Like most things, there can be arguments made for both sides and I’m going to talk about some of the arguments for which instrument could be considered harder to learn.

As a disclaimer, this is simply my opinion. I’ve learned both instruments and I can honestly say that for me I had an easier time learning to play the drums.

I’ll start by saying I have a sneaky suspicion that it would be incorrect to state that one instrument or the other is harder to learn. I think it comes down to the individual and how they operate.

For me, I still to this day, have a harder time with music theory on the guitar. I struggle to write solos, and generally lack the finger coordination to be considered a ‘good’ guitarist.

Whole-body coordination is a different story. I’m comfortable switching limbs and keeping a steady beat. It’s just how I operate, so naturally I’m drawn to the drums.

I like the way drumsets look, and I like the feel of sitting behind the kit. I just can’t see myself being a guitarist in a band, nor do I want to be. In the end, I would always want to be the drummer for the band.

On the other hand, galloping on the low E string sounds so cool when the distortion is turned up on the amp. There are a lot of cool things about learning the guitar. And the guitarists are always the ones everyone remembers.

Each instrument requires the musician to learn different things. Guitars require you to memorize a lot of things. You’ll need to learn your major and minor scales, all kinds of different chord shapes, and if you really want to get advanced in your guitar playing, you’ll want to check out the different modes.

What is harder to learn drums or guitar? Guitar neck.

On top of all that, you’ll have to gain an understanding of how all those pieces fit together so you can truly understand how melody, harmony, and time values fit together. It’s a hard thing and a lot of guitarists don’t have it figured out.

Earlier I mentioned that the guitar requires you to memorize a lot of things, and I feel that drums do as well, but not quite to the extent of a guitar. Drummers can and should learn the forty standard international drum rudiments.

Apart from that, it’s just learning songs, beats, and fills. Obviously, guitarists have to learn songs as well, so that’s not a very good contrast between the two.

Drums require a lot of full body coordination and it can become quite physically demanding, depending on the complexity and speed of the song.

Guitars require good hand-eye coordination and an understanding of the melodic and harmonic side of music theory.

Drummers usually only need to worry about time values and fractions. It’s fair to say that drumming requires a lot of counting.

Both instruments require you to learn at least some music theory, but I feel that between the two, the guitar requires more to become good.

For me, keeping time on the drums is easier than figuring out what scale someone is playing in on the guitar. That’s just me though.

You might be the complete opposite though, and have great hand-eye coordination and a mind for the type of theory that learning the guitar requires.

In conclusion, I don’t think one is harder than the other to learn. Each instrument has unique challenges.

I feel that it comes down to your mindset and how your brain operates that’s ultimately going to dictate which instrument is the easiest to learn for you.

What to do next?

If you are brand new to music, music production, or are interested in learning to play the drums, you can check out my article: What is a DAW? – What Does DAW stand for?

You might also want to check out this article: Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?

If you are looking at buying your first drum set or any other musical instrument for that matter, take a look at Zzounds. They have a variety of acoustic drum sets and electronic drum sets for purchase.

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Andrew has been a life long lover of music. Although starting his musical journey on the guitar, (we won't talk about his skills on that particular instrument) he found his true passion was for drumming and making music to share with others. He also enjoys writing blog posts about off the wall subjects that are very much real—such as Bigfoot, UFOs, and what's up with European mayonnaise. Why is it sweet???
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