What Instrument Should I Play?
If this question has been burning in your mind for some time, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve put together all you need to figure out how to find the music instrument that suits your talent and learn how to play it:
- Where to Start
- 1. Guitars
- 2. Pianos
- 3. Synthesizers
- 4. Drum Sets
- 5. Violins
Where to Start
Music spans cultures, countries, religions and many other aspects of human life.
Think about it:
Every known culture that exists today, and has existed in history, has had its own musical instruments.
So if you are looking for a musical instrument to play, the options are many.
However, you should be careful when choosing one, and your choice must depend on several factors.
First of all, choose an instrument that you are comfortable with playing.
If you already have some experience playing an instrument, it’s best to pick that one to master the art.
This is arguably better than spending more energy and resources on learning a wholly different instrument. Experience helps.
Also, you might want to consider commercial aspects. A theremin can be a fun instrument to play, but you won’t be able to join a band playing one.
Artists who are experienced in playing instruments like guitars, pianos, and violins are in demand in the commercial entertainment industry.
So if you are planning to make a career out of playing a musical instrument, choose an instrument with commercial appeal.
Below are our top 5 suggestions for the best musical instruments to play:
Guitars are possibly the coolest musical instruments to play.
Related Guides: Best Acoustic Guitars: 31 Experts Reveal Their Pick
A good part of the modern genre music scene was made by talented guitar players. Where would music be today without Jimmy Page, Hendrix, or Chuck Berry?
Guitars are stringed instruments that require a lot of talent and learning to master.
There are many different types of guitars you can learn to play with.
Read on to find out more:
Types of Guitars
Guitars can be mainly categorized as the following:
Acoustic guitars are the most classical form of the guitar.
There are classic acoustic guitars made with natural strings, and steel stringed acoustic guitars that deliver a distinct metallic sound.
Most guitarists start learning the instrument with an acoustic guitar.
And for performances:
Acoustic guitars are mainly used by either solo performers or without any other instruments. These guitars are iconically used for the solo repertoire.
These guitars are also great for songwriters, private performers, and subdued venues like churches.
How much does an acoustic guitar cost?
The price of an acoustic guitar can vary depending on the model and the brand you choose.
An entry level acoustic guitar with nylon strings, however, can be bought for less than $400.
A player training to become pro can purchase an acoustic guitar for around $500.
High-end professional acoustic guitars can cost $1,000 or more.
There are also collectible acoustic guitars that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Electric guitars are the type of guitar that makes players look cool.
This kind of guitar is well known for generating those rock sounds that once dominated decades.
These guitars are often shaped like acoustic guitars, but they need to be plugged into an amplifier.
Electric guitars have thinner strings than acoustic guitars, so they are physically easy to play.
Players typically take up the electric guitar after mastering the basics of the acoustic guitar.
How much does an electric guitar cost?
The price of an electric guitar largely depends on the quality of the amplifier.
You can buy rather low-end, beginner level electric guitars for less than $200 (here is a list of suggestions for musicians on budgets).
Electric guitars suited for live performances at small venues cost between $400 and $1,000.
A really good electric guitar would cost you several thousand dollars but are only recommended for those who have already mastered the art of playing the guitar.
The bass guitar mainly differs from other types of guitars in how the strings are tuned.
The open strings of a bass guitar are tuned to pitch to low octaves. A standard base guitar comes only with four strings, while the acoustic guitar has six.
Bass guitars are not typically used for things like songwriting. Bass guitars usually accompany electric guitars. You will only notice these types of guitars in bands.
How much does a bass guitar cost?
Bass guitars are usually cheaper than electric guitars.
You can find a decent product for around $200. However, for large live performances, you will need a bass guitar that costs above $500.
How Long Does it Take to Learn the Guitar?
Guitars are really fun to play, but take a notoriously long time to learn.
Stringed instruments like guitars are generally harder to learn than keyboards like the piano.
It’s best to start to play the guitar as a child to get used to playing notes by pressing down strings.
If you are an adult who is completely new to guitars, you will need about a year to be fully comfortable with the basic notes and chords.
However, individual talent and motivation will also play a part. If you are a natural, you will master the basics in a matter of months.
How Much Do Guitar Lessons Cost?
The guitar is not the easiest instrument to play on your own. You may have to pay for guitar lessons, but the prices can vary.
If you hire a private tutor, expect to pay about $25 per thirty minutes. If you cannot afford this much, you can sign up for group lessons.
You may find cheap guitar lessons offered by local community centers.
If you have friends or relatives who play the guitar, you might be able to beg for free lessons.
How to Learn to Play the Guitar
If you cannot afford guitar lessons, don’t worry, you can still learn.
There are loads of instructional videos about learning to play the guitar you can find on sites like YouTube.
Use these video lessons to teach yourself how to play.
Do keep in mind:
You will have to be patient as learning on your own can take some time.
One downside is that you won’t have anyone to point out mistakes and correct them.
There are some online guitar tutors you can Skype with for relatively cheap.
There are countless comprehensive resources online to learn from. Online lessons will help you learn the guitar without spending much, and also without having to travel a lot.
What Guitar Should I Buy?
Before you buy yourself a guitar, ask yourself if you really need to buy one.
If you only need to learn the guitar, you can rent one for relatively cheap. You can also borrow guitars from players you know.
However, if you plan on seriously learning the guitar and perhaps performing live, then you will need to actually buy one.
First, determine your needs. If you are a songwriter, for example, you will need to buy an acoustic guitar rather than a bass guitar.
All three types of guitars can be purchased for around $200 for entry-level purposes.
But if you plan on going pro, it’s recommended to invest around $500 on a guitar.
The piano is one of the most celebrated musical instruments in Western history.
Beethoven wrote his symphonies on piano, and the instrument holds a special place in the high art to this day.
Knowing how to play the piano is considered a characteristic of being “cultured”.
Talented piano players are practically venerated in the music world.
The piano can be a challenging but a highly rewarding musical instrument to play. You can even pursue a lucrative professional career as a piano player.
Types of Pianos
The piano can be classified into two main categories as the following:
An acoustic piano is a classic grand piano.
How it works is:
This piano is not plugged in, and all the sounds you get are highly authentic and natural.
Acoustic pianos have metallic strings by way of a hammer attached to the keys the player presses, which creates the clear and resounding uniquely piano sounds.
Acoustic pianos also have foot pedals, commonly three, that can change the sound in various ways.
These pianos come with weighted keys.
This means that the pressure applied to each key can change the sound. So, how an acoustic piano is played can distinctly change the musical sounds.
When someone says they know how to play the piano, they usually mean playing the acoustic piano.
Learning to play the classic piano is a form of art that can take some time.
If you are a serious piano player, learning the acoustic piano is a must.
How much does an acoustic piano cost?
Acoustic pianos are big and very expensive.
The smallest acoustic piano is called an upright piano, which is limited in size horizontally, can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
The ultimate acoustic piano is the grand piano, which can cost $10,000 or more.
There are studio and baby grand pianos in between, smaller in size than grand pianos, which cost anything between $2,000 and $8,000.
The digital piano is not necessarily an electrical version of the grand piano. Digital pianos have keyboards programmed to sound similar to grand pianos.
Some digital pianos come with weighted keys that respond to pressure like a real acoustic piano, but most have regular keys.
Digital pianos are capable of producing more sounds than acoustic pianos.
Most come pre-programmed with music tracks to help players practice and produce new sheet music.
Digital pianos aren’t nearly as costly as acoustic pianos and are thus highly suited for students who want to learn how to play.
Also, digital pianos are also smaller in size, so these are easy to keep in room or apartments.
Related Guides: Best Digital Pianos Under $1000
How much does a digital piano cost?
Digital pianos vary in price depending on size, the number of keys available, and digital programming.
A small digital piano intended for entry-level learning, such as for a kid, can be bought for less than $500.
Adult players who want to practice, write music, and play at a professional level should consider a digital piano that costs between $500 and $1,000.
This list has several useful recommendations for budget musicians.
Some of the most recognizable brand names in music, like Yamaha and Casio, make digital pianos for this price range.
How Long Does It Take to Learn the Piano?
Obtaining an entry level understanding of playing the piano doesn’t take long.
On a digital keyboard, a brand new player can learn the basics in a matter of weeks. Learning on a grand piano is a bit more complicated.
It could take months to learn how to use the foot pedals and press weighted keys.
The length of the learning period will also vary depending on individual players’ ability and level of commitment.
Mastering the piano as a pro usually takes years of practice.
How much Do Piano Lessons Cost?
The price of piano lessons would depend on whether you want to learn on a grand piano or on a regular keyboard.
Classical piano music lessons with a tutor cost considerably, as professional piano teachers charge a lot of money.
You can consider going to group lessons that teach people who to play using digital keyboards.
Learning the piano is a considerable exercise, so if you are hiring a tutor, expect to pay a lot.
How to Learn to Play the Piano?
You can forgo the costs of a teacher by teaching yourself how to play the piano using online classes, lessons, and video tutorials.
There are entire blogs dedicated to learning the piano that you can use as references.
There are also plenty of video tutorials available for free as well.
What Piano Should I Buy?
Unless you are rather rich and live in a house or an apartment with a considerable amount of space, you should probably buy a digital piano.
Here are the facts:
Buying an actual piano, whether new or used, is very expensive.
Even if you rent one, you will have to pay for transportation and maintenance.
Digital pianos are relatively cheap so you shouldn’t have much trouble obtaining one.
Choose a newer model rather than an old one to get the best value for your money.
A synthesizer is a particular type of musical instrument that can produce a wide variety of sounds.
Synthesizers are usually connected to a piano keyboard and can emulate a number of sounds, such as sounds of a musical instrument, a car, the wind, or the ocean.
Synthesizers generate natural and artificial tones and are therefore used mainly in preparing music tracks.
Compared to an instrument like a piano, synthesizers are generally new. However, they have been around for nearly two centuries.
Types of Synthesizers
There are two main types of synthesizers:
This is the original type of synthesizer. This instrument predates digital technology. So in the early days of the 19th century, synthesizers were mainly analog.
You can still buy analog synthesizers which use voltage-controlled circuits to produce various sounds.
Audio produced by analog synthesizers tend to have a high pitch.
This is the most common type of synthesizer that is available today.
Digital synthesizers operate with a digital signal flow, and are optimized with binary algorithms to produce various sounds.
These synthesizers connect to computers and various types of digital keyboards.
Professional music studios use large synthesizers to produce music tracks.
How Long Does It Take to Learn the Synthesizer?
To use a synthesizer, you need to know how to play a keyboard, like a digital piano keyboard with non-weighted keys.
The synthesizer doesn’t require learning to play like a traditional musical instrument.
Rather, you will have to learn how to operate it like a digital gadget.
It may also take a while for you to get used to a new synth.
If you are already good with keyboards, then you will master using a synthesizer in two or three weeks.
How Much do Synthesizer Lessons Cost?
You don’t have to pay for tutors to learn how to use a synthesizer. It’s something that musicians learn to use by themselves.
If you are still learning to play a keyboard, your teacher might be willing to let you learn with a synthesizer.
Otherwise, you can learn how to use one at zero cost.
How to Learn to Play the Synthesizer?
Most musicians learn by playing around with the synthesizer and reading the manual produced with the device.
There are also plenty of online tutorials you can refer to for free.
The Synthesizer Academy, which is an online tutorial site dedicated to synths, is a great place to start learning. It’s a completely free service.
What Synthesizer Should I Buy?
If you don’t have money to buy a new synthesizer, you can always rent one. Most musicians only need synthesizers for specific needs.
So renting a synthesizer for a reasonable price from a local store would make more financial sense than buying one.
You can also borrow a synthesizer from professional musicians you might know.
If you think you might need a synthesizer for regular use while playing the keyboard, then you should definitely buy one.
The prices for synthesizers vary depending on capability.
Budget users can find compact sized synthesizers with moderate capabilities typically for less than $1,000.
4. Drum Sets
Drum sets are one of the coolest musical instruments to play along with guitars.
There’s also an enveloping level of satisfaction that can be obtained by banging on a drum.
But there a lot more to it:
Drums are an integral part of many musical genres, such as rock, pop, and even classical music.
Learning to play drums will enable you to experiment with many different types of genres.
If you are trying to become a professional musician, a drum set is a great main musical instrument to choose.
Drummers are always in demand for musical events.
Drums, however, are not for everyone. Learning to play drums is as serious as learning to play the piano or the violin.
You will really need to commit yourself to this instrument, so choose carefully.
Types of Drum Sets
There are many different types of drums and drum sets used across musical genres.
However, when people refer to drum sets in the modern sense, they refer to one of the following:
Electronic Drum Sets
Electronic drum sets are an alternative to traditional acoustic drums.
These kits are often plugged into an amplifier and a synthesizer to create many different types of drum sounds.
Electronic drum sets don’t have drumheads.
They come with drum pads made from plastic, rubber or mesh drumheads. Because of this, they don’t often “feel” as real drums.
The advantage here is that players can easily recreate many different sounds and make new tracks.
Also, you can plug in a pair of headphones, so drummers can practice without the nuisance of noise complaints from neighbors.
Electronic drums are not recommended for students who want to play drums, however.
Players who learn using electronic drums often have trouble transitioning to actual drums.
Musicians compare electronic drums to treadmills, whereas traditional drums are actual road running tracks.
How Much do Electronic Drum Sets Cost?
Electronic drum sets are rather affordable, that’s why they are so popular.
These drums are also smaller and easier to transport than acoustic drums.
If you are on a budget, you can easily purchase an electronic drum set with a budget of $1,000.
This list has several good suggestions for those shopping for electronic drums on a budget.
Acoustic Drum Sets
Acoustic drums are the actual traditional drums that musicians have used for decades.
These acoustic drums are made with wood shells (or metal in some cases) and have metal cymbals.
Real drums also have drumheads made from animal hide or equivalent synthetic material.
These drums produce the most authentic drum sounds, and aren’t plugged into anything.
These drum sets are also very loud, so practicing at home could result in noise complaints.
How Much Do Acoustic Drum Sets Cost?
A professional acoustic drum set can cost a lot of money. However, beginner drum sets cost around $300 and are suitable for young players.
The price for a junior drum kit is also $300.
For this price, you get the full kit including drums and the necessary hardware like cymbals, mounts, and drumsticks.
These junior kits may not be suitable for adult players.
Bigger drum kits suited for adult students could cost between $500 and $1,000.
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Play Drum Sets?
Okay, here’s how it is:
Learning drums involves a lot of practice. So you can learn quickly if you commit yourself to daily practice for an hour or more.
Learning drums is not as simple as banging on the drumheads. You will need to take tutorials and learn sheet music.
Mastering the basics of drums could take several months.
Becoming a professional-grade player would definitely take years.
How Much do Drum Set Lessons Cost?
You can find a tutor to teach you drums. The price will vary depending on how experienced the tutor is.
Pro drummers who are somewhat famous would charge a lot to teach. For a beginner lesson, it costs about $30 per 30 minutes with a tutor.
How to Learn to Play a Drum Set?
Because drum lessons can be quite costly, it’s best to teach yourself using material freely available online.
There are video tutorials, blogs, and websites you can refer to.
You can find fellow drummer enthusiasts online on specialist music sites and work together to fix each others’ mistakes.
What Drum Set Should I Buy?
If you are a beginner player with no experience, then you need to start learning using an acoustic drum set, which can cost a pretty penny.
But there are plenty of options:
It’s best to rent a drum set or borrow one from a professional player.
But you can also sign up for lessons at a school or a community center and use the drums provided with the lessons.
If you plan on practicing at home a lot, then you should buy a drum set.
It’s recommended to purchase an electronic drum set you can use with headphones so you don’t cause a lot of noise where you live.
You will nevertheless need to supplement your electronic drum pad practice with playing with actual drums to really learn the instrument.
The violin is one of the most important and popular musical instruments in the string family.
Violins can produce gentle and flowing sounds that soothe the ears.
Violin music has significantly advanced in recent years, so you can now actually play violin renditions of genre music.
This instrument is a must in classic musical, in symphonies and orchestras.
Modern pop music also generously use violin sounds. Therefore, knowing how to play the violin can be invaluable.
Plus, it’s one of the most fun instruments to learn.
Related Guides: The Search for the Best Violin: 19 Violinists Offer Their Advice
Types of Violins
When people think of violins, they mostly think of acoustic violins. But there are also electric violins.
Read below to find out more:
Electric violins are modern electronic counterparts to the traditional acoustic violin.
These violins are solid bodied and generate artificial sounds.
Electric violins are mainly defined by an amp and an output for connecting the violin to a pair of headphones.
If you want to practice without disturbing the neighbors, then electric violins are the best option.
Electric violins are excellent for playing rock or jazz sounds, rather than classic violin sounds.
These violins are mainly used by players who want to expand their genre range.
Electric violins do not produce resonant sounds and are therefore not recommended for beginner players who are still learning.
How much do electric violins cost?
Electric violins are quite cheap.
Products generally cost around $100. Some electric violins can cost about $600.
This could be due to the superior amp, or fanciful designs.
A $100 budget electric violin is suitable for most needs of players.
Acoustic violins are the traditional violins that musicians have been playing for centuries.
Unlike electric violins, acoustic violins have strings that vibrate when playing, creating resonant sounds that anyone can recognize as distinctly of a violin.
Acoustic violins have hollow bodies made of wood. Sound doesn’t need to be amplified, but can be if needed.
Acoustic violins produce high, bright sounds, unlike electric violins.
Beginners are often instructed to learn to play the violin on acoustic instruments.
How much do acoustic violins cost?
Acoustic violins are small and have hollow bodies, so these can be purchased for less than $100. You can purchase a full-size acoustic violin for as little as $60.
Quality usually depends on the build. Even cheap acoustic violins can be tuned to achieve the right sound.
If you are a beginner, it’s recommended to budget for your violin purchase around $100.
As you learn and master the art, you can move onto more expensive instruments built for professional use.
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Play the Violin?
Stringed instruments like the violin require a lot of time and practice to truly master.
You will have to dedicate at least an hour a day to practice.
The time it takes to learn the basics will depend on your personal ability.
Generally speaking, adults can learn the basics of violin in about a month with regular practice.
How Much Do Violin Lessons Cost?
An experienced violin tutor would charge about $50 an hour to teach classical acoustic violin.
But you can reduce costs by learning at a school or a community service center.
Some cities have nonprofits that offer music lessons for free, including violin lessons.
How to Learn to Play Violin?
You can technically start learning to play the violin on your own using online resources like dedicated websites, blogs, and instructional videos on YouTube and elsewhere.
However, you will have to be patient. It’s not easy to learn violin without a proper tutor, but you will be able to find help on online forums.
What Violin Should I Buy?
If you are only using the violin once or twice a month, you can just rent a violin rather than buying one.
But as beginner violins are quite cheap, it’s also convenient just to buy one and practice at your leisure.
If you are learning to play, then you must buy an acoustic violin. Buy an electric violin only if you want to play particular genres like jazz.
Also, if you live in a crowded apartment building, an electric violin may be necessary to play on mute using headphones.