Hello from Kev - a piano player starting to learn guitar at 48

Hi all. I’m Kev and have just joined the group and loving my first few weeks on Justin Guitar. After years of playing piano and getting to grade 8, I’m back to an absolute beginner having a go at electric guitar. I was wondering if anyone had any experience on whether a piano background will help at all when learning guitar? Did anyone find anything easier by already knowing another instrument? Looking forward to your advice and thoughts. Thanks


Hi Kevin,
Welcome and I wish you a lot of fun,and it is always an advantage if you have experience on another instrument :sunglasses:


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As a pianist (albeit not an accomplished one like you) I found there are quite a few places where you get a headstart learning guitar:

  • Hand independence
  • Rhythm
  • Music theory
    and, to some extent, being able to hear notes/melodies/chords in stuff that you hear played.

The music theory bit seems like a big boost, all that stuff about scales and chords and chord sequences is cheerfully familiar.
It is going to be frustrating that your fingers don’t go where you want them to go like they do when you play piano because the muscle memory (and muscle strength) required is different and will take time to develop. Also the target area for your fingers on a guitar is much smaller than a piano key, so there’s that to get used to as well.

Not being a brilliant pianist, I’ve found the stuff I’ve learned on guitar has inspired fun things I can learn to play on the piano too (e.g. improvised blues)


Welcome Kev, I’m sure that your background will help you on your new guitar adventure. Enjoy and have fun. It’s great here, lots of help and support at your fingertips. :grinning:

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Hello and welcome to our community Kev. :slight_smile:

I’m sure it will help already knowing an instrument. Enjoy.

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Thanks. Great advice and I recognise some of the points you made especially the smaller area for finger placement! Patience needed I think.

Hey Kevin, welcome to the community. Learning piano is still on my bucket list. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Hello Kevin… Welcome to the community :smiley:

Hi there, fellow pianist here. Id agree with the earlier post that there’s a few things that you already are familiar with and the only thing I’ll add is that you probably won’t struggle with staying in time. Yes there’s a bunch of shifts in mentality having to do with finger movements and strings vs keys and the way chords are shaped and spread across strings. I think overall having a piano background has been very helpful since my aptitude is already primed for chords, notes, melodies, and time.


Hello Kevin, and a warm welcome to the community :hugs:.
I think there even exists a YT video, where Justin encourages us to learn at least some Piano basics :thinking:.
So, yes, there might definitely be some advantages :slightly_smiling_face:.

Just found it: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/learn-basic-piano-skills-qt-015


Welcome Kev. You should have some theory advantages at least.

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Thanks, great advice and info. Looking forward to seeing. How I get on and just enjoying the process.

Welcome, @KevFaz !

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Hi Kevin, welcome. Any previous musical knowledge should be an advantage.

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Piano was my first instrument (guitar was my third). I’ve found that experience with other instruments definitely helps when learning subsequent instruments. You’re still a beginner on the new instrument, but you’re not a beginner as a musician. You won’t struggle with counting/time, reading music, or music theory. With piano, in particular, you’ll already be familiar with triads, chords, chord composition, inversions, and so on. Your hands are already used to complicated independent movements. Your ear is already used to listening for pitches and intervals. You’re used to memorizing songs/changes. You’re used to the importance of things like dynamics, tempo changes, and so on.

One challenge on guitar will be learning the fretboard (i.e., where the notes are). A bit of a different setup, compared to the straightforward layout of a piano. Another will be the physical bits like developing calluses on your fingertips, developing guitar-specific muscles in your hands, et cetera.


Kevin, welcome to the community. I started with piano but changed to guitar. My one year of piano though helped me to learn to sight read early on the guitar and pick up theory easily. When you play from standard notation on the guitar though you just have the treble clef and the lowest C on the guitar corresponds to the middle C on the piano, since the bass guitar plays on the bass clef.
As others have said above you should benefit from all the musical skills you gained on piano playing.


Hi Kevin,

Another fellow pianist here. I also got to grade 8 but it was a very long time ago! Funnily enough though I found my grade 8 pieces at my mum’s last weekend and I’ve brough the home to learn to play them again! as others have said your piano background will definitely help you although you will have to get your head round finding the notes on the fretboard rather than having them all laid out on the keyboard for you. That will come with time though. I also found that learning the guitar has made me a better, more rounded pianist/musician. I’ve learn musical theory from my guitar playing that I never learnt when learning the piano. Things like all the different types of chords and how they are constructed, improv and playing blues… I’ve played acoustic for a good few years but treated myself to an electric 18 months or so ago. They are great fun aren’t they? Enjoy. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks again. So much knowledge and experience shared here, I’m really glad I asked. I’m now thinking I should have started guitar years ago, but better late than never. Thanks folks. Enjoy.

Hello Kev and welcome to JustinGuitar and the community. :slight_smile: