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Getting a little bit bored with the guitar? Thinking about moving on to a new instrument for the first time?
Learning to play the guitar can be a lot of fun and is a great skill to have. The truth is, however, that everyone longs for a little bit of variety every now and then.
If you’ve just started to get pretty good with the guitar, you may not realize that your new skills can be applied to other instruments too. The guitar is a great “gateway” instrument to other instruments. Luckily, you’ll find that once you know how to play the guitar, or really any instrument, it’s easy to transfer your skills into playing the 2nd instrument.
If you’re ready for a little bit of variety, here are the best musical instruments guitar players should learn next.
1. Ukulele: The Best Instrument Guitar Players Should Learn
Jumping from the guitar onto this little instrument is a great choice. Ukulele is often associated with Hawaii and has a very interesting history. Playing the ukulele is very similar to the way you play guitar and is one of the best instruments guitar players should learn.
In fact, the ukulele is tuned very similarly. Playing the ukulele is like you’re playing on the top 4 strings of a guitar at the 5th fret. It may take you a few hours to learn the basic chords, but then you’re good to go.
If you’re looking to play some happy songs, not much can beat this instrument and the bright tone it provides. These instruments can also be pretty cheap and you can even get started with one for less than $50.
2. Bass Guitar
Playing the bass guitar is often the next on the list of many guitarists. The two instruments are similar in a lot of ways and the move is a lot easier than you might expect.
While the ukulele is tuned similarly to a very high-pitched guitar, the bass guitar is also tuned similarly. In this case, the notes are similar to the bottom 4 strings of the guitar.
The standard tuning is EADG, which will sound very familiar to guitarists. With the bass, however, you won’t be strumming those chords. Instead, you’ll be thumping those bass notes and keeping time with your band’s drummer.
Squier Vintage SS Model
The piano is another one of the best instruments guitar players should learn. It isn’t quite as simple to get started with as a ukulele or bass guitar, though.
It may tricky to learn all the proper fingerings of playing the piano and learning how to hit those black notes right. However, if you’ve been learning about chords and scales you’ll find that playing the piano may not be as hard as you thought it would be.
With piano or keyboard, it’s also great that you can see every note that’s laid out in front of you in a way that isn’t possible on the guitar or other stringed instruments.
If you’re thinking about learning the piano after learning guitar, you might want to check out our post where we discuss which one is easier to learn. It can give you a lot of insight into the main differences between learning the two instruments.
Perfect for anyone who’s into folk music, the banjo has gained a lot of traction in the past decade. It’s now a pretty hip instrument and has started being used much more in genres besides its traditional country roots. It has even entered into pop music and independent rock.
The banjo isn’t a direct transfer of your guitar skills, but the two definitely have similarities.
If you’ve been working on your guitar fingerpicking, beginning to learn the banjo may be simpler than you think. Traditional banjo playing takes some pretty serious fingerpicking techniques.
So if you think you have would it takes, this may need to be the next instrument that you learn once you’re comfortable with the guitar.
However, once you’re a pro you may want to check out our list of the best banjos for professionals.
Harmonicas are also a great choice for the second instrument after guitar. The basics of harmonics can be pretty simple to learn, but it may take you a little bit longer to be a pro.
The great thing about a harmonica is that it’s incredibly portable, making it great for impromptu jam sessions.
Of course, if you’re into folk music and want to be the next Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, a harmonica can be a great addition to your guitar stylings. Simply put the harmonica in a harmonica holder, and you’re good to go and ready to start singing songs about trains.
You may also want to take a look at our list of the best starter harmonicas for more great options.
Hohner Special 20 Harmonica
It’s totally okay to want a little bit of variety, so if you want to learn a new instrument go ahead!
The instruments on the list above are pretty sensible switches that can help you put your guitar skills you’ve been learning to use. The above instruments guitar players should learn can help you add to your sound, whether you’re a solo performer, in a band, or simply writing songs at home.
Hi, I’m Harrison! I created this website to help musicians navigate the ins and outs of their craft and to help them choose new instruments and gear to add to their collection. I have 15 years of experience as a guitarist and singer and have also played many other instruments throughout the years including the bass guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.