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  #1  
Old 02-19-2011, 02:16 AM
Joedrumma
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Default Which is harder to play - drums or guitar?!

Ok guys me and my friends are having an argument about which instrument is harder to play drums or guitar. I personally think it's the drums all my friends say its the guitar. There argument is that anyone could jump on a drum set and not be out of beat and that when playing drums you have natural rythem to fall back on. My friend said he learned a couple drum patterns in 1 day. what your opinion guys?
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2011, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Depends on the person. I can't play guitar at all and I know guitar players that can't play drums at all.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

A smart person once said:

Drums are the easiest instrument to learn the basics, but the hardest to master.

I'd say that pretty much applies here. Anyone can jump in the drums and be taught a basic beat.

But getting from basic beginner to being intermediate is probably easier to do on guitar than drums.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:49 AM
AudioWonderland AudioWonderland is offline
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Originally Posted by Joedrumma View Post
Ok guys me and my friends are having an argument about which instrument is harder to play drums or guitar. I personally think it's the drums all my friends say its the guitar. There argument is that anyone could jump on a drum set and not be out of beat and that when playing drums you have natural rythem to fall back on. My friend said he learned a couple drum patterns in 1 day. what your opinion guys?
Drums are a more natural fit for me but overall I would say guitar is more difficult. In addition to rhythmic considerations guitar also involves a lot of theory/harmony issues.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Yeah, well I learned Smoke On The Water in one day, too.

I don't think it means anything that you can pick out a beat or a riff in a day.

I also think it's utterly meaningless to ask such a question. No offense, but it's just as DSCRAPRE said.

Is it harder to be an astronaut or a monk? See where this logic takes you? They're apples and oranges.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:11 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
A smart person once said:

Drums are the easiest instrument to learn the basics, but the hardest to master.

I'd say that pretty much applies here. Anyone can jump in the drums and be taught a basic beat.

But getting from basic beginner to being intermediate is probably easier to do on guitar than drums.
I agree with this one. You'd be surprised with little rhythm some people have. Not getting high and mighty, but I find that the guitar is a relatively easy instrument. But thats because I was playing jazz and latin drums for 8years before picking one up! Just like I thought piano was easy. Its all about who you are. If you have rhythm, drums is fine at the start. If you can play any instrument competently, then those such as guitar are fine too.

It all depends on the music aswell. Rock and pop drums are the easiest of most instruments in any style. But I feel as though playing jazz or latin on the drums is harder than any other instrument of any style.

But at a certain point, they are all equally...impossible.

Its a stupid arguement. If you are a great guitarist with motivation and good senses, then you COULD be great on any other instrument. But I think the only thing that keeps playing the guitar is line with others is composing. The guitar itself is an easy instrument.

I think piano has the traits that make hard for drummers and guitarists.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

I agree with yall i think drums is hard to master and get great at!! This convo really got me heated when i was talking to my friends cause they thought playing drums was soo easy and it was like nothing......
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2011, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Drums are the easiest instrument to learn the basics, but the hardest to master.
every instrument is the same, guitar is just as easy as drums to start in, learn some basic I-IV-V in open position and there you go, same for piano, etc. etc.

There is no "easy" musical instrument, they're all hard, some instruments are harder to start with (say, trumpet, violin) others are quite easy (say, drums, piano), but in the end to get to a "master" level it takes a lifetime no matter what instrument it is...
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Old 02-19-2011, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Yeah, well I learned Smoke On The Water in one day, too.

I don't think it means anything that you can pick out a beat or a riff in a day.

I also think it's utterly meaningless to ask such a question. No offense, but it's just as DSCRAPRE said.

Is it harder to be an astronaut or a monk? See where this logic takes you? They're apples and oranges.
Now THAT would be a good thread, astronauts vs. monks. Actually, that would probably make a good movie as well...

But I definitely agree, its almost impossible to compare the two. You could look at it a couple ways though. For example, how many hours of practice does it take before you could perform simple rock music live on guitar or drums? In that case, I would probably say that guitar is "harder."

But its not really, because all we established is that have a slightly steeper learning curve in terms of what people commonly perform. You can practice both instruments eternally, and still have more to learn. And all along the way, there's very little (if anything at all) that you can benchmark and say, "Well, I'm a guitarist and I can play this, and a drummer who has practiced an equal amount of time cannot!"
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:30 AM
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2011, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

If the difficulty of the instrument determined its value then all anyone would ever want to hear or play is the Theremin.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
A smart person once said:
Drums are the easiest instrument to learn the basics, but the hardest to master.
I've actually heard that same anonymous quote before except it was describing the guitar.

I've been playing drums for about one and a half years and I've been on the guitar for eight. I've had private instruction on both and gigged with bands on both. Honestly I'd have to say they're the same difficulty to learn but they're VERY VERY different. Learning the drums has been easier because I already play several instruments and have a practical goal to work up to. That's not to say that one is easier than the other. Guitar requires an understanding of melody, intervals, harmonies and basic rhythm. Drums calls for a STRONG understanding of rhythm, meter, time signatures which I suppose could all be the same thing but it doesn't feel that way when you're learning it.

As a fellow drummer though I'll give you this fun piece of advice. If you want to settle this and mess with your friends ask them to play a riff to a click track. Guitarists can only do that if they're shredders working on building speed. For drummers that's Thursday night practice.
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

I've been playing guitar since the age of 7. I went on to study at music school and guitar was my principal instrument. It's a relatively easy instrument to learn, but a hard instrument to master. That's why there are millions of guitarists who can strum chords to a few songs, but few with the skill and musicianship of, say, Pat Metheny or Bill Frisell.

Granted, the same can be said of any instrument - mastery takes years of dedication - so for that reason I can't say that Guitar is harder to learn than drums, but, in my experience, it involves a hell of lot more effort to advance to a professional standard.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

I've always found limb independence and coordination a lot easier on the guitar, especially the feet.
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Depends on the person maybe? I tried to play guitar for years but reached a plateau and it never felt very 'natural'. Been at the drums for four months and I'm way more competent in a band setting than I ever was on the guitar
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2011, 03:57 PM
Stitch Kaboodle Stitch Kaboodle is offline
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

It's kind of a pointless question but there are difficulties in both instruments.

In my experience playing rhythms is slightly easier on guitar. When it comes to drums you have a 16" drum stick to factor into your estimations. It's only a small thing, but it takes years to make that stick "an extension of your arm" whereas fretting on the guitar is immediate to the touch.

Obviously drummers don't need to understand harmony etc. but at the end of the day it's each person that places the limits on an instrument.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Guitar. Too many chords to remember and with my short fingers I can't manipulate the fretboard. Drums you have to learn rhythm and the guitar rhythm and melody.
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2011, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Far more good guitar players than good drummers....'nuff said
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2011, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Like Liebe Zeit, I tried for years to pick up guitar and never got there. I could never hold down all the strings to play bar chords except on electrics with a super sleek action and light gauge strings.

On guitar you have to make the notes whereas on drums or keys the notes are right there for you. Of course, notes aren't just notes and drummers with great feel and control can pull things out of kits that less skilled players can't. I personally found drums much easier and more natural, but that's just me.

I don't think it's a stupid question ... it's very pertinent for those looking to choose an instrument.

BTW, since astronauts have to be accomplished scientists and face extraordinary mental and physical challenges and have great courage and just about live like a monk for extended periods, I'd say it's MUCH harder than being a monk, where all you need to do is know a bunch of highly speculative texts and behave yourself :)
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  #19  
Old 02-19-2011, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Playing a basic rock beat is pretty darn easy.

Playing cowboy chord folk songs is easy too.

They're just really different instruments. Drums have less theory going on, but you have to be able to have that independence (or interdependence) and stay in time doing it. I think the "easy to pick up, hard to master" is a good slogan. Drums require technique and ability to sound good at.

Guitar is also "easy to pick up, hard to master"... but I think less of it is on technique. You can learn alot of guitar's techniques (hammer on, slides, tapping, pinch harmonics, etc) fairly easily. Your limbs aren't that independent either, your picking hand is always related to the fretting hand. Guitar's biggest hurdle is using your ear, knowing what notes to play, and being able to play what you hear in your head.
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

I find it harder to play the guitar personally. Though I would suspect some find it harder to play the drums. At an absolute beginner level? Drums are probably easier. At an advanced level? A toss up - both instruments have their intracacies. Regardless, this sounds like a "better than you goading" so I'll say this:

I find it harder to sidestep left than I do sidestep right.
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  #21  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Drums are an easy instrument for non drummers to sound "good" to other non drummers.

I mean, a basic 4/4 rock beat with an 8th note fill with some guitars and stuff can sound good. Listen to mainstream music and how simplistic some of the drumming is. Unfortunately complex drumming is sometimes only appreciated by other drummers.

Guitar is kind of the opposite, its apparent right away if a guy is a beginner, and complex guitar parts are sung about for ages.

So i think drumming is a little more "thankless" than guitar. But i know from a personal standpoint, i took to drums very quickly, and i still cannot play guitar, nor can i find lessons that help me play
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  #22  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

@OP: I'll settle this right now, so that you and your friend can get on to the more important things in life, such as actually making music:

You're both right, and both wrong.

Guitar playing involves dexterity and independence of individual fingers, and knowledge of both rhythmic and melodic structure.

Drumming requires independence of all four limbs, a much deeper understanding of rhythm, and a very solid sense of song structure.

Neither is more complicated than the other; however, one can be more difficult to an individual than another based on the skills and talents that person possesses, much as some people take easily to learning languages or learning how to draw and some have little aptitude for those skills.

I play both, but do not consider myself a guitarist because my personal gifts don't lend themselves to the same level of performance and proficiency that they do to my drumming.

Now, go play some darn music!
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  #23  
Old 02-19-2011, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Definitely more separation between drummers than guitar players. I think it's just the way some people are wired. As for me, I tried the latter for four years and just gave up regretting the time I could have used getting better on drums. Martin D 35 for sale.
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  #24  
Old 02-19-2011, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

This thread prompted me to ask my guitarist this very question. So in order to make it scientific and get to the bottom of this quandary, we switched instruments. Well, you'd think THAT would settle it once and for all.....alas, I was wrong. He swears that drums are harder to play.....but funnily enough, I swear that guitar is much more difficult.

Who is right and who is wrong? The fact that it remains unresolved is starting to affect our 25 year friendship. :-)
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  #25  
Old 02-20-2011, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Say you get a definitive answer, agreed by everyone. Then what? Strut around doing the superiority dance? Not for me.
We are not better than anyone else, just different. We are a necessary part of music, as is guitar, so in my mind, we're equals.

There is no answer to this question. A person whose brain and body is wired for drumming will take to it easier than guitar. So naturally guitar is harder to that person, he is not wired for it. And vice versa. It's a circular debate with no end.

You would think that because drummers are using 4 limbs and guitarists 2 limbs, that drumming is harder. But there are things in guitar, melody and harmony for instance, that drummers don't even have to consider. (basically speaking)

To master drums or guitar takes relatively the same amount of skills, they just lie in different diciplines, which have little overlap.
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  #26  
Old 02-20-2011, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

It really depends on what you want out of music.
If you want to play along with songs, drums are easier, no question.
If you want to shred, then good guitar players and good drummers have an equal amount of work to do.
But when it comes to potential, that is where the scales shift toward drums big time. Sure, a guitar player can learn a 12 string other than a 6, but it's just set up as octaves to the real note. Drummers can extend themselves out to a dozen or more pedals, literally a thousand things to hit with their sticks, mallets, rods, hands, and so on. Drum learning is unlimited. Guitar learning is not.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Originally Posted by jimtyler View Post
It really depends on what you want out of music.
If you want to play along with songs, drums are easier, no question.
If you want to shred, then good guitar players and good drummers have an equal amount of work to do.
But when it comes to potential, that is where the scales shift toward drums big time. Sure, a guitar player can learn a 12 string other than a 6, but it's just set up as octaves to the real note. Drummers can extend themselves out to a dozen or more pedals, literally a thousand things to hit with their sticks, mallets, rods, hands, and so on. Drum learning is unlimited. Guitar learning is not.
I hate to jab a finger in your direction, but the last sentence of your post is filled with an extreme amount of misinformation.
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  #28  
Old 02-20-2011, 05:23 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Mind over matter.
From the begining, if you think something is hard to play then it will be hard. If you think positive, having the goodwill to learn and practise, then you will master the issue and achieving the goal on (any instrument, either drums or guitar)...sometimes we create our own limitations.
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  #29  
Old 02-20-2011, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

Well, I can play both relatively well but I'd say that the clarinet is the hardest

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Old 02-20-2011, 08:14 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

These threads show up periodically. It's a dumb thing to discuss, like Enterprise vs. Death Star, but irresistible anyway.

The guitar is a melodic instrument and requires knowledge of scales, harmonies, chords, notes, rhythm, etc. The guitar itself is much more complex than the drums. Drums just require knowledge of note values. So, I'd have to say the guitar is intrinsically harder.

But the instrument is only part of music; the person using the instrument is the other part. Someone who is motivated and works to master their instrument will automatically have a harder instrument than someone who is lazy and uninspired, regardless of the instrument.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
These threads show up periodically. It's a dumb thing to discuss, like Enterprise vs. Death Star, but irresistible anyway.

The guitar is a melodic instrument and requires knowledge of scales, harmonies, chords, notes, rhythm, etc. The guitar itself is much more complex than the drums. Drums just require knowledge of note values. So, I'd have to say the guitar is intrinsically harder.

But the instrument is only part of music; the person using the instrument is the other part. Someone who is motivated and works to master their instrument will automatically have a harder instrument than someone who is lazy and uninspired, regardless of the instrument.
I fully agree with your last paragraph. I also stand corrected in saying that learning the guitar is limited.
However, anytime someone says that drums are not melodic and you don't need to learn scales, chords, notes, etc., they are right, you don't NEED to. But you could. A big part of my practice routine on my set is scales and triads.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

I find guitar harder, my guitarist friends find drumming harder. Might be a point there but I can't quite think of it.

It's also quite possible to play scales on drums, just uncommon, and while guitarists may need to play notes and chords, not just time values, they don't use their feet (not extensively at least). Four way mobility vs. two way.

I think they both have individual challenges, nobody can claim that there is not technique involved in a higher level of playing on both instruments.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Well, I can play both relatively well but I'd say that the clarinet is the hardest

...
I play clarinet much better than the drums. Because I started clarinet as a child and practised for many years. Didn''t do that with drums. Therefore... isn't it round about now somebody mentions the harp as being the 'hardest'?
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  #34  
Old 02-20-2011, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

A silly argument IMO. Over the years I have bought guitars, basses etc. But I never played them. There was always some percussion instrument that took presedence.

I did learn how to play bass on a Savage garden song in 5 minutes once. It took me years to become fluent in Afro Cuban/Brazilian rhythms though.

It depends on the individual.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

i think the only thing that can be said for sure is drumming is more physically demanding, and no im not counting a guitarest running and jumping around on stage, that is not needed to actually play guitar.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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Originally Posted by DSCRAPRE View Post
If the difficulty of the instrument determined its value then all anyone would ever want to hear or play is the Theremin.
+1 on this. Everyone who asks this question should be forced to switch to Theremin as punishment.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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i think the only thing that can be said for sure is drumming is more physically demanding, and no im not counting a guitarest running and jumping around on stage, that is not needed to actually play guitar.
Not all drum beats are physically demanding, but yeah, on average, most drum beats require you break more of a sweat then playing guitar.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

One thing I do know is, drummers are usually better all-round musicians. Rhythm is the foundation of all music, and a lot of guitarists don't have much sense of rhythm at all, in my experience. I'm a guitarist myself, so I'm allowed to say that.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

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i think the only thing that can be said for sure is drumming is more physically demanding
I found that guitars really killed my fingers, especially acoustics with steel strings.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Which is harder to play drums or guitar?!?!

..

I think the harp is the most demanding of all.


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