Guitar vs. Violin (Which One to Choose)

The guitar and the violin are two of the most popular instruments internationally. Both instruments have their own drawbacks and advantages, and they both come with their own set of learning challenges. These instruments are unique but beautiful, and determining which is a better fit for you is important when choosing between them.

The guitar and the violin are different instruments. The guitar is larger, has six strings, and has a wider note range and more playing techniques. The violin is smaller, has four strings, and is less versatile but sounds far prettier. The guitar is easier to learn but more difficult to master.

Choosing between the guitar and the violin is a challenge because these instruments are so different. If you find yourself wondering if the guitar or the violin is a better instrument for you, you have come to the right place! Let’s explore the differences between these instruments to help you determine which to start learning.

The Guitar: An Overview

Before we begin the comparison between the guitar and the violin, it is important that we understand the basics of both instruments in order to make an informed decision when comparing them and deciding which is best for you. Let’s begin with the guitar.

The guitar is a six-stringed instrument that comes in many forms and varieties. The three main guitar types are electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and classical guitars, all of which have their own unique attributes, playing techniques, characteristics, and abilities.

Electric guitars are well suited for those who want to play musical genres such as rock, blues, country, metal, punk, jazz, and funk, and they are the most versatile of all guitars, especially when combined with versatile guitar amps and effects pedals.

Acoustic guitars are acoustic instruments with steel strings, and they are the most challenging to play of all guitars, but they can produce some of the most musical as well. These guitars are versatile and ideally suited for folk, country, blues, pop, and traditional music.

Classical guitars are also acoustic instruments, but they are equipped with nylon strings that are much easier to play but also quieter and less dynamic. These guitars are less versatile than the others, but they are the best choice for classical, Spanish, and traditional European musical styles.

The guitar as a whole is wonderfully versatile, relatively simple to learn, easily accessible, and typically more affordable than other instruments.

The Violin: An Overview

The violin is an instrument that is somewhat misunderstood, but it is still among the most popular string instruments to learn internationally.

The violin has four strings, is a smaller string instrument than most, and is played almost exclusively with a bow.

The violin is a highly dynamic instrument with a very wide dynamic range, but it is limited regarding pitch and note options due to its small size and number of strings.

This stringed instrument is typically played standing up and almost always with a bow. This instrument has no frets, and the violinist must learn to find notes by ear rather than by using visual cues, which makes the violin notoriously challenging to learn to play.

The violin is available in electric and acoustic varieties, but the acoustic version of the instrument is far more widely used.

The violin is somewhat limited in that it is only typically used for classical and folk musical genres, but it has been used in some other musical contexts as well. Those who play the violin must have a real passion and desire for the instrument, or it will feel challenging every step of the way.

Now that we have covered a brief overview of each of these instruments, it is time to directly compare the most important attributes of the guitar and the violin to help determine which is the better instrument for you.

Guitar vs. Violin: Size

The first and most obvious difference between the guitar and the violin is the size of these two instruments. The guitar is significantly larger than the violin in every dimension, even when comparing the smallest types of guitars to the violin.

The guitar must be larger than the violin due to the way the instrument is constructed and the note range that the instrument is built to possess. The guitar has six strings that are held at a significantly higher tension and are thicker than those of the violin, which also necessitates the larger size of the guitar.

The violin is a small stringed instrument. It is among the smallest of all stringed instruments, but the way the instrument is played and the note range of the instrument necessitate this small size.

The violin is made to play notes in a higher register, in the treble range of notes. This can only be achieved with this type of instrument by making the instrument very small.

The violin is also played on the shoulder of the violinist, which would be impossible to do well if the instrument was any larger.

The sizes of these instruments directly impact how playable they are, what they sound like, and how loud they are.

Guitar vs. Violin: Construction

The construction of these two instruments is the next most obvious difference between them.

The guitar is larger in size, but this is due to the way it is constructed. The guitar is made to be as versatile as possible and to play a note range that is as wide as possible. This necessitates the larger size of the instrument to make more room for extra strings and a longer playing surface to produce more notes in a wider range.

This also means that the guitar must be constructed in a way to handle such a wide range of notes. Electric guitars do this by having external magnetic pickups that are calibrated to receive and transmit a wide range of guitar notes for amplification.

However, acoustic guitars and classical guitars are built with large acoustic chambered bodies that can naturally amplify the wide range of notes that the guitar produces, making the notes audible and clear.

The violin is constructed to specifically output higher-pitched notes in a smaller range. This means that the violin body does not require a very large acoustic chamber, but it rather relies on the resonance from the entire body of the instrument to output the sound of the strings, combined with the continuous vibrations caused by pulling a bow across the strings.

The violin is made with a bridge that the strings are pulled over, in the same way as the guitar, which allows the strings to resonate, but it also has a tone post that connects the top and bottom of the body internally, annoying the entire instrument to resonate at the exact frequencies required to amplified the notes that are played on the strings.

Both instruments are a marvel of construction and design, and the way that each of them is built is done intentionally to serve the sound of the instrument in the best possible way.

Guitar vs. Violin: Playing Techniques

Another important comparison to make between the guitar and the violin is the way these instruments are played. This defines the sound of the instrument and how difficult or simple the instruments are to learn.

The versatility of the guitar is not limited to the range of notes that the instrument can produce, but it extends to the wide range of techniques and playing methods that are possible in the instrument.

The guitar can be played with finger-style techniques or with a plectrum. It can be strummed, the strings can be individually plucked, and the fretboard can be tapped to produce individual notes.

The guitar can be played melodically, or it can harmonize with itself and produce a wide range of chords. Certain guitar techniques allow notes to be altered, bent, or slid in and out to create unique dynamic effects and tones.

The guitar can be played loud or soft, and it can be played in almost any position, whether standing or sitting. This makes the guitar the most versatile instrument in the entire string instrument family.

The techniques used on the violin are more limited. The violin strings can be plucked individually, but this technique is not used very commonly. This instrument is almost exclusively played with a bow, which limits the way the strings can be played, and most techniques only allow two violin strings to be played at once.

Most of the playing technique comes from the playing hand rather than the bowing hand, while all dynamic control comes from the bowing hand when playing the violin.

The violin is almost always very loud, and controlling the dynamics of the instrument is challenging.

However, the techniques that are possible on the violin give is a very wide range of dynamics and sound versatility, but they are much more difficult to learn than those of the guitar.

Guitar vs. Violin: Learning Challenges

The playing techniques and methods associated with each of these instruments lead us to compare the learning challenges that come along with the guitar and the violin.

The truth is that both of the instruments are as difficult as each other in the beginning, and they come with their own unique set of challenges.

The guitar is an easier instrument to hold and manage, and it is easier to draw a note from the guitar, but the violin is far smaller and lighter, and it is much easier to reach the notes on this instrument.

The guitarist is required to learn how to play chords, which is a challenging process, along with the melodic learning and training that is required as well.

The violinist is only required to learn to play melodies, as the violin does not make use of many chords if any at all.

With time and practice, both the violin and the guitar are achievable instruments to learn, but the violin is slightly more challenging overall.

Learning the violin requires much more time than learning the guitar, simply because there is no marking for note placements. The guitar has frets to use to play notes which makes playing notes far easier and finding notes very simple.

The guitar is easier to learn overall, but after the initial stages of learning, both the violin and the guitar are as difficult as each other in their own ways.

Guitar vs. Violin: Price

The differences between these two instruments are vast, and these instruments are not similar, except for their price ranges.

Surprisingly, the guitar and the violin are both available at very similar price points. The least expensive guitars on the market sell for around $65, and violins in the same range sell for around $50.

Mid-range guitars cost anywhere from $500 to $2000, and the same is true for violins, while the high-end versions of both of these instruments can cost upwards of $10,000.

The best option is to buy a mid-range instrument, to begin with, as these instruments provide the best value for money.

Guitar vs. Violin: Difference in Sound

An important difference between the guitar and the violin is the way these instruments sound in comparison to one another.

The guitar is larger and has a much wider range of note pitches available. The guitar can play very deep notes, as well as very high notes and everything in between.

The violin is a naturally high-pitched instrument and is somewhat limited to the higher register of knots known as the treble range.

The guitar has a warm, sweet tone that is complimented well by a good range of mid-notes. The violin is a smooth, melodic-sounding instrument that has a very pleasing high register when played well.

The guitar is the more versatile of the two instruments, but the violin is more well-suited for the type of music it is made to play.

Guitar vs. Violin: Which Should you Choose?

We now come to the critical crux of the comparison: should you choose a guitar or a violin?

The truth is that these instruments are very different from one another, and comparing them is very difficult. The guitar is a far more versatile instrument than the violin, and it is easier to play, but if you love the sound of the violin, nothing else will satisfy you.

The violin is a truly unique-sounding instrument, and if you want to play music with that sound, there is no other way to do it.

The guitar is capable of a diverse range of music and styles, and it is easier to pick up, but it takes more time to master simply because it is so diverse and versatile.

In the end, the instrument that you should choose is the one that excites you most. The instrument that you feel compelled to play more will be the instrument that you practice more, and without regular practice, you will never progress.

This means that it is important to choose the instrument that inspires you to play, as this will keep the instrument interesting and cause you to progress more quickly.

Conclusion

The guitar and the violin are two vastly different instruments. These instruments cannot be directly compared, even though they are both string instruments, simply because they are so different. Learning to play both instruments is completely different as well.

Deciding which instrument is best for you should be based on what music you want to play and which instrument sounds and feels better to you. This will be the right instrument to keep you practicing and progressing well!