The Best Instruments to Learn as a Beginner

Best Instruments to Learn as a beginner

Music resonates with us all, so it’s no wonder you desire to learn a musical instrument, even if you were not exposed to music theory or performance as a child. While learning any new skill can feel like a massive undertaking, you can make things easier when you know the best instruments to learn as a beginner. 

The Easiest Instruments to Learn for Beginners 

The best instrument to learn first depends on your interests, budget, strengths and personality. There is no correct answer, and the beauty is that you can start with any instrument you would like. However, some instruments are generally easier to learn than others — and again, this is for several reasons. Some instruments are easy to learn because they are affordable and lessons are accessible. Others do not require a lot of technical skill to start playing and to gain momentum, so you may be able to grasp them quickly. 

Whether you are an adult getting started or looking for instruments for children, here are some beginner-friendly instruments.

Bass Guitar 

If you enjoy deep, steady melodies and precise timing that works effortlessly with drums, the bass guitar might be for you! While the bass typically only has four strings, they have a higher gauge than guitar strings, meaning they are “heavier,” and you need to apply more pressure to them than you would on a guitar. The bass can be easier to learn than the guitar since you usually focus on single- or double-string melodies and won’t need to learn to play chords. The bass guitar is a popular instrument, so finding one at a reasonable price is easy, as is finding lessons if you want to go that route. 


Learning to master the drums takes time, practice and skill. After all, keeping the beat and timing is essential for other musicians. But playing the drums is also instantly satisfying. Drums are a fun instrument, and the thrill of making simple but impressive-sounding beats even while you learn the basics can be enough to keep you going. Percussive instruments like drums are generally more expensive, but you can always look for good deals on used musical instruments. Bands are always looking for drummers, too — so it may be easier to realize a dream of playing with others as you progress. 

Electric Guitar 

The guitar is one of the most versatile instruments — it is a vital part of various genres, from classic pop and rock ‘n’ roll to punk, indie and everything in between. Between electric and acoustic guitars, it is safe to say that, generally, electric is easier to start with. The low action — the distance between the strings and the fretboard — narrower neck and thinner strings make it easier to press down on the strings and produce sound. And, with an amp and a distortion pedal, you can easily create sick-sounding riffs just by knowing the basics!

guitars are versatile


The harmonica is one of the best musical instruments for beginners. Harmonicas are a popular instrument in jazz, country, pop and blues music and are an affordable, accessible instrument. You can quickly learn basic melodies for popular songs, and you’ll want to focus on having a good technique from the get-go so that you enjoy noticeable progress. 


Believe it or not, the harp, in all its heavenly splendor, is one of the easier instruments to play as a beginner. Unlike other string instruments, like violins, cellos and guitars, there are no frets — you simply pluck a string to produce sound. You’ll want to prioritize good technique from the beginning so as not to hold yourself back as you progress. Though it is an easy instrument to play, harps are very expensive and not as common as other instruments, so if you would like to learn but do not have the immediate budget, you might consider renting a harp. 

Piano or Keyboard

There is some disagreement in the music world as to whether pianos and keyboards are easy to learn. In all honesty, learning to play the piano can be as easy or as challenging as you want. If your goal as an adult beginner is to become a concert pianist, you are committing to years of time, effort and money to accomplish that goal. If you want to learn some basic chords and melodies, the piano is beginner-friendly. 

Another plus to learning the piano is that it is one of the best instruments for understanding music theory and learning to read sheet music. Used pianos and electric keyboards are accessible and affordable, and finding a piano teacher is a breeze. The piano is also one of the most versatile instruments — it seamlessly fits into any popular music genre. 

Alto Horn 

The tenor horn is considered one of the easiest brass instruments to learn. The alto horn is not very big, and embouchure — how you shape your mouth and use your lips, teeth, tongue and facial muscles to produce sound in wind instruments — is easier to get the hang of with alto horn than other brass instruments. 

Playing a New Instrument: FAQ

Explore the answers to the following questions about picking up a new instrument. 

How Do You Start Learning Music?

Adults will benefit from music lessons from a qualified teacher. Working with a teacher will help you develop the proper technique. With a teacher, it is also easier to be aware of your strengths, understand where you can improve and track your progress. However, as great as taking lessons is, it’s optional for learning an instrument. Plenty of fantastic musicians are self-taught! 

If you choose to teach yourself an instrument, there are some key habits you can develop early: 

  • Determine the music you want to play — don’t choose classical if you prefer playing contemporary songs, and vice versa. Choosing music you enjoy will help you stick to your pursuit. 
  • Set progress goals like learning three new chords in the next month or knowing all your major scales in six months. 
  • Make time to practice daily! Even 15 minutes of consistent practice using good technique will add up and make a positive difference. 
  • Use a metronome to help you learn to keep that much-desired, groovy rhythm.
  • Be patient with yourself!

What Is the Most Affordable Instrument to Get? 

The harmonica is among the most affordable instruments, but so are entry-level guitars, bass guitars and keyboards. Of course, you can always look at investing in a used musical instrument to make your new hobby more affordable.

Where Is the Best Place to Buy Beginner Instruments? 

While you can buy musical instruments privately or via online marketplaces, the best choice, if possible, is to visit a store — preferably one stocking new and used instruments to suit your budget. When you visit a store, you can hold and play the instrument before purchasing it. 

Head to Record Head for Your New Musical Instrument

Record Head is Milwaukee’s longest-running record store — and for good reason. Our skilled staff are passionate about music, instruments and gaming systems, and we are always ready to share helpful advice as you start a new hobby or invest in instruments and other accessories. 

All our instruments and equipment are thoroughly tested, and we offer a one-year manufacturer warranty for new items and a 30-day guarantee for used items. Come check out our selection of musical instruments, or contact us with any questions today!

Best instruments at Record Head