Are Piano and Guitar Chords Same?  

are piano and guitar chords the same

Did you know Paul McCartney of the Beatles started with piano and then moved on to guitar?

Steve Winwood did the same. He is still spinning his fans with his performances.

For all the musicians out there, who wonder if they can switch instruments, that is some proof.

Pianists and guitarists do not try switching instruments fearing “are piano and guitar chords the same?” But if Paul McCartney could do it, you can do it too. Just cover some basics.

How does chord work on piano and guitar?

Chords work almost the same on piano and guitar. The basic concept is the same but how you play those chords is different.

On piano, you play the chord by hitting the keys.

On guitar, you play the chord by strumming the strings.

Modern-day western music consists of the major or minor chord. A Major or minor chord on the piano includes three tones, i.e., the root, 3rd, and 5th keys

On the guitar, a triad forms a chord. A triad involves three notes, just like a piano chord.

For example, C major triad or chord is made with the 1st, the 3rd, and the 5th notes.

C Major on Piano: C#, E, G

C Major on Guitar: C, E, G

Essentially, they are the same but there are a few differences that you must know.

Are Piano and Guitar Chords the Same?

piano and guitar

If you know guitar chords, you can easily understand piano chords and vice-versa. But make a note of the following points before you move ahead.

1. Quality of Sound

‘Yes’ in English, ‘예’ in Korean has the same sense of affirmation despite the language. Similarly, a major chord played on the piano has an equally bright and joyous sound as on the guitar.

2. Difference of Tone

Although sound quality remains the same across the instruments, a slight tone distinction occurs. The color of the tone differs from instrument to instrument. One needs a good ear to understand the difference.

3. Position of Fingers on the Instrument

The way you position your fingers to play a certain chord on piano is different from how you will position them on guitar

For example, to play C minor on guitar, you will place the index finger on the 1st string-3rd fret, the middle finger on the 2nd string-4th fret, and the ring finger on the 3rd string-5th fret.

C minor on piano involves thumb on C, middle finger on E flat, then thumb comes to hit F and continues to C octave.

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4. Notation System

Piano and guitar have different notation systems for chords. The notations of the piano are in stave or staff. It is either written in treble or bass clef. On the other hand, tablature or abbreviation TAB is for guitar chords.

5. Advantage and Disadvantage of the Instruments

A piano has eighty-eight keys and twelve tones on the keyboard. You need to memorize from middle C to the next C; the rest are the same.

Plenty of keys enable a piano to create varieties of voicing. The guitar has this limitation for its certain numbers of strings and a hard-to-memorize fret system.

6. Easy-to-see

Chords are easy to play on the piano as the keys, notes, ,scales, and intervals are in front of the eyes. You can look at any corner of the piano and recognize a chord or a chord progression.

A guitar, however, appears to be a labyrinth. It takes quite a time to memorize the note or fret board of the guitar.

Sing and play guitar at the same time

Follow the tips here and make your way to become a great guitarist

Can Guitar Chord Be Played on Piano and vice-versa?

Turning a guitar chord into a piano chord will become a cakewalk once you know how to read a tab on guitar and music sheet on the piano.

For example, you can play G7 on guitar and piano as well.

If you know notes on guitar, you have to work out the corresponding notes on the piano. Once you know basic music theory, you can apply it to both piano and guitar.

Practice Tips

  • Choose any chord you are good at
  • Play it on guitar first or piano if you are a pianist
  • Recreate it on the other instrument

More Resources

9 Unknown Benefits of Playing Guitar 9 Unknown Benefits of Playing Piano
Different Types of Guitar Different Types of Piano
8 Guitar Chords You Must Know Piano Chords 101: A Simple Guide to Help You Get Started


Is G on the guitar the same as G on the piano?

Yes. G on the guitar is the same as G on the piano. They are played differently to achieve the desired result. A G on guitar is G, C, D, em whereas a G on the piano is G, B, D. The G chord is G major on piano.

Can you play piano songs on guitar?

Chords on the piano and guitar can be the same, but you can only play some piano songs on the guitar. The reasons for this are:

Piano involves both hands, while guitar involves one on the chord and the other to strike. Moreover, the piano has variations of voicing, and the guitar has limitations due to the limited number of strings.

Is the music theory for piano and guitar the same?

Music theory exists to help understand music in general. Hence, music theory is the same irrespective of piano or guitar. The approach towards music theory differs while applying to different instruments. As all instruments have different build-ups, the application also varies a little.

Is it easier to play guitar if you know the piano?

Guitar and piano – both are different instruments with disparate mechanics. Musicians say guitar becomes easier with time, piano becomes complicated as the days pass, and a pianist explores it more. Yet, knowing one instrument can easily boost learning another because your motor system is already trained to cope. Additionally, you have learned all about music theory too.

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Summing It Up!

‘Are piano and guitar chords same?’ is a question that hovers over the head of any rising musician.

Chords are the bread and butter of learning any instrument. Master it on one instrument and recreate it on another. What you need to know is music theory and voicing of the instruments efficiently.

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