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[Updated!] 9 Easiest Instruments To Learn & Play For Anyone

When choosing the easiest instrument to learn and play you should select something simple but also an instrument that sounds great to your ear. The harmonica, for instance is easy to learn but I am not a fan of the way it sounds. So what is the easiest instrument to learn?

The easiest instrument to learn is the tongue drum. With just 9 or 10 notes, all of which work perfectly together. Chords can be produced with 2 or 3 note strikes. They sound great to everyone and new players can play without coaching, notes or music.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the tongue drum, and some alternatives for the easiest instrument to learn based on various types and sounds that might suit your ear and embed some YouTube videos to provide some visual too.

1. Tongue Drum

The tongue drum is a relatively recent musical invention but is the easiest instrument to learn thanks to the limited number of notes that can be played, and because each of those notes works perfectly with the next you play, whichever you choose.

The reason the tongue drum has been selected as the easiest instrument to play is that you need no prior musical knowledge, or experience to begin making music with it, as soon as you take it out of the box.

You can literally amaze your family and friend from the get-go, as you strike to tongues and make perfect music.

Withing hours you have improved and learned some basic rhythms, and within days you have created your own musical melodies.

The rav vast is very easy to learn but there is one essential trick you need to know

Get 5% Discount on Rav Vast

In addition to being the easiest musical instrument to learn, tongue drums look fantastic. original versions look fantastic based on the tank drum. They are made from old propane gas tanks, have tongues cut into the top, hence the name, and are available in a range of colors and styles.

Tongue drums can range in price, from around $50 for something that will sound good and last, right up to $700 for a Rav Vast tongue pan, which is the ultimate instrument in the sphere, looks incredible, and will last forever.

2. Handpan

The handpan is against one of the easiest instruments to learn to play because the way it is set up with limited notes that work together in exactly the same way as the tongue drums already mentioned.

You can become a great handpan player in just 20 hours

The handpan has the additional effect of being even better looking than the tongue drum, but pick up the second spot in this list because the cost of them can be prohibitive for some.

You really need to spend in excess of $1000 for a handpan that is of sufficient quality and preferably in excess of $2000 for a good one.

Still, they look cool and like the tongue drum, you are able to take this out of the box with zero musical theory or playing knowledge and start creating music from the get-go ion the individual notes with little practice.

it really is one of the easiest musical instruments you can learn.

3. Ukulele

OK, a more traditional instrument you have most certainly heard of in the first instance, and quite possible owned as a toy as a child. They have a range of reasons for being on this list and are the first string instrument to appear.

  • Only four strings
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

With just four strings it looks like a miniature version of a guitar, but also comes in a range of styles. We will consider the Hawaiian version of the instrument for this article.

See this Ukulele on Amazon

At the bottom end, they are cheap instruments with options to go crazy on the price through the learning process. The more you pay for a Ukulele the better the overall sound will be so consider that when making a purchase.

The Ukulele is an incredible instrument in the hands of a master but does qualify on many lists as the easiest instrument to learn to play and is perfect for the young musician.

One huge advantage that the Ukulele has over guitar is the use of Nylon strings over metal ones. They are far kinder to the fingers making it easier to learn too.

Before you know it you will be as good as Honoka & Azita

You may even want to move into the banjo from the Uke.

4. Guitar

One of the most popular instruments can also be one of the easiest to learn to play when approached in the right manner. 

There are very many very skilled guitar players who have never had a lesson in their lives, preferring to self teach. It could be that they have picked up a few bad habits for the purists along the way and the progress they made while learning might have been slower.

With lessons and learning to play the guitar the correct way it is not as difficult as it may look, and there is a huge range of very good online guitar courses available, many based around learning popular music once you have mastered the basic technique.

The other benefit of learning to play guitar is that it is very likely you have some favorite songs you want to learn first and this is a good incentive to keep learning until you have mastered them.

5. Bongos

Back to percussion now for the easiest instrument to learn to play and the Bongos are up next.

The Bongos are a set of two co-joined drums. One has a higher tone than the other, so in effect, there are only two notes to be learned. The trick with the bongos comes in the techniques used to strike the drum, but there are limitations in the range there also, so once again, not a huge amount to be learned.

The one thing you do need to have if you are going to play a percussion instrument is a sense of good timing and rhythm. A simple beat can progress into more advanced techniques.

Check the price for Bongos on Amazon

The benefit of considering percussion instrument when looking for the easiest instrument to learn is that percussion has a limited amount that needs to be learned depending on if it is pitched percussion, [that is there are notes to be played] or unpitched percussion. like a tambourine.

6. Tambourine

Staying with percussion, the Tambourine is unpitched meaning it is not tuned, can not be retuned, and plays only one pitch.

There could not be any easier instrument to learn to play than one with only one note right?

The Tambourine may have limitations in terms of the notes it can play, but there are very many ways to play it and you would be surprised just how much music is enriched by the tambourine.

Tambourine vs Pandeiro
The Pandeiro offers more options than a tambourine as the head is tunable

Drumbeats are enhanced with the tambourine playing on the up or the downbeat, it is subtle because you just enjoy its effect rather than notice, it but if it were removed than you would certainly ‘feel’ that the beat is not so great.

The tambourine issued to keep the beat in many cases in sings and add a layer of feeling, whether that be by shaking, playing the head of the tambourine, or the less used playing of the tambourine rim.

So that lead singer tapping the tambourine on their leg isn’t doing it just to find something to do with their hands, they are playing an integral part of the overall sound in the song.

Tambourine truly is one of the easier instruments to learn to play.

7. The Recorder

OK, so, I had to throw in the recorder, that instrument os popular at school. It is a wind instrument. the first to appear on the list, and of all wind instruments, this is the one that requires the last ‘wind’ to make a sound.

With fewer notes to learn this is a popular instrument for children at school but is also a worthwhile instrument for adults to learn too.

In the right hands the Recorder can sound OK!

Because of the affordability of a recorder, it is a great gateway instrument to get used to wind, before moving onto saxophone, clarinet, or maybe flute. Neither of which would be considered easy instruments to learn.

8. Bass Guitar

More often than not people who want to learn the guitar will go for the acoustic guitar or electric guitar they see so often being shredded in rock music. It is often forgotten just what an important part the bass guitar plays in the overall sound of music.

The Bass is the third stringed instrument on the list.

Bass guitar is easy but it will take a while to reach this level

One great advantage of learning bass guitar is there are less strings, and therefore fewer notes and simple chords to be learned!

It is not essential to understand music theory in play the bass, or any instrument on this list. Lessons will help you progress very quickly towards being a good bass player.

9. Electronic Drum Kit

So, why have I gone for an electronic drum kit here instead of a real drum kit?

Check price for above drum kit on Amazon

Well, the sounds you can get from electronic drum kits are more consistent than when learning to play real drums, which, in a way helps you learn the rhythmical elements of drumming without worrying about the sounds and striking techniques

Electronic drum kits are a great precursor to learning to play the real drum, as you can already have your techniques and rudimentary rhythms learned making progress on a full drum kit much quicker.

Questions before deciding on choosing an easy instrument to learn?

A few things to consider before you pick an instrument from the list.

Remember, even when you searched the internet for the easiest musical instrument to learn, you already had in your head a few instruments that you would have been considering.

What musical goals do you have?

Do you want to learn a musical instrument for recreation, as a hobby, or do you want to become a performer, session musician, or play in an orchestra?

Whichever is your choice, there is no problem is beginning your musical instrument playing journey on a simple instrument to learn. You will pick up the basics of playing and learning the sounds and styles of play if an instrument that you can apply as you move up the scale of difficulty.

If you want to be a percussionist it will probably be better to start learning an instrument from the percussion family, likewise if you want to be a wind instrumentalist or strings for example.


Once you learn one instrument within a family or style, you will find it easier to learn another.

Progressing from Ukulele to guitar, for example, will make learning the guitar easier than diving straight in.

Recorder and saxophone are another example for wind instruments.

With percussion, however, as there is very little in terms of note to learn, you can generally pick anywhere to start, which is why I recommend a great instrument like the tongue drum, as it is pitched and you can play the melody as well

What kind of music do you like?

The type of music you like may play a huge part in the decision of what instrument you want to learn. People who like rock music will often want to learn the guitar or drums and imagine themselves learning to a level where they could pay in their own band.

More classical music fans may want to play an instrument found in the orchestra.

Spiritual music fans will perhaps like something that fits with Yoga or sounds healing. here percussion and handpans are a great choice.

What is your budget?

The amount of money we want to invest in learning a new instrument can also play a part in what instrument we decide to choose.

Deciding what instrument is easy to learn based on how much you can afford is the wrong thing to do. 

If you pick up an instrument to learn based only on what you can afford, the chances are the one you choose is not truly the one you want to learn and you will tire of the process very quickly

my advice here is not know the instrument you want to learn and no not let your budget control you. alternatively, control your budget and if you need more money than you have available at this time, put aside what you do have, make some sacrifices elsewhere in your budget, and redirect it to the pot for you new instrument until such time as you have enough and can buy the on you want.

Trust me, I have done this with the instruments I won [tongue drums and handpans] and it the best decision I have ever made, as I still see people struggling to figure out how to get the money together for them

These are the instruments I wanted, and I would not have been so dedicated to learning them and mastering them if they were not really what I wanted.

Should I pick a more difficult instrument?

There is nothing preventing you from the hardest instrument on this list, indeed, your interest in string instruments might be to play the classical guitar. 

In which case, you would pick up an acoustic guitar, but still have to learn the basics to learn to play it, and then learn the style that suits what you want to learn. There has to be a progression, you can not learn the hardest piano tunes before learning the basics, so also consider the first instrument you want to learn and how that can help in the progression to the musician you want to be.

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