Hardest Instruments to Play


The Contenders: Page 4XW


No it's not it's one of the easiest instruments I've ever played! Look I didn't even take lessons I got lessons of the Internet and my parents were very impressed I was already picking and my dad plays guitar and FYI almost all the instuments in the world are on this list

After you get the moving your fingers to different strings part, its pretty easy.

It is really easy because it only four strings, and it is small.


End blown Japanese Flute, VERY hard to even get a constant sound out of it.

I have been playing the shakuhachi for a year and a half now.
All though I have not been practicing regularly, I still think that it is easily one of the hardest instruments ever.
The reason it is so difficult is because it goes out of tune if you do not play it precisely at the right angle and with the right amount of air.

63Soprano Sax

Although it is easy to learn because fingering is simple, tuning is very hard. I have played soprano for about 3 months now and embouchure is very tight. It is also very hard to play quietly.

V3 Comments

Pitched a semitone higher than a pianos lowest note, reeds cost a fortune, huge etc

Contra bassoon Is basicly just the next level of bassoon, more random keys in more random places

Awesome and low. Require 5x more breath, being a contrabasson player myself.

65Bajo Sexto

I have been playing the bajosexto for 1 year and its easy to play for me but I have seen a lot of people struggle


I can imagine this would be a nightmare to perfect. But those who play them are massively talented. - PositronWildhawk

Why is this so low? Sure its not hard to PLAY, but Good GOD is it hard to get the sound you want. There are so many knobs and stuff on it.

67Electric Trumpet

I tried to learn this but electrocuted my lips in the process.

I just think this is hilarious


Indian stringed instrument: its heavy, playing is highly nuanced, and volume hard to play. It takes years to master the fingering and tone, especially getting the nuances right and fluid. There are frets, yes, so you don't have to go hunting for the right note, but there are 22 different notes! Depending on the Raaga and the nuance you are trying to play, you gotta get it just so, or it sound like a different raaga altogether! Plucking has to be perfect and not purcussive, posture has you seated for hours without pins and needles... and the deep pulls and strikes will have your playing fingers cut to the bone in no time.. tell me what's harder!

V1 Comment

The ringing part (of handbells) is easy but the technique is hard to master. And you do need a lot of people to play a song - with 3-5 octaves of bells, you'd need more than just a person to manage it all! It's great group work.

V1 Comment
70Hammered Dulcimer

Ah man, the Hammered Dulcimer. The board of strings that have to be hit perfectly or else they suck. - NymeriaWaters

71Contra Alto Clarinet

It is so big that no one can play it.

72Khlui Phiang Aw

The lute should be up with classical guitar at 3 maybe even 2. The lute is like having the classical guitar but with 8 courses (a course is 2 strings with the highest being 1 so 15 strings). Not only that but chord structures are much much harder to get a hang of than in classical guitar. Getting used to picking 2strings not just one with nails by itself is harder than many instruments in here. I started with acoustic guitar and learned over the hills and far away by ear in 20 minutes. It took me 2 weeks to learn el noi de la mare which is relatively simple in classical guitar (been playing almost a year) and it's a known fact that playing the lute at the same level a classical guitar is much more difficult. The lute deserves a wayy higher place on this list.

The lute has way more strings than a guitar, and keeping one in tune is a bit of a nightmare (no geared tuning pegs like a modern guitar). The notation for lute tablature is also much more complex than guitar tablature. Playing double strings simultaneously with a nice tone is also much harder than on a guitar. I have managed to become reasonably proficient on all instruments I have attempted to learn: classical guitar, flute, piano, and have only admitted defeat with one: the LUTE!

74Uilleann Pipes

Uilleann pipes take 21 years to completely learn. It has two octavesfull of notes, three drones as well as regulators which sound chords as you play. A full set of uillean pipes can require three things to be done at the same time. Pumping the bellows, playing the chanter, and playing the regulators. Also most pipers learn by ear ( without written music and just by listening to a piece) which is extremely difficult. Also before you learn the pipes you must first master either tin whistle, low whistle or trad flute.

The Irish or Uilleann pipes should be at the top of this list.

I can't imagine how in the world anybody could play this instrument.

75Tenor Horn

This probably isn't so high due to its lack in popularity

The Tenor Horn is in fact the hardest brass instrument to play in tune. While it doesn't require an as tight embouchure as the trumpet for example, the notes are nearly all very sharp and flat. No other brass instrument requires as much lip adjustment as the Tenor Horn. Whilst the instrument has a very beautiful and melodic tone, beginner players find difficulty in producing a mature and refined tone particularly in the lower register.

I play the tenor horn and I love it it's not hard at all it just takes a lot of practice.


Ney is the hardest of all. one can't make a simple sound in first 2 months at least. and of course it is not Arabic flute. it's a Persian instruments however it has 2 other varieties in Turkey and Arabian countries which are not called Ney.

Arabic flute. End blown. Been a few months and only now can get sound out of it, but its not a consistent tune. A very simple instrument, anyone could make it, yet it has the hardest embouchure I have ever seen. The trumpet was much easier than this.

V1 Comment

Its not the hardest but its pretty hard to learn and play, it takes A LOT of practice to play well

79Pan FluteV1 Comment
80Venezuelan Cuatro

I have been playing the cuatro for a number of years and it is very challenging. The speed with which the strums are played in conjunction with the different strum techniques and replacing strums with knocking on the wood is overwhelming. If you can imagine that when mastering soloist songs, each individual strum in a bar of 6 strums plays a different chord in a different position on the neck, then precision comes into play, and missing the position of one finger can ruin the piece. Also, it is a clandistine instrument where no official notes have ever been written for. Before the internet the only way to learn how to play would be from teachers (which are scarse) and counting on the people in your neighborhood to learn how to plan new songs. Give it a try, and listen to some cuatro soloist music from Cheo Hurtado, Jorge Glem or Carlos Camacho and you will know exactly what I am talking about. Enjoy music!

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List StatsUpdated 4 Dec 2016

11,000 votes
123 listings
6 years, 141 days old

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You can cheat on the violin by sliding into notes
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