Most Difficult Guitar Songs

cjoshercooze

The Top Ten

1 Eruption - Van Halen

Judging by the amount of You Tube versions of this song that get it wrong, this song is very difficult to get right. The tapping part at the end is the least of your problems and is about the only part of this song that anyone ever gets right. There's a weird swing to some of it that so many ignore when they "master it". Many people anonymously will claim to be able to play Eruption no problem, but somehow they never materialize in real life or even on YT. Judge people only by their actions, not by their words. Eruption is nearly impossible and if you can actually play it 100% through to the letter, then count yourself among the elite 0.01% of people ever to pick up a guitar.

Also Eddie recorded this in 1978 and it still kicks the s* out of guitarists!

10 notes per second...
No comment - BigZ

The solo in the begening is far better than the entire Through the fire and flames song. How is this not number one? People who only play guitar hero shouldent be able to vote. The dificulty of playing a song on a real guitar is FAR greater then playing a plastic guitar with 5 buttons.

Look, I'm 13 and been playing for 2 years and its literally so much easier than it sounds. Don't listen to all the other people this song IS easy. And yes the tapping is so much fun you have to learn this! it doesn't take much skill just the desire to learn. And yes tina is good but Guitar King is better, she's my competition

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2 Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce

This deserves the top spot. Eruption is pretty easy once you actually look it over. Everything about it is basic stuff that any beginner guitarist has learned. It's a mystery to me that Eddie once said he messed up a part on the original recording. If you want complicated tapping, kids, go look at any song by Animals as Leaders. Through The Fire and Flames is not only a badass song, but it also is one of the most absurdly hard songs to play. Period. I'm a professional producer and guitarist, and it's almost impossible to load up a midi file of this song without crashing your computer. The note density in this song is almost on par with Black Midi. This being difficult has nothing to do with guitar hero, it has to do with soloing over a chord progression. That's hard enough already, so throwing in every existing guitar technique is a pretty cruel addition. The only easy parts are the single string tapping parts. That's why Van Halen mostly does single string tapping: because it's ...more

The speed and tone of Li and Totman easily beat out anything on this list. As a shred guitarist I can tell you this uses a much more diverse set of scales than eruption. I'm really not sure of the particular Dream Theater song listed, but I can day the tapping in this song is ridiculous. Eddie Van Halen sticks to mostly pentatonic and single string tapping so its not even viable that it would be more difficult than this. Love it all though!

I would be the luckiest guitarist alive if I can perform this in my college. Herman Li and Sam Totman sure did a number on this song. To be honest, My fingers cramped up after a few seconds and I never even got close to the tempo. Poor me. - aeromaxx777

Eruption is pretty easy when you actually tried it.

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3 The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater

EMM... Guys don't let Guitar Hero players vote. Seriously through the fire and flames number 1 and Eruption no. 2. And a Muse song ahead of this. Eruption is actually really easy once you learn to tap but Dance Of Eternity... Or nearly any other DT song is harder than most songs on this list. Also Master of Puppets... That's like one of the first guitar riffs you learn (If you're into Metal).

This song is insanely difficult. Id like to see the guitarists from the other bands attempt to even count this song. Willing to bet my life that they can't. Through the Fire and Flames is a terrible song. Not much to it. They can't even play it. The only song on this list besides this one that's anywhere near difficult if eruption. People are so dumb... - deadgrass27

Let's face it guys. Technically this is the hardest song on the list by far. The entire song varies through complex melodies, constantly changing time signatures and what some people could even describe as complete technical insanity! And this doesn't just go for the guitar - this song is also known for being one of the hardest songs ever for drums and keyboards as well, also including an intense bass solo! This song became famous for being so technically difficult! Let's face it guys, this list should be called "Top 10 most popular hard songs, " otherwise it just makes no sense to NOT put this at number 1...

I think the guys who voted this song 3rd are either deaf or don't understand music at all... no offense.. I mean come on guys there's no other song which is even close to this song when it comes to difficulty level...

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4 Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson

Yes it's a guitar instrumental so you would expect lot of guitar, BUT what you get is like running a marathon and sprinting the whole way. The guitar line is simply massive, relentless, and simply beautiful. No distortion, just clear tone, leaving nowhere to hide you fingering mistakes. The skill and time needed to completely learn most songs on this list would only get you through the first 30 seconds of this song.

This song takes so much skill, that people think that it's a clean guitar, despite being actually quite distorted. This is done by using superb muting technique that is extremely difficult. People will wonder why you are using distortion if you make even one mistake. To get it to sound correct, you must play inhumanity well. With songs like Eruption, if you make a mistake, it's not a big deal. If you make a mistake in Cliffs of Dover, you ruin the entire vibe of the song.

THIS SONG IS INSANELY DIFFICULT! Afterlife isn't even that difficult because its basically sweeps for days. Through the Fire and flames is mostly keyboard. Holy wars isn't anything too crazy. Master of puppets is borderline easy. Welcome to the Jungle is eh. Hysteria is easy. The only other song I would put above this is Satch Boogie.

Best song ever, intro is impossible though

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5 Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold

oh come on! Even Synyster Gates, the guy who made the solo for the song, admitted that at the beginning he didn't know how he was going to play it live. cause really? loads of triplets at 185 bmp. thats insane. and dragon force? really? you people know that that song is mostly keyboard right? not like guitar hero makes it out to be. and BYOB? thats just fast, its not even that hard. I'm not saying Afterlife should be at the top, but I think it should be higher than #9, and definitely higher than System of a Down

Dude sinsiter gates is amazing I don't even know Avenged Sevenfold got beaten by dragon force. I mean seriously sinister gates is probably one the best guitarists out there and not many people can pull off what he does live. I went to uproar this year and they were amazing! I've never been to any better concert then that

Just because he's good doesn't mean this song is hard. Shepard of Fire is much harder. (The solo) And Hail to the King is also Harder.

The hardest song ever to master on guitar. Dragon force? I mean seriously? Studio force is more accurate to describe their songs lol. Even though their solo is fast, but it absolutely lacks any skills... Just a pure bland emotionless lick to be precise. Even though Synyster Gates, one of the top 10 guitarist in the world, the big Schecter artist, had public admitted that the solo in Afterlife was mind boggling and he didn't thought that he could ever play it. I don't care about your thoughts, but that's my favorite song of all time.

it's hard

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6 Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Speed is one thing. Imitating Jimi's sound is something on a whole different level. Nobody has his sound and he does a million things that you just can't pick up on. Sure dragonforce is really fast but its all technique. You can't practice what Jimi does. He does a lot of chord variations that have you wanting to smash your guitar in a million pieces because its too complicated to learn.

How is welcome to the jungle rated higher than this, utter bull. All of these super fast songs are so much easier to play as it just takes technique, there is no awkward timings it's just play as fast as you can, when you play hendrix it's much more than that. You have to feel the song, there's no way to practice it, you have to get given the notes and the order but no one will ever get the timings or the little changes and nuances correct. R.I.P.

I agree, while the notes in voodoo child are not that fast all the time. It's all about the groove and the feel. You should never play it exactly like jimi did, first of all because it's impossible to get the sound identic and second because that's not the purpose of the song. Voodoo child and many more Hendrix songs are like places you visit in the real world, they are never exactly the same twice.

I'm just a fourteen year old girl, and I can play Eruption (not note for note, but I bet I could if I took the time to try), and am playing it for my school talent show. That's how confident I am that I can do it (I actually DID have to try out, and I made it even with less that 1/3 of the people making it).

Anyways, Voodoo Child is a Hendrix song. Enough said. He was the most skilled guitarist of all time. Playing it note for note doesn't sound right, no matter how well you fo it, he inspired me to modify pretty much every song I learn, and I think it makes it sound better when you add your own style to it. Except on a Hendrix song where you never quite can find any way to improve the song, and like I said earlier, will never sound right if you do it perfect. Foes that stop me from playing his songs and doing my thing? No. Do I acknowledge that I'll never be as good as him? Yes.

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7 Master of Puppets - Metallica

I'm only 14 and I have mastered the song in a month... It's fairly easy. I haven't had guitar lessons either. The whole song is down picking besides the solo which is mostly hammer ons and pull offs while you tremolo pick. It's honestly not that difficult as you guys are making it out to be. Get something on your computer that can slow down the song and and just start playing it. After you memorize all the notes, then start slowly increasing the speed and you WILL get it. - jevonm.jenkins

I've been playing rock/metal guitar for over 25 years; Master of Puppets is had work... A finger numbing experience. Imitation is never a good idea, who the hell wants to listen to a copy of original. Having said that Master of Puppets stimulates your abilities, and exposes weaknesses. Tricky down picking, running your fingers through entire neck can make you dizzy and lost. On this page many claim that they mastered this song, especially a younger Gen who never got inspired by Metallica 20+ years ago.. This means too much ego and not enough skill. MOP is a masterpiece that placed Hammett as one of the best guitarists of all time.

I'm fifteen, have been playing guitar for not even half a year, and this song may be a but of a wrist work out with all the down picking, but it's really not that hard of a song. I don't know why it's number seven. Anything by Children of Bodom or something else by DragonForce (other than through the Fire and Flames. That is in a good place) needs to be above this cause that's some difficult stuff.

You think this one is hard? Try dyers eve or seek and destroy.

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8 Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth

Through Fire And Flame? Master Of Puppets? Haha this song has 3 tempos: 168, 122 and 188 bpm. There are 3 solos and one break. This is easily one of Megadeth's hardest songs. - danuprankalayanamit

YES! Now this is/was metal at its more difficult end.. I'm not sure about the ones higher up (or lower for that matter)... Master of puppets? I mean come on!. Bieber? Gimmie a break... Teen spirit? Laugh out loud. Mustaine and Megadeth deserve major kudos for their contribution to the music industry and Tornado of Souls will forever be one of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

Holy Wars riff intro has 4 chromatic triplets along with a chord ending. While master of puppets has just three simple power chords in chromatic descent as intro. Master of puppets is a simple song only here on the list bcs. Its one of metaallica's most popular songs. You can learn rhythm of master of puppets in your first two weeks of guitar playing easily. Holy wars rhythm in nearly two months, by that time you can learn the entire master of puppets album.
FYI learning means playing it with perfection.

The hardest riff I think

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9 Thunderstruck - AC/DC

Thunderstruck is just an etude in B Major, nothing too crafty.

I gotta say after a while it gets easy, I can almost play it with my eyes closed but the jump from 4 to 12 takes getting used to, I always overdo it and hit 13 instead.

The intro and the rest of the song aren't as difficult... if you don't play it right. Most people have the idea that the opening is only hammer ons and pull offs. But if you want to play it correctly as in how angus young plays it live you use alternative picking. Which at the tempo the songs at is really difficult

First riff I learned on guitar. I think it is not too tricky.

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10 Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses

These people must be idiots this song is one of the most easiest songs ever written

This song is really easy, aside drone the delay effect at the start that's pretty hard to get right, the song is generally easy.

This is not difficult at all! This is mostly basic rock riffs and a basic rock solo.

Ultra easy

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The Contenders

11 Jordan - Buckethead

Hardest song from Buckethead in my opinion. I can (and love to) play Soothsayer, but this one is just so insane I don't even try to learn. By the way I got myself a killswitch on my guitar just because of this guy.

In my opinion, it's absolutely pathetic that this song is not #1. It's not the best peice for "feel", but if you want technicality, this is damn near as hard as your going to get. Of all the guitar pieces I've ever heard, this is absolutely by FAR the most technically advanced.

This is by far the hardest song ever, "Through the Fire and the Flames" was made on a computer, so technically it shouldn't be on this list.

Now we are talking. Eruption has you tapping with one finger, Jordan with 3. I think this speaks for itself.

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12 La Villa Strangiato - Rush

Alex lifeson doesn't get nearly enough credit as a guitarist. The riffs throughout the song make you cramp up, but it doesn't matter anyways because the intro solo tires you out before you have a chance at any riffs. The solo halfway through the song has actually made my fingers bleed in the past. You can't truely call yourself a guitarist until you can play this. If you've never heard it, listen to it. Now. - kriss

I love this song with a passion. My favorite version is on the "Exit Stage Left" live album... I love how the solo in the middle starts off slow and builds into a climax that sends chills down my spine. I'm currently trying to learn in and it is the most frustrating thing I've ever tried to do. Alex Lifeson's timing and patterns are so weird and unique, but it works so well! This song is way harder than any other on this list.

There are many by Rush that make the list- this is the obvious one... A highly original song the whole Hemispheres album should be on the list

Surprised and happy this is on the list. This song is difficult

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13 Hysteria - Muse

Unless you're referring to the bass part, this is literally easier than 99% than all other rock songs ever made. What dumbass put this on this list?

As both a Muser and Dream Theatre fan, I have to agree - this doesn't belong here. Fantastic to hear and VERY fun to play, guitarists can expect to easily finish this piece provided they can memorise the bass line (which is easier than Futurism) and alternately pick the guitar solo. I'm amazed 'In The Name Of God' is not number 1! - Maskillator

This list is for "Most difficult guitar songs", Not bass songs, although its not that hard on bass but still doesn't deserve the number 9 spot

This song should not be on the list

Really? this is difficult?...

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14 Frantic Disembowelment - Cannibal Corpse

Are you kidding me. Avenged sevenfold is above this! Dude, this is the most insanely song I have ever seen. This makes necrophagist ashamed of themselves! If you idiots think speed is what makes something hard, you are wrong. Yes this song is 246 BPM but that is not what makes this so insanely difficult. The technicality is through the roof! I have never seen anything like this before! Rob barrett (the rhythm guitarist of cannibal corpse) said in there DVD that he can't even play this. Jack Owen (the old rhythm guitarist of cannibal corpse) did not record this. All tracks were done by Pat O'Brien. I consider Pat to be the best metal guitarist ever. Yes you read that right, EVER! He is the very best in the game right now and does not get near the respect he deserves just because he plays in a death metal band. All his band mates always speak extremely well of his playing. If you don't know this song and you are a guitar player, please listen to this. It is nothing short of the most ...more

This is probably the hardest song I've ever seen. Every cover I've seen of this song is massively simplified and usually slowed by a lot. Cannibal corpse only plated it live once and they don't anymore because it 's too hard. They had to get a new live guitarist (Jeremy turner) to pull it off live once and he couldn't 'to even really do it, he had a really difficult time, the only guy who can really do it is pat o'brien the lead guitarist of cannibal corpse, and he only did once. ( live and in the studio, that us. ) the reason there is no live footage of this song is because it's too hard to play. Now that's difficulty.

This song is sickeningly difficult to play on the guitar and probably any instrument for that matter. The sheer barrage of notes and pinky legato make this song nigh unplayable. It's still fun to try and I'm not even a big cannibal corpse fan but you got to appreciate something so daunting.

You all realise that this is only 2 riffs on 2 guitars played over and over, the song could go one for hours... the 2 riffs aren t simple... but look for example at Holy wars... there more than 30 different riffs a lot might be harder then this 2 - Deako

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15 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

How is this NOT on the list? The guitar solo alone would justify Free Bird's place in the Top 10! Three guitarists playing that solo at once! Get a couple of buddies and... well, good luck... - c0mf0rta61ynum6

This isn't top 10? SERIOUSLY? Sure some of these are more difficult than free bird, but Thunderstruck? Half of the song is the same rift over and over again, and the other half isn't nearly as difficult as the 5 minute guitar solo in Free Bird. Should easily be in the top 10. Afterlife could drop down too.

Come off it. the whole solo is just straight forward pentatonic licks. It really isn't anywhere near as difficult as some might think

Wait Free Bird isn't in the top ten? that's sad Free Bird is almost a 5 minute solo consisting of different types of notes and riffs that match the song and are difficult to conjure at the same time. Not only this but there are 3 guitarists playing the solo at the same time and they almost sound exactly the same. Thunderstruck shouldn't even be on this website you can play the solo while drinking water (well not exactly depends on your skill). Free bird should really be in the top 10s.

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16 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne

Randy is definitely one of the best metal guitarist in history, but with that said it isn't very difficult. To those of you who think something is hard just because it's fast, it's not. The solo is one of my favorite solos ever, but it's not speed that makes one a great player.

Very very difficult to get it to sound right like the studio version, RIP Randy Rhodes!

The licks in the pre-chorus are crazy fast

Any of Randy's solo-laden Ozzy songs are VERY difficult, because the kid was a RARE GEM, a classically-influenced speed-demon who also had a "groove"..If he could've worked on more of his blues-chops, he would've been the Best Guitarist Ever..at 23 yrs.old.
To whoever said, "not that hard", I DOUBT you can play it like HE did...And even IF, NOBODY can play "Crazy Train", "Flying High Again", "I Don't Know", and "Mr. Crowley"...NOT TO MENTION, "Diary of a Madman"...

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17 Technical Difficulties - Racer X (Paul Gilbert)

Getting it as clean as the recording is extremely difficult. The guitar skill is outstanding. Master of puppets is easy I don't understand why it would be higher than this

Not really the hardest song I can imagine, but I just wanted to add it because of the name of the song :)
I can't really see any point in this list anyways since there are so many who don't even have a clue what they're voting on..

This is a real one difficult challenge, is not a song for a week end.

Awesome song!

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18 Snow (Hey Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers

The riff really isn't hard it just incorporates a different style I guess it would be a folk like style? I don't know all I know is it's not that hard for me. It is just some string switching and a hammer on pull of. anyways pretty much any megadeth song off of the rust in peace album is infinitely harder as well as plenty of metal songs. I take it anyone who voted for this has never tried to play any metal song ever aside from maybe smoke on the water.

This rhythm is not so easy to play accurately for such a long time, its very physically demanding and played with high speed by Frusicante. Did you knew that Frusciante as teen could play easily shred songs but that became boring for him as he turned into Hendrix and similar stuff. You say that Voodoo Chile is not difficult. How then none of world top shredders made it sound even closely right? Either Steve Vai, or Joe Satriani it just sound wrong.. ONly Stevie Ray Vaughan made it right.

Pretty easier to remember due to repetitive chords, but it is extremely difficult to play this riff up to speed, and play is for nearly the entirety of the song. John Frusciante can jam.

Very repetitive but playing this at speed for a long time is absolutely not an easy task...

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19 Hangar 18 - Megadeth

If you're telling me a chili peppers song is harder than Hanger 18, I'd like one big explanation.

I can play perfectly only the first part with the verses and the chorus but really not the second one with all the solos.

No Hangar 18? This list is a joke.

I can play it on lead and rhythmic. It isn't that hard

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20 Fury of the Storm - Dragonforce

THIS is a guitar player forum. For people who actually play the guitar to talk on and vote. Guitar hero players are the only ones who vote dragon force. Also dragon force does not come close to the skill needed to play a dream theater or Steve via tune

Oh! So you think his song shouldn't deserve the top 5 list? Please show me any other song with 36 seconds of ultra fast tapping. Besides Eruption though, that is the god father of tapping.

Has the combination of all the instruments at great speeds. easily one of the toughest songs on earth along with many other dforce songs. DRAGONFORCE'S songs are indeed in the list of the world toughest songs.

The solo in this song is INSANE
LEGENDARY
powerful
DUDE

V 3 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 18 Aug 2017

6,000 votes
216 listings
9 years, 88 days old

Top Remixes (11)

1. The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
2. Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold
3. Eruption - Van Halen
chasithot
1. Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce
2. The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
3. Eruption - Van Halen
FistofDeath
1. Eruption - Van Halen
2. La Villa Strangiato - Rush
3. Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
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WRemix
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