Most Difficult Guitar Songs

The Top Ten

Eruption - Van Halen Eruption - Van Halen Cover Art

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...
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This entire list is stupid. Walk into any town in southern Spain in the summer and you will hear songs played by locals that are more complex than anything on this list. The ignoramuses who made it need to get some culture.

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.

Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce Cover Art

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

I have spent twice as long learning this as I have any other song ever. I have been playing for more than six years, and after about fifty hours of work put into this song, I can only play about half of it

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.

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!

The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater Cover Art

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...

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...

This song would be rather easy on Guitar Hero, but actually playing it is a totally different story. The song is not really fast (the tempo is around 120-132 to the quarter note), but don't underestimate it. What makes this song so hard is its time signatures. There are over a hundred meter changes throughout the song, and they often come without warning, so unless you know every measure of the song forwards and backwards, you're almost guaranteed to get lost somewhere. There are a few sections in the song that are entirely in 4/4, but even THOSE sections have extremely odd rhythms. This song definitely proves that guitarists shouldn't be judged solely by how fast they can play because if a guitarist lacks technical skills, this song will kick his/her ass. Not to mention that this song is probably harder to play on other instruments.

Fight Fire with Fire - Metallica Fight Fire with Fire - Metallica Cover Art

Kirk even stated that this was the hardest song for him to play.

I clearly underestimated this song, I thought this song is fingerpicking but when 40 secs is done, You need to strum fast, and when I just finished the intro riff, my hand was starting to hurt

The picking speed can kill you.

One of Metallica's hardest riffs

Clap - Yes Clap - Yes Cover Art

If you can play this whole song then your a expert

Steve Howe, massive legend

WHERE IS SANTANA!

B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down Cover Art

People can olay individual riffs but playing this along with drums is quite hard and picking is also quite fast!

It's hard, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy. This I love this song with a passion, and I don't want this list to discourage any starting guitar players. Keep on playing! Never Give UP

Love this song. I guess I'm a pro, because at 12 years old I learned this whole song in ten minutes. Always have loved this song, probably always will. Love it!

Hard to believe it was played using a Distortion guitar. Not just hard to figure out but even more Difficult to play. Amazing Vocals from Godsend Dr. Serj makes this song beautiful.

Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold Cover Art

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.

Syn's shredding on this song is INSANE! My brother played guitar for most of his life and mastered most of the songs on this list (even DragonForce - Through the fire and flames)! This song made him rage quit halfway through the song! That is how hard it is!

Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson Cover Art

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.

Easily the most difficult on this list. You need mastery of scales, hybrid picking which is very difficult, tempo, and did I mention the ability to FLY through scales? Give it 3 years and you can get most others on this list. Give it 5-10 and you still won't have cliffs of dover near Johnson quality.

Damage, Inc. - Metallica Damage, Inc. - Metallica Cover Art

The speed and precision needed to pull this off as a rhythm guitarist (see: bridge riff) is something else, never-mind the skill needed to lock in as a four piece. Don't let Lars' drumming fool you, this is an incredibly demanding track.

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.

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.

What the hell... Master of puppets is a really easy song in fact, n what is afterlife doing up there... This song is way better n difficult than any of the Metallica songs easily... Also, fire with fire is Metallica's most difficult song... How come it is not placed in the list... What about john petrucci's glasgow kiss? This list really doesn't make any sense to me.

The Contenders

Master of Puppets - Metallica Master of Puppets - Metallica Cover Art

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.

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.

Metal haters claim this is easy. They should try to play this song.

Machine Gun - Jimi Hendrix Machine Gun - Jimi Hendrix Cover Art
Painkiller - Judas Priest Painkiller - Judas Priest Cover Art

Just think Tipton is older than Ozzy but he plays like a modern guitarist. Insane.

The first 2 seconds of Tipton destroys all of almost any solo. It doesn't sound like anything a guitar could have the capacity to make. Proof there is a higher power, and its name is Glen.

Forget about playing entire solo first Sweep itself is tougher than many of the top 10 solos.

P.S. - I haven't seen anyone and I mean Anyone other than Mr. Tipton playing this solo perfectly. Enough said!

Its just damn amazing, listen to its melody and speed. It doesn't get much better than this when it comes to metal soli. Just awesome.

Hysteria - Muse Hysteria - Muse Cover Art

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

It's hard to get the right tone and effects, but it's not hard to play though.

Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Cover Art

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've been playing guitar for a living for years and eruption is easier than voodoo child and the Justin Bieber song shouldn't be aloud on this list

Jordan - Buckethead Jordan - Buckethead Cover Art

Ridiculous, needs to be TOP 3 EASILY. To the guy that said 'put a cutout button on your guitar and spam it' hasn't used one. There's a reason there are no good covers of this song. It's because only Buckethead can play it cleanly.

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.

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.

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.

Far Beyond the Sun - Yngwie Malmsteen Far Beyond the Sun - Yngwie Malmsteen Cover Art

God. Who made this list! Far beyond the sun is the 49 hardest song! Haha. It's A crime.1 far beyond the sun 2 waves and 3 cliffs of dover. Well its all depending on the level of the guitarists hands and picking and understanding a real composed guitar lick

I feel like people just vote on the songs they heard of and don't even look at the other options. For example, snow-rhcp is ranked way higher even though most decent guitarist can pull it of in a couple of minutes and far beyond the sun would take multiple hours for even the most skilled guitarist

The fact that this isn't first actually hurts me. Through The Fire and Flames looks like Green Day in comparison.

Too many Guitar Hero players voting in this lists. Everything coming from the hands of Yngwie Malmsteen (not to mention dozens of other shred masters like Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Batio, Petrucci, Satriani, Vai, Vinnie Moore, etc.) can win to Van Halen in the blink of an eye (literally)

Technical Difficulties - Racer X (Paul Gilbert)

Top 5 for sure. I strained my middle finger tendon learning this song. It's insane how clean it is on the record.

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.

Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses Cover Art

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

How idiot do you have to be when you think this solo is hard? The whole song is harder to play than the solo. Listen for example "The four horseman" by metallica. Then you realize this is very easy. And by the way if this is 18th hardest solo, then enter sandman would be number 1

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 song is easy I've been playing for about six months and can play it

Double Guitar Solo - Micheal Angelo Batio

Surprized there's no Govan, Gilbert, Cooley, etc. Above this...
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Acid Rain by LTE is probably #1, logically
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Are you people stupid or something! I am not at all a fan of MAB's music. I would go as far as to say I don't like his music very much. But when it comes to technical ability, I can promise you you won't find any other person who can do this.

I'm not saying MAB is the best musical composer or anything, but when it comes to technicality and difficulty, he should be at the top of this list.

you would need 2 really good guitarists if your not MAB.

Soothsayer - Buckethead Soothsayer - Buckethead Cover Art

Much harder than Jordan. Should be #1. Besides, what's up with the mask? I love Buckethead, and he's awesome, but I have nightmares about him... Oh, I forgot I'm 10! HA HA!

Unless you have a kill switch you really can't play this song at all( or a least correctly) buckethead is a genius and doesn't get enough credit for how advanced he is when it comes to guitar playing (and he doesn't use computers) it's just him and his white les Paul with a volume nob and a killswitch and some pedals but nothing else! That's how much of a genius this guy is!

Easily one of the hardest songs to play on the guitar. Buckethead's a genius

I was literally gaping at my tab once it got past the tremolo picking bit.

Raining Blood - Slayer Raining Blood - Slayer Cover Art

Loads of legato picks, and some tremolo, with power chords. Nearly impossible to play without a whammy bar, and finally a Drop D Tuning. There, you have Slayer's hit from their album Reign in Blood, titled "Raining Blood"

first 2 riffs are easy. 3 on becomes hell

Frantic Disembowelment - Cannibal Corpse Frantic Disembowelment - Cannibal Corpse Cover Art

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.

Song so amazingly hard THAT THE BAND CAN'T PLAY IT LIVE. THROUGH THE FIRE AND THE FLAMES IS A JOKE COMPARED TO THIS

Waves - Guthrie Govan

I think this list is a joke. Most people here have no idea about guitar. There is absolutely no logical reason for putting songs from bands like system of a down and rhcpon this list. Songs of Metallica sound great but are really easy. Guns N' Roses are pretty easy too. And how come there's no Iron Maiden song on this list? Their solos are killers! And Guthrie Govan is beyond difficult, one of the best compositions I've heard! Waves should be at the top of this list!

Waves-- most of you won't know this song. I urge you to look it up on YouTube. Guthrie's skill will stun you, and the music will move you.

Everyone here is an idiot. A grade five guitar exam is harder than half of this. Guthrie's the only decent player here!

Guthrie is beyond amazing. I agree most songs on this list are more popular than difficult

Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd Cover Art

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...

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

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.

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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