Most Difficult Guitar Songs

cjoshercooze

The Top Ten

1 Eruption - Van Halen 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.

I'm 11, been playing guitar for 2 years and can play this easy. Try to learn "The Best of Times" Dream Theater

V 52 Comments
2 Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce Through the Fire and Flames - DragonForce

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

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!

Through the Fire and Flames is the hardest song to play. Period. If you achieve this song, from the top to the end without mistakes, congratulations, you just became a professional guitarist. And no, it doesn't count if you do it with the plastic guitar with 5 buttons...

Is the hardest

V 56 Comments
3 The Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater 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...

There are 108 time signature changes in this song. The drummer who wrote it (Mike Portnoy) even has difficulty counting it. Based on those chosen as more difficult, I'm guessing that the people voting don't even know what a time signature is. If you think that Eruption or Through the Fire and the Flames is difficult, I'd love to see you attempt Dance of Eternity.

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4 Cliffs of Dover - Eric Johnson 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 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.

I've found very few songs on guitar that I can't play and this one has been getting to me for years I've been able to learn bits and pieces but it's just straight insanity

V 29 Comments
5 Afterlife - Avenged Sevenfold 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.

One of the most most difficult guitar solos of all time - zxm

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6 Voodoo Child - The Jimi Hendrix Experience 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.

yay

V 29 Comments
7 Master of Puppets - Metallica 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.

V 42 Comments
8 Holy Wars... The Punishment Due - Megadeth 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.

Never really focused on this song, but I've been playing for 8 years, and I attempt this song every once in a while, and I still can't get the solos down. Especially not Marty's first solo.

V 31 Comments
9 Hysteria - Muse 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?...

V 7 Comments
10 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.

Actually for all of you that are assuming the intro is made of hammer ons and pull offs, its actually alternate picking. Sure the easy way out is the former, but alternate picking is what Angus did so if you truly think the song is easy then go ahead and try picking.

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

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The Newcomers

? Raining Blood - Slayer Raining Blood - Slayer

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"

? Smooth - Santana Smooth - Santana

The Contenders

11 Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses 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.

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

V 6 Comments
12 Jordan - Buckethead 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.

Song is ridiculous...

It might be easier to me if I was 9 feet tall and my fingers were as long as rulers, but I doubt it.

V 11 Comments
13 La Villa Strangiato - Rush La Villa Strangiato - Rush

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.

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

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

If not for the constant change in time signatures, and odd ones at that, the sheer stamina and technical ability necessary to perform this song is astonishing. Definitely the most difficult song I have ever attempted to play, and that includes Through the Fire and Flames (Which is a complete joke)

V 6 Comments
14 Frantic Disembowelment - Cannibal Corpse 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.

Hardest ever! Why is Afterlife there? I can play it! - Mikbiter15

This is too difficult and weird.

V 1 Comment
15 Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd 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

You might need technique and feel to play other songs on this list but to play this you need that next to 5 times the stamina of a drummer.

V 12 Comments
16 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne 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.

Insanely hard, but it's no Scarified.

V 1 Comment
18 Snow (Hey Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers 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...

V 11 Comments
19 Fury of the Storm - Dragonforce 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.

THIS SHOULD BE IN THE TOP 5. I really hate how difficult, even on bass, this song is. I can not imagine ever being able to complete this song on hard or expert for any instrument and definitely can not do it on the drums cause I DO NOT have a double petal

The solo in this song is INSANE
LEGENDARY
powerful
DUDE

V 3 Comments
20 B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down B.Y.O.B. - System of a Down

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 - thatonemeatlfan667

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.

It's really quite difficult to learn but once you've got the rhythm and chord patterns down it's quite easy

This is really easy. It took me a day and a half to learn the whole thing.

V 9 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 24 Feb 2017

5,000 votes
215 listings
8 years, 278 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
ParaTed2k

WRemix
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