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These are officially the 64 hardest songs to play on the guitar – how many can you play?

Man playing electric guitar

If you’re at the stage of your guitar-playing career that you are ready for a bit of a challenge, then these songs might help you take the next step.

We’ve pulled together the ultimate list of the hardest songs to play on the guitar – featuring intricate riffs, delicate solos and rapid shredding. Along with each song we’ve included a link to the guitar tab so you can have a go at learning it yourself.

Check out our complete list of the 64 hardest songs to play on guitar:

Tornado Of Souls – Megadeth

Featuring on the thrash metal legends 1990 album ‘Rust In Peace’, Tornado Of Souls contains what is widely regarded as the hardest guitar solo to play.

A lot of guitar players will enjoy playing along with the intro and verse riffs, but Marty Friedman’s blistering, highly technical and unforgettable guitar solo is almost impossible to duplicate.

Tornado Of Souls - Guitar Tab

Cliffs Of Dover – Eric Johnson

Few musicians have elevated the act of playing guitar into an art form quite like Eric Johnson.

Just the intro to 'Cliffs Of Dover' features scary speed and a ridiculous level of string-stripping and phrasing that only the most experienced and dedicated guitar players can get close to. The song continues to flow along and evolve with several riffs and melody lines competing for prominence.

Cliffs Of Dover - Guitar Tab

Fracture – King Crimson

King Crimson main man Robert Fripp has called Fracture one of the most difficult songs he ever performed – which is saying something for him.

Taken from the groups 1974 LP “Starless and Bible Black”, this 11-minute monster of a song is a dense mix of different guitar elements, from nimble-fingered solos to heavy riffs.

A great song to attempt when you want to work on all the different aspects of guitar playing.

Fracture - Guitar Tab

Sultans Of Swing – Dire Straits

Part of Mark Knopfler’s genius is to make some of the most technical guitar lines ever look and sound so simple to play.

If you doubt this, have a go at keeping up with him throughout the imperious Sultans Of Swing. If the rapid verse and chorus interchanges don’t finish you off, the electrifying solo at the end definitely will!

Knopfler does all of this without using a plectrum and adds new licks and fills at every turn, which may not seem like a big deal at first but over the 5 minutes running time it becomes a bit of a challenge.

We’ve featured the epic 10 minute live version above to give you a true appreciation of how hard this song is to play.

Sultans Of Swing - Guitar Tab

Through The Fire And Flames – DragonForce

Widely regarded as the hardest song to play on Guitar Hero, DragonForce’s ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ poses a massive challenge to all guitar players.

The music video version above has been cut down to 5 minutes, so seek out the full 7 minute version for all of the different guitar parts and riffs.

Released in 2006, ‘Through The Fire And Flames’ is the band’s most challenging song to play – which is saying something considering guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li admitted that it took them about 10 years to master the playing style needed on the album it taken from – ‘Inhuman Rampage’.

Through The Fire And Flames - Guitar Tab

CAFO - Animals As Leaders

Released on Animals As Leader’s self-titled 2009 album, ‘CAFO’ is a tour-de-force showcasing guitarist Tosin Abasi’s singular talent.

Try and keep up with the lightning fast finger work and seamless transitions if you can, but it’s probably more enjoyable to stand back and admire a true master at work.

CAFO - Guitar Tab

City Nights – Allan Holdsworth

Jazz fusion legend Allan Holdsworth developed a guitar-playing technique that was completely his own, and as such it’s pretty much impossible for anyone else to duplicate.

‘City Nights’ is one of his shorter songs, so you would think it might be easier to replicate – but the sheer speed and control of his fretwork is out of reach for us mere mortals.

City Nights - Guitar Tab

Drifting – Andy McKee

Some players are able to turn the guitar into a completely different instrument, and Andy McKee is certainly one of those players.

He is a famous exponent of the fingerstyle playing method, using progressions and percussion tapping to create a melody, beat and bass line all in one. It’s seriously impressive, and extremely difficult to replicate!

Drifting - Guitar Tab

Eruption – Van Halen

The late, great Eddie Van Halen is one of the most influential guitar players ever – and excelled at writing licks and solos that were frustratingly difficult to play along to.

This solo only features for less than 2 minutes on record, but Eddie was known to play it for over 10 minutes during live shows.

There are many Van Halen songs that offer a challenge to amateur guitarists thanks to Eddie’s use of the whammy bar and riff stacking, but ‘Eruption’ is one of the hardest to play note-for-note.

Eruption - Guitar Tab

Far Beyond The Sun – Yngwie Malmsteen

Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen may sometimes look like a parody, but his ability is beyond question.

‘Far Beyond The Sun’ is just pure joy played frantically across a the fretboard of an overworked Fender. Notice how Yngwie barely glances at the fretboard for the entirety of the 6 minutes playing time.

Far Beyond The Sun - Guitar Tab

If you still want more of a challenge, here is the extended list of difficult songs to play on the guitar. Good luck!

Frantic Disembowelment – Cannibal Corpse

Get Out Of My Yard by Paul Gilbert

Jordan – Buckethead

Juice – Steve Vai

Mediterranean Sundance by AL Di Meola

Neon by John Mayer

Perpetual Burn – Jason Becker

Play With Me – Extreme

Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tárrega

Speed Metal Symphony – Cacophony

Technical Difficulties – Racer X

The Dance Of Eternity – Dream Theater

Waves by Guthrie Govan

Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne

Afterlife – Avenged Sevenfold

Altitudes – Jason Becker

Arpeggios From Hell – Yngwie Malmsteen

Birds Of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra

Blackened – Metallica

Breaking All Illusions by Dream Theater

Classical Gas – Mason Williams

Closed Eye Visuals – Meshuggah

Danse rythmique by Ida Presti

Divinations – Mastodon

Django – Joe Pass feat. Grant Green

Extreme Unction – Necrophagist

Flight Of The Bumblebee – Nikolai Rimsky (Korsakov)

Folios by Tōru Takemitsu

For The Love Of God – Steve Vai

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Fury Of The Storm – DragonForce

Ghost Of Perdition – Opeth

Gris y mar by María Luisa Anido

Guitar Boogie – Arthur Smith

Head in the Clouds by Maria Linnemann

Ice 9 – Joe Satriani

La Catedral – Agustin Barrios Mangore

Master Of Puppets – Metallica

Mombasa – Tommy Emmanuel

Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osbourne

On Impulse – Animals as Leaders

Phunkdified – Justin King

Pride And Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan

Pull Me Under – Dream Theater

Round Midnight – Wes Montgomery

Satch Boogie – Joe Satriani

Sonata Giocosa by Joaquín Rodrigo

Speed Kills – Michael Angelo

Symphony of Destruction by Megadeth

The Animal by Steve Vai

Vengeance – Yngwie Malmsteen

YYZ – Rush

Symbiotic in Theory - Necrophagist

Passionflower - Jon Gomm

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