Are you a guitarist looking to expand your playlist and/or skills? In need of a piece to impress at a school or band audition? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We love guitarists, and guitarists love Musicnotes for our selection, reliability and convenience.
Our awesome customers frequently come to us for song suggestions. So, we decided to provide a fun mix of guitar tab challenges that make great pick-up-and-practice skill-builders. These aren’t songs you’ll most likely master quickly, but rather works you’ll develop over time.
How difficult a piece is to play can depend on a variety of variables. Speed, length, mood and dexterous fingering may all be factors affecting difficulty. The following are just a few of the songs that have tested our skill and/or patience recently.
“Classical Gas” by Mason Williams
A standard for guitar students, “Classical Gas” features tempo and mood shifts, and is ideal for intermediate-level players. Familiarizing yourself with this solid solo is considered a rite of passage for many guitarists.
“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565” by J.S. Bach
Its blazing tempo alternating with delicate lyrical passages makes Bach’s Toccata and Fugue a technical challenge in control even for experienced guitarists.
“The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
This frantically speedy piece has tested the dexterity and perseverance of many a guitarist. But, once mastered, it is oft-requested and impressive at social gatherings!
“Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix
Fretting the bass notes with his thumb, Hendrix blends quartal and tertian harmonies with single-note runs to produce a distinctly unique sound on this renowned, and frequently covered, song.
“Satch Boogie” by Joe Satriani
In addition to the unrelenting intensity of “Satch Boogie,” Satriani’s lightning-quick hammer-ons and pull-offs are certainly not easy to master. And the song’s tap-on middle section, played only on the fifth-string, is a perfect lesson in Satriani’s pitch-axis theory.
“Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson
Employing advanced techniques like string skipping and hybrid picking, Eric Johnson’s epic guitar solo intro is widely considered one of the best. This massive work not only displays advanced technique, its non-stop notes offer nowhere to hide, meaning any mistake in fingering will be easily noticed.
It was a task narrowing down our selections, with so many songs by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and more discussed. What songs have you found particularly difficult to play and why? Any advise for your fellow guitarists in how to work on an especially hard-to-play piece? Share your insights in the comments below!