Guitar playing is a beautiful yet complex art that requires dedication and a lot of practice. If you are a beginner, you should start with some easy techniques until you get the hang of them. But if you are looking for a challenge, then here are the top ten most difficult techniques in guitar playing that you can try your hand at.
1. Sweep Picking
If you consider yourself to be a multi-tasker, then this technique is for you.
This challenging technique requires a complex degree of precision, timing, accuracy, and coordination. It requires a lot of wrist and finger control as well because it involves playing a series of notes in a fluid, sweeping motion. The right hand is used to strum the strings while the left hand frets the notes.
Although a great deal of skill, patience, and dedication are required to master this technique, it can be quite enjoyable if you are willing to put in the time and effort.
2. Alternate Picking
Alternate picking is an impressive and versatile technique that can help you stand out as a guitarist.
This technique is played in a consistent and alternate manner by moving from the lowest string to the highest string and back again. It does sound easy in theory, but actually, playing this technique requires a great deal of hand and wrist coordination.
It requires playing at a fast speed and can be a challenge even for skilled guitarists.
3. Economy Picking
This technique is one of the most sophisticated techniques in guitar playing.
One of the challenges of economy picking is that sweep picking, and alternate picking is the prerequisites for it. You need to be pro in them before you try economy picking, as it is played by using a combination of sweep and alternate picking.
It is an expressive technique that can surely be taken as a challenge to be mastered.
This technique surely does produce beautiful notes, but it cannot be mastered easily.
A great deal of hand-synchronization is required as this technique involves using the tips of the fingers from the picking hand to hammer on and pull off strings in the same way you would usually use your fret hand.
If you can give the amount of concentration and dedication that is technique requires, then you should go for it as it is an enjoyable one.
5. Two-Hand Tapping
This technique adds a twist to the tapping technique by using both hands to tap out notes on the fretboard.
A great deal of dexterity is required because both hands should be able to play the notes smoothly and evenly. This technique can be a mental challenge because of the synchronization required between both hands, but it is not a challenge that cannot be overcome through practice.
6. Tremolo Picking
If “fast and furious” was based on guitars, tremolo picking would surely have the lead role.
It requires speed as the player must be able to rapidly alternate between downstrokes and upstrokes, all while maintaining the flow and rhythm of the music.
This technique requires a lot of practice, and even then, it is not that easy to ace it.
7. Legato Playing
With no breaks and no pauses, legato playing requires smooth and seamless playing. A strong grip on the guitar, a good sense of timing, and an ability to blend notes smoothly are required to play this technique.
This technique requires patience and practice, but if you are consistent, then you can surely master this technique. It can surely add a great deal of expressiveness to your playing.
8. Hybrid Picking
Who said you could either use a pick or your fingers for picking? Hybrid Picking allows you to combine the essence of both these techniques to add a unique flavor to your music.
This technique requires you to have good control of your fingers as well as using the pick. In Hybrid Picking, the guitarist uses the pick to pluck or strum the strings to make soft and rhythmic music while using their fingers for strong and leading tunes. This is especially beneficial for genres such as country, rock, metal music, etc.
Although this technique requires a lot of practice and concentration, the results it provides are worth the effort.
9. String Skipping
Tired of playing on an adjacent string? Don’t worry because you are up for a challenge, as this technique involves playing notes on non-adjacent strings.
This surely adds a great deal of complexity to your playing and can be an interesting challenge. Even within string skipping, there are many patterns, such as diagonals, triads, and arpeggios.
You should surely try this technique if you are up for a challenge.
10. String Bending
This technique allows the players to manually control the pitch of a vibrating string by ‘bending the string’ i.e. adjusting it while it is being played. This helps to add a personal touch to your music and make it really stand out.
There are different types of string bending, the most common of which are upward bends, downward bends, and pre-bends. As their names suggest, an upward bend involves pulling the string up, a downward bend involves pressing the string down, and a pre-bend is achieved by fretting the string at the desired pitch and then bending it to get a higher pitch.
This technique requires a good understanding of string and pitch control and good hand strength. In the beginning, you might find it difficult but there is nothing a little daily practice and dedication can’t achieve.
Some Tips and Techniques
- Here are some tips and techniques that you should keep in mind if you want to try your hand at difficult guitar techniques.
- Believe in yourself. It is important to have faith in yourself in every aspect of your life. Otherwise, you lack one of the most basic elements that are needed for success. If you start with a belief in yourself, you can master any skill you desire.
- Try, try, and try again. It is important that you do not give up and keep trying. Patience and practice are key elements in mastering all these techniques.
- Watch some recordings. When you start learning a difficult technique, you can watch recordings of experts playing those techniques and try to incorporate their methods into your playing.
The guitar surely is a challenging instrument, and these ten techniques are definitely easier said than done. But with patience, hard-working, and determination, mastering these techniques is possible.
I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.