What Is The Hardest Instrument to Play: The Surprising Answer

By Monica | News

May 13
What Is The Hardest Instrument to Play

What is the hardest instrument to play? This question is quite intriguing many music aficionados for many years already. In fact, it is still a debate that nobody can agree on. After all, the technicalities of each music instruments are unique and varied. Therefore, the term "difficult" could remain subjective.

Despite this, some seasoned musicians can identify a few instruments that can really test the gears of a person (we listed them here). Of course, it would be wrong if we compare them side by side because they have different mechanisms and characteristics. Instead, what we did is to elaborate the reasons why these particular instruments are hard to play. In this way, you can gauge if you have what it takes to learn them.

So, what are you waiting for? Read on!


List of the Hardest Musical Instruments to Play

#1. Violin


Although it is as popular as guitars, it is indeed undeniable that violin has a high level of difficulty. One good reason for this is that it tests your endurance. Specifically, the proper posture for holding a violin can put stress on your shoulders and back. Your arms would also feel weariness as you need to be precise in where you should put your fibers.

Meanwhile, the progress in this instrument is quite slow. In fact, it is necessary to grow callous in your fingers for it to be numb against forceful pressing of the strings. Moreover, you can't master the violin for a year or two. Even if you are playing this instrument for a decade, we can stay that you are still trailing down the tip of the iceberg.

#2. French Horn

French Horn

You cannot see French horns being played by modern musicians, as it is an instrument in choirs and school bands. A lot of people appreciate the sounding of a French horn. Specifically, it is capable of producing a sound that is way above the treble clef. Its sound is distinct and beautiful, too. But great power comes with great responsibility, right?

There are a lot of difficulties that you can encounter with this instrument. First, you have to be aware of its size. Currently, it is the longest musical instrument. Therefore, you need to blow a lot of air in it for you to produce a single sound. Furthermore, French horn players are usually placed on the back. Because of this, they have to exert an enormous amount of effort so that they can be heard. Do not also forget that this instrument is very heavy.

#3. Piano


Many would argue on this one. After all, learning the basics of the piano is quite simple. Just place your fingers on the notes, and you are good already. Well, we have to agree on that. However, any seasoned pianists know that the real identity of this instrument once you are progressing. One of the biggest reasons for this is due to its technicality.

Playing the piano requires both of your hands. And that aspect alone proves its difficulty. Why? People are programmed to be left or right-handed. In short, we are not ambidextrous. It takes a lot of practice before you can be able to coordinate your left and right hands simultaneously. Moreover, the hardship would gradually increase as you have to play different notes and rhythms successively. Even the most simple piece could burden any practitioner!

#4. Oboe


Another instrument that can test your affinity for music is the oboe. Its difficulty is at the extremities, considering that known players of this item admit that they have no full grasp on it yet. According to them, the biggest challenge in playing the oboe is dealing with its reed. Specifically, it is arduous to scale from high notes to low notes (and vice-versa) because the reed has to have precise openings. Otherwise, you won't get the right note.

Of course, players also "complain" that the reed would occasionally close which produces those annoying squeaks. Moreover, there is also a need for you to moist the reed properly and regularly so that it can generate sound. If you wet it too much, then you would create pathetic noises.

Another reason for its difficulty is because of its fingering. They are so random that going from one note to another feels awkward and tricky.

#5. Drums


It is quite surprising that drums are part of this list. After all, it is an instrument that we can see anywhere. In fact, we are pretty confident that one or two of your friends know to play this. Anyone who can hit those pads can consider themselves as drummers. But for those that are serious about this instrument, they know that drums are not the instruments that you can woo quickly.

One of the reasons for this is due to its dynamic application. Specifically, there are a lot of ways in drumming, depending on the genre that you are dealing. For example, the jazz style would require you to learn delicate and sophisticated brushing techniques. If you want to venture on heavy metal, then you have to practice double bass strokes. In short, drumming is not just about hitting. It has styles that you have to master, too!

#6. Bagpipes


When talking about difficult instruments to play, nobody should ever miss the bagpipes. Among all the musical items today, perhaps the bagpipe is the most obscure. This is the reason why many think that this instrument is hard to decipher. But with persistence, you can familiarize it.

Primarily, the bagpipe is not a "beginner-friendly" instrument. Clarinets or trumpets would allow you to do basic crotchets and minims. But bagpipes won't. Instead, it will force you to learn the semiquavers, quavers, and other complicated passages. In fact, even slow musical pieces will still have curtailed notes.

Moreover, you have to know that pipes are not that good when it comes to crossed notes. Therefore, your fingering skills should be smooth and flawless right in the beginning. Aside from that, you need to pull a lot of tricks to make the bagpipe sound good. After all, the latter only comes with six notes.

#7. Cello


The cello is the bigger cousin of a violin. And this one is hard to crack as well. The difficulty of the cello lies on the placement of the notes. Specifically, the notes are distantly apart. As a result, you need to pour more effort when you are shifting. The notes of the cello are indefinite as well. Therefore, hitting the proper note is really an ordeal.

This instrument also requires you to have an excellent muscle coordination and memory. A small discrepancy would result in a different pitch or sounding. Of course, the process gets more complicated when cello players try to hit notes that are higher than the other instruments. String hopping is also frequent here. Therefore, constant practice with this instrument is always necessary.

#8. Electric Guitar

Electric Guitar

It is easy to claim that violin is harder to play than an electric guitar. After all, it is fretless and has strict hand positioning. However, it would be inappropriate also if we say that guitars are the most "simple." We should not assume such, especially if we are talking about electric guitars.

The difficulty in electric guitars lies on the vast techniques that you have to learn. Specifically, there are a lot of playing styles that you need to familiarize. Such of these are the classic, progressive metal, jazz, and flamenco genres. Moreover, it is undeniable that the solos of electric guitars are as complicated as pianos.

People who already tried the techniques like double picking and pinch harmonics know that this instrument is tough to master. Without proper practice and motivation, it would be inevitable for someone to discontinue the hobby.


These are some of the instruments that would certainly test your patience and determination. If you want to learn about these musical items, you need to commit yourself to regular practice. Otherwise, you won't be able to reach your desired skill level.

Now, you don't need to feel discouraged upon knowing these statements. If you are a beginner, you should treat these as a challenge. Besides, who said that you couldn't have fun while grinding?

Did you learn from this article? What is the hardest instrument to play for you? Tell us your answers in the comment section below!


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!

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