Are you perversely curious about what the hardest guitar chord might be? Are you a little tired of the guitar feeling so easy and want a new challenge? Are you simply a masochist in need of a beating?
Then step right up, as we explore 4 of the hardest guitar chords as decided by various users on the internet!
The classic idea of the hardest guitar chord is likely uttered from the lips of a beginner who is wanting to play an F major chord but has realized that they cannot really do so without barre chords.
Barre chords are an essential stepping stone in anyone’s guitar playing (especially if wanting to play a six string F chord) – even if one does not intend to use them, they are still useful in understanding how harmony and chords work, how the individual notes are formed and work together in a cohesive whole, as well as how they can be arranged in different ways while still being inherently the same.
Far from being the hardest chord, this barre chord can still prove difficult at certain stages in a guitarist’s development, one of the first to utilize all six strings in one fell swoop – next stop the G chord barred!
A little further down the line, once a guitarist has grappled with barre chords for a considerable period of time, they might come across this kind of chord that seems to stretch the fabric of fingers through time:
Though it might not look too complex on paper, it is a bit of a challenge to move to in rapid chord progressions, as you are likely to have to do within the context of a jazz song (whose extended harmony will often throw these kinds of chords at the player like it is nobody’s business).
The third chord in this sequence is detailed in the words of Lee Mitchell: ‘For me [the hardest guitar chord has] always been an Em(b6) in a certain position. It’s a chord I first encountered in John Mclaughlin’s Guardian Angel. Gets me every time!!! Although it shouldn’t; I’ve been playing a long time; but it sure does!’ Sure sounds a bit tricky, does it not?
McLaughlin is a legendary guitarist who still to this day brutalizes the fretboard and would likely wipe clean the plate of all who dared challenge. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Lee Mitchell’s hardest guitar chord comes from the harmonic palette of such a guitar virtuoso and his chord shapes, utilizing the ring finger, middle finger, and all other fingers.
Another stupifying chord extension comes in the form of this behemoth, the only extension listed here that does not use the D string as its root. This is certainly not an open position chord or a cowboy chord, so if you have just started playing or are otherwise squeamish, perhaps do not get your first finger or left hand involved in this first inversion.
So, there you have it!
Hopefully, you have gleaned something from this masochism, something useful about the way that chords are constructed and how the placement of certain notes can deter players down the line, as well as how these same chords can be so much easier if played elsewhere on the fretboard.
FAQs Hardest Guitar Chord
In the grand scheme of things, an F chord is not very hard at all. It is usually considered to be a difficult chord by beginner guitarists who are more used to playing open chords. An F chord cannot really be played without barring on the 1st fret, raising the low E to an F root note. There are far more songs that use this chord than you might think.
There is no one chord that is heavier than the rest, though my bet would be that the heaviest chord would certainly be in a lower alternative tuning, one that not all guitars cater for.
There is no one chord progression that, once utilized, promises every single neck to bob on and off stage, though one of the most common makes use of the 2nd, 5th, and 1st of a key signature. By talking in these terms we are using music theory talk, talk which seeks to economize the use of language in terms of communication. If we take an example of C major, then the 2nd would be D minor, the 5th would be G major, and the 1st would of course be C major. These form a trifecta of chords that bridge the gap between an infinite amount of other chord progressions.
The most common guitar chords tend to make use of the 2nd, 5th, and 1st of a key signature. By talking in these terms we are using music theory talk, talk which seeks to economize the use of language in terms of communication. If we take an example of C major, then the 2nd would be D minor, the 5th would be G major, and the 1st would of course be C major. These form a trifecta of chords that bridge the gap between an infinite amount of other chord progressions.
In the grand scheme of things, a D chord is not very hard at all. It is usually considered to be a difficult chord by beginner guitarists who are more used to playing open chords. A D chord by contrast uses three split fingers instead of a bunched group of fingers as in the A chord – which itself goes on to be of use in A barre chord shape. Instead, the player needs to split three fingers, all while attempting to avoid playing the lowest two strings, E and A, lest they get in the way of the lower harmony of the chord and turn the D into a slash chord.