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Blog overview

Top 5 most difficult instruments to play

Team Soundbrenner, in Uncategorized
Jan 11, 2023 | 5 min read

Learning any instrument is hard work. There aren’t any instruments in the world that don’t require plenty of effort to master. However, some instruments are tougher work than others. In this article, we’re recognising the top 5 most difficult instruments to play.

This list is put together based on technical and physical levels of difficulty. And if your instrument isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hard one to master! We hope this list inspires you to challenge yourself to pick it up. One day you’ll be able to say, “Hey! I’m playing one of the hardest instruments in the world”.

1. Violin

violin pulse metronome

The violin is a commonly learnt instrument, so you may be surprised to see this lying at the top of this list! While giving us some of the most beautiful sounds, the violin could very easily sound terribly painful when played incorrectly.

One of the reasons why the violin is an extremely tough nut to crack is that it’s a fretless instrument. Being fretless leaves players without a safety net, which means violin players need to make sure they are being extremely accurate to hit the notes they want.

Plus, have you seen how violin players have to hold their instruments? While it offers amazing dramatics, it’s no surprise that violin players face the risk of Fiddler’s neck, neck strain, and other conditions. (so do take good care of yourself!) Fair enough that it stays at the top spot on our list of the most difficult instruments to play.

2. Bagpipes

The bagpipes rank high in this list for their challenging physical demands.

A bagpipe player needs to constantly supply the instrument with air all while creating the perfect amount of pressure on the instrument’s bladder underneath the arm.

The fingering system of the bagpipes is also pretty complex. The finger holes on the bagpipe require some mastery in order for the player to play in tune. Like any other instrument, practice and having a good understanding of the instrument is essential.

3. French horn

french horn

The French horn is one of those instruments that are both large and look so complex that potential players are intimidated away from learning it. But its versatility is what makes it so valuable to orchestra ensembles.

It has a pretty intense learning curve. Being able to make any sound come out o the French horn as a beginner, is a challenge in itself. Only after managing to make a sound, then will you be able to try make this sound accurate. That too, is a series of challenges!

4. Hammond organ

hammond organ

Organs, in general, are pretty tough to master. The Hammond organ is a key instrument in plenty of genres, from rock to r&b.

A beginner may think that organs aren’t much different from keyboards- I mean, they both have black and white keys, how different can they be? More than you think!

Hammond organs have two levels of keyboards, with 61 keys per keyboard. But this isn’t the difficult part, in fact, its waterfall positioning may make it easier to play. This difficulty comes from the fact that these keys are not velocity-sensitive. So, any changes you make to the velocity of your movements don’t change the volume. you would have to hold down a key for how long you’d want it to play.

Other challenges include the lack of a sustain pedal, preset keys, rotary switches- the list honestly goes on. But once you’ve mastered it- you’d honestly be unstoppable.

5. Accordion


The accordion is about as hard as it looks. Imagine having to play the keyboard with one hand while juggling with the other, all while spinning around in circles. That’s kind of what it feels like…sort of. Accordions come in two forms- button accordions and keyboard accordions. The right-hand does the melody playing while the left is for harmonies.

It’s quite unique in the way that you have to hold it and move the bellows in and out. The airflow and pressure then play a big part in the sound that you shape. So, if you’re a good multitasker, we may have just found the instrument for you.

The ultimate tool for musicians to make your practice easier

As we conclude our exploration of the top 5 most difficult instruments to play, it’s important to acknowledge the challenges musicians face and offer solutions to enhance their musical journey.

Thankfully, technology has provided us with innovative tools like the Soundbrenner Core. With its advanced features such as a vibrating metronome, tuner, and decibel meter, the Soundbrenner Core acts as a versatile companion for musicians tackling these complex instruments. Whether you’re mastering the intricate fingerings of the violin or navigating the complex rhythms of the drums, the Soundbrenner Core provides invaluable support, helping you stay in perfect time, tune your instrument accurately, and monitor your sound levels.

It’s a game-changer that empowers musicians to overcome the difficulties of playing these instruments, elevating their performance and unlocking their true potential. Embrace the power of technology with the Soundbrenner Core and take your musical journey to new heights.

Thanks for reading our article on the top 5 most difficult instruments to play! We at Soundbrenner are dedicated to helping musicians stay focused on what truly matters: their music. By creating innovative devices, such as Soundbrenner Pulse and Core, our goal is to deliver the best possible practice experience for musicians. Click here to find out more.

Got a question about Soundbrenner wearables? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!

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