What is the hard-for-you thing you're currently working on?

I was thinking about this and thought it might make an interesting topic.

Throughout our guitar lives we work on a load of different stuff - songs, techniques, speed, etc. Some of these are quite tricky and take a while to get right. It seems like there is always something I’m finding hard at any point in time. With enough practice, it eventually becomes easy - but man, sometimes that takes MONTHS! They stay hard for a while!

So, what “hard things” are you working on right now? And by that, I mean hard-for-you - which is going to vary a lot between fresh beginners and those advanced players with many years under their belt.

I’ll go first: I’m working on arpeggiating chords (picking through strings) without looking, and doing fast-ish bends without other strings ringing out. Both related to songs. It feels like it’s pretty slow going.

What about you? What is hard that you’re working on? Is it the F, barre chords, legato, a dreamer song… share :smiley:


First, and the hardest, is playing in front of a real audience.
Second - jazz comping and improvisation. I’m making a third attempt at this stuff in the last 20ish years, and it goes so slow…
But I keep reminding myself - it’s just a hobby, you’re doing it for fun :upside_down_face:


Great thread to start JK.

There are a couple of things for me at the moment. This bloody Green Day song I’m trying to nail. I’ve been at it for months but I refuse to let it beat me.
Then there is the blues. I’m working on the pentatonic at the moment and working up and down the neck. Also trying to get it to sound a little bluesy, so bends, hammer on’s and slides. Also to not sound so samey for different backing tracks I’m playing to.

Man, they make it look so easy.


16th note tremolo picking at 131 bpm for a piece I am working on for starters, let alone the riff at the same tempo in the following bars :scream: .
My 2nd acoustic blues exercise of the year, has a section I can’t quite get the timing right.
My Blues Rock solo learner has a fast repeater lick towards the end that’s tripping me up.

That’s probably the three biggest headache with my current learning schedule but stuff gets harder the deeper you get and takes a little longer to learn. Always something new to learn.

Good news is basic song frameworks are learnt pretty quickly, so campfire distractions can be used when the going gets a little tough ! Don’t forget the fun. :smiling_face:



So many things!

I’m trying to change my picking mechanics so it’s in/out rather than just up/down. After so many years this is just so difficult as the moment you aren’t thinking about it you revert to the way you always did it. Breaking bad habits is hard kids.

I’m working on my little finger control. Hammers, pull offs, not flying around.

I’m spending some time on some basic chord shapes that I’ve avoided, specifically some of the dominant 7th and C shape bar chords.

I’m really working on ear training/transcribing daily this year.

However, I must agree with @Alexeyd, playing in front of others is probably the hardest of all the things I’m working on in 2024.


Accidental string strikes are my nemesis. It is probably due to the big movement of my index finger. When I focus on it I can control it but when I go with the flow it is back to its own self. To be patient can also be hard, I have pieces I’ve been working on for nearly 2 years and only now they are getting into any sort of decency.


For me it’s all related to playing single notes, i.e. rifts and stepping down between chords. I can do it slowly concentrating on each note, but playing it at full speed on auto pilot… no way.


I never enjoyed handywork, I only know the theory behind basic electric circuits and I somehow even “screw up screwing in a screw” from time to time…

You can imagine doing guitar handywork is an ordeal for me.

I manage when it comes to performing basic setup duties like maintenance, cleaning, strings, intonation, string action,…
BUT as soon as I want to set up a strap lock, change tuners, replace a pickup, it often goes south or it’s dodgy :smiley:

I’m currently reworking an old, cheap lefty I bought from a guy moving abroad and I feel like an old-time racing team, an opportunist being as optimistic as amateuristic :stuck_out_tongue:
lukily it’s no fine work :smiley:


Good thread JK
I’m learning Greensleeves and finding it hard. I’m not into fingerpicking so I’m learning it with a pick. The tab looks simple enough and it’s not difficult to play buuut….trying to make it sound good and musical….well !
I spent half an hour last night playing the first two lines. Was it any better after half an hour? A little bit maybe, but no - not really. It requires a lot of pick accuracy and control to get it right.


Haha, for many of us this question is synonymous with ‘What are you working on now?’ :laughing:
I imagine quick solo picking, learning blues licks and improvising with them, recognising chords and progressions would be what I would find really difficult (if I were to tackle them).
What I’m plodding with as I type, is alternate bass picking with muted strums on the backbeat. Aargh! :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:
Oh, and a bit of ‘simple’ arpeggiating for anything longer than 20 seconds… :roll_eyes:


Thanks for this thread JK, I really need to offload!

  • currently it’s Lights Out by Royal Blood. It’s in 4/4 timing but skips on note 1 for the main riff. It’s taken months to learn and now when trying to add the vocals you neeed to come in on the skipped note and it’s messing with my head :exploding_head:

  • also Lights out but more a general issue. Soloing. I only really dabble into soloing and licks, somehow it uses a different part of my brain. So I can solo when playing with others (to some degree) or play licks over a backing track but when I need to jump from a rhythm part to a solo I just don’t have the switch working probably in my brain. So frustrating.

See you all again in a few months :joy:


Two things currently doing my head in are: the Easy Fingerstyle Lesson that Joe Robinson provided for us, concentrating on the thumb. The song being worked on for the forthcoming OM; there is a small run that is quite simple, or I am sure it will be when i get it under my fingers grrrr :confounded: :persevere: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Yes, nice to rub some salt in the wounds… everything I work on is difficult otherwise I don’t have to work on it… memory is usually the biggest problem… struggling now (already quite long) with Walzing Matilda … WALTZING MATILDA CHORDS & MELODY (super simple version …kuch kuch ) and I’m going to start again this week with another trauma called Romeo and Juliet…ROMEO AND JULIET

all my own choices, I do know, so don’t complain… But I blame you for Abelton, the DAW :laughing:
Greetings all :guitar:

Edit: Now I can make the list quite long and easily fill it with 15 things…but this one is strange that I forgot about it …Canon in D | Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson (Tutorial)

How to play Canon Easy Fingerstyle :speak_no_evil: :tired_face: :tired_face: :tired_face:


Yep, great thread JK :+1:

I think keeping this simple, what can’t I nil at the moment,

1 - barre chords, no surprises there I’m sure. Just nailing them fast enough to be useful :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

2 - As previously mentioned, trying to pick the correct strings with a pick while not looking :flushed:

3 - Moving up through thicker picks :scream: I actually like the sound of my 0.38 Dunlop but have been working with a 0.48. Now I know that doesn’t sound like much but I just don’t strum with the same confidence with it but of course I can’t pick with the 0.38 either :face_with_peeking_eye: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Specifically I’m having issues with:

  1. F barre chord to open chord changes. This is taking me months! I can do it slow but trying to change when used in a song is rubbish!
  2. Changing between E shape barres to A shape is also taking some time.

Yes, great thread JK.
I’ve found a lot of the responses relatable :slight_smile:

One of the things I’m working on is the solo blues guitar course and I was aiming to try and polish one piece a month so I could finish the course by the end of this year. I’m up to the second piece but I’m having trouble with getting the B7 bar smooth without buzzing. I’ve been getting it while going slow now but as soon as I speed it up a bit… buzzing. So I’m almost obsessed :grimacing:

And yeah… for me, I think the hardest thing is to play in front of others (including posting a video) but it’s also on my list of things to achieve this year

Nice choice, Rogier! Love it :smiley:



Strumming and changing chords
doing a B5 after a C


If I had to pick on one thing at the present time it is playing barre chords standing up. Barre chords sitting down are far from perfect but just about passable but when I try to do them standing up it is like starting again, more practice coming up.


For me at the moment it’s single string picking (with a pick, not fingerstyle), which is manifesting specifically in the introduction to a song I am woeking on. The intro is only 8 seconds long at standard tempo (69bpm) and I’ve been probably at it for about 2 months. It’s really close but not consistent yet. The real challenge will be when it comes time to hit that red button and not only nailing the intro but the rest of teh song as well!! (which is in reasonable shape to be fair :slight_smile: ).


I suppose it’s still the F chord. I can play it but I can’t get there quite fast enough for some of the faster songs that I’m learning yet. It’s getting there though

I’m just starting to dabble with finger picking so that’s likely to be the next thing on the list. I’m working on House of the Rising Sun so the previous point about being able to hit F first time, every time is required to be able to play this smoothly and up to pace

Finally it’s just continuing to work on maintaining a rhythm, playing with a recording and keeping in time with it. I’ve definitely got better at it but it’s still a bit of lottery when I pick up and play, as to how quickly I’ll find the rhythm. I do find it challenging getting the balance right between being able to hear what I’m playing (are my chords crisp) but then also being able to hear the beat of the recording.