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Good evening,

I'm going to write a bit of background, so skip ahead to my question if you like.

I picked up the guitar at about age 10 or so, knowing very little about music. My grandparents arranged for me to have weekly lessons. I tried several instructors. The first few taught pop music, which I didn't care for. The one I eventually took years of lessons from taught bluegrass.

However, years later, I came to the realization that I simply could not move my fingers fast enough to play the songs this teacher taught. I was also quite busy with other pursuits, so I put down my instrument and never took another lesson or played it with anyone else.

Years later again, I am 29 years old and now once again in possession of a fine guitar that my grandfather once purchased for me in the hope that I might be a musician some day. I have no desire to play professionally, but I have in mind the notion that I might like to play classical music.

I would estimate that I can pluck a string with a flat-pick about 5 times per second; that is not nearly fast enough to play the songs that my teacher used to teach to me. I would estimate that the musician in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz6qKeUrL7c) is probably playing at about the fastest pace that I could play without making numerous mistakes.

I wanted to ask for examples of classical songs I might consider learning. I usually play by sight-reading, I have little talent for playing something just by hearing it, so I will want to get sheet music. I would probably start with the song from the video I referenced, but I wouldn't know where to get a transcript from.

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closed as not constructive by American Luke, Dr Mayhem, jadarnel27, Andrew, nonpop Dec 27 '12 at 10:51

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Welcome to Music SE! Per the FAQ, recommendations are off-topic here. If you have an objective question about a particular piece, however, feel free to ask. –  American Luke Oct 23 '12 at 23:01
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Flat pick is wonderful for a number of things but for classical you will need to learn to play with your bare fingers on nylon strings as per the way of classical guitar. This technique can be also be used on an electric for blues. –  filzilla Oct 24 '12 at 23:55

2 Answers 2

It is our purpose here to help you overcome such limitations as slow picking, not indulge them. So I hope I can be forgiven for an anti-recommendation. Not to say that two wrongs make a right, but rather that one casts our devils with the power of the devil.

So I'd recommend (and I'm for-real here) Flight of the Bumblebee.

You can reduce the demands on the picking hand by performing more pull-offs and hammer-ons. For flatpicking, you must learning alternate picking: it literally doubles your speed. For finger-style, the equivalent is i-m-i-m-i-m....

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If you already sight-read I would consider some Bach cello suites (you could play them as written, as well as find versions transposed for violin. Plus they're easy to find for free on the internet). They are a beautiful way to start the day, and really will sound pleasant at any tempo. Yes, some were written to be played at fast tempos, but that doesn't mean they won't still sound good a little (or a lot) slower. They also don't require a consistent tempo to sound good. In fact, playing more freely with the time can sound very expressive/emotive if done well. You might also find that you have several picking options depending on the piece: pick, fingers, hybrid (I mention this because you mentioned picking)

Also, if you have no interest in playing professionally then it probably doesn't matter how fast you play anything.

An added bonus is that you might just learn something about music from playing a little Bach. I remember reading an article that suggested all instrumentalists spend a little time with some Bach - it is very logical, and could actually teach you some things about harmony and melody, strong vs. weak notes/beats, chord tones, tension and resolution.

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