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Tutorial - Economy of Motion

Economy of Motion - Back to Basics

Rick Graham 210 lessons

Hello and welcome to my economy of motion tutorial! The main focus of this tutorial is aimed at players of all levels and styles. We will be covering a great deal of musical ground here so it is essential that you try to absorb the information contained in each successive column, and try not to skip any of the exercises or articles if you can help it. I would like to spend the first Introductory lesson going 'back to basics' which will not only help your playing immensely but also give you a new perspective in your approach to the art of guitar playing.


If you live in the UK and cast your mind back to 1993, you may remember the campaign fronted by Tory leader John Major labelled 'Back to Basics' with which the prime minister wanted(apparently) to address core governmental issues which had been allowed to erode over previous years. I want to point out at this juncture that my 'Back to Basics' will actually work. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Alrighty then!

Very much as it is essential to do revision during academic study, it is essential that we, as musicians, 'revise' our progress and make an informed decision as to what plan of attack we take next to ensure the best possible progress in the shortest time frame. During this assessment, which I'm sure all of you out there do at some point (for the word 'sure' read 'hope'!), it is imperative that we identify any possible bad habits that we may have subconciously picked up along the way so that they can be eradicated.

I first began to play the classical guitar during the mid 90's and didn't actually have a teacher for 2 years. When I began to study with Professor Brightmore, a superb teacher and player, it became apparent that I had picked up a variety of bad habits which were actually hindering my progress. We spent some time going 'back to basics' which enabled us to isolate particular problem areas and deal with them accordingly. Although at the time it was not easy dealing with it, I am so glad that we did. Hopefully, you will be too.


I always follow a very simple rule when problem solving which can be used in any situation and not just to improve your guitar skills. This rule is extremely important and should be memorized and recalled at every possible opportunity. The rule is broken down into 3 distinct points which must be understood:

1. Realize that there is a problem

2. Realize what the problem is

3. Find a solution to the problem

Once you have addressed all three points you will no longer have that particular problem. This rule is very much based on common sense, however, it is surprising how common sense can break down when there is no element of structure.

Remember, if you have any questions you can find me in the forums along with all of the other instructors. Catch you later!

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