Economy 6

August 13th, 2020

One thing about guitar playing (and most things in general) is that nothing operates in isolation.

Everything operates as part of a whole, everything we do impacts something else.

For example, how we hold the hand impacts the trajectories of our fingers.

How we hold the wrist impacts the way our thumb and fingers work.

Over the years, I have played in almost every conceivable way possible, sometimes in experimentation, sometimes to try out other ideas, and sometimes unwittingly.

And I’ve found that to create the engine at the fingertips, you’ll have to focus on playing at the fingertips.

First, because the other alternatives of playing from the knuckles or middle joints do not give you the fine control you need at the fingertips.

And second, because generating the engine requires that you play off the fingers against one another and this occurs at the fingertips.

As you bring one finger down to pluck, you’re using that movement to produce a counter action in the next finger.

In the case of two finger “i m” picado, as you bring down the ‘i’ finger, that movement is producing a counter action in the ‘m’ finger to reposition it.

The two actions are working in tandem, like in a dance, all occurring at the fingertips.

That’s why the focus of your actions must be on the fingertips.

It is important to note that the action occurring at the fingertips is only part of the picture. As I mentioned in my earlier articles, the hand is also very much involved in the total playing action.

So yes, it can get overwhelmingly complex if you were to try to analyze what’s going on in the hand and try to micromanage every part of the movement.

To avoid getting bogged down with details (and the centipedal quandary), I would break it down to two things.

First, focus on playing at the fingertips.

Then consolidate your movements by basing your movements off of your hand.

Finally, a little Zen story I read.

There was a young novice in a monastery who was seeking enlightenment.

Everyday, he would ask the Zen master how he could gain enlightenment.

The Zen master soon got tired of his constant questioning and one day, without warning gave the young novice a whack on the head with a stick.

With that whack, the young novice gained instant enlightenment.

2 Responses to “Economy 6”

  1. Ronjazz Says:

    Wow, finally, I get it! Consolidation, which I possessed unknowingly before my focal dystonia, will cure my FD, if today’s practice session after this installment of your writings is any indication. Breaking it down to its smallest elements (i-m) was the key for me, I instantly created several small exercises that allowed me to really feel the consolidation and the movement from the fingertips, yet involving the hand as well. A series of i-m and m-i exercises on open strings followed by a small scale study followed by pim triads, both rolled in each direction and played as block chords in slow tempos with release of each fingertip after each stroke has given me instant improvement and a light at the end of a long tunnel!
    I finally may actually realize a return on my investment in the several of your ebooks I’ve purchased. Thanks for continually upgrading your thoughts and finding new pathways.

  2. Philip Hii Says:

    My apologies, totally missed your comment until today. Glad it’s working for you. All the best!

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