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Difficult Stretching My Pinkie to the 4th Fret

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Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 6
Topic starter  


This is only my 2nd day of guitar playing, but I find it difficult to stretch my right-hand pinkie to the 4th fret due to how my it bends inward towards the ring finger.

This is much less of a problem at the higher frets where there's little or no stretching needed.

Should I just make it a habit to use only three fingers on the fretboard or will I get the hang of it despite the bend of my pinkie?

Reputable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 267

This is only my 2nd day of guitar playing

... too early to tell then. It'll get easier, whether it will ever get easy is another matter. Also depends on the neck and scale length of the guitar to some degree. For what it's worth after about two years I don't have any trouble with that stretch for scales (despite fairly stubby fingers), but some complex chord shapes that need four fret stretches are still beyond me to hit cleanly. Practise!

One exercise that's early on in the Mel Bay books is to play 1/8th notes (i.e. down, up) on each string going between first fret and the others. E.g. on the E string: F F# F G F G# (or 1 2 1 3 1 4), using the appropriate finger for each. Might be worth a go if you want to work on this.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4921

In my experience, when beginners have problems with reach it can often be solved by changing the hand position.

If your thumb is hooking over the top of the neck, you're limiting the reach of our fingers. Try putting your thumb flat on the back of the neck and see if you get enough reach that way.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Estimable Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 75

Don't stretch. Roll your wrist around the neck to hit the note with the pinkie. I used to try to stretch till i saw that advice on the internet. Lot easier than trying to stretch our pinkie. However I don't use the pinkie much at all but when I do, i roll my wrist around the neck

Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1497

Stretch also comes with time on the instrument. But it comes a little at a time. In a number of months you will find the stretches that are difficult now are workable.


Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

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