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is a three finger fret hand possible?

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Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 652

I've suffered a number of hand injuries since I started playing...first realization- a LOT of guitarists I admire never had much use for the pinky. (Jimmy page had four fingers? Who knew?)

Second realization- you don't have feeling in your pinky. That's a serious limitation, but don't sell the little guy short. It may be that, even without sensation, it can work as a second finger alongside another for some chords. If you still have mobility in it, you can do something with it. Maybe just muting a string occasionally...

But whatever you do- you can find a way to play, if you want to. How well you'll play depends on your drive, determination, talent, vision, doesn't depend on your fingers, really. Ask Django.


Active Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 12

I agree with the other replies on here.
Yes you can play with 3 fingers. I am pretty sure Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath lost a finger and he plays pretty darn fine!
You can adapt your playing style to suit. I don't use my little finger too often. Could still do most things on the guitar without it if I think about it.

Learn to play guitar

Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 70

If you watch Clapton he hardly ever uses his pinky.

Rick Honeyboy Hart

"It's about tone, taste, and technique... in that order."

Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735

You could use even two if you desired yet it would be a lot more work. Using three makes the task much easier. Using all four is not necessary but, with practice, can lead to much faster playing.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 4

You don't say in your post what style of guitar you enjoy playing. I also had an accident to my fret hand and lost the tip of both my 3rd and ring fingers. I play acoustic finger style. I tune my guitar by raising the B string a semi-tone to C. Then many chords in the key of C can be played very effectively with only two fingers.

Works well for fingerstyle
Works ok with a plectrum.

Great for folk/country style music. not going to win you any friends in the heavy metal department probably.


really odd , i have the same injury and i tune the same way ... i would love to speak with mlegge sometime ...

Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 5

Just because you can't follow what others do doesn't mean you won't end up leading the parade.

Great sentiment. :D

Fascinating account of Django's playing too. Thanks for posting the details, most interesting.

@ heyjason, just for fun click on the link below and then close your eyes and listen to the music for a little while without looking at how they are playing it. :)

When you open them and watch, you'll see yet another intriguing way of doing it. But do listen for a little while first without looking.

Cheerful Guitar



Great video!

I posted this one in another thread but I guess its appropriate here in terms of making do with what you have:

Quite incredible.

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