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My pinkie is useless...

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old lefty
(@old-lefty)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

I'm thinking about nicknaming my little finger "Buzz" because that's all the sound I get out of him. OK, not everytime but compared to the other fingers workin' the fret board this finger stinks. Right now I'm working on Crystal Blue Persuasian and the chords are easy enough but no matter how hard I try I just can't get my little finger to hold down the e string cleanly. It's like it's too small at the tip or something. It's not a question of reach really because the string is right there. Any suggestions to improve this seemingly useless digit would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian


   
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TwistedFingers
(@twistedfingers)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 596
 

The only viable suggestion is to keep using it. The pinkie is the weakest of all the fingers and takes some extra training even on easy to reach chords.

Some simple suggestions. Do lots of hammer ons and pull offs with it. Instead of two finger Power chords toss the pinkie in with the ring finger (so G5 would be 355).

After a bit you'll be surprised at how well "Buzz" does his part.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- "WOW--What a Ride!"


   
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old lefty
(@old-lefty)
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Topic starter  

Good suggestion about the hammer ons and pull offs...thanks.

Brian


   
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Jim BoDean
(@jim-bodean)
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Posts: 21
 

I had the same problem (and still do when I have to reach very far). One of the things I did mainly to improve my little finger's usefulness was to relearn the G chord. I originally learned it with fingers 1, 2. and 3, and played it exclusively that way for a long time, but then I decided to learn to play it with 2, 3, and 4. (Now I use both ways depending on which chords precede and follow the G.)

The same thing works for some other chords, like E.

I did gain more dexterity and cleaner sound with my pinkie by using it in these basic chord formations. It helps when playing barre chords too.

So, if you are playing your G and E chords with the first three fingers, try learning to use the last three. Your pinkie performance should improve quickly.


   
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tinsmith
(@tinsmith)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Put a slide on it


   
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greybeard
(@greybeard)
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I use an exercise that will help with both dexterity and finger strength

Here it is

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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I like Mr. Bodean's advice, as there are many good reasons to learn to be able to shift those three-finger chords from index/pointer/ring to pointer/ring/pinkie. expanding a bit on Mr. B's suggestions: playing the G as he suggests will allow quick and easy access to the sus 4th form (that first fret C note on b-string). Gsus(4) is a common chord in certain types of music, often used as a hammered-on stylistic flourish. you will likely want to be able to execute Gsus efficiently. and yes, the day will come when you will want or need to go after those barre chords. your index finger is going to be busy doing "la danse de barre" and you will need all three remaining digits to finish the job.

getting your pinkie in shape also will come in handy for the most common dim7 form, as well as the popular version of the aug5.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Take up piano playing along with the guitar. Your pinky will become much more dextrous and strong.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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KR2
 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

You might want to try Justin's finger exercises . . .
One of them is called 'Finger Gym' http://justinguitar.com/en/TE-001-FingerGym.php
The others are also listed under 'Techniques'

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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old lefty
(@old-lefty)
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Topic starter  

Thanks guys for all the good suggestions. Looks like Buzz has some work to do.

Brian


   
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Ande
 Ande
(@ande)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 652
 

EVERYbody has had this problem.

Make sure you keep using it. Use it for chords, use it for scales...and one day, you'll be surprised. It WILL start working and stop buzzing.

Best,
Ande


   
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old lefty
(@old-lefty)
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Topic starter  

I just can't mention enough how appreciative I am of all the help available through this forum. I'm still exploring it and everytime I do I learn something new.

Looking forward to posting how much Buzz has improved after following your suggestions.

Thanks again,

Brian


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Yes! Practicing scales gives all the digits a little workout and will develop into lead playing.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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old lefty
(@old-lefty)
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Topic starter  

OK, my pinkie is making some progress and I just wanted to say thanks for the suggestions. I've been starting my sessions with Justin's Finger Gym excercise and one suggested by greybeard, and It's helped a lot. So there is hope!

Also I finally got a metronome and that's made practice much more interesting, to say the least.

Thanks guys,

Brian


   
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Samer
(@samer)
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I use an exercise that will help with both dexterity and finger strength

Here it is

This is a good exercise, try it with a metronome and train both hands at once.


   
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