My pinkie is useless...
My pinkie's been broken so many times I've actually lost count - and it certainly isn't the same shape as the pinkie on my right hand!
What helped me train my pinkie was playing a blues shuffle using power chords and using my little finger to play the sixths and sevenths like this....
First of all, play a powerchord - say, an A5 powerchord at the fifth fret. 57xxxx - index finger on the E string, ring finger on the A string. Now put your pinky on the A string at the 9th fret....59xxxx, and, if you can stretch it far enough, move it up to the 10th fret.....5 10 x x x x. Don't worry if it's a struggle - everybody struggles at first! With your pinky on the 9th fret, the A5 powerchord becomes an A6 powerchord, and with your pinky on the 10th fret, an A7 powerchord.
Then move the powerchord shape across one fret - x57xxx - and add your pinky to the D string this time, first at the 9th fret then at the 10th - this time you're playing D5/D6/D7 powerchords.
Then move the D5 shape up two frets - x79xxx - to make an E5 powerchord. This time your pinky will be going on at the 11th, then 12th frets to make E6 and E7.
A few days of this and you really will notice a difference. I recommend a good few hours playing along to Status Quo - well, it worked for me!
:D :D :D
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)
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 wish I had done this from the beginning so take this as a very good suggestion. Not only does it improve strengh for your pinky it frees up other fingers with this "G" chord formation and of course the same with the "E", you'll be barring in no time!
I just might go back and relearn all the chords with different fingerings.
I have to say that's a great suggestion, and I've started looking at other times when it's possible to use 4th finger instead of the 3rd. Interesting how it seems subconciously I was avoiding using the pinkie on some of the blues licks I practice with and just didn't realize it.