Skip to content
My Pinky don't Work...
 
Notifications
Clear all

My Pinky don't Work!

10 Posts
9 Users
0 Reactions
1,652 Views
(@bobblehat)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 309
Topic starter  

Hi all,
Just thought I'd share something that I found out today.I've been playing guitar for about 20 years.I was noodling around this afternoon running through scales and stuff and realised I never use my pinky(little finger) when playing solo's.I'd never really given it much thought until today.So for the next ten minutes or so I tried playing using my pinky but I just couldn't do it.Either my ring finger would jump in first or my pinky would just not move unless I really made a huge effort to concentrate on using it.Which made my finger cramp up and my head hurt!
I have read that most guitar playing relies on something called muscle memory.Which I believe means that over time your fingers instinctively know where they are going next and what they are doing.I guess this must be the case with my problamatic pinky,it just doesn't know what its supposed to be doing!
I guess theres a lesson to be learnt here for anyone teaching themselves to play.Don't skip the boring stuff like fingering exercise and such like as it will come back to haunt you.Even if it is 20 years later! :twisted:

My Band: http://www.myspace.com/thelanterns2010
playing whilst drunk is only permitted if all band members are in a similar state!


   
Quote
(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1675
 

My guitar teacher always guides me away from using my pinky.

I don't have a great reach yet, and tend to want to plunk down my pinky rather than stretch my ring finger out that far, and he's always correcting me on that.

So there may be some schools of thought that discourage pinky-use.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


   
ReplyQuote
(@mattypretends116)
Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 530
 

It depends on what you are doing. Most people will agree that the pinky is pretty integral, but its a matter of context. For example, to play the first three notes of an A major scale in rooted in 5th position involve a finger stretch that, to me, wasn't readily apparent. For that sort of interval, you are supposed to use the fingering 1-2-4, which is a stretch for the middle finger. But I, like a lot of people, used 1-3-4. I now use 1-2, since it is a bit more even in the long run. Generally, there are set fingerings for scales, etc. which are meant to be most effecient in the long run. But its all a matter of how you practice things As a matter of fact, I probably use my pinky a bit too much! I learned to try to use the same fingerings for passages, regardless of position, and until recently I would play a blues lick at the 15th fret (rooted at the 12th) with my pinky! 1-2-3-4, right? I use my ring finger for that now, but it took some practice.

Muscle memory applies to guitar in a big way, especially in terms of hard stuff. If you want to strengthen the pinky, try trilling between fingers, that is a good way to build strength.

"Contrary to popular belief, Clapton is NOT God. The prospect that he is God probably had a large hand in driving him to drugs and booze. Thanks everyone."

-Guitar World :lol:


   
ReplyQuote
(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1675
 

Now that I think more about it, my teacher may have been guiding me away from the pinky and toward the ring finger in preparation for bending, which is probably not usually done with the pinky.

Guess I should pay better attention during lessons, huh? :oops:

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


   
ReplyQuote
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

my pinky has a tiny brain. I use it for open chord embellishments mostly. it reaches two frets.
like you, my other fingers have bigger more dominant brains.

sometimes those suckers have a mind of their own.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
ReplyQuote
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I use my pinky all the time, chording and playing lead. I even bend with my pinky with the middle and ring fingers assisting, especially a bend like this down low:



Bend in F Minor Pentatonic

~~~~~
e-------1---------1------------
b—4^(6)-----4^(6)-------4^(6)--
g------------------------------
d------------------------------
a------------------------------
e------------------------------

I do not have large hands, this would be a difficult bend for me using the ring finger for the bend on the B string. But also, I find I can put much better vibrato on a bent note using my pinky with the middle and ring fingers assisting. Just more strength. So I use my pinky for this bend almost all the time.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
ReplyQuote
(@bgdaddy316)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 186
 

My teacher said that the pinky is one of the differences between a good and great player. It's funny how there are such different views among teachers.


   
ReplyQuote
(@marshallscottw)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 49
 

Wow, 20 years and just now realise?!?!
Though I agree with one of your repliers that it depends on the player. I've noticed that alot of these nu-metal and new rock bands these days NEVER use their pinkies, not for chords (unless absolutely has to) and not for solos.
I taught my rythm guitarist and best friend, Jon, to play guitar about 4 years ago, and yah he picked up really quick and once he got the basics down, he began doing what all guitarist have done or are doing, he began learning songs of his favorite bands. One day we were playing together, practicing, whatever you wanna call it, and I stopped to watch him play, to see if he's developed his own techniques or if he sucked still. Well, he sounded good but I couldn't stand that he never used that pinky, so from that day forward I would jump his ass about it, (not really 'jump' but kind of like griped)
Well, after 4 years of chewing his ass and trying to get him to use that pinky, I realised that Jon got good, while watching play again, I noticed he still wasnt using that pinky. I gave up, he can play with or without it.

Anyway...
I was taught right off to always involve your pink when you can. I was taught this and that and that and this to improve your pinkies strength too.

Though in my opinion the pinky will always depend on the ring and sometimes the middle finger just a little for anchorage, doing power exercises with it about 5 minutes a day will get that pinky caught up with your other fingers really fast.

Dimebag Darrel has an exercise infact, that is made for it. Try this:

Pick a string, I prefer strings 1 or 2. but whatever suits ya.
After you pick a string, put your index on a fret, I use frets above 7 ..for no good reason really.
Now, with your index finger on a fret, begin doing trills, start with index, pinkie, then do middle finger, pinkie, then do the HARDEST ONE.. Ring, pinkie.

By ring, pinkie or middle finger, pinkie or index, pinkie I mean the first finger typed is the finger thats fretting the lower note in the trill, or the base note of the trill... just so ya know if ya didnt.
Anyway..
I'm bored

Later

"You're a God among insects. Never let anyone tell you differenately." -Magneto, XMen


   
ReplyQuote
(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1106
 

One of my fellow guitarist friends once told me that Eric Clapton doesn't use his pinky when he solos. I didn't believe him, but after watching Clapton a few times on tv, I think my friend was right! Check out his solo, which starts at 1:15 - I didn't see him use his pinky once!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekHkUYo1g10

I wonder why he never bothered to correct this "weakness" in his playing? My guess is, that he thinks he does just fine without it! And, I doubt anyone has the courage to point it out to him!


   
ReplyQuote
(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2736
 

CFD, you are right.Its tough to believe how clapton can afford to play those leads without using pinky !


   
ReplyQuote