August 29th, 2012, 08:22 PM
From looking over a bunch of tablature and various video instructional materials, it seems as though many guitarists try to avoid using their little fingers, even at the expense of complete hand-position changes. I use my little finger equally with the fret count (and to stretch up a fret or two) until I get up above the 15th fret, when it just gets too squeezy to try to fit it in. Do you use your pinky pretty regularly? For guitaring, I mean? I can't trill between my ring and little finger, so maybe that's why it's avoided. I can trill between the middle and little finger, though, which I have never seen suggested in a tab or teaching source.
I understand that fingering is a fluid thing (e.g. Django), but I'm surprised at the shunning of a perfectly serviceable finger.
Edit to add: Didn't make it clear; I mean in leads and scales and such, not chords.
August 29th, 2012, 08:32 PM
i do not use my pinky at all
August 29th, 2012, 08:37 PM
I use my pinky all the time. It would get jealous and plot against the ring finger if I didn't, and that wouldn't end well.
August 29th, 2012, 08:47 PM
Let's just say that if my left (fretting hand) pinky got chopped off in a freak accident, other than chords, my playing wouldn't suffer very much at all, haha
August 29th, 2012, 09:28 PM
I have small hands and seldom use my middle finger to hit a note 2 frets away.
I'm a one-finger-per-fret guy so, yeah...that has me using a lot of pinky.
August 29th, 2012, 09:29 PM
I wanna see a guy who bends good with his pinky...
August 29th, 2012, 11:04 PM
On my fretting hand I regularly use all fingers including thumb, depending on what I am playing. On my picking hand I predominantly use my thumb, index and middle finger. A little less frequently I use the ring finger for some things, and rarely my little finger, as well, especially for Flamenco-like brushing across the strings, and an occasional arpeggio where I might use four fingers. I decided when I was a kid that I was going to try and use all my fingers so I learned that way.
August 29th, 2012, 11:25 PM
I wanna see a guy who bends good with his pinky...
Come on over and I'll show you. You can do it, it's no harder than using your ring finger. I'm a big sissy who uses E-flat tuning and mere 10s, though, so maybe I'm taking a shortcut.
It works just the same as any other finger: anchor the thumb, bend from the wrist, use other fingers as support when possible. If the finger stands alone, stiffen it and approach from the pad rather than the tip.
August 29th, 2012, 11:32 PM
I bend with my pinky frequently. In fact, I have a song I wrote that has a repeating lick that bends with my pinky. It is a fundamental part of the song as far as I am concerned.
August 30th, 2012, 12:45 AM
Oh yeah, pinky bending is no prob, as it is really bending with all four fingers, at least for me.
I started off with 4 fingers and am comfortable with that. But now that I have refocused on blues soloing, I see the merits of the three finger approach. My problem is that stretching from the first finger on fret 5 to the third finger on fret 8 is something that I didn't development when I was younger.
The problem with the fourth finger is that it is noticeable weaker than the third finger. Try trilling with fingers 1 and 4 on frets 5 and 8, then try it with fingers 1 and 3 on the same frets. Fingers 1 and 3 have much more control and stability. The only downside is the stretch, which probably is not an issue for those who have done it long enough.
If I were a teacher, I would really struggle with this issue.
August 30th, 2012, 12:52 AM
When I was being taught modes 20 years ago I was taught to play them 3 notes per string, so yeah I use my pinky quite a bit.
August 30th, 2012, 09:23 PM
I know I use my pinky on scale runs, but not for bends, I think! I guess I'll have to pay more attention when I playing :!:
August 30th, 2012, 10:57 PM
I do use my pinky but never ever for bending. I use it to hit low notes on the 5 and 6 strings, and occasionally to grab a note above a bend if Im too slow to get to my middle finger on the bend.
And of course on chords, but I use my thumb for bass notes a lot so it frees up my other fingers
August 30th, 2012, 11:52 PM
OK I have a slightly out of sync pinky. It cannot bend straight, its smaller then my right pinky, and also weaker.
For the first 2 years of my guitar years I wanted to be the dude that could play guitar without a pinky.
So I worked that sucker. Like a athlete. Hours of trilling exercises, chromatics, fretting, stretching, 'advanced' chord work, strengthening it while walking down the street, in the bus, whatever.
Now its usable. It can't handle much stuff on its own, can't bend even with the other 4 fingers, I can't vibrato with it much, I have to tap if I have to somehow do a wide stretch, and I have to rejig my playing around that pinky (finer movements, quicker whole hand movements, chords played differently, chords played without a note etc). But it works and I get paid with it. This is 8 years after.
So anyone should try to use it. If only for your own musical good.