Watching Mayer and Frampton.... lots of 3 finger use

Greggorios

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When learning or practicing scales I always used my pinky. Over time it just learned where to go so there's no thought involved.
 

oldunc

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That’s hilarious. And couldn’t be more wrong in my case.

You’re certainly entitled to your mindset. And I won’t question what worked for you. But it’s exactly the backwards one I was talking about. In my view and experience anyway.

Rock & roll (broadly writ) has largely been created by young idiots, often under the influence of copious substances, who could barely play. But had things to say and sounds to make. Glorious.


I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. Rock and roll and blues were largely developed by very limited musicians and technicians, and if you're content to do nothing but imitate their work you can get by with conceding to their limitations. If you want to make your own music, or you simply object to making needless concessions, why accept totally unnecessary limitations on what you can use? The guitar is difficult enough without hamstringing yourself. Eventually, someone will come up with a second slow blues solo; just think, it could be you.
 
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boneyguy

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as I practice, am focusing on what I think is the right way (trying to incorporate my pinky...

but, for what I want, and be happy with, is a loosening of this 'standards. just want to play and do good stuff. upper 50y.o. guy....with a spark amp, no pressure to perform and be judged on stage.

not saying I'll never use pinky...just perhaps need to refocus practice method maybe.

thoughts?

I began noticing a number of years ago that a whole lot (maybe most) of my fave guitarists who are considered technically adept use only 3 fingers the majority of the time. I watch them use their ring finger most of the time (if not all the time) where I would have used my pinky. Early on I took classical lessons and then studied jazz so I had, from the start, this notion that it was 'right' to use the pinky as equally as the other fingers. So it surprised me when I began seeing so many great guitarists not doing it!!
And when I think about it the pinky is without a doubt the weakest finger and so in that way it does make some sense to favour the stronger fingers because strong doesn't just mean more endurance it can also me more accuracy and more responsiveness to what I want it to do. And I still use my pinky way more than most people that I see playing. It just feels right.
 

MilwMark

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I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here. Rock and roll and blues were largely developed by very limited musicians and technicians, and if you're content to do nothing but imitate their work you can get by with conceding to their limitations. If you want to make your own music, or you simply object to making needless concessions, why accept totally unnecessary limitations on what you can use? The guitar is difficult enough without hamstringing yourself. Eventually, someone will come up with a second slow blues solo; just think, it could be you.

You seem very invested in a view that I don’t understand. I’m not sure I understand the assumptions about me either. I have a decent bag of technique and decent (not extensive) practical theory. But that’s a means to an end.

Having the musical idea and wanting to execute it is what motivates the technique. Learning a bunch of techniques in a vacuum is just wanking to me. And an instructional framework built on that model keeps people stuck and frustrated in my view.

Here’s our most recent album. It’s the most accessible on streaming platforms. https://floormodel.bandcamp.com/

I came up with and play every lead, riff, fill and lick on it. And all the lap steel. I wanted to play steel so I bought one, tuned it to open E so I would always know where I was, and had at it.

Our main singer plays the straight rhythm guitar. Exception being Glenn Danzig, which I wrote, sing and play rhythm on. Though TBH I don’t even know that I could tell you the names of the progression or key(s) - I mean I could if I thought about it. But why?

Anyway, like it or not. That’s up to you. I think I’m plenty creative and my whole focus is on just that. A part I could hear in my head for one of our new songs motivates me to learn good repeatable tremolo picking (thanks anyonecanplayguitar.co.uk !). Another part I could hear had me delve into using Delay a different way and the various muting techniques that interact with pedal settings.

YMMV
 

buster poser

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Start with the sounds and rhythms you want to make.

THEN what technique gets you there.

I honestly think a reason many practice a ton but don’t progress is because the guitar instruction mindset starts with technique in a vacuum and as the goal.

Technique is not the end. It’s a mean to achieve sound and rhythm.
This is a great point. I should say I view those Tomo exercises (and the Spider, etc.) as warmups (that obviously build technique) before I run through repertoire/play along to records, arps, do some Mickey Baker chord progs etc. I think it’s possible if not necessary to sort of climb both hills at the same time, developing technique along with musical ability/depth. I've also found that learning a new technique can sometimes spin me off in a new direction interest-wise, a la that 'banjo-roll' course on TrueFire, which had me going through a lot of records I wouldn't have otherwise.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I'm 62 now, and around my late 40's or so, somehow finally started using my left pinky in my playing ( probably from playing Jerry/GD-style runs and licks)

A lot of blues, Dead, bluegrass stuff ( a lot on acoustic), so now I even have a callus ( just a bit) on my pinky!
 

teletail

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What a top tier guitarist who has been playing at the pro level for many years does doesn't always translate into what works best for everyone. Most of the pro players with poor technique sound great in spite of their poor technique, not because of it. Jimmy Page was a heroin addict; I wouldn't recommend using heroin to sound like Jimmy Page.

The better your technique, the easier it is to play and the better you sound. At least 50% of the time, when I'm having issues with a passage, if I concentrate on my technique, it cleans right up. But it takes a lot of work to get there.
 

tfarny

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I spent some time focusing on pinky use, I find it really handy (harhar) for all kinds of stuff. I don't know if you really "need to" but it's definitely a helpful finger. I also slide with my pinky, leaving three fingers free to fret as needed.
 

oldunc

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You seem very invested in a view that I don’t understand. I’m not sure I understand the assumptions about me either. I have a decent bag of technique and decent (not extensive) practical theory. But that’s a means to an end.

Having the musical idea and wanting to execute it is what motivates the technique. Learning a bunch of techniques in a vacuum is just wanking to me. And an instructional framework built on that model keeps people stuck and frustrated in my view.

YMMV


Not talking about learning techniques in a vacuum. Talking about making musical ideas available. My view, which seems completely straightforward to me, is that you want as much as possible available to choose from. Certainly people have been creative with all sorts of limitations, but they were doing the best they could with what they had available, and there's no reason you shouldn't have all your fingers available. I spent a bit of time contemplating 3 finger fingerings today, and it seems discouraging- so simple a thing as a single octave of a Dmajor scale starting on the fifth string is already getting a bit acrobatic, even just playing it as single notes in order.
 

watercaster

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20 years ago I cut my index finger completely off in a table saw incident on my fretting hand. At the time I didn't know it was my fretting hand because I didn't play guitar. Surgeon sewed it back on in a 45 degree locked position as the middle knuckle was destroyed. Could not bend this finger. I started learning guitar 6 mos after the accident just as an experiment. So needless to say, I have to use my pinky and my thumb as a rule. I can use the bad finger to hold barre chords though. It's still a struggle.
 

drmordo

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I use my fretting pinky all the time when I play chords. I use it occasionally when soloing, but honestly I'd be fine without it for soloing, I'd just slide to the desired note.
 

DougM

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People are mixing talking about chording and soloing here, which is dumb. Everyone uses their pinky when chording, but many don't use it much at all when soloing, including some of the best and most famous soloists on earth. There are probably far more jazz, fusion, and classical players that use it than blues, rock, pop, and country players. Here's but one of my heroes, and a guy that many players consider one of the best around, and I don't see him using his pinky when soloing. I think the same probably goes for most of my other heroes- Jeff, Joe, Duane and Dickey, Eric, Johnny Winter, Stills, Carlos, SRV, and many many others

I don't even see the amazing Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins using theirs much here either when playing single note lead lines
 
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MrCairo46

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as I practice, am focusing on what I think is the right way (trying to incorporate my pinky...

but, for what I want, and be happy with, is a loosening of this 'standards. just want to play and do good stuff. upper 50y.o. guy....with a spark amp, no pressure to perform and be judged on stage.

not saying I'll never use pinky...just perhaps need to refocus practice method maybe.

thoughts?
As a recovering bass player it’s taken years to restrict my tendency to use my pinky. I use three fingers for most playing, but pinky for chords
 

Larry F

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I used my pinky early in my career. I quit playing guitar for about 25 years. When I started up again, I gave serious thought to playing with 3 fingers instead of 4. Those fingers seemed naturally stronger that the 4th finger. Additionally, it certainly was not lost on me that the great blues players seemed to usually use 3 fingers. After a bit, I found myself using the 4th finger in a natural, intuitive way. So 4 fingers it is then.

Here's an odd thing. I have sometimes horsed around using fingers 2,3,4 instead of 1,2,3. It had always been easy to do and takes only a minute to get reacclimated. The question is, what role does muscle memory play when you change fingering style like this? Doesn't it mess with the notion of muscle memory when I use 2,3,4 rather than 1,2,3? (I'm not factoring in chords and bends.) I'm just messing around with this, not using it much in my playing.
 




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