Poll: Can you bend your pinky finger independently of your ring finger?
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View poll results: Can you bend your pinky finger independently of your ring finger?
Yes. Check out this awesome diminished sweep-tapping!
12 44%
No. Would you like more ketchup with that McNuggets?
15 56%
Voters: 27.
Page 1 of 2
#1
Well, here's a question about an issue that bothers me playing-wise:
From what I read and from a bit of asking-around I made, you either can or cannot bend your pinky finger without the adjacent ring finger moving along due to the way your tendons there are connected.

I for one can't do it. I can move all other fingers independently (including the ring finger itself, pretty much), but if I try to curl down the pinky, my ring finger just follows. I can move my pinky into a curled position using my other hand with my ring finger staying still, so it's not an inability of the bones/muscles to be in that position, but it's the inability of the electric signals to engage the pinky alone, most likely due to a shared tendon of sorts. If I curl down my pinky using my immense brain power and then try to lift back up my ring finger using my other hand, it feels like I'm trying to rip a yellow pages in half.

I can still use my pinky for fretting, but the problem is that I keep getting pains on the outer part of my palm (and lower arm, even) while trying to play all sorts of patterns due to the increased tension and stiffness between those last two fingers. It's also definitely debilitating for playing complex fingerstyle parts because my ring finger is very difficult to engage like this and using the pinky is an absolute no.

I don't think there's biologically a way to alleviate this issue because I've been playing for close to 8 years and as a righty, my fretting left hand can't do this "trick" much better than the right hand. In fact, this has bothered me more recently because I feel like the pain while playing keeps getting worse... And what's more frustrating is how I noticed all the players whose technique is truly impeccable seem to be able to do whatever the f*ck they want with their pinky while playing (usually keeping it completely curled while not in use; I can't do that – it keeps moving from "slightly curled" to "let's just extend all the f*cking way" while trying to use the other three quickly).

So, how green is your grass and what's your say on this issue?
Last edited by TLGuitar at Apr 15, 2017,
#2
This is a matter of technique. The pain is a result of unnecessary tension. Does your pinky lay flat on the strings or is it arched when you use it? Do  you have trouble doing trills with the pinky?

Likely your whole hand is seizing up when you start pushing your speed. Start paying attention to your left arm, from the shoulder to the wrist, and you'll probably find tension at every point. Get your shoulder loose and the rest of the arm follows.

You should take a good look at your fretting technique, too. Make sure you're on your fingertips and your wrist is flat as often as possible. Play stuff slowly and make sure your hammers/pulls are solid, meaning minimal volume loss and even rhythm.

What are your practice habits - do you do warm ups, use a metronome, practice fast material...?
#3
Quote by cdgraves
This is a matter of technique. The pain is a result of unnecessary tension. Does your pinky lay flat on the strings or is it arched when you use it? Do  you have trouble doing trills with the pinky?

Likely your whole hand is seizing up when you start pushing your speed. Start paying attention to your left arm, from the shoulder to the wrist, and you'll probably find tension at every point. Get your shoulder loose and the rest of the arm follows.

You should take a good look at your fretting technique, too. Make sure you're on your fingertips and your wrist is flat as often as possible. Play stuff slowly and make sure your hammers/pulls are solid, meaning minimal volume loss and even rhythm.

What are your practice habits - do you do warm ups, use a metronome, practice fast material...?

All my fingers remain somewhat arched when engaging them – you can't use them while having them completely flat on the fingerboard. I only do that if I need to mute the thinner strings.

I can make somewhat of a trill using my pinky, but it gets painful really fast, and I can't get very fast. The speed limit applies to all fingers, because whatever two fingers I use when trying to trill, if I try to do it very fast my pinky and ring finger start hurting like sh*t because it can't stay put without initiating strain.

Either way–warm ups, metronome–that has nothing to do with how my pinky functions, and you didn't give your own answer to the poll. Can you or can you not?
#4
Quote by TLGuitar
All my fingers remain somewhat arched when engaging them – you can't use them while having them completely flat on the fingerboard. I only do that if I need to mute the thinner strings.

I can make somewhat of a trill using my pinky, but it gets painful really fast, and I can't get very fast. The speed limit applies to all fingers, because whatever two fingers I use when trying to trill, if I try to do it very fast my pinky and ring finger start hurting like sh*t because it can't stay put without initiating strain.

Either way–warm ups, metronome–that has nothing to do with how my pinky functions, and you didn't give your own answer to the poll. Can you or can you not?

If you can post a video of your hand doing whatever makes it hurt, we can give you some advice without having to probe your habits and technique. My experience is that this kind of thing is a result of tension, and tension is a result of using inappropriate muscles to compensate technique that isn't properly developed.

I take it you don't normally do warm ups or use a metronome? I ask that because taking some time to focus on the technique alone allows you to work on the form separate from the music. When you play only actual music, it's very tempting to get the sound in the recording as fast as possible and often at the expense of good technique. Spending time with nothing but the metronome and your own chops forces you to work on the motions without being able to say "good enough" when it resembles the sound in some song. It also forces rhythmic accuracy and consistency, which do wonders for getting your technique nice and relaxed. You can't play with relaxed technique if you are constantly uncertain of the actual rhythms you're playing.

If you find yourself having to "force" your fingers to stay put when they're off the fretboard then I'm about completely certain that your issue is tension. Playing without tension can feel unusual at first, but as I said, start at the shoulder and address tension all the way down. Ideally, every joint is limber, including the wrist and fingers. Remember that the muscles on the inside of the forearm (carpals) are about the only ones you really need to engage regularly. Once you practice isolating the muscles that pull your fingers in, you'll be able to move them with much more independence, and more importantly, you can let the other ones just relax when they're not in use.

And to answer your question, yes, I can move my pinky independently. That's normal, and the inability to do so indicates a lack of development in finger independence. I'd recommend starting with the basics: set the metronome to 60 and do quarter note hammers/pulls. You should be able to do a hammer/pull with any two fingers while the other two remain relaxed. The only difference between players who can do this and players who can't is taking the time to work on technique by itself. 
#5
Quote by cdgraves
If you can post a video of your hand doing whatever makes it hurt, we can give you some advice without having to probe your habits and technique. My experience is that this kind of thing is a result of tension, and tension is a result of using inappropriate muscles to compensate technique that isn't properly developed.

I take it you don't normally do warm ups or use a metronome? I ask that because taking some time to focus on the technique alone allows you to work on the form separate from the music. When you play only actual music, it's very tempting to get the sound in the recording as fast as possible and often at the expense of good technique. Spending time with nothing but the metronome and your own chops forces you to work on the motions without being able to say "good enough" when it resembles the sound in some song. It also forces rhythmic accuracy and consistency, which do wonders for getting your technique nice and relaxed. You can't play with relaxed technique if you are constantly uncertain of the actual rhythms you're playing.

If you find yourself having to "force" your fingers to stay put when they're off the fretboard then I'm about completely certain that your issue is tension. Playing without tension can feel unusual at first, but as I said, start at the shoulder and address tension all the way down. Ideally, every joint is limber, including the wrist and fingers. Remember that the muscles on the inside of the forearm (carpals) are about the only ones you really need to engage regularly. Once you practice isolating the muscles that pull your fingers in, you'll be able to move them with much more independence, and more importantly, you can let the other ones just relax when they're not in use.

And to answer your question, yes, I can move my pinky independently. That's normal, and the inability to do so indicates a lack of development in finger independence. I'd recommend starting with the basics: set the metronome to 60 and do quarter note hammers/pulls. You should be able to do a hammer/pull with any two fingers while the other two remain relaxed. The only difference between players who can do this and players who can't is taking the time to work on technique by itself. 


I think you are not understanding, or underestimating the physical variability people might have. We're not all created equal, let's be real.

Read this:
https://www.quora.com/Why-cant-I-move-my-ring-fingers-and-pinkies-independently-from-each-other

My brother, who has never played any instrument, can bend his pinkies independently with no problem. He obviously didn't go through any finger-independence exercises.

I don't have a video right now, but I think my explanation was pretty clear: if I hold my ring finger in its extended position and then try to curl my pinky, it would barely be able to advance towards the palm. It feels completely different to moving my other fingers – the response it generates doesn't feel like "lack of flexibility". Other than the proximal phalanx, I can't move the pinky even a degree if I don't allow my ring finger to move as well.
Last edited by TLGuitar at Apr 16, 2017,
#6
Quote by TLGuitar
I don't have a video right now, but I think my explanation was pretty clear: if I hold my ring finger in its extended position and then try to curl my pinky, it would barely be able to advance towards the palm. It feels completely different to moving my other fingers – the response it generates doesn't feel like "lack of flexibility". Other than the proximal phalanx, I can't move the pinky even a degree if I don't allow my ring finger to move as well.

That's normal, and it's because two fingers' ligaments/tendons are connected. What's happening is that you're putting opposing forces on the same tendon. I can't bend my pinky inward if I'm using muscles to keep my ring finger straight. Maybe some people can do that, but the point here is that it's irrelevant to playing guitar. When playing guitar, you shouldn't be applying any force whatsoever to your fingers when they're not in use. That's the tension I'm talking about.

Try relaxing your fingers completely so they curl in like a dead spider, then try moving each finger on its own, and without locking the others in place.

The tendons on the back of your hand should hardly be used. When you are not fretting, the fingers should basically be limp. Actively pulling the fingers back from the fretboard is unnecessary, except when you're squeezing on the neck too hard. And if your hand is a ball of tension, there's a good chance it extends to your wrist and up your arm as well. I know that when tense up, I have to start relaxing at the shoulder blade and let my arm move around.

It's unclear whether you're looking for a solution to this problem, but there is really no situation in which pain is to be expected. Your symptoms are absolutely typical of excess tension, and it's not a hard problem to solve with some patience. Regardless of physiology, your only other option is to continue without adjusting your technique and hope the pain doesn't turn into an injury or chronic condition.

The best thing I can recommend is examining your technique and taking some time before you play to focus on relaxation and precision. If/when you are able to make a video, I can probably give you more specific advice.
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 16, 2017,
#7
Quote by cdgraves
That's normal, and it's because two fingers' ligaments/tendons are connected. What's happening is that you're putting opposing forces on the same tendon. I can't bend my pinky inward if I'm using muscles to keep my ring finger straight. Maybe some people can do that, but the point here is that it's irrelevant to playing guitar. When playing guitar, you shouldn't be applying any force whatsoever to your fingers when they're not in use. That's the tension I'm talking about.

Try relaxing your fingers completely so they curl in like a dead spider, then try moving each finger on its own, and without locking the others in place.

The tendons on the back of your hand should hardly be used. When you are not fretting, the fingers should basically be limp. Actively pulling the fingers back from the fretboard is unnecessary, except when you're squeezing on the neck too hard. And if your hand is a ball of tension, there's a good chance it extends to your wrist and up your arm as well. I know that when tense up, I have to start relaxing at the shoulder blade and let my arm move around.

It's unclear whether you're looking for a solution to this problem, but there is really no situation in which pain is to be expected. Your symptoms are absolutely typical of excess tension, and it's not a hard problem to solve with some patience. Regardless of physiology, your only other option is to continue without adjusting your technique and hope the pain doesn't turn into an injury or chronic condition.

The best thing I can recommend is examining your technique and taking some time before you play to focus on relaxation and precision. If/when you are able to make a video, I can probably give you more specific advice.


But you have answered in your earlier reply "And to answer your question, yes, I can move my pinky independently. That's normal, and the inability to do so indicates a lack of development in finger independence". So what you're now stating here is in exact contraction to this.

And in my explanation I didn't even refer to keeping the ring finger extended on its own (because then it would just succumb to the pinky and curl along). I meant that grabbing it in its extended position using my other hand prevents my pinky from flexing its two upper phalanges. It doesn't happen the other way around, though. If I hold my pinky in its flexed position using the other hand, the ring finger is free to move as it likes.

And the most I have at the moment are two videos of riffs I've played for some YouTube competition a while ago. I'm not sure there's much you can see in them.
#8
Quote by TLGuitar
But you have answered in your earlier reply "And to answer your question, yes, I can move my pinky independently. That's normal, and the inability to do so indicates a lack of development in finger independence". So what you're now stating here is in exact contraction to this.

And in my explanation I didn't even refer to keeping the ring finger extended on its own (because then it would just succumb to the pinky and curl along). I meant that grabbing it in its extended position using my other hand prevents my pinky from flexing its two upper phalanges. It doesn't happen the other way around, though. If I hold my pinky in its flexed position using the other hand, the ring finger is free to move as it likes.

And the most I have at the moment are two videos of riffs I've played for some YouTube competition a while ago. I'm not sure there's much you can see in them.

That "test" is still irrelevant to playing guitar, because nothing is holding your finger an extended position while you play (except possibly yourself). When the finger is relaxed, it curls in naturally and allows the other one to move with great independence. If you have trouble moving the pinky independently while playing guitar, it's because of excess tension acting on the tendon, and requiring yet more exertion to overcome.

I don't mean to be contradictory, but the overwhelmingly likelihood here is a simple and very common technique problem. If this is causing  you physical pain, it's definitely worth trying to make adjustments before simply deciding that such discomfort is inevitable. From what I can tell, you are no less flexible than I am, but I don't have trouble moving my pinky around, so I have to conclude that the issue lies in how you are moving your hands.

Have you ever tried to address tension specifically? Most guitarists have a great deal of tension and don't realize it's a problem. I didn't realize I had tension until I actually worked on being relaxed. This takes time and focus, and that's why I asked about warmups and stuff earlier. Use that time for working on relaxed form so you can carry it forward into your regular practice time.
#9
Quote by cdgraves
That "test" is still irrelevant to playing guitar, because nothing is holding your finger an extended position while you play (except possibly yourself). When the finger is relaxed, it curls in naturally and allows the other one to move with great independence. If you have trouble moving the pinky independently while playing guitar, it's because of excess tension acting on the tendon, and requiring yet more exertion to overcome.

I don't mean to be contradictory, but the overwhelmingly likelihood here is a simple and very common technique problem. If this is causing  you physical pain, it's definitely worth trying to make adjustments before simply deciding that such discomfort is inevitable. From what I can tell, you are no less flexible than I am, but I don't have trouble moving my pinky around, so I have to conclude that the issue lies in how you are moving your hands.

Have you ever tried to address tension specifically? Most guitarists have a great deal of tension and don't realize it's a problem. I didn't realize I had tension until I actually worked on being relaxed. This takes time and focus, and that's why I asked about warmups and stuff earlier. Use that time for working on relaxed form so you can carry it forward into your regular practice time.


What "holds my [ring] finger" in an extended position while playing is the need to use it to fret, and more so to use it for bends. I can't "relax my pinky into a curled position" when using my ring finger this way because my pinky cannot remain curled if my ring finger is not curled as well. As simple as that.

I did try to "focus on my tension" before while playing, but it didn't seem to have much of an effect. The feeling of that "defect" remains there even if my hand holds onto the neck as if it were a lump of jello.

But as you suggested earlier, maybe some damage has simply already been done, because such pains are not to be expected during guitar playing and it probably wasn't as bad during my earlier period of guitar playing (but perhaps I just can't recall).
#10
Tension from the backside of your hand/arm will make pinky movement impossible. Moving the pinky around while bending with the ring finger can be especially challenging, but it's just a matter of practice.

Certain techniques like thumb-over while bending can make it impossible to use the pinky, as well, so that could be something that's easy to address.

The way to go about sussing out tension to is play slowly, ideally with a metronome, while consciously relaxing. When you get to a tough spot you'll notice that you tense up no matter how slowly you're going. Stop and go through those motions and try to really isolate the exact motions that you need while eliminating motions you don't need. 
Last edited by cdgraves at Apr 17, 2017,
#11
Quote by cdgraves
Tension from the backside of your hand/arm will make pinky movement impossible. Moving the pinky around while bending with the ring finger can be especially challenging, but it's just a matter of practice.

Certain techniques like thumb-over while bending can make it impossible to use the pinky, as well, so that could be something that's easy to address.

The way to go about sussing out tension to is play slowly, ideally with a metronome, while consciously relaxing. When you get to a tough spot you'll notice that you tense up no matter how slowly you're going. Stop and go through those motions and try to really isolate the exact motions that you need while eliminating motions you don't need. 


Well, whenever I see videos of the big technical players, it seems like all of them have a completely independent pinky, while their preferred position for it when not using it to fret is curled in.

Anyway, the vote on the poll is currently 3 to 1 in favor of "can't" (and I didn't put my vote in). But as you said pains are not to be expected, perhaps I've developed joint problems by now.
#12
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, but my suggestion would be first to do some classical guitar finger stretching exercises to see if that helps.

If you actually have a physical limitation, which I find hard to believe, then develop a style around it - Django Reindhart basically used two fingers due to an injury and Tony Iommi also had to work around an injury - both are legends. If you're limited, try using open tunings that work well with the fingers you can use. Zero in on chord voicings that you can handle. It'll actually make you a unique player if you really work at it - limitations can actually help yield a more unique tone and style.

Whenever I see posts like this, looking for biological justifications as to why one can't play this or that, the first thing that comes to mind is that you should practice more - how much do you practice per day? Are you using good left hand positioning - try the classical approach. 
Last edited by reverb66 at Apr 18, 2017,
#13
Quote by TLGuitar
Well, whenever I see videos of the big technical players, it seems like all of them have a completely independent pinky, while their preferred position for it when not using it to fret is curled in.


Well the fingers curl in a bit naturally when relaxed. And who knows if those guys have the best habits all the time. Al DiMeola has some flying fingers going on, an nobody says he sucks, but I'm not going to imitate that technique. Sometimes the curled pinky is relaxed, sometimes it's tense. Maybe they have pain, too. You gotta do what works for you, and that typically means taking some time to rethink how you relate to your instrument physically. All instrumental technique is really about sensitivity and finesse.
#14
TLGuitar I think you are talking about curling your pinky when it's not in use, like this:


If that's the case, that's something I could do long before I started playing guitar.  It's not simply curling your pinky in, it's also pulling it back towards the back of your hand. Click here to see what I mean.  This takes the tension off of the tendon in your palm, and focuses it more on the tendon used for straitening your finger.

As for just plain curling your pinky when it's in use, it's virtually impossible to get it perfect so that it is 100% independent from your ring finger, but it can be improved.  

However, since you're experiencing pain, you are definitely doing something wrong.  And I agree with cdgraves that it is probably due to excess tension, but another contributing factor is probably a lack of finger control.  If your fingers are flying off of the fretboard when you remove them from a fret, you need to go incredibly slow and work on that.  You shouldn't think of it as removing your finger, but think of it as just "unfretting" a note.  Just let your finger relax.  If you have flying fingers like I did, it can be a little weird to get used to this, but it helps a lot in the long run.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
#15
Junior#1 Well, it's possibly the case in most iterations of players curling it, and I can do it too, but when I did try doing that while playing it still often felt like my extended ring finger is resisting and then my pinky often shoots back into extended position without me wanting it to.

But still, talking about curling your pinky into the palm without your ring finger curling too, my brother for example can do as well it as a couple of guitarists I've asked/seen doing so.
#16
I practice finger strengthening on my 3th finger and the pinky for solos, so I do can and already tried to implement it on my playing - but I hardly find it practical.
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#18
Quote by cdgraves
TLGuitar
There shouldn't be any effort involved in curling the pinky in. That's what it should do when it's relaxed. When you aren't using a finger, the muscles that control it should be completely disengaged.

But again - MY pinky finger doesn't do that, however you'd try to rationalize the opposite by the type of finger-functioning you know from your own experience.

When I use my ring finger (and thus it's relatively extended onto the fretboard) my pinky won't curl in at all. I can get it to somewhat the same position as shown in the above photo of John Petrucci (where the 2nd and 3rd phalanges are flexed but the 1st phalanx is extended), but I need to force it and it doesn't feel very comfortable or alleviate my pain (if not to the contrary), and I can't really hold it like this when heavily engaging the ring finger because the pinky would just extend on its own. I have no say in this.
#20
TLGuitar You had any nerve injury in the arm or neck?  I ask because I had a similar thing, and that was due to ulnar nerve damage from weight training.  My pinky would just stick out straight in the air no matter how much I tried to stop it as I was playing guitar.  After an operation (ulnar nerve decompression), it went back to more or less normal.

There are some hand exercises that I found helpful as I was recovering.  Two in particular:

1/ Lay your hand flat on table, fingers resting on table.  Then turn your hand so you can see your palm, but still keep everything straight.  Then, try and bend one finger at a time, while keeping all the others straight.  Then try it with bending two fingers, keeping the other two straight (in all combinations)

2/ Again, with hand straight, palm facing, spread all your fingers and thumb wide apart, and keeping all fingers and thumb straight, bend the little finger, then bring the bent finger in to touch youir ring finger, then move back out again, so all fingers are wide apart.  Then straighten little finger.  Repeat 5-10 times.
This in particular is quite hard to do initially, and the ring finger will try and get involved.

But uf it hurts, rather than feeling awkward, then stop.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Apr 18, 2017,
#21
Quote by TLGuitar
But again - MY pinky finger doesn't do that, however you'd try to rationalize the opposite by the type of finger-functioning you know from your own experience.

When I use my ring finger (and thus it's relatively extended onto the fretboard) my pinky won't curl in at all. I can get it to somewhat the same position as shown in the above photo of John Petrucci (where the 2nd and 3rd phalanges are flexed but the 1st phalanx is extended), but I need to force it and it doesn't feel very comfortable or alleviate my pain (if not to the contrary), and I can't really hold it like this when heavily engaging the ring finger because the pinky would just extend on its own. I have no say in this.


Unless a physician has actually examined your hand and diagnosed a reduced range of motion, it's extremely unlikely that there is something wrong with your hand.

Everything you describe points to tension on the back and outside of the forearm. Very common.

You can indeed curl your pinky, but you first have to release the tension further up your arm. You may not feel tense because it's a small muscle, but even a little will drastically reduce your dexterity.

Try fretting with your pinky and moving the ring finger around. And then vice versa. You really have to isolate the muscle to figure just where the tension.
#22
jerrykramskoy Not as far as I know. I don't think in either case that it would be an injury to the hand itself, because both my hands seem to function similarly. I did have an unsuccessful jaw surgery a couple of years ago; the new doctor I'm going to sent me to a head CT, and in their diagnostic report they mentioned that one of my neck vertebrates is slightly too forward (if I recall correctly). I don't think it should have anything to do with the aforementioned jaw surgery, but as I don't remember whether I had such particular difficulties when I started playing guitar, perhaps there is something that has developed later on and impairs my neural control?

Probably not, though. cdgraves' insistence of the pinky always being naturally independent seems to contradict what I've read about the hand's common structure, so I've probably just landed the sh*tty kind in that regard. But regarding the pains... Well, I still think they're being triggered by the rigidity of my pinky's controllability, but perhaps their source is joint issues.
#23
Quote by TLGuitar
jerrykramskoy

Probably not, though. cdgraves' insistence of the pinky always being naturally independent seems to contradict what I've read about the hand's common structure, so I've probably just landed the sh*tty kind in that regard. But regarding the pains... Well, I still think they're being triggered by the rigidity of my pinky's controllability, but perhaps their source is joint issues.


I think you misunderstand - the pinky can move with some independence, buy only when there is no opposing tension on it. Diffuculty in this regard, combined with the flying pinky, is a very strong indication that you are engaging unnecessary muscles when using the third finger.

It's also important to keep in mind the difference between stillness and relaxation. You can force your fingers to stay still, but relaxation is the absence of force.

Isolating those individual muscles takes patience, and is as much about focused cognition as physical movement.

Most people who play with excess tension don't know it, they just know they can't get to the notes they want quick enough, or experience pain in the unnecessarily tense muscles.
#24
TLGuitar I have this, but it only shows on my right hand since I've learned to use the extending tendon on the left ring finger at the same time I bend my left pinky to keep the ring finger straight while bending only the pinky. I don't really do too much fingerstyle so I haven't yet developed this kind of finger independence on my right hand.
You'll Never Walk Alone!
#26
jerrykramskoy Well, my main statement was that it isn't unilateral, so I don't think it involves direct injuries to both my hands, at least.

Muffinz Look, I'm adding to photos of my fingers. In the first one I'm only curling the two upper phalanges of the pinky, but keep its base extended (even pulled backwards). Only like this I can keep my ring finger relatively extended, but not completely.
In the second photo, I'm curling the pinky into the palm. The ring finger is as extended as I could possibly get it.

#27
That's definitely bizarre - I can fully extend and retract  my  ring finger in scenario number two.  I'm still confused as to how this affects your playing - you should post a pic of your hand fretting a chord on a guitar  that would be problematic.
Last edited by reverb66 at Apr 19, 2017,
#28
Quote by reverb66
That's definitely bizarre - I can fully extend and retract  my  ring finger in scenario number two.  I'm still confused as to hom this affects your playing - you should post a pic of your hand fretting a chord on a guitar  that would be problematic.

Well, if the people answering the poll understood the question, it seems like 5 out of 10 people also cannot do it, so as I said - perhaps it's all up to luck with how your tendons are arranged.

I don't think chords are giving me a lot of problems with these fingers. It's rather playing fast melodies and heavy bending. It often makes my fingers (mainly pinky and ring finger) lock up and get pains in their joints, and especially when bending with my ring finger my pinky just extends on its own.
Last edited by TLGuitar at Apr 19, 2017,
#29
TLGuitar That's definitely not what I had.  So, I suggest these exercises for finger independence...

 1/ Lay your hand flat on table, fingers resting on table.  Then turn  your hand so you can see your palm, but still keep everything straight.   Then, try and bend one finger at a time, while keeping all the others  straight.  Then try it with bending two fingers, keeping the other two  straight (in all combinations)

2/ Again, with hand straight, palm  facing, spread all your fingers and thumb wide apart, and keeping all  fingers and thumb straight, bend the little finger, then bring the bent  finger in to touch your ring finger, then move back out again, so all  fingers are wide apart.  Then straighten little finger.  Repeat 5-10  times.
This in particular is quite hard to do initially, and the ring finger will try and get involved.

But if it hurts, rather than feeling awkward, then stop.                 
#30
i can do it on my fretting hand but i can't do it on my picking hand so it can definitely be trained.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#32
cdgraves lol, my fingers thank you but they tend(on) to disagree. They lock up often due to that tension from my pinky, and even if it doesn't directly prevent me from playing some guitar shtick, the pain that often comes with it after a short while of intensive playing does. And it definitely does affect the performance of my picking hand when doing fingerstyle: as I said, using the pinky to pluck is a no, and the ring finger isn't all that cooperative either due to its relationship with the pinky.

And seeing how reverb66 doesn't seem familiar with the issue, it's definitely person-dependent.
Last edited by TLGuitar at Apr 19, 2017,
#34
I have this exact same problem (it's not even rare, loads of people have this), and trust me it's not a problem in the slightest, in 8 years of playing I've never gotten any pains from it, so if you are getting pains I doubt this issue is the source of it. Not to mention that when playing your fretting fingers are almost always slightly curled anyways, so it's not like not being able to straighten out your ring finger independent of your pinky is ever going to be an issue. You're never going to get rid of that tension and pain by forcing your fingers straight or anything, in fact that's the worst thing you can do. Just keep your hand in it's most relaxed position and you shouldn't have any problems.
Quote by Fat Lard
post of the year, thank you
#35
everyone can use their pinky. Quit your bitching and start practicing, everyone had to build it up. 
#36
BADGAS Hello, retard! I'm referring you to Reading Comprehension for 3 Year Olds 101 to cease being retarded.
#38
BADGAS Actually, it's pretty close to the score I got on an official test.

Anyway, I didn't say I don't use my pinky, so perhaps next time you should read better before lending your valuable advice.
#39
My pinky is fairly hardheaded, it just wants to follow the big boys. I cant do what you did in the first pic, but can the second pic. I have a flying pinky, flipping, flinging whatever, but it works for me, I mean it frets fine, does what I essentially need it to do, regardless of its neutral position.
Flying in a blue dream
#40
Jimjambanx  jerrykramskoy reverb66 Junior#1 Well, I just made a short recording of me playing something. It didn't hurt all that much during this video, as it seems to happen the most when I play tapping with long stretches and pull-offs which use the pinky, riffs which involve close-fretting that moves around two adjacent strings (kind of like Technical Difficulties, but not exactly) and bends which involve the ring finger, but my pinky still shows it's usual extended posture when not in use. Holding it back like Petrucci does above doesn't work for me without getting it even more tense.
 
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