#2
technically you dont need to, i never do, but the only songs i fingerpick are buckethead songs and that song Dust in the Wind. It wouldn't hurt to be able to tho.

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#6
Optional, sometimes I do it if I want to.
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#7
It is only used in flamenco guitar, but nobody says that you can't.
In music, I plead for selective eclecticism.
#8
Classical guitarists normally say no, since traditionally you use your thumb and the fingers other than your pinky. Occasionally you will get a classical player who uses it, but it is not common because it is not tradition.

Even outside of classical, very few players use their pinkies compared to those who don't.
Flamenco is the only genre that I know of where it is typical, or at least common, to use your pinky extensively.

That being said, just because it is tradition does not mean you have to follow it. I use my pinky, and I love doing so. It makes it so that I don't have to do as much work with repositioning my hand, and I can play more complex arpeggios easier.

Another thing to consider is that you really don't NEED to use your pinky to play most things, so it isn't a real requirement, at least not until you get into some advanced songs that some people never even get to. Any rock and the almost all of classical (there are always really hard pieces that have it somewhere) will not require a pinky.

Just do whatever you feel like. The person who said it could ruin your hand is misinformed, because it doesn't require doing anything other than what your hand does normally. I mean, if there is any pain, then stop...but it won't cause any pain.

Pinky users ftw! :P
Last edited by ReChord at Mar 15, 2009,
#9
I think it depends on what you're playing. If I'm doing a folksy thing, there's really no need. But lately, I've been getting into Joe Passy solo guitar and I find using it allows me to use some nice chord extensions. So use it if you have to
#10
Lets get a few things right.
Classical players don't make much use of it, if any, because it is inefficient to do so and to use it with any strength would generally cause the hand to be displaced from position of optimum efficiency . So the "tradition" is rationally founded in sound anatomical and musical reason. There are exceptions to this general observation such as works by S. Rak, you can make your own mind up as to the success or otherwise of his endeavour.
Flamenco players do not use the finger in the sense most people reading this will assume. The flamenco player commonly uses it in rasguado (strumming) but not as standard finger for execution of picado, arpeggio etc.
#11
Tradition says no. Tradition also says you can use a pick on a classical guitar.... tradition is tradition. Music is music. Your playing is your playing. It doesnt hurt anything to use your pinkey and it could be easier for you on some complex things. Keep in mind tradition also said you cant do things like tap on your guitar and use a violin bow on it either. So yeah, if you want to be tradational then dont, but in the end it is preference.
#12
Quote by Chaos Nil
Tradition says no. Tradition also says you can use a pick on a classical guitar.... tradition is tradition. Music is music. Your playing is your playing. It doesnt hurt anything to use your pinkey and it could be easier for you on some complex things. Keep in mind tradition also said you cant do things like tap on your guitar and use a violin bow on it either. So yeah, if you want to be tradational then dont, but in the end it is preference.

#14
Poor muscles, badly placed and very short.
It will take quite some time to develop it and there really is no use for it. The only thing would be if you want to pluck a five-note chord in fast succession but that can be solved in other ways.
Flamenco players do use it for rasgueados but that is a completely different thing than using it for fingerpicking. Also, the majority of flamenco players do not use the pinky anymore because of the tone and volume you get from the other stronger fingers. (Or atleast it is getting more rare)
#15
Yeah I agree with everyone here, the only time I use my pinky is when your doing embellishments in flamenco guitar. If I try and do it on my acoustic its really very hard to get that pinky to reach the string without throwing off your hand position.
#16
I use it sometimes. Not very often. There's nothing wrong with using it, but it's just not an efficient finger compared to your other digits.

The main reason is because your pinky is most often(except for a few weird people) not a completely independent finger. If you hold your hand flat and then move your pinky downwards, you cannot move it fully down unless your ring finger follows. This means that the movement range of the pinky is limited by your ring finger.

Despite popular belief, your pinky is actually quite a strong finger. There are no actual muscles in your hand. Only tendons that are connected straight to your forearm muscles. Basically, each finger can only be as strong as your forearm muscles.
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#17
No, the main reason it's not used is because of it's length, which necessitates the adoption of an inefficient hand position. Independence and weakness are also factors but are secondary.
Now, back to your practising....
#18
Quote by R.Christie
No, the main reason it's not used is because of it's length, which necessitates the adoption of an inefficient hand position. Independence and weakness are also factors but are secondary.
Now, back to your practising....


Are you serious? Unless you have the hand the size of a baby, your pinky should be completely long enough to strike the string. Like cap said, the main reason it isn't used often is because, well, it's unnecessary and usually uncomfortable. If you use proper technique while playing fingerstyle, you can easily use it if you wanted.
#19
I defer to your opinion, you have obviously studied right hand guitar technique and anatomy to a far deeper degree than me....not
#20
Quote by R.Christie
I defer to your opinion, you have obviously studied right hand guitar technique and anatomy to a far deeper degree than me....not


Edit: You know what, Im not gunna start an argument. Take it to PM's if you'd like, but until then, I'm not going to ruin this thread.
Last edited by Silverstein14 at Mar 19, 2009,
#21
As I said I defer to your opinion, who am I to say? after all, you've played guitar for a whole 6 years, you must be the expert.
#22
Quote by R.Christie
As I said I defer to your opinion, who am I to say? after all, you've played guitar for a whole 6 years, you must be the expert.


As I said, take it to Private messages if you want to argue with me about it, as funny as it would be.
#23
Sigh. Yes, I know it's bad form to appeal to authority but honestly, to argue the point fully would take more effort than it's worth to me, firstly you would have to understand the concept of technical efficiency of the right hand, how the finger action efficiently transfers energy though the string and bridge in order to excite the soundboard, plus a number of other factors known to trained and professional classical players - who happen make an artform based on the science of efficient fingerpicking.

However, I will briefly expose the illogic inherent in the statement that it is the lack of independence that is the main factor behind the lack of common use of the little finger. For such an argument to be valid, it supposes that the little finger is not independent of another finger - and this is true - and it is also true that this is due to the common tendon sheath. So what finger moves with the little finger? Answer: the ring finger. The ring finger is therefore as compromised as the little finger, and given the reason proposed (lack of independence) it should not be used.

There is also a degree of interaction between the middle and ring. Is the ring finger therefore ruled out for this reason? The only fully independent digits are the index and thumb.
#24
I still think your argument about length is completely false. I am able to accurately strike the strings with my pinky, without having to stretch at all. The reason I don't use it is because it isn't necessary in most songs. The most often used technique is to use the thumb for the E, A, and D strings, and the index for the G, middle for the B, and ring for the high E. Now, this doesn't hold true for many many songs. I know I don't use my ring finger for a lot of songs even. BUT, the fact of the matter is, the pinky is completely long enough to use, but isn't necessary and uses more effort.
#25
You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.
Readers should however be made aware that your reasoning is unlikely to endorsed by the majority of professional performers, particularly those in the classical field.
#26
Classical style finger picking is rigid, everything is about doing whats right and efficiant, not about "do what feels natural"

Because of this, if you want to play classical guitar with any depth, if you get yourself a teacher/take classes, whatever........ listen to christie

If you just want to finger pick to play the occasional pop/rock/emo/metal/etc song, do whatever you want.
#27
I never use my pinky for individual picking, but I use it for chords sometimes on the lower strings
#28
Quote by C4ll3
Poor muscles, badly placed and very short.
It will take quite some time to develop it and there really is no use for it. The only thing would be if you want to pluck a five-note chord in fast succession but that can be solved in other ways.
Flamenco players do use it for rasgueados but that is a completely different thing than using it for fingerpicking. Also, the majority of flamenco players do not use the pinky anymore because of the tone and volume you get from the other stronger fingers. (Or atleast it is getting more rare)


funny that, I'm quite unsure about how to pull of a 6-strike rasgueado without your pinky(tressilios don't count).

I use it in both flamenco, jazz and the occasional hybrid picking lick.
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#29
Ask any hybrid picker whether or not you can use your pinky and you'll get your answer.

Classical purists will berate you to no end, but if you learn to use it well, it will be an asset. Unless you're a stickler for "perfect" technique ( ), the pinky is open for use. I'm not sure why people are posting nonsense about potentially injuring yourself and whatnot.
#31
Like already has been said, among classical guitarists, it's not common to use
your pinky. The thumb is used for the bass strings, and the treble strings are played
with your index, middle and ring finger. But if you're not serious about playing classical
guitar, or even if you are, nobody will take offense if you do, maybe except a teacher or something ^^.
Last edited by Sensivitation at Mar 25, 2009,
#32
Personally, I only use it to steady my massive hand, but it's ALWAYS personal preference.
#33
Quote by GC Shred Off
Ask any hybrid picker whether or not you can use your pinky and you'll get your answer.

Classical purists will berate you to no end, but if you learn to use it well, it will be an asset. Unless you're a stickler for "perfect" technique ( ), the pinky is open for use. I'm not sure why people are posting nonsense about potentially injuring yourself and whatnot.

Whether or not it is an asset is a matter of opinion, however when used it will almost certainly compromise the efficiency of the playing action of the other fingers. No one has claimed it will result in injury, a perfect technique is an admirable goal, albeit unobtainable.
#34
Quote by R.Christie
No one has claimed it will result in injury...

Quote by Sootinior
Dont use your pinky, theres no reason to and you might **** up your hand

Quote by R.Christie
Whether or not it is an asset is a matter of opinion, however when used it will almost certainly compromise the efficiency of the playing action of the other fingers. No one has claimed it will result in injury, a perfect technique is an admirable goal, albeit unobtainable.

Claiming it will compromise the efficiency of your hand is akin to arguing that you shouldn't use your fretting pinky because it doesn't move totally independently from the others, which of course is silly. I'm not sure why utilizing another finger will make playing more challenging, but I am certainly in no position to question a few hundred years of classical guitarists. If it's just the classical norm, I'll leave it at that.

So, to summarize, the pinky is necessary in some styles, optional in others, and frowned upon in the rest.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Mar 26, 2009,
#35
Quote by GC Shred Off
Claiming it will compromise the efficiency of your hand is akin to arguing that you shouldn't use your fretting pinky because it doesn't move totally independently from the others, which of course is silly. <snip>

It would be silly if that analogy was the argument, but it isn't.
Fact: there are optimal positions, or ranges of position, that allow most efficient function of all parts of the body involved in playing, this includes shoulder, wrist, arm, instrument position, hands etc etc etc.
The right hand is just another part of this technical process. There is an optimal position, or small range of positions, where it will function with greatest efficiency and flexibility, allowing for the production of widest palette of volume and tone. In the position that provides best and most controllable attack for the other digits (p i m a) the pinky does not function efficiently due to its shorter length. Alter hand position slightly and it can used, but then the other digits will be compromised. Tradition has nothing to to with it. Rational application of anatomy and the physics of setting the strings in motion has everything to do with it. End of story.
#36
Well I'll leave the classical players to do it that way then. I certainly couldn't get by without my pinky.
#37
Quote by FretboardToAsh
funny that, I'm quite unsure about how to pull of a 6-strike rasgueado without your pinky(tressilios don't count).

I use it in both flamenco, jazz and the occasional hybrid picking lick.


It is getting rarer to use the pinky for example 4-strike was commonly played eami but is now commonly amii although there are still teachers that teaches the first.
the 6-strike could be played without the pinky. Just putting the accents differently.
If it works then fine but one thing that I have seen lurking these boards is that the majority of people on this website have no clue about the production of tone and volume that is so important in classical and flamenco (quite important in "candyrat") and that this is the biggest reason to not use the pinky.
Most things that people think "work" just works because their ears have not learned to hear deeper.

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