Hi everyone,

I've been playing (acoustic) guitar on and off for the past 2 years and have developed a habit of picking with all my fingers. Thumb for bass, index for D, middle for G, ring for B, and pinky for E. However, almost every guitarist I've come across or seen seems to only use their first 4 fingers and exclude the pinky use.

Is there a right way on using certain fingers for each string? Or rather, is there an advantage to NOT using the pinky?

Sorry if the this is a painfully obvious question, but I'm still a newbie =I

TIA! =)
Last edited by gduck at Apr 18, 2011,
usually the pinky is used to support the rest of the hand on the guitar.
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Thanks for the quick feedback=)

So while I haven't played enough to experience/know this, if one were to play without the support of the pinky, would they be more susceptible to wrist aches/injuries? Or even carpal tunnel syndrome? ..if that's even possible? =X
The pinky is just there for comfort really, its up to you what you do with it.
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Not using the pinky won't hinder you at all, you won't get any injuries from not using it to anchor or anything.

In fact, it's considered 'bad technique' to anchor your pinky to the soundboard in classical guitar but it used to be a BIG thing in 19th century guitar playing (they didn't even use their ring fingers!).

There isn't a 'standard' way to play where each finger plays one or two strings, it's all about working your fingers logically and making your sound even across all fingers on all strings so if I were to play with my index finger on a certain string, it should sound the same if I used any other finger on the same string.

What will give you carpal tunnel or RSI is if you arch your wrist too far forward so be careful of that.
Wow. Thanks for the comprehensive feedback and affirming my thoughts. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, but wanted to confirm that I wasn't developing a habit that might hinder an advance technique that I might learn later on.

Thanks again! =)
Typically, you use the thumb for the low E, A and D strings, the index for the G, middle for B, and ring for high E. However, play any way you feel comfortable. Just because it's not used super-often, doesn't mean it's bad (I.E. I use my left-hand thumb to change bass notes... A lot.)

Happy playing, my friend.
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