when I play bluesy licks, I don't really need to use my pinky except for double stop licks. Even bluesy shred licks, I don't use my pinky. But on certain shred licks you pretty much have to use your pinky.

The beginning solo part of mr crowley by Ozzy Osbourne, i use my ring finger for the 13th fret, I could use my pinky but it doesn't feel right
B-|-------------12-----13h(10)- x3

for the beginning part of the solo in jump by Van Halen, I use my ring finger for the ninth fret even though I could use the pinky


However, I do use my pinky when it is practical to use, for example if we were on starting on the first fret, a 1-2-5, 1-3-5 or a 1-4-5, i would use my pinky at all times, since the upper frets are more spread apart.

or a 12-15-17 ascending lick, I would use the pinky on the 17th fret.

hopefully i haven't lost anyone with my crappy tab writing skills lol
Last edited by musicandthewave at Jun 27, 2011,
A lot of people neglect the pinky. If it's more practical to use your pinky use it. Just because it's harder it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. If you neglect your pinky you'll regret it in the long run.
sort of subjective but make sure you are able to when you need to really

if you think of it as being different from the other fingers you are more likely to stumble based on your apprehension about using it, its good to get into the habit of using it when it means the song flows best but it depends on the lick you are playing, where you are going next, how far up the fret board you are at the time and more as to whether you really need to be using it for best effect
A lot of teachers say to use it in the lower frets and then only use it for big stretches at the higher frets. Which I think is wrong tbh; it separates the neck into two pieces.

As long as you include it in your exercises then it'll be fine when you feel you need to use it. There's no set list of scenarios when using your little finger is best; use your own judgment.
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Bluesy licks you don't really need your pinky so much because you're mostly bending using the 3rd finger - it gets better leverage.

But you do want to work on your little finger in general, so it's just as good as your other fingers.
Besides your thumb your pinky is attached to one of the strongest muscles in your body, it's just that no body ever uses it so it's always under developed. If you practice enough your pinky will be as useful as your other fingers. I even bend with my pinky sometimes to avoid unnecessary movement.