#1
Greetings, first post here

I'm trying to analyze some issues I'm having with my left hand.

Basically, anything involving going say 1-3-4 messes me up in the way that my pinky flies up quite a bit. It doesn't do it for any other combinations say 1-2-4 for example so I'm assuming maybe it's not so much the pinky as it is the ring finger. I've recently (as in the past month or so) began to focus more on keeping my fingers close to the fretboard and the 1-3-4 is the only one messing me up, I'm really happy with the rest. Basically, my pinky jumps up to about an inch above the fretboard whereas the others are more or less half that.

Is this sort of issue more related to independence or strength and what's the best way to go about "fixing" it. I've checked out the freepower videos and his approach makes sense, I'm just curious since my problem seems very specific in this instance if there's some additional advice anyone would have.

Thank you in advance
#2
play it really REALLY slow so you can control exactly what each finger does. I had this problem about 3 months ago but i left it in the dust by doing this. also check out steve vais 10 hour guitar workout.
#4
That's common in new players. All you need to do is practice and develop some more muscle memory and dexterity in your fingers.

Take it slow and smooth, the speed and accuracy will come in time.
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#5
you just need to practice more, do everything slow and with decent form. Don't be one of those noobs asking for miraculous techniques to learn how to do things and asking themselves what they're doing wrong after what, a WHOLE month of playing!?

Try playing for some years and if you still have problems with that then yeah, get help or give up.
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#6
As general advice, practise stuff you're not good at, in this case 1-3-4 stuff. It might be too brutal for you at this phase, but try practising just 3-4 up and down your strings. When you can do that well, do the same with hammer-ons and pull-offs and make them loud and clear.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#7
Thanks for the replies guys,

I should point out that I've played guitar for many, many years (went to university for classical guitar and started electric a few years back) but cleaning up my pinky is something I decided to take a closer look at about a month or so ago. I know this stuff takes time but it's good to hear someone besides myself analyze it so to speak.

Thanks again.
#8
I'm sorry, I was assuming you were a beginner

It's really hard to have your pinky close to the fretboard at all times, it's natural that it moves the most when fretting. I don't have the most economical pinky so I might not be in the position to give advice, but generally playing ridiculously slow and focusing a lot on making the most economic movements on your both hands helps. Starting slow is really important and you have to speed up gradually but slowly.

The "exercise" I recommended in my last post still stands though. I use it myself all the time for warming up.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#9
try to keep your left hand knuckles in line or even slighly above parallel to the fretboard. helps lots if you concentrate on doing it and not relaxing
#10
Best thing to do actually is play phrygian modes like rusty cooley does. Of course, do not do it at the same speed. I advise you to get the song Under the Influence by Rusty Cooley and learn the fast bit where he shreds in the phrygian mode. Play this part slowly up to 5 times a day and you will improve by lightning. I did this and it really helps. Also thry play it faster every second day. I can almost do it!! It also improves finger seperation and helps with endurance and stamina in pinky
#11
If I remember correctly, aren't your pinky and ring finger attached to the same tendon or something? And I second steve vai's 10 hour workout, I'm currently using it and seeing progress in a few weeks.
#12
Quote by Haydenr25
If I remember correctly, aren't your pinky and ring finger attached to the same tendon or something? And I second steve vai's 10 hour workout, I'm currently using it and seeing progress in a few weeks.

Indeed they share a tendon, which is why ring and pinky are so damn hard to get independent from eachother
As everyone else has stated...just do the ring/pinky drills like the ones mentioned earlier for a part of your practice sessions and it'll get much much easier in time. GL! And have fun!
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#13
Something a classical guitar teacher told me once: in either hand, when using the ring finger and not the pinky or the pinky and not the ring finger, the finger not in use should follow the other finger. Since they share a tendon, moving them together allows more dexterity. Now, when they need to be separate... yeah, that's a bitch.
#14
34 independence is monstrously hard, but there's no special tricks to it. A common mistake is to actually exert force to keep the pinky down - you want it to be relaxed. As long as you avoid that and do the normal training you should be fine.

If all the other groupings work ok, why not just focus on the 134 stuff for a week or two and see if they improve?

Just curious, with your classical background, have you done any work on stretches between these two as well? You also need well developed strength and stretch to get these two fingers to behave.
#15
This might be a bit controversial but recently I've started to play stuff like 12---14---15
with my index, second finger and ring finger unless a stretch is involved or if I'm playing on the lower strings. Before I would always use the third finger and pinky.

I've practiced trills between my ring and pinky to strengthen them. It has worked - but at the end of the day, that combination of fingers is still never going to be quite as strong as the others. I get better speed, volume and accuracy from using fingers 1, 2 and 3 and as far as I can tell, there aren't any drawbacks with doing so.
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
Last edited by shredfan at Aug 7, 2011,
#16
Quote by shredfan
This might be a bit controversial but recently I've started to play stuff like 12---14---15
with my index, second finger and ring finger unless a stretch is involved or if I'm playing on the lower strings. Before I would always use the second finger and pinky.

I've practiced trills between my ring and pinky to strengthen them. It has worked - but at the end of the day, that combination of fingers is still never going to be quite as strong as the others. I get better speed, volume and accuracy from using fingers 1, 2 and 3 and as far as I can tell, there aren't any drawbacks with doing so.


Ascending and descending legato pattern on frets 1, 4 and 5 on the low E string say hello.
#17
This might be a bit controversial but recently I've started to play stuff like 12---14---15
with my index, second finger and ring finger unless a stretch is involved or if I'm playing on the lower strings. Before I would always use the third finger and pinky.

I've practiced trills between my ring and pinky to strengthen them. It has worked - but at the end of the day, that combination of fingers is still never going to be quite as strong as the others. I get better speed, volume and accuracy from using fingers 1, 2 and 3 and as far as I can tell, there aren't any drawbacks with doing so.


When you're past the 12th fret it's not really a problem at all, but the main issue lower down is that it requires a different hand angle and diminishes the overall effectiveness of the left hand.

That said, the angled hand is great for bends, if you have the reach for it it's a good idea to practice that shape with 123 as well so you can land on huge bends with the ring finger.

My hands don't reach that comfortably and I have pretty average hands, so I don't generally recommend it.
#18
Quote by Freepower
When you're past the 12th fret it's not really a problem at all, but the main issue lower down is that it requires a different hand angle and diminishes the overall effectiveness of the left hand.


Yeah, I have found that actually. I only use 1-2-3 on the higher strings and fairly high up the neck. (Although slightly lower than the 12th fret). It just helps be get better speed and volume.

I guess it just depends on the person though. Andy James seems to virtually never use his pinky, even when he's doing massive stretches, and he's still an absolute beast.
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
#19
^ I actually just spent all last week studying with Andy, and while he is a total beast (even more than his vids show), his fingering approach will not work for a normal person.

Basically, what Andy does is try to keep the same fingering throughout a run, so even if it goes

3nps lick -> pentatonic lick -> lots of 4ths

He'll try and stick with 123 throughout. It's a valid system if you've got hands as flexible and strong as his.
#20
Quote by Freepower
^ I actually just spent all last week studying with Andy, and while he is a total beast (even more than his vids show), his fingering approach will not work for a normal person.

Basically, what Andy does is try to keep the same fingering throughout a run, so even if it goes

3nps lick -> pentatonic lick -> lots of 4ths

He'll try and stick with 123 throughout. It's a valid system if you've got hands as flexible and strong as his.


Wow, you lucky, lucky person. How did that come about?
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
#21
Quote by Freepower
34 independence is monstrously hard, but there's no special tricks to it. A common mistake is to actually exert force to keep the pinky down - you want it to be relaxed. As long as you avoid that and do the normal training you should be fine.

If all the other groupings work ok, why not just focus on the 134 stuff for a week or two and see if they improve?

Just curious, with your classical background, have you done any work on stretches between these two as well? You also need well developed strength and stretch to get these two fingers to behave.


Interesting to see this thread still going

I'm thinking the big change for me is the size of the neck compared to my classical. Even the thickest electric guitar necks are thinner than the ones I played and for some reason I never had these issues when playing anything from the Bach lute suites to modern stuff.

I'm only a month or so into reevaluating it so I'll give it more time

Thanks again!
#23
That looks so cool. Might have to give it a look next year.
Originally posted by raygreendaystud
your a fag, listen to real music like green day, you moron
#24
It's extremely cool, I attended as a student twice, back in 06 and 07 IIRC, and both times it was an incredible experience that helped me a great deal with my playing and attitude.