#1
I've been playing on and off for twenty years. When I say on and off, I mean I play for six months and then give up for a year when I reach the same plateau. After twenty years I suck! It's mainly down to lack of finger strength.

My fingers have no independence at all. When attempting to try Freepower's exercise (one at a time then relax) the other three fingers jump about all over the place and I have to try un-naturally hard to keep them near the fretboard.

Then there is the main weakness, my pinky. I can only do pull-offs with my pinky onto my ring finger on the first string as I have a huge gap of space for my finger to fly downwards into. Move onto the second string? Forget it. There is either no sound at all as my pinky weakly lifts off....or if I do manage to pluck the string (by putting ALL of my strength into it) the note I'm descending to stops dead.
How can I be so bad after playing for so long? The same thing happens with my second and third fingers. Not so bad with my index and middle as I can anchor strongly with my index finger. I believe that my fingers are too retarded to let me play guitar. Does anybody else feel like this?
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Last edited by Rargh at Aug 17, 2011,
#2
You're pinky is weak so you never use it.

You never use your pinky so it is weak.

Both are true, what do you reckon the solution is?

x
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#3
Never give up, instead train your fingers.

You can do that by placing your index finger on a random fret, and than hammer on and pull off with your middel finger on the fret next to it, than place your middel finger on that fret and do the same with your ringer, and than your pinky.
#4
Quote by shinhoman
You're pinky is weak so you never use it.

You never use your pinky so it is weak.

Both are true, what do you reckon the solution is?

x



I do use it, but it refuses to get stronger. I have never been taught to use it correctly. How do you get the strength to flick/pluck your pinky off the string down to your third finger and for the notes to ring with strength? Surely there must be something medically wrong with my hand for me to not be able to do that when there are vids on youtube of teenagers with epic shredz!
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#5
Quote by icanhasgodmode
Never give up, instead train your fingers.

You can do that by placing your index finger on a random fret, and than hammer on and pull off with your middel finger on the fret next to it, than place your middel finger on that fret and do the same with your ringer, and than your pinky.


So do a trill, but alternate the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers on the same fret one up from the one occupied by the index finger?
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#6
You put your index finger on, let's say, the 5th fret, than hammer on/pull off the 6th fret with your middle finger. Keep your index finger on the 5th fret, place the middle finger on the 6th and hammer on/pull off with your ring finger on the 7th fret, after that you've got 3 fingers on the 5th, 6th and 7th fret and you hammer on/pull off on the 8th with your pinky.

Hopefully you'll understand this
#7
Quote by icanhasgodmode
You put your index finger on, let's say, the 5th fret, than hammer on/pull off the 6th fret with your middle finger. Keep your index finger on the 5th fret, place the middle finger on the 6th and hammer on/pull off with your ring finger on the 7th fret, after that you've got 3 fingers on the 5th, 6th and 7th fret and you hammer on/pull off on the 8th with your pinky.

Hopefully you'll understand this


Gotcha. Done loads of those 'chromatic' exercises. They don't seem to work for me as they are all 1-2-3-4 and involve the index finger taking the brunt of the weight, the two smaller fingers don't seem to get much of a workout when I do those. It's 4-3, 3-2 and 4-3-2 pull-offs that don't involve the index anchoring when I fall off the wagon, so to speak. How long should I do them for? Also, there is a HUGE difference in my hammer-on strength to my pull-off strength. Is this normal?
Jackson PDX Demmelition w/ EMG 81/85
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Blackstar HT-5 combo
#8
Quote by Rargh
I do use it, but it refuses to get stronger.
Poor excuse, muscles dont refuse to get stronger. Its a fact that when you work your muscles regularly they get stronger. All of our pinkies were weak when we first started guitar because they are generally your least used and least dexterous fingers, however most of us dont play guitar in six month/one year intervals, we stick at it.

Relentlessly practicing scales whilst making extra effort to involve my pinky was how i improved mine. Try practicing licks that force you to use your pinky over and over again. Eventually (will probably take longer than 6 months) it WILL get stronger, no doubt about it.
Last edited by Necrotise at Aug 17, 2011,
#10
Quote by Necrotise
Poor excuse, muscles dont refuse to get stronger. Its a fact that when you work your muscles regularly they get stronger. All of our pinkies were weak when we first started guitar because they are generally your least used and least dexterous fingers, however most of us dont play guitar in six month/one year intervals, we stick at it.


So how long does one spend sticking at it before this withered, flap of nothingness *does tiny dick gesture with left pinky* becomes a strong digit of power?
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#11
I've been playing over 20 years as well, and have also occasionally stopped for a while when I reach a plateau. When I start again, it takes me a while to get back up to speed, but I get there.

Practice is always the answer. Even if you don't have time for a full practice session, spend a few minutes doing finger exercises. Even though I have a room in my house dedicated to all my kit, I still keep one of my guitars near the sofa in the living room so any time I'm just watching TV I can be doing finger exercises, scales etc.

If you don't practice, you will never move on. The more you practice, the quicker you will get past this plateau.

It could also be worth having a few lessons to have someone demonstrate where you're going wrong - even though I consider myself to be self-taught, I've still had a few lessons when I've felt it was necessary.
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#12
Quote by Rargh
So how long does one spend sticking at it before this withered, flap of nothingness *does tiny dick gesture with left pinky* becomes a strong digit of power?
See EDITed post
#13
You real problem seem to be a lack of consistent pratice. Long breaks without playing guitar can really wreck you finger strength and pretty much anything else.
Listen to what the other guys are saying and stick with playing guitar.
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#14
Quote by Necrotise
See EDITed post


Was that legato, alternate picking or both? If both, did you use picking as a foundation before moving onto legato?
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#15
You see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqgTdVuGrAQ ?

Yeah. Now stop bitching and just practice without pussying out. Yes, it's damn hard to get good, what a revelation that is.
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#16
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqgTdVuGrAQ ?

Yeah. Now stop bitching and just practice without pussying out. Yes, it's damn hard to get good, what a revelation that is.


HOLY SHIT!!!
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#17
Without watching the video, I'm guessing it was Rick Renstrom
Actually called Mark!

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#18
Quote by steven seagull
Without watching the video, I'm guessing it was Rick Renstrom


It was indeed. After ten seconds I looked at my feet, feeling somewhat sheepish to say the least!
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#19
Quote by steven seagull
Without watching the video, I'm guessing it was Rick Renstrom


You know me man, it wasn't going to be anything else
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

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#20
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
You see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqgTdVuGrAQ ?

Yeah. Now stop bitching and just practice without pussying out. Yes, it's damn hard to get good, what a revelation that is.


Oh **** this, I quit!
*Guitar out window*


OT: Practice and repetition will strengthen your finger. Only way to go about it I'm afraid.
#21
The way I strengthened my little finger was to play the intro for Sweet child of mine at a very slow speed with your little finger (not with 3 fingers like some people do it) and work on it from there. it worked for me
#22
You said the chromatic 1-2-3-4 exercises didn't do anything for your pinky, I had this same problem too, so what I ended up doing was just using the ring and pinky to strengthen them more with warm-ups like this :
--34 ---4
--34 --3-
--34 ---4
--34 --3-
Try doing these in a VERY SLOW and controlled motion for a few weeks; just do them while mindlessly watching television or something and VERY GRADUALLY try to speed it up after time when you feel the muscles in these two fingers are much stronger.

Note that I mentioned that you should do this very slowly and very gradually because these two fingers share a tendon and you can screw up your hand very badly if you don't pay attention to how you are motioning them. As a no brainer stop if anything starts to hurt.

It should help with stuff like pull-offs and bends a lot (I've got my bends and vibrato down to a T) but with speed I think only somewhat (I still can't make guitar spaghetti)
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/░░░ರೃ \░░/Presumptuous!\
░=_░ɯ░_=░...‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
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Last edited by Area_88 at Aug 17, 2011,
#23
I've only skimmed through this thread (it's 10 to 5 in the morning over here) but a couple of things stuck out to me:
1. Every six months, you're hitting a plateau and giving up, every time you come back to it and hit the same plateau... When you hit that plateau, you shouldn't give up, you should work your ass off to break through it. Identify what's holding you back and fix it.
2. You mentioned being unable to do Freepower's finger independence "exercise". If you can't do it, you need to slow down more and stay relaxed - go as slowly as it takes for you to be able to do it, even if it takes you 25 minutes to put one finger down without the rest twitching out of control.
3. The weak pinky: the only solution here is to use it more, and eventually, it'll get stronger.

One final thing that could be helpful is (once you've gotten back into the guitar a little) to upload a video of you playing, that way, we can look at your technique and help you to fix anything that may need fixing.
Speed is a by-product of shut the fuck up.
#25
Stop quitting the guitar after 6 months, just keep playing lots and your fingers will get stronger. If you don't play consistently then you won't develop finger strength or control.

Not to mention playing guitar is a lot of fun. >.>
#27
Ive struggled with this, which has been hard for me as Im 6'3 200 pounds used to play football (American, the hard kind) still play baseball and work out a lot. Im not used feeling weak or not being able to train a muscle.. its been frustrating. Two things helped me... using one of those finger strengthener things (any sporting goods store will have). Buy the low tension... and practicing my chords and scales on an acoustic. Going to electric after is a whole lot easier. Like walking after you take off your ski boots or roller blades etc
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