#1
For example, in the E minor pentatonic, box shape 1, I use my pinky finger for all of the notes that end up on the 15th fret. The G on low E, the D on B and the G on the high E.

However, I was watching a Joe Bonamassa video, one of my favorite players, and he seems to use his ring finger and rarely his pinky here. Is this more common/"correct?"

I've also noticed that when bending these notes or bending + vibrato, I have to use my pinky which is more difficult than if I were using my ring finger.
#2
It's preference, most people find the ring finger easier if you're going to be doing a lot of bends.

I use the pinky for most things since I have small hands, but I'll generally use the ring finger if I'm about to bend.
#3
yeah you pretty much have it, i think. if you prefer your pinky, use your pinky. but as you correctly surmised, it will probably make bending and vibrato a bit harder.
#4
If I'm bending I'll use my ring finger, if I'm just playing notes or doing hammer ons and pull offs I use my pinky. I always use my pinky for the low E string because it's kind of hard to reach that far otherwise.
#5
Use your pinky if it's otherwise out of reach, or if it makes it easier. For minor pentatonic box 1 shapes- E minor pentatonic shape 1 at the 12 fret for reference- I use my index and ring finger. If I go outside that shape and go 15-17 or 14-16 or something, I use my pinky. With that said, don't let your pinky go underused.
#6
As others have said, typically it makes sense to play as you feel most comfortable. Everyone's different. People have different size hands/fingers, etc.

You're biggest problem in using your pinky typically is going to be strength. It's certainly far from unheard of for people to be able to bend using their pinky, like everything else it takes time and practice.

Do what feels most comfortable for you. If you can work up your pinky enough to be able to do the things you'd like to do, then let your pinky bend it's little heart out
#7
Just personal preference. Some people feel cramped and awkward if they use the old 'one finger per fret' thing that high up on the neck.
#8
Practice both. The ring finger gives you more strength and makes vibrato's and bends easier, but sometimes the pinky is necessary. It's worth your time to master both.
#9
I dont understand why people keep saying its harder to do bends and vibrato with the pinky, if anything it will be easier because the required strenght is spread over 4 fingers instead of just 3. Ever since I started using my pinky I dont use the 3 fingers technique anymore. The only time three fingers bends might come in handy is if you are doing a bend on the 24th fret, learn to use your pinky and your bends and vibrato will be stronger than ever.
Last edited by tappooh at Nov 5, 2014,
#10
^ it is but the finger you're using to hold the string isn't as strong. it's also kind of shorter as well (normally) which doesn't help, either. you sort of have to bunch up those other supporting fingers to fit them behind the pinky, which erodes a lot of the benefits you mentioned.
#11
Quote by tappooh
I dont understand why people keep saying its harder to do bends and vibrato with the pinky, if anything it will be easier because the required strenght is spread over 4 fingers instead of just 3. Ever since I started using my pinky I dont use the 3 fingers technique anymore. The only time three fingers bends might come in handy is if you are doing a bend on the 24th fret, learn to use your pinky and your bends and vibrato will be stronger than ever.


Play Texas Flood by SRV bending with your pinky and get back to us.
#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ it is but the finger you're using to hold the string isn't as strong. it's also kind of shorter as well (normally) which doesn't help, either. you sort of have to bunch up those other supporting fingers to fit them behind the pinky, which erodes a lot of the benefits you mentioned.

That is true but its still one extra finger holding the string. Also I dont think finger strenght makes much of a difference if at all. Fingers just push the string down on the fret, the bend/vibrato motion comes entirely from the wrist. As long as your pinky is strong enough to hold the string down its enough. I can play 2 tones bends (probably more but I dont feel like restringing at the moment), its just a matter of practice once you are used to it you will have a useful tool added to your skills.

Guitar set up plays an important part as well, if its badly set up you are going to have a hard time no matter what, also fretboard radius plays an important part.

Just my two cents
#13
yeah i bend and vibrato from the wrist as well, but i find gripping the string helps too.

i mean i can bend and even vibrato (sort of ) with my little finger if I support it with the other ones, but it does feel an awful lot more awkward as well. I generally only do it as a last resort. But I agree that practising it is probably a good idea.
#14
I would be wary of going along with what feels right. It takes a bit of work to get used to spanning your fingers out, but once you have the ability, there a great benefits.

If you look at any great guitarist, I won't find any of them fretting with the fingers you describe. Although there are no 'rules' we shouldn't ignore these differences because.

Although you may be able to get by at the moment, as you progress yo'll almost certainly find that your current approach is a hindrance. Better to base your playing on great role models and make the changes early rather than reinforcing bad habits.

I wrote a little article that touches on this here: http://stuartbahn.com/nothing-natural-about-playing-guitar/
#15
Quote by StuartBahn
If you look at any great guitarist, I won't find any of them fretting with the fingers you describe. Although there are no 'rules' we shouldn't ignore these differences because.


You are seriously telling me you don't believe any "great guitarist" has fretted an a pentatonic shape using the index and little finger?

I mean, the whole "guitar isn't natural" thing is completely right but what you have said is just incorrect.
Last edited by Anon17 at Nov 8, 2014,