Hi everyone,

Lately I've been questioning pretty much everyting I knew about the use of pinkie (and I did some researches about what I'm going to ask you).

I've always heard to use pinkie as often as possible, so I did and strenghtened the little guy, but here's my problem: I'm having troubles learning a song that involves this:

e --------------14-15-17-15-14------------

I've learned to play this using my pinkie, but I've seen multiple videos where people were using their ring finger instead of pinkie in that kind of "rush" (appropriate word?) to run faster. Having always used my pinkie in that kind of situation, I find it difficult to replace it with my ring finger, but I can feel that would maybe give me more speed. Any piece of advice please?

On an other topic, a question that troubles me too:

e -17-14-------------14--17

Is the proper way to upstoke or downstoke the "14"?

Thanks in advance, and please excuse my english.
Last edited by madsounds at Nov 18, 2014,
Very good question!

I believe you did a good thing by getting strong with your pinky. A lot of guitar players will do just what you've seen and use their ring finger higher up on the neck. I always use my pinky even when higher up. Instead of relearning how to use your ring finger in a riff like that I do believe you are better off continuing to play the way you have been.

The way I approach those 3 string sweeps would have me doing a down stroke on that 14 on the g string which would make 3 down strokes in a row happen.
Thanks for that first answer !

That reassures me a bit, I hope I'll get some other people opinions

For the sweep question, I think I have a memory in which a teacher, 5 years ago, taught me to always upstroke the bass note in a sweep, in order to come up in a row, but I'm really not sure about that :/
Last edited by madsounds at Nov 18, 2014,
It's more a case of dexterity and timing accuracy than strength. Having a well-trained little finger is a good thing.

I'd play that sweep pattern with up-stroke to hit 14 on the G string, but not move across the G string. I'd then reverse into a down stroke (still between the G and B strings) to move back up towards the top E. (i.e using economy picking).

cheers, Jerry
I use my pinky a lot but I also believe in staying flexible and "use what works best" to avoid getting locked into rigid rules. I would probably use my pinky on that riff and up-stroke the 14, but I might experiment with both while learning the sequence and choose my preferred method after a while.

Explore all your options to find what suits you.
Apples and oranges. Be happy you worked on that pinkie earlier on

I just tried it and I automatically used my index middle and pinkie.

I don't think you should worry about how other people are playing it or to enforce any sorts of rules about what fingers to use. As long as you're playing it correctly and up to speed, it doesn't matter.

Use what's comfortable. If you try it their way and it's easier? Go with that. If you've got it down your way? Stick with it. The end goal is to move effortlessly and economically when you play. The path of least resistance is almost always the correct path

And for the last one, when I tried it, I did the first three notes as a single down stroke and then started an up stroke for the 14. Kinda like sweeping down the first three and then up the rest.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Nov 18, 2014,
imo you want to be doing that with the pinky. If you are not fast enough, then practice more. It will let you do more, if you practice that strength.

Some people learn guitar with the mentality "if it sounds right then it is right" which is a good philosophy in some cases, but some people use that as reasoning for playing with techniques which are easier, rather than putting some sweat into it.

That will work just fine for them, for a while, and then they will get to a stage where they want to do something which is impossible with the technique they are accustomed to. Or, maybe they won't, but generally when you hear people talk about technique, it's because later on, for doing more difficult things, you will want to have that technique down.
Thanks for your answers guys, I'll keep that pinkie to work ! I was just a bit worried about my incapacity to use my ring finger in that situation
Yes keep ur pinky at work, to be honest, based on personal peferences, the pinky is fast than my ring finger, somehow it feels somewhat more flexible, I think the reason for this is, you rig finger and middle finger share same tendons I think, not sure, but you pinky is more free. I only use my ring when fretting a note that is 2 fretts away from my index finger which makes sense, thay tab you showd the 17 is 3 fretts away from the index so it makes sense to use you pinky. The pinky is awsome!!! Bigger stretches too, keep it up!