#1
So I've noticed that I rarely use my pinky when I play. I tend to try and make those stretches between my index and ring finger, but never with my pinky. I kinda tried to play some riffs with my pinky and I've noticed that the bone kinda thrusts back and forth. Very hard to explain, but ill try my best. So all my fingers can hit a note very smoothly. They can go to the note smoothly and go back to its original position smoothly, but when I try it with my pinky, the bone kinda pops. It doesn't go smoothly back and forth and when I touch the area where my pinky is I can feel the bone popping in and out when I move my pinky back and forth. This applies to both of my hands, not just my left.

With that said, is this even normal? Is it a birth defect or is it because I never used my pinky before? Again, all my other fingers are perfectly smooth and have no problem hitting notes. I can thrust my pinky back and forth fast and can even feel the bone popping in and out. Seems like a good thing, but it actually makes my pinky either jam and freeze up on me or thrust fast and miss the note. If this isn't normal I'll definitely get it checked out. I'm in it for the long run, so if surgery is needed to be able to master my playing, then that's what I'll do.
#2
I've heard this problem quite a bit. Are you possibly double jointed? If anything I don't really think it's that big of a deal especially if you feel no pain, and what not. If you really want to dwell deeper into the problem I'd suggest you see a doctor.


I'll give you my best advice on developing finger independence, and strength with your pink. Can you please explain to me what your goals are for your pinky finger. Are you looking to develop speed, and finger independence with a lot of accuracy and flexibility?
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 19, 2015,
#3
Quote by Black_devils
I've heard this problem quite a bit. Are you possibly double jointed? If anything I don't really think it's that big of a deal especially if you feel no pain, and what not. If you really want to dwell deeper into the problem I'd suggest you see a doctor.


I'll give you my best advice on developing finger independence, and strength with your pink. Can you please explain to me what your goals are for your pinky finger. Are you looking to develop speed, and finger independence with a lot of accuracy and flexibility?


Define double jointed. If it's what I think it is, then I probably am. Like I mentioned, the bone pops in and out when I move the pinky up and down like I'm trying to shred or something. All my other fingers land on the fretboard smoothly, but my pinky either jams and freezes up and doesn't move or just misses the note entirely because of that thrust.

Goals for my pinky? Everything you mentioned and basically just getting it to function properly. It's such a pain in the butt to make some stretches with your index and ring finger. I could probably play 25% better if my pinky actually cooperated with me.
#4
There's some definitions on the internet, but my description of being double jointed is having extra flexible joints. That's why I think your pinky might keep popping out of place every time you try to use it, but don't take my word on it i'm not an expert.

Anyways about training the pinky. Are you keen on using exercises to develop it's strength overall because I know a lot of finger independence exercises, but they're kind of mundane and boring but they get the job done.


It's a lot to explain, but I think if I give you the basic premises you'll understand how to use these exercises to your benefit. These exercises range from the use of different legato techniques all the way to single picked notes.


I'll list some of the patterns that you can practice that specifically work on you gaining finger independence, flexibility, and strength. I can't lie the pinky is one hard finger to develop, but if you can train it right it's really useful instead of just using just 3 fingers because it makes longer stretched licks easier to play, and it gives you more reach.


The first pattern I'd like to start out with is the basic 1, 4 pattern which is pretty much just the use of your first finger, and fourth finger only. You can practice this pattern in many different ways ascending to descending or just a more linear approach just going up and down back and forth one string.

Start out with a metronome, and pick a speed which you're most comfortable with doing the pattern at. If I were you I'd just start at 70 BPM, at quarter notes, and you know how the process goes once you have whatever you're practicing down at a certain speed move the metronome up 2-5 BPM rinse, and repeat ETC.

There's a lot of things that you can do with that basic 1, 4 patterns ranging from pull offs to hammer on's next to doing trills. You have to really experiment with this pattern and see what it can do for you, and how it meets your goals. I'll list more patterns that you can use, but I just really wanted you to understand the basic concept on how to practice it. I'm also assuming that you already know how to build technique so I wont get too in depth with this..


[1,4][ 2,4] 3,4] [2,3,4] [1,2,4] [1,3,4]
^^^ List of other patterns you can practice specifically for the pinky. You can turn these patterns around and start playing them backwards to really get the independence, and strength in your pinky going. I'll write an example[4,1] (Pinky to First). What I would highly recommend you to do is to stick with the ascending, and descending versions of these patterns instead of practicing it in a linear matter.


Stick with basic single picked notes when you first start out then you can start incorporating legato when you gain more independence between those fingers. Remember start slowly, and pace yourself don't rush that's the key to gaining accuracy especially with your pinky you want to make sure it's fretting the notes correctly slowly.


Edit-

I hope that, I explained myself well because I didn't want to type too much which could lead to potential confusion. Also by the way start incorporating your pinky into your playing starting now play the licks that require the use of your pinky instead of 1,3 patterns. If I can find a video explaining it better I'll post it up.
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 19, 2015,
#5
I've tried to teach my wife to play a couple times and she struggles with the same issue, it sounds like. It's not an issue for her, as she wanted to learn a song or two out of curiosity really, rather than a drive to learn an instrument. It could very well be a physiological issue, but perhaps it's one that can be overcome through practice.

I'm not a very good guitar player by any means, and I'm a fair bassist. But I've always used my pinky quite a bit. I think one thing that helped me was just always sticking to it. Always trying to make it work. When I first learned to play guitar, there was no internet. I had to get music books and chord charts from the music store (mostly got hand-me-downs from my dad, who was also a musician), and if those charts said use the pinky, I used the pinky. I'm entirely self-taught, and I'm lazy about many, many techniques. but pinky use always seemed crucial, so I stayed after it. I can't say whether that might work for you, but it's worth a shot, right?
Dude, I play bass. I don't get paid for anything past the 4th fret.
#6
joint/bone abnormalties are reasonably common in life

if you are young and still growing (under 23?) it is likely that you'll grow out of it

its also possible that adding muscle to the area or mobility work will improve it

surgery might be an option but i would wait at least 1 year from now before thinking about taking any action

it might be worth seeing a gp or posting on medical forum to find out more and make sure its not something like arthritis or whatever.

don't expect any "fixes" other than waiting a few years to see if it goes away by itself
Last edited by percydw at Mar 19, 2015,
#7
The main problem I have with my pinky is pulloffs back to my ring finger. They're never loud and feel extremely uncomfortable to do, but I have made noticeable progress in that area practicing basically variations on the patterns devils mentioned. 4-5 hours a day and I saw improvement within a week. The whole time wasn't spent on that one thing, but I'm giving you an idea of what helped me out tremendously.
#8
There might be something wrong with my pinky when I press the strings down its side ways its not flat like the other 3 fingers and I hate this
#9
I have no idea whats wrong with your pinky, but I would hypothesize that there is nothing physically wrong with your hand, and it is probably the way you are holding the guitar.
#10
Quote by Black_devils
There's some definitions on the internet, but my description of being double jointed is having extra flexible joints. That's why I think your pinky might keep popping out of place every time you try to use it, but don't take my word on it i'm not an expert.

Anyways about training the pinky. Are you keen on using exercises to develop it's strength overall because I know a lot of finger independence exercises, but they're kind of mundane and boring but they get the job done.


It's a lot to explain, but I think if I give you the basic premises you'll understand how to use these exercises to your benefit. These exercises range from the use of different legato techniques all the way to single picked notes.


I'll list some of the patterns that you can practice that specifically work on you gaining finger independence, flexibility, and strength. I can't lie the pinky is one hard finger to develop, but if you can train it right it's really useful instead of just using just 3 fingers because it makes longer stretched licks easier to play, and it gives you more reach.


The first pattern I'd like to start out with is the basic 1, 4 pattern which is pretty much just the use of your first finger, and fourth finger only. You can practice this pattern in many different ways ascending to descending or just a more linear approach just going up and down back and forth one string.

Start out with a metronome, and pick a speed which you're most comfortable with doing the pattern at. If I were you I'd just start at 70 BPM, at quarter notes, and you know how the process goes once you have whatever you're practicing down at a certain speed move the metronome up 2-5 BPM rinse, and repeat ETC.

There's a lot of things that you can do with that basic 1, 4 patterns ranging from pull offs to hammer on's next to doing trills. You have to really experiment with this pattern and see what it can do for you, and how it meets your goals. I'll list more patterns that you can use, but I just really wanted you to understand the basic concept on how to practice it. I'm also assuming that you already know how to build technique so I wont get too in depth with this..


[1,4][ 2,4] 3,4] [2,3,4] [1,2,4] [1,3,4]
^^^ List of other patterns you can practice specifically for the pinky. You can turn these patterns around and start playing them backwards to really get the independence, and strength in your pinky going. I'll write an example[4,1] (Pinky to First). What I would highly recommend you to do is to stick with the ascending, and descending versions of these patterns instead of practicing it in a linear matter.


Stick with basic single picked notes when you first start out then you can start incorporating legato when you gain more independence between those fingers. Remember start slowly, and pace yourself don't rush that's the key to gaining accuracy especially with your pinky you want to make sure it's fretting the notes correctly slowly.


Edit-

I hope that, I explained myself well because I didn't want to type too much which could lead to potential confusion. Also by the way start incorporating your pinky into your playing starting now play the licks that require the use of your pinky instead of 1,3 patterns. If I can find a video explaining it better I'll post it up.


Much obliged for this post. I will try the patterns every now and then to get my pinky motivated to get its ass up and actually cooperate with me. The pattern that's hell for me is 3 and 4 (ring to pinky). My pinky jams and/or misses the note every time, which is why I stick to just sliding my ring finger to that fret (if it's right beside it).

Quote by percydw
joint/bone abnormalties are reasonably common in life

if you are young and still growing (under 23?) it is likely that you'll grow out of it

its also possible that adding muscle to the area or mobility work will improve it

surgery might be an option but i would wait at least 1 year from now before thinking about taking any action

it might be worth seeing a gp or posting on medical forum to find out more and make sure its not something like arthritis or whatever.

don't expect any "fixes" other than waiting a few years to see if it goes away by itself


Hmm, I'll have to get it checked out. And yes, I'm under 23.

Let's get this out of the way: Is a song meant to be played with specific fingering or is it up to the guitarist on which fingers he finds more comfortable playing the notes with?

Let me tell you guys a story. Remember how back in school they made you do that typing test and you had to put all your fingers on a specific letter? Well I didn't do that; I used (and still use even til this day) only my index finger on my right hand and the four main fingers on my left hand, and I achieved a score of 123 words per minute, which was faster than anyone in m class. With that said, does it just depend on which fingers you feel more comfortable hitting a note with? There's no specific "technique"/finger placement that should be used if i even want to think about mastering the guitar, right?
Last edited by Granata at Mar 20, 2015,
#11
Quote by Granata

Let's get this out of the way: Is a song meant to be played with specific fingering or is it up to the guitarist on which fingers he finds more comfortable playing the notes with?

does it just depend on which fingers you feel more comfortable hitting a note with? There's no specific "technique"/finger placement that should be used if i even want to think about mastering the guitar, right?



There's no specific rules just use the fingering you're most comfortable with. Oh about the 3,4 fingering yeah it's hard at first, but with enough practice you'll be able to do it with ease.

EDIT- If I were you I'd incorporate the fingerings that you'd like best in your daily practice sessions. It's better if you practice these finger groupings every day. In no time you'll see improvements within your dexterity. It's great to have control over your pinky it makes playing much more easier .
Last edited by Black_devils at Mar 20, 2015,
#12
Quote by Black_devils
There's no specific rules just use the fingering you're most comfortable with. Oh about the 3,4 fingering yeah it's hard at first, but with enough practice you'll be able to do it with ease.

EDIT- If I were you I'd incorporate the fingerings that you'd like best in your daily practice sessions. It's better if you practice these finger groupings every day. In no time you'll see improvements within your dexterity. It's great to have control over your pinky it makes playing much more easier .


Definitely will try and use those patterns you wrote. Definitely would help if I can depend on my pinky. Was trying to learn a song but it wanted me to bar the second fret and the fifth rapidly as part of the riff. Had to just give up on the song because of my useless pinky.
#13
idk how advanced you are at guitar so if you're a nub like me then this is relevant:

fingering is extremely important and when you increase in speed you will start to notice and reap the benefit of it. there's a good reason you see guitarists using the fingering they use even if you can't experience it for yourself yet

that being said, this does not necessarily apply to someone with abnormal fingers such as yours. (but don't be so quick to judge if you are a nub)


@Tazz3 i have bent little fingers too :@ really bothering me now you mention it i just wanna stretch the ****er out!
Last edited by percydw at Mar 20, 2015,
#14
You pinky just sucks and you need to practice it more. This is normal. My pinky was like that also. But if you practice it enough, you can use it like another finger. I still get that pop thing when moving my pinky in some directions without the guitar, but on the guitar I never run into that problem anymore.
#15
Quote by Black_devils
There's no specific rules just use the fingering you're most comfortable with.



I wouldn't call them "rules" but what you're most comfortable with now, is not what will let you do more difficult things later. It is often worth practicing what you are not comfortable with, because that way you will become comfortable with it, and when you do, you will be able to do much more.
#16
Quote by fingrpikingood
I wouldn't call them "rules" but what you're most comfortable with now, is not what will let you do more difficult things later. It is often worth practicing what you are not comfortable with, because that way you will become comfortable with it, and when you do, you will be able to do much more.



Fair enough. I'll try and get my pinky going.

By the way, quick question to anyone who knows the answer. Is there a difference on alternative picking and just straight down picking for parts of songs? I always get told to not get used to straight down picking and to start alternative picking, but I don't see the difference and how that's more beneficial (unless the song requires fast alternative picking). If I'm going from E to D to B and so on alternative picking will just confuse me.

Watched this guy from Exodus alternative picking on this Slayer song with Kerry, while Kerry King was down picking for that part. Does it matter or not?