#1
Hello everyone,

this is my first post on this site and I hope that it isn't too silly to be posted.
I have started out on the guitar probably half a year ago, getting some very basic stuff down (notes, tab reading etc.) and haven't really played much up until recently, where I decided to take it more seriously.
During that five to six months I have mainly been watching videos on youtube and learnt stuff from there, as well as reading many articles on this website and learning from the tabs and the Tab Pro feature.
Despite all that articles, one question really hit me and I couldn't find anyone who could give me an answer to it. When it comes to Fingerstyle style, which style is supposed to be good/best. From books, I am mainly taught to rest my right hand pinky on the body of the guitar and play the bass strings with the thumb, as well as the three remaining strings with the remaining fingers. Still, on some performances I could clearly see that many players don't rest their pinky on the body and move it freely (not clear whether they use it to play a certain string). However, I haven't seen a guitarist who uses his pinky to play the high e string and use the thumb for just two bass strings. Is this something that has a particular drawback or is it just a matter of style and what you feel more comfortable with?

I for myself learnt to play with a resting pinky, but somehow feel as if I start to get some tension in my hand by doing it for the period of a whole song (or more). So I intend to start using it to play the high e string. My second question therefore is: Is there a major drawback of playing like that? (do i miss something out by applying all fingers of my right hand?)


I hope I got it right. Thank you in advance. Looking forward reading your replies.

best wishes,
Lukas
#2
a resting pinky is anchoring and it's really poor technique and limits both your ability to strum and to use the pinky if you need to (which you do for classical fingerstyle)

plus, as you said, it tends to cause hand tension

this is the problem with everybody and their uncle thinking they can teach guitar despite learning completely the wrong way
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#3
Like hail says, anchoring the pinky is generally a bad idea, IMO. I only do it then I'm trying to get the rest of my fingers to do something particularly tricky, like play lap steel. It creates strain and slows you down. Watch classical guitarists playing in concert, not Youtube wannabees.
#4
You learnt fingerstyle with a resting pinky? Do you mean you were taught, or you read about it in books etc?

I too learnt originally to play fingerstyle (didn't know what a pick was for the first year I played), but I never heard about resting the pinky until much later (and even then it was for when using a pick).

I'm not saying you're wrong, or trying to cause an argument, but I would like to know where this information about resting the pinky is even coming from? One of the first things I remember learning about fingerstyle was that the hand floated...
#5
@ chainsawguitar

Well I was taught by watching tutorials and guides on the internet. I have also seen it in a method book for guitar beginners. They argued that this creates a stronghold for your whole hand which eases the coordination when it comes to advanced picking. This was the first time I heard/read about it. the second time came with a guy on the web who I follow for quite a long time (who inspired me to play the guitar)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UU4yMkDdBw

Here he teaches/shows this technique of the resting pinky at around 2:25~
This is what I was basically 'taught'.

Sungha Jung, an amazing guitarist, who's whole life is literally recorded on youtube (lol) is using it as well and I would definitely call him a professional guitarist. This on the other hand made me think that it is the most common approach and probably the 'right' one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAnID4RS7Vg

The two guitarists who follow now on the other hand seem to use a 'floating pinky' style where they do not rest the pinky on the body but instead either play it or let it simply move on it own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gphiFVVtUI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH66nlpZOMc
#6
if you have to keep your pinky somewhere to stay stable you're not a good player. simple as that. there's no adaptability to it. using it as its own means of making a percussive beat on the guitar (like your second video) is something different

a lot of guys don't use their pinky as a pick; i usually don't. in the classical style it's much more common. that doesn't mean hold it in a specific place. that inhibits you. we don't want to inhibit. plus it's a bad habit in general, both for fingerpicking and electric guitar

the guy in the first video does it like that so you keep 3 fingers on the upper strings and your thumb on the bottom two, which is fine if you want to play the same wonderwall cover for the rest of your life, but it's bad advice for anyone serious about learning guitar
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#7
Quote by Hail
if you have to keep your pinky somewhere to stay stable you're not a good player. simple as that. there's no adaptability to it. using it as its own means of making a percussive beat on the guitar (like your second video) is something different

a lot of guys don't use their pinky as a pick; i usually don't. in the classical style it's much more common. that doesn't mean hold it in a specific place. that inhibits you. we don't want to inhibit. plus it's a bad habit in general, both for fingerpicking and electric guitar

the guy in the first video does it like that so you keep 3 fingers on the upper strings and your thumb on the bottom two, which is fine if you want to play the same wonderwall cover for the rest of your life, but it's bad advice for anyone serious about learning guitar


Thank you for taking your time and responding to my thread. I will take a note of your comments and gather the opinions of different guitarists. As a beginner, I clearly won't inhibit myself in any way that's why I am asking these questions Your contribution definitely paid out already. Looking forward reading other comments on how others guitarists deal with it as well.
#8
Hmmm looking at those videos, I think I see the difference here (although that last one is crazy! )

Most of the books I had when I was learning fingerstyle were about playing like the video below. Look at both ways of playing, I actually believe the classical way is better. It's what I still use today, and I can play obviously more modern music with it, with no issues about tension.

Plus why mess with a technique that has worked for hundreds of years, to emulate some guy on YouTube? That's what I'm thinking, anyway.

https://youtu.be/olW6-jhSgMg
#9
I see. If this is the 'classical style' then I suppose it is something that stood the test of time as you say. Now, however, I am wondering if there are any benefits from using the pinky as a pick for the high e note if you don't use it anyway playing the 'classical' style. Sure, the power in the pinky might affect the overall precision or power of your pick but this surely can be improved by practicing I guess. What do you think?
#10
All these people saying that resting the pinky is poor technique, yet guys like Tommy Emmanuel and Andy Mckee, who are often regarded to have great technique, rest their pinky. I'm an advocate to use whatever works for you.
#11
Quote by Jimjambanx
All these people saying that resting the pinky is poor technique, yet guys like Tommy Emmanuel and Andy Mckee, who are often regarded to have great technique, rest their pinky. I'm an advocate to use whatever works for you.

This is just me, but my view is that while you can be a good player while resting your pinky, it's to be discouraged. The reason is that it's a simple fact that it encourages the buildup of tension and it takes a degree of experience to know how to prevent that, as well as it being easy to fall back into the bad habit if you're trying to learn something hard. It's also ideal to have the pinky available to actually use.

"whatever works for you" is a good mantra much of the time, but there are also times when it can inhibit improvement or, worse, lead to injury.

Also, isn't Estas Tonne just a beautiful man?
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#12
I play fingerstyle jazz for the most part these days, but started out many years ago with "Travis picking" folk tunes.
I've never rested a pinkie.... Unnecesary so far as I can see....As noted thousands of classical guitarists dont....
And I play what is essentially with classical technique. I do not use my pinkie for playing...It just sort of hangs out there.
#13
Quote by MusicReviews24
Now, however, I am wondering if there are any benefits from using the pinky as a pick for the high e note if you don't use it anyway playing the 'classical' style. Sure, the power in the pinky might affect the overall precision or power of your pick but this surely can be improved by practicing I guess. What do you think?


Hmmm I've never seen a need for it unless we're talking about hybrid picking. Using an extra finger for a pick might mean needing to use your little finger to fingerpick.

I guess maybe also if you're playing a 7 string...
#14
I started learning by anchoring the pinky as taught by others. But I concluded that it was holding me back after just a few months. Yes, it makes it easier to find the strings, but it also creates tension. I found that with my pinky anchored by ring finger wasn't as free and flexible. Try testing this yourself. Rest your pinky on the table and then curl and extend your ring finger repeatedly. Then do the same without the pinky touching the table. The second way just feels easier and natural right?

Learning to play without anchoring was hard at first but now it's second nature. It took a good few months to get that way mind you. But now I can find the strings instantly.

I like lick'n'riff (the first video you posted) but when you listen to him play it's certainly not as fluid as others who free float and I wonder if this is due to him anchoring.
#15
Quote by gweddle.nz
I started learning by anchoring the pinky as taught by others. But I concluded that it was holding me back after just a few months. Yes, it makes it easier to find the strings, but it also creates tension. I found that with my pinky anchored by ring finger wasn't as free and flexible. Try testing this yourself. Rest your pinky on the table and then curl and extend your ring finger repeatedly. Then do the same without the pinky touching the table. The second way just feels easier and natural right?

Learning to play without anchoring was hard at first but now it's second nature. It took a good few months to get that way mind you. But now I can find the strings instantly.

I like lick'n'riff (the first video you posted) but when you listen to him play it's certainly not as fluid as others who free float and I wonder if this is due to him anchoring.


You certainly are right. That's something I noticed as well comparing his versions to those of others. The current state is that I somehow got used to using the pinky as well and got to a point where my daily exercises feel 'natural' using that holding of the right hand. I find the strings easily (blindly) with the use of my pinky to hit the high e string. To be honest, I would probably continue like that unless there is a huge danger for me limiting myself (despite altering the suggested picking on youtube videos).
#16
Start with basic classical position and technique - it's most efficient way to play, and it's the best to learn to start. Once you have a good grasp of that you can branch out and change it to your liking.

Anchoring the pinky, which I do sometimes, especially for blues or soloing, allows you to attack the strings at a different angle and much harder - which can be great if you are trying to get some percussive force out of the upper strings. That being said, it's not a habit you should develop early on.

The classical grip has it's drawbacks, such as when playing overdriven electric guitar - when you need to palm mute or dampen the strings more, anchoring your pinky can be beneficial in those circumstances, as is actually holding the upper strings with your unused right hand fingers to mute them.