#1
I am trying to play the zephyr song and the beginning but with the stretched c shape type thing I am just refusing to use my little finger because is rather stretch than use it. Probably harder in the long run but I don't mind if I can play it smoothly enough.
#2
Just use it. It will pay off in the long run.
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#4
I have no problems using my pinky for chords but I never use it melodically. I really wish I learned the right way, and I sometimes come up with pinky training exercises to get me used to using it, but I always revert back to my old ways of playing that Im comfortable with
#5
Quite the opposite, i hate how often i depend on it, often including it where i shouldn't, same as my thumb.
#6
I started playing back around '75. At the time, my pinkie felt like a chunk of wood. I thought I would never be able to finger a first-position "G" with the pinkie on the high E string.
But one day it just worked.
Now, 40 years down the pike, I'm playing fingerstyle jazz and I'm heavily dependent on that pinkie for all sorts of chord forms and single-note playing.

Keep trying. Do exercises that work the digit specifically.
#7
Quote by Tony Done
Just keep practicing. My fretting pinky is the key to my fingerpicking style, many chord voicings would be impossible without it.


Ditto. It's the key to passing notes and chords that give "colour" to your playing. Persevere!
#8
Quote by chronic_stp
I have no problems using my pinky for chords but I never use it melodically.


Are you sure? Or are you just comfortable using it for the chords where you've learned to use the pinky? For example, can you play D minor using index, middle, and ring just as easily as with the index, middle, and pinky (using the ring finger to mute the 5th and 6th strings)?

I ask because I was the same, but once I started forcing myself to use my pinky to fret chords with different fingers it became a lot more natural to use it elsewhere too. In fact, when your learning a new piece (or revisiting an old piece) figure out places where using your pinky would be more efficient (less finger stretching, less grip/clamping). For example; G (320003) to B7 (X21202) is way easier when you use your middle, ring and pinky finger for the G chord.
#9
I love using the pinkie for suspended chords - makes you sound like a pro, but I hate trying to stretch it to the upper strings or frets. My pinkie is short compared to the rest of my fingers - more than an inch shorter than my ring finger.
#10
Quote by hotrodney71
I love using the pinkie for suspended chords - makes you sound like a pro, but I hate trying to stretch it to the upper strings or frets. My pinkie is short compared to the rest of my fingers - more than an inch shorter than my ring finger.


Most people's little fingers are more than an inch shorter than the ring finger.

But yes, they are great for suspended chords, also 6ths and 7ths.
#11
Quote by Garthman
Most people's little fingers are more than an inch shorter than the ring finger.

But yes, they are great for suspended chords, also 6ths and 7ths.


..and 5th's.
#12
The pinky is an extra finger you can use. It starts off being difficult and fairly useless for everyone, but it has the potential to be an extra good finger. All you need to do is train it.
#13
You can fish a lot deeper in your nose with your pinky than any other finger. It's versatile.
#14
It just occurred to me that my pinkie has had a lot of weight training. I've been playing slide with a heavy brass slide on my pinkie for 30+ years, and there is visibly more muscle supporting the lh pinkie than the rh one. I can do 002255 using index and pinkie on 13-56 strings, no trouble at all.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
It just occurred to me that my pinkie has had a lot of weight training. I've been playing slide with a heavy brass slide on my pinkie for 30+ years, and there is visibly more muscle supporting the lh pinkie than the rh one. I can do 002255 using index and pinkie on 13-56 strings, no trouble at all.


I think the biggest stretch I will tend to do when I play that includes the pinky, is something like a 0 5 5 5 5 12. What was a bit tough that I learned recently tommy does, which is actually pretty cool, and he does effortlessly of course, is 0 4 4 4 4 12 to 0 5 5 5 5 12. That extra slide, holding pressure with the pinky to let it ring while you slide up, takes it up a notch in difficulty. But that's a lot of barre strength too. I actually find a lot of barre stuff took a lot more effort than pinky stuff to get cleanly. I still have trouble with some of it.

There are different ways the pinky can be tough too though, not just stretches. I find even the x54232 shape was tough at first, the x3654x shape as well even the xx4655 shape. And for soloing as well, getting that independence for pinky and ring took some doing for me. Just the speed power and precision, basically. I had some exercise sort of training I did just for that. I say exercises but I found kind of a loophole to make training like that more fun. Some hammer-ons also can be tough with the pinky because it needs power with precision. And lots of other things. The pinky can let you do a lot of cool stuff if you exploit it. At first it might be easier to use another finger for some stuff, but the pinky is really powerful and awesome if you unleash it. There are things it can do which can't be substituted, on top of getting into those hard to reach places in your nose.

I think I will always find more things I can't do, but my pinky has become a finger like the others now, basically. On both hands, although, there are fewer situations where I call upon it on my right hand, as compared to the other right hand fingers, but it does its thing fully naturally when its the easiest finger for the job. On my left hand I probably use it a bit less than the other fingers also, but it's a lot more close. A lot of the time my index is doing a barre, so my pinky is one of the 3 that's left.
#16
I can't imagine ever being able to do those long stretches. I admit I've never tried, but I also have small hands; those kinds of chords voicings do emphasise the importance of getting your pinkie working like the other three fingers. I agree about doing index barres, and having to make the most of what you have - my idea of chord-melody is based on this, though it isn't very sophisticated.
#17
Quote by Tony Done
I can't imagine ever being able to do those long stretches. I admit I've never tried, but I also have small hands; those kinds of chords voicings do emphasise the importance of getting your pinkie working like the other three fingers. I agree about doing index barres, and having to make the most of what you have - my idea of chord-melody is based on this, though it isn't very sophisticated.


What's your idea on chord melody?

Ya, that stretch is definitely tough. I think though, that even with smaller hands you might be able to make the stretch itself, but where it really gets tough is doing the barre that way. I don't have particularly big hands, but I do have a longer finger/hand ratio I guess.

For that kind of stuff you really need to have a powerful and clean barre. But it's also different muscle sets to do a barre like that, and a barre like 556655. Or even the other maj7 x54222, which is another pinky one, or you could also use ring and middle finger to fret the non-barres. It depends on what other notes you want your pinky to be able to do. And even both of those are a bit different dexterity development.

That's what's really tough about guitar. Any single thing is achievable. You say you could never dream of doing that stretch, but you could do it, you would just need to put the time in, but there are so many little things you could put the time in to improve, which makes the task immense. That's why it can be helpful to know what you want to be able to do, where you want to go, and then have someone help guide you through the essential parts of being able to do that. And that's what makes guys like Tommy Emmanuel especially crazy. He is doing a lot of difficult skills effortlessly. Some of them are a bit more obvious like his harpeggios with harmonics there, but some like that stretch are less obvious until you try it.

For instance, that stretch wouldn't be something I'd necessarily recommend practicing immediately, even if it was next on the agenda, there are other prior barre skills that would make that one a lot easier.

But stuff like that is not for everyone. It's really important to me though, because if I'm playing some harmony I want to be able to have as much flexibility with the melody as possible. Sometimes I resort to finger tapping, but I try to fret it as much as possible. I think what I like least about guitar is the flexibility of range for melodies. Usually the higher notes make the better melody, so either you play full voicings and you only have an octave of range sort of thing, or you play less full voicings, and you can play your melodies lower. Your range between bass and highest is limited too, unless you can access open strings for the note you want. So, I will often prefer to stretch up high with my pinky to keep the harmony with the melody, rather than lose the nice E string bass by switching to a higher voicing closer to where the melody note is.
#19
See, I wear my slide on my ring finger so I can use my pinky to fret notes above the slide (which gives some really cool sounds, especially in open tunings)
#20
Quote by fingrpikingood
What's your idea on chord melody?



Mostly alternating bass country blues and folk - that 002255 thing and its variants come straight from John Hurt, for example. I also apply the same style to slide, Fred McDowell more or less - a strong rhythm off the thumb and the melody mostly off the other fingers. The Soundclick link in my sig goes to my music page, unfortunately it doesn't work as a direct link in this forum.

You mentioned things being harder than they seem. I'm currently looking at some of Bert Jansch's old stuff. It sounds easy until you actually try to play it with his chord voicings and the very fast hammers and pulls. - You can see how he got ranked as one of the great guitarists
#21
Quote by teleobrien
See, I wear my slide on my ring finger so I can use my pinky to fret notes above the slide (which gives some really cool sounds, especially in open tunings)

Yeah it seems to me that slide players who use the ring finger might have a majority, but I don't think it is a big one over those who use their pinky. As you say, it creates different opportunities - I only fret behind the slide, for example. I've heard of some odd ones, Dave Hole plays overhand with the slide on his index finger, and more normal index finger players who do a lot of fretting in front of the slide.
#22
Quote by Tony Done
Yeah it seems to me that slide players who use the ring finger might have a majority, but I don't think it is a big one over those who use their pinky. As you say, it creates different opportunities - I only fret behind the slide, for example. I've heard of some odd ones, Dave Hole plays overhand with the slide on his index finger, and more normal index finger players who do a lot of fretting in front of the slide.

Actually I play lap with a tonebar more often than bottleneck. And how do you fret behind the slide? Do you only barre a few strings and use your fingers on the others, or do you barre the whole board and fret behind that?
One last thing on the topic of slides, I saw a video of Bukka White playing lap with a thin metal rod, I've never seen anything like it
https://youtu.be/N0jRX69mxcE
Any of you know what this is?
#23
I also play some lap style, I've got more interested in it recently. I sometimes do full barres, sometimes partial, it depends on the tune. I can fret behind the slide by depressing the string so that it clears the slide, it sounds like a pull-off, used followed by lifting the finger again to get a hammer-on effect of the slide. It can sound like fairly fast fretting if I keep it tidy. I also fret passing notes and double stops - I mostly use the slide for single notes, but not always, it's the overall effect that counts.
#24
Quote by Tony Done
Mostly alternating bass country blues and folk - that 002255 thing and its variants come straight from John Hurt, for example. I also apply the same style to slide, Fred McDowell more or less - a strong rhythm off the thumb and the melody mostly off the other fingers. The Soundclick link in my sig goes to my music page, unfortunately it doesn't work as a direct link in this forum.

You mentioned things being harder than they seem. I'm currently looking at some of Bert Jansch's old stuff. It sounds easy until you actually try to play it with his chord voicings and the very fast hammers and pulls. - You can see how he got ranked as one of the great guitarists


Ya, I think it's often like that with the better players. Everything they do looks so effortless, because it needs to be for them, and it sounds great, and flows so nice, so it seems real easy. And then you look at what it is that they are actually doing, and you're like, "oh. Ya, I see, not so easy." Sometimes it's the opposite though also, stuff can look or sound difficult, but really it's a lot easier than it looks.

I think a lot of things are that way though also. I mean, you can watch 15 seconds of a movie, and it looks cool, but you don't realize all the work and knowledge that went into creating those 15 seconds. Programming is like that too, things look basic but are actually complicated. Even building this forum from the ground up would be quite a lot of work. A lot of things I find are that way, and the best of the best at things are good at making things look easy, but they definitely had some competition also, and earned their acclaim. And they likely didn't get that way by doing a lot things like finding workarounds because they don't want to use their pinky.

I'm not actually against that though at first, because I think sometimes workarounds can be good stepping stones to get more advanced, but you can only do so much without your pinky, or without learning this or that, and the general attitude for becoming really advanced is to plow through and soldier on to greater and greater heights regardless of the obstacles in front of you. Not to see the challenge before you and avoid it because it's too much work.

Not that everyone wants to be Tommy Emmanuel or Guthrie Govan or whatever either, so maybe avoiding difficult things and finding workarounds is exactly what you want to do, and that's all good to.
#25
The first time I heard Jansch play, circa 1968, I concluded he had at least 2 extra fingers on each hand.
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