#1
I play the guitar for almost 9 years and I got a big problem, while i dont use my ring finger he's flying far from the fretboard and Im afraid i wont build any high speed with this problem. After that 9 years, this happens absolutely naturally so i dont know how to fix it, im now practicing at 40bpm trying to do as small movements as possible. Is it a big problem ? Do you guys know how to fix it?
#2
Finger independence exercises.

This sounds like I'm making assumptions, but as people get older, things don't get easier to learn and don't feel as natural. So you'll have to work a bit harder to get it together.

Check out Justin Sandercoe finger independence on YouTube.

Or I can recommend a quality book.

PS: A metronome is not important here.
Last edited by mdc at May 15, 2016,
#4
If you've already slowed it down, then you're on the right track. It needs to be almost frighteningly slow--to the point where you are in complete control of every muscle and every motion. You might even try it with no metronome at all. Take as much time as you need to move to the next note without that finger coming up. Then try it again with the slow tempo. It may take a while for the finger to behave the way you want it, but eventually that will just be the way it moves. You won't have to think about it anymore.

And you don't have to go looking for exercises to fix this. Anything you're already working on is going to work as long as you pay attention to that finger. Once it starts getting better, it will spill over into everything else you pay. The main thing is to keep everything slow enough for now that your fingers only do what you want them to. Also, pay attention to your breathing and make sure you stay relaxed throughout the whole body.
#5
Honestly, don't worry so much about it. There's plenty of practice routes to take that will nail it right on the head:

1. 1234's - Pick one string, go index, middle, ring, then pinky playing the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th frets. Make sure each finger stays glued to the fret board after its note has been played. For example, index finger press down on the first fret. It then stays there as the middle finger hits the 2nd fret, do this for all fingers.

Take this movement and move it across of all of the strings, even move up and down the fretboard.

2. 4321's - the same as the above, but in reverse. All of your fingers are now pressing down 4/3/2/1, with the pinky holding the 4th. Pick the pinky finger fret, lift off, repeat moving down the board.

3. 4 Hammers - the same as the first exercise, except now you're hammering down on all of the notes.

4. 4 Pulls - the same as the second exercise, except now you're pulling off on all of the notes.

5. Diagonal 1234s - Same as exercise one, except now your index finger lands on the first fret of the E string. Your middle finger lands on the second fret of the A string. Ring finger on D string 3rd fret, Pinky on G string 4th fret. Now move this pattern up and down the strings, even moving the pattern over to start on the D string to get on the high E. The key here is doing it back and forth, go 12344321, or 1234321. The goal here is to hit the note, lift off, then play the next note. The smoother you can get this the better.

6. Arpeggio - This is the hardest one, here's some tab that's based on a sweep picking exercise:

b--------------8-
g----------7------7-
d------9------------9-
a -10-----------------10-

What you want to do here is rest every finger on the string. Pinky on 10, ring on 9, index on 7, middle on 8. Sounds nice. Now you're gonna hit 10 in a down picking motion then carry that down picking motion onto 9 and through to the others. But the stickler here is, you do not want to hear 10 fading into 9. As soon as you hit 10 and just before you hit 9, you want 10 to stop but want to keep it sounding fluid. That means lifting that finger away from the fretboard without hitting other strings or pulling off of that note. This builds fine muscle control.


//


The good thing about exercise 3 and 4 is that because it's not musical you can watch YouTube/interviews/TV and keep up that practice. You can even eat cereal and do it. It's about building the muscle memory. Once you have the technique down you can literally zone out, watch TV, do whatever, and just keep the technique rolling. When your hand tires, give it a minutes rest. Then repeat. You can fix this issue inside of a few days, a week at most with dedicated practice.

Exercise 3 and 4 also prepare you for speed playing. Hammering and pulling off correctly go a long way to building speed, it'll also stop you make dead notes when doing those techniques.

You can play to a metronome if you want, but be sure to keep rising the bar.
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Last edited by Anthony1991 at May 15, 2016,
#6
Thanks a lot!
Does this mean i have to slow down and play at (for example) 50 bpm for moths until it gets better? Because if i practice other things i usually practice, my ring finger is still flying so far from the fretboard. And practice only these things at 50 bpm all day is totally killing me, but im also afraid, that if ill practice also other things and my finger will still flying i wont fix this problem.
#7
You don't need to practice with a metronome for this. Just concentrate on pruning away any excess movement.
#8
Quote by Viraemiaa
Thanks a lot!
Does this mean i have to slow down and play at (for example) 50 bpm for moths until it gets better? Because if i practice other things i usually practice, my ring finger is still flying so far from the fretboard. And practice only these things at 50 bpm all day is totally killing me, but im also afraid, that if ill practice also other things and my finger will still flying i wont fix this problem.


To be brutally honest, ditch the fucking metronome Yeah it's good to use every now and then but by no means should you be a slave to it. Don't forget, you're here for fun as well, not to be a robot!

Play the above practices as fast or as slow as you want, switch it up. I use those exercises above just a warm up, typically I start around 120BPM then just increase the speed until I get bored and want to do a different exercise

Don't obsess over it so much man, it'll sort itself out if you just do the above exercises for a week or two
You Dont Know Me

I have 10 Anarchy Points - I also have 8 Mythology points!

Peavey Generation EXP Custom White
Yamaha 120S Black
Korg AX5G
Digitech Whammy
Zvex Fuzz Factory
Boss OS2

Quote by mrfinkle213
This man has brains.

Quote by CoreysMonster
Banned for indirect reference.
#9
If you use the metronome, it's giving you one more thing to think about, and that's keeping in time.

This isn't a time keeping exercise. It's a finger independence exercise.
#10
Quote by Viraemiaa
I play the guitar for almost 9 years and I got a big problem, while i dont use my ring finger he's flying far from the fretboard and Im afraid i wont build any high speed with this problem. After that 9 years, this happens absolutely naturally so i dont know how to fix it, im now practicing at 40bpm trying to do as small movements as possible. Is it a big problem ? Do you guys know how to fix it?


You had any arm injuries (elbow area) or shoulder?
#13
Quote by Viraemiaa
Nono, never


Good!! In that case, it's easy to correct. So long as you can consciously keep your ring finger near the string, when not playing, just holding the guitar, then this is just a question of breaking the habit.

You have to play mind-numbingly slowly to do this, as a practice regime. You need to be very consious of any tension (fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, bicep, shoulder, neck, jaw, breathing) as you practice, and relax to remove it. You need to experiment with how little force you can get away with (e.g press really hard on string. Pick the note. Then reduce the pressure gradually, picking the note each time, until it chokes. Then put back just enough pressure so it rings clean. That's all you need (when picking). When you pull-off a note, just think a lot about relaxing the finger pressure rather than applying force lifting it. As much as possible, try and just have one finger on a string at any time (soloing, not chords!!). For legato, (descending), it can be helpful to pick the first one or two notes on a string. For pure legato (no picking), then you will need to apply a bit more force on pull-offs.

Suggest you take a solo you know you have your problem with (ring finger), and take a small section, and slow that right down (say 40 bpm, one nore per click) and do all the above. Spend about 30 - 40 minutes on it. Repeat this for sort of thing over several weeks

Finger independence exercises can help, but they can be very artificial.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 17, 2016,
#14
A few matters of importance, before you change how you play too drastically, so that you'll be careful in how you go about changing your playing. Finger independence is indeed something we'd wish, but the method of achieving it is just as important as the goal, if not more so.

Firstly, your fingers aren't entirely able of being independent. This has to do with how our hands are made, simple anatomy. I'm afraid I can't find the exact picture I need that I can also show it to you in this post, but there are a few specific tendons that connect the fingers to one another. That means they go perpendicular to the tendons going towards your fingers, connecting the middle and ring-finger to one another, and if I remember correctly the pinky-finger's tendon comes from the ring-finger's tendon. This is why it's nearly impossible to make larger movements with any of those three fingers, without the one next to it moving as well.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and you shouldn't begrudge yourself that, after practice (meaning yes, use Freepower's video, it's a solid method of work), you still find your fingers moving when you don't intend for them to. There is no real solution for this, other than waiting for evolution to sort things out in that department. The one exception being, and I doubt anyone would want to, is that you surgically cut the perpendicular tendon between your middle- and ring-finger, as I've heard done in ye olden times in eastern europe at young age, when a child showed promise for playing an instrument. So don't worry yourself if you find this happening, that is your body being itself, acting in a natural way. It is not an obstruction to progress, nor your own inability.

The other matter, is that you do things 'naturally' for a reason. It is your body trying to balance these movements out. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to improve and rid yourself of these unnecessary movements, but try to replace one 'natural' movement with another. The method for this varies from person to person, but excessive movements like this tend to come from tension. Tension is generally there when you try to overachieve, and your body will try to counteract by tensing up, when what you want it to do is the exact opposite. To not use excessive force so that you're not 'physically working against' yourself in trying to achieve something.

So indeed, playing slowly helps very much. But the method of doing so is something I'd advise you to do subconsciously as soon as you can. Because when you play, that certain part of your brain that is making your fingers tense up, or create twisting movements where they don't need to be, will still be functional once you actually get put on the spot.

Practice exists in two ways, consciously and subconsciously, and while you can try to play in both ways, one cannot truly take the other's place. And regardless of which side of the 'fight or flight' equation you fall on, your subconscious mind and thus muscle memory will step up and do the job. That is worse than not having practiced, because that results in you having practiced in a different manner, and that also has a mental effect.

So practice in front of the television, or while reading a book, so that this movement becomes something you don't think about. So that when you suddenly can't think anymore, your body will know what to do, and that you can trust your subconscious muscle memory. Practice is both physical as well as mental, and it is very important that you take care of both sides. Because a mental obstruction is just as bad, if not worse, than a physical one.

Good luck
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