#1
Hey folks, I'm just curious as to how often the pinky is used, and if I might be learning/practicing incorrectly as it were, or if it's just a matter of preference.

Look at something like this (it's Hendrix's solo from Hey Joe):

--------12-12-----------------------|----------12-12-12---------------------
----15b----15-12--------------------|----15b------15-12------12-------------
--------------12-14b---14-12-----12-|-------------------14b-----14--12\14\12
------------------------------14----|---------------------------------------
------------------------------------|---------------------------------------
------------------------------------|---------------------------------------


I use my pinky on 15 to bend (with other fingers supporting of course) in this case and lots of other stuff that will span 4 frets or so in a solo or what have you. However I've been watching many videos of different players on the net (all kinds from Page to Mayer) and notice that they seem to make scarce use of the pinky, for instance they would bend the 15 above with the ring, spreading out the first three fingers more.

I guess I'm just getting accustomed to keeping it at one finger per fret (for most of the neck) and just want to be sure I'm not learning or developing with the wrong finger placement.

Any feedback/opinions on this would be helpful to a novice like myself, TIA
#2
You should probably use the pinky, if only to strengthen it in case you really are forced to use it later. I know I'd use the pinky. Unless it makes it hard to hit a note further down the fretboard (which you would then need the pinky for). In that case I'd spread out.
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#3
I use mine whenever I need to stretch really. It's just natural that way, I haven't trained myself to do it. Use it as much as you feel you need to.
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#4
For the first couple years of my playing, I didn't use my pinky much because it was weak and I couldn't do much with it (even something like hammering with it was tough). Recently, though, as I've been practicing much more formally, I've been forcing myself to use my pinky a lot more and it has both gotten stronger and has added versatility to my playing.

I still can't bend too far with it though. For bending I still use my ring finger.
#5
its all in preference i guess...paul gilbert uses his pinky alot but someone like yngwie malmsteen sweeps with only 3 fingers

i rarely use my pinky...songs like Little Wing require it...which is where i use it
#6
Sweeps with only 3 fingers?

Doubt it...

Eric Johnson, on the other hand, hardly uses his pinky.

In that case, since it's an easy passage, I would use my ring. For a faster passage I would use my pinky though. I can't get as good vibrato with my pinky.
#7
Quote by BGSM
Sweeps with only 3 fingers?

Doubt it...



yeah i read an interview with paul gilbert...it said while he(paul) was taught to use every finger and stuff its hard for him to do sweeps up and down

where as yngwie can do sweeps with only 3 fingers...
#8
Had no idea. I thought that Yngwie would have used all four fingers.

Learn something new every day :p
#9
Quote by BGSM
Had no idea. I thought that Yngwie would have used all four fingers.

Learn something new every day :p



well im glad i can be a part of your day =D
#10
Definitely get used to using your little finger as much as possible. A lot of guitarists never get around to strengthening their little finger and it really harms the limits of their playing. Get used to it as a novice and it'll come naturally later on
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#11
Quote by amazing FretMan
yeah i read an interview with paul gilbert...it said while he(paul) was taught to use every finger and stuff its hard for him to do sweeps up and down

where as yngwie can do sweeps with only 3 fingers...


Well, Paul has an abnormally long pinky (watching videos it seems about twice the length of my pinky)... It's a common flame to say about somebody else's favorite guitarist "he uses only three fingers" :-).

I use the pinky more and more as I get better at playing - it just needs some exercising. Keeping a fixed position with one finger per fret isn't always the best technique to get stuck on however, you can get a little rigid when expanding scales etc.
#12
I was trying to play Plug In Baby by Muse (back to basics, I know) and was wondering the same thing. It goes a follows:

-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------7-8-7-----------
--------6------6-7---6-7-9---------9-7-6----
---8-9---8-9------9---------------------------
-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------

I'm using the pinky for this but prior to it I've never really had to rely on it. Is the pinky worth strengthening for situations like these? And if so, are there any particular lessons or riffs to play that are especially useful for strengthening it?
#13
Quote by amazing FretMan
yeah i read an interview with paul gilbert...it said while he(paul) was taught to use every finger and stuff its hard for him to do sweeps up and down

where as yngwie can do sweeps with only 3 fingers...


Actually, if you watch older videos, PG can sweep just fine, he just doesn't.

A-Thousand-Lies: The pinky is well worth strengthening, the old classic is the spider exercise for strengthening it but another good choice is Justin Sandercoe's finger gym; if you do that regularly your pinky should be pretty well developed quite quickly.
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#14
Great stuff, so I take it many (or at least some) guitarists simply don't develop the pinky finger, and this is a potential mistake/shortcoming that can hinder one's ability, and it's just a good thing to have all four fingers working well, right? The tougher road usually is the better paydirt right

Man Justin Sandercoe is real good, I've learned a lot from his videos. I'm going to work on the spider now, I tried it when I first started on the guitar and it was beyond impossible lol. Now it's much more doable, and that Finger Gym is great! I so need the pull-off (or flick as he calls it hehe) exercises.