Plucking Using The Pinky

These are some exercises I have used to improve my plucking using my pinky.

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Note: I practice these exercises on a four string, but I will write out the lesson for a five string, and if you do play a four string just ignore the low B string. I will indicate the fingers used with these characters:
  • T:thumb
  • I:index
  • M:middle
  • R:ring
  • P:pinky Begin on open notes, slowly building your tempo until use of the pinky beccomes more fluent.
    G|---------------------------------0-0-0-0-|
    D|-------------------------0-0-0-0---------|
    A|-----------------0-0-0-0-----------------|
    E|---------0-0-0-0-------------------------|
    B|-0-0-0-0---------------------------------|
       I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P
    Now repeat the above exercise focusing on the accents of your fingers, try and make sure that the volumes are similar on each note. After you have even accents try adding accents on particular notes. Now lets try the pinky technique on a quarter note groove. Ascending:
    G|---------------------------------5-6-7-8-|
    D|-------------------------5-6-7-8---------|
    A|-----------------5-6-7-8-----------------|
    E|---------5-6-7-8-------------------------|
    B|-5-6-7-8---------------------------------|
       I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P I M R P
    Decending:
    G|-8-7-6-5---------------------------------|
    D|---------8-7-6-5-------------------------|
    A|-----------------8-7-6-5-----------------|
    E|-------------------------8-7-6-5---------|
    B|---------------------------------8-7-6-5-|
       P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I P R M I
    Practice ascending and decending until the pinky becomes more fluent. Also try the ascending and descending at diffrent places on the fretboard. This exercise could take more practice to get an even flow of the fingers. You will also use your thumb in this part if you are playing a five string. Ascending:
    G|---------0-|
    D|-------0---|
    A|-----0-----|
    E|---0-------|
    B|-0---------|
       T I M R P
    Descending:
    G|-0---------|
    D|---0-------|
    A|-----0-----|
    E|-------0---|
    B|---------0-|
       P R M I T
    Practice ascending and descending until they are fluent. Now lets try attaching some notes to the ascending and descending motions. Ascending:
    G|---------9-|
    D|-------8---|
    A|-----7-----|
    E|---6-------|
    B|-5---------|
       T I M R P
    Decending:
    G|-9---------|
    D|---8-------|
    A|-----7-----|
    E|-------6---|
    B|---------5-|
       P R M I T
    Give these exercises a try and drop me a line on what it has done for you. Cheers!
  • 14 comments sorted by best / new / date

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      becca_88
      excellent exercise. it really helps. makes my pinky ache a bit but with practice that'll go! thanks
      tim21beau
      my pinky hurts but with practice i hope to be the next steve harris so i need my pinky lol great exersise m8, im using it as my warm up piece too
      jakebass93
      well in my oppinion i just dont like using my pinky because of how weak it is compared to the other fingers it can make an uneven pattern in your line of notes but like i said its just an oppinion
      LevvyDaDude
      well in my oppinion i just dont like using my pinky because of how weak it is compared to the other fingers it can make an uneven pattern in your line of notes but like i said its just an oppinion
      That is the whole point of these excersises! They are for developing your pinky so that you have an even playing pattern!