help! left hand pinkie has a mind of its own!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by imonfire,dude, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. imonfire,dude


    Jan 22, 2004
    my joints are kind of funny and my pinkie is kind of connected to my ring finger and my pinkie has a tendencie to jump around when i play with other fingers and i have a hard time keeping it curled and near the fretboard :/ any tips, excersizes?
  2. Well, the connection of the tendons between your ring and little finger might have something to do with it. MY hands go a bit nuts sometimes too.

    My guitarist had issues with his little finger joint - it was painful for ages, and his little finger would just go nuts when he wasn't playing and spasm like a trooper - after months of prevaricating by the doctors, they x-rayed it and he's got an R.S.F.; a Repetitive Strain Fracture, all from playing the Jibboom tapping solo loads when he was learning it...
  3. speck


    Jul 15, 2002
    Sacramento CA, USA
    I do the following exercise after I've run through some scales to warm up. It's really simple (and monotonous ;)), but it should help with your finger independence problem.

    Play the first bar 8 times, then (without pausing) play the second bar 8 times, then the third bar, etc. When completed with the sixth bar, do it again but reverse the notes (first bar - 4343, second bar - 5454, etc.)

    Fret - Finger
    3 - Index
    4 - Middle
    5 - Ring
    6 - Pinky

    1st Bar

    2nd Bar

    3rd Bar

    4th Bar

    5th Bar

    6th Bar

    Be sure to use a metronome and set it at a comfortable speed (in this exercise there are 2 notes played per tick), so that you hit each note cleanly. You should start on a different string and different fret each time you try it. Hope it helps.

  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Yeah. I do believe the pinky and ring fingers both share the same ligament, so it is difficult at first for the pinky to gain independance and control. I had that problem, but through time I have seen an improvement. I'm sure you will as well.

    I've done a few exercises similar to speck's, alternating fretting between the 2 fingers usually. Try playing 1 finger per fret if you don't already do so, so you can give yourself use of the ring finger. If you just play the 3rd note of a scale (I'm thinking in terms of a minor pattern right now as an example) with your pinky, it will never get used to having to make stretches/extensions. And when playing watch your pinky that it doesn't tense up...'claw up' or straighten up in such a way that it 'locks' the joint. You want it relaxed.
  5. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    Finger independence, especially ring/little finger takes time and attention to develop. The exercises already posted are good, but whatever you practice, you need to try to maintain good LH technique. I guarantee you that if your LH thumb is not properly positioned behind the neck, your LH pinky is going to be flapping in the wind for a long time. When you play scales or any exercise, play it slowly enough so that you can make sure that all fingers are 'quiet' and that the nominal effort to fret a note is to drop the finger the remaining 1/8" to the string.
  6. funkcicle


    Jan 9, 2004
    Asheville, NC
    I have this if I take an extended break from playing... what I do to get back in shape are dominant-flat-9 arpeggios all around the board... in 5ths, 4ths, 3rds.. make myself think musically, and stretch that pinky out to hit that flat 9... works especially well on fretless.

    few minutes a day, you'll be ready to pinkie-wrestle in no time!
  7. Funkateer


    Jul 5, 2002
    Los Gatos, CA
    Do you play a b5? (i.e. 1 3 b5 b7 b9) for this exercise?
  8. funkcicle


    Jan 9, 2004
    Asheville, NC
    no, but I think I will from now on!
  9. iceblinko


    Jul 15, 2003
    hey what's up. i actually had the SAME EXACT problem when i first started! i just practiced a simple exercise every day. i just did the basic (index 1, middle 2, ring 3, pinky 4) 1,2,3,4 scale up and down the neck. i PROMISE once you do this for a month or two you'll be straight!!! and also, this sounds kind of goofy, but when you're not playing.. during some boring class, job, or meaningless conversation... just play air guitar with your fretting hand (the same 1234 scale)! works. take care and hope you clear up your little problem. rock.

  10. jacolicks


    Feb 19, 2004
    Gainesville, FL
    i have basically the same problem. im a pretty quick finger player, but I have no strength or coordination in my left pinky. it really sucks when i come to a lick that I cant play cleanly. it doesnt happen much, but when it does, its frustrating. never have been able to get it going...