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Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bon viesta, Jun 13, 2021.
It’s a good idea to be able to use your pinky. But I don’t use mine as much as I used to.
Yes - learn to incorporate the pinky in your playing.
I play electric and upright and use 1,2, 4 fingering on both to avoid confusion.
Finger 3 (ring finger) moves simultaneously with finger four to support it.
Refer back to Post # 74.
There are actually two schools of thought on this, broadly speaking, 1-2-4 and 1-2-3-4 technique. There are also techniques that use a fixed hand position, and those that use the thumb as a pivot. For me, continuing to use 1-2-4 on electric bass is just a path of least resistance given that upright has become my main instrument. I don't find that it's limiting for what I play, mostly jazz. And ironically, though I play 41" scale upright comfortably, I find the hand position of 34" scale electric to be awkward.
Whatever works for you.
I met a Bass player once who only used his ring and pinky fingers. He lost his thumb, index, and half his middle finger to a table saw. He splinted his middle finger to make it somewhat useable. i saw this guy play several times before i actually noticed his left hand. He had learned to make it work.
You're not doing something wrong, and if you are able to play what you want, then what you are doing is working. It might make things easier if you learn to/start to use the pinky. It may for example, prevent shifting hand position, which is a good thing.
I am a bit of a technique "purist". That is, I try to follow what is considered best practices and "good" technique for the bass. I think of it this way, and I'll use golf as an analogy: There is a lot of science and technique around what is considered a "good" golf swing, and for good reason. A "good" golf swing allows you to hit the ball further, harder, and more accurately - and here is the paradox - with less physical effort. I personally see that using "good" technique on bass has the same effect - your playing improves with less effort while playing.
You're supposed to be using it, yes. How much depends on what you're playing though. I'd advise getting it into rotation by running chromatics and scalar patterns for a bit.
It’s funny, I use my pinkie a lot, but my ring finger is kind of weak! I do a lot of 1,2,4 below the 5th fret, and 1FPF quite a bit, but the ring often winds up being a passing tone. I find if I really have to work out the ring finger it is noticeably weaker than the other 3!
Always something to work on, amiright?
A strong pinky is important...it'll never make you a worse player....
The first blues patterns I learned required four finger positioning. Then a teacher emphasized a claw-like hand position. Your pinky is important.
Fact for me is, I can’t.. playing hoops back in the day, took a hard pass and jammed the hell out of it. Hospital?! BAH. Put that bad boy in my shirt and PULLED!!
What I have is what you see in the picture.
Stretch to a fret.. it locks. I was playing then, 30+ years ago and still playing now. I adapted to pretty much playing without that finger. It’s common for me.
do I wish I could use it? Yes but my playing isn’t lacking.. well at least not because of that. Hahahaha
That's probably because your pinkie is weak and you just let it sit on the bench.
While there's no right or wrong, it seems silly to ignore a perfectly functional digit. Using it can increase your reach and add fluidity to your lines.
My advice: Develop some strength in your pinky with exercises and then try it out for awhile.
Other than gradual atrophy, you won’t risk it falling off. That’s the good news. That said, like you I played for almost 45 years not using my pinkey. As long as you can play the notes you aren’t likely to miss it. But when you get older and you hands don’t work as fast, and playing for a while starts hurting, you’re going to want to play efficiently to save wear and tear.
My advice I’d to pick up an exercise book and spend 5 minutes a day working out the kinks.
It's the disco digit! octave up!
A good exercise is lifting gallon jugs of milk with that pinky. Preferably 2% chocolate.
The pinky plays a very important part in my technique. Closer to the headstock I will often use my pinky rather than ring finder for 2 fret stretches. It requires less stretching and pressure (because it's aided by the ring finger) to go from, say Bb to C on the A, string than using just the ring finger.
The answer to your question is...
The good Lord gave you a little finger- now go forth and funk with it!
I've been a three finger player since I started playing... no shame in it.
I've tried to learn to use my pinky, but I just can't make it work... I was blessed with stumpy fingers, but for what I play, I don't necessarily have to use it... I've found ways to hit octaves when needed that works... for me.
If you're doing soloing, or lots of chords, then yes... you need that pinky..
But, don't listen to folks that say you absolutely have to use it... you don't..
Keep working at it, maybe you'll be able to pull it off with more practice
I use it a lot. But rarely in the "one fret per finger" approach. A lot like a rover. A free safety. A game changer once you make it work. My technique is based around eliminating wasted motion - Refining fundamentals and making things seem effortless - even when they're not.
What do you think?
I use my pinky constantly when playing guitar and rarely when playing bass. The stretching required isn't the issue, it's the choice of notes available and hand positioning. This may vary for other players. I play an active style with lots of runs, countermelodies and solos on both fretted and fretless basses. Still my pinky remains mostly an innocent bystander. On guitar it's completely a different story. Using a pinky to add a ninth or thirteenth to a chord adds color and life to an otherwise drab composition. When soloing you increase the number of notes available substantially. Maybe it's a fault of being self taught and having terrible technique but the pinky doesn't carry it's own weight when playing the bass.
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