i don’t use my pinky finger most of the time, is this detrimental to my playing??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bon viesta, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. I'd say sneak some practice in using it...
  2. BlackVincent52


    May 26, 2021
    I don't know man, if I met a guy who told me he played bass and never used his pinky, I'd kinda have to question everything about them and I would be skeptical and suspicious about everything they say. It's like someone telling you they like to fly kites at night. It's unnerving and unsettling.
    trseal and phephron like this.
  3. I only used three when I first started but gradually worked the pinkie in, I'm glad I did. But there are plenty of great players who don't, so it's not necessary but it's good to have that ability.
    DrThumpenstein likes this.
  4. Craig Orndorff

    Craig Orndorff Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2021
    How big are your hands? I have baseball mitts for hands the old timers say, so I can manage four frets without my pinky, but I still try to work it in there for flexibility’s sake. Depends on the line too.
  5. Beejay772


    Oct 8, 2013
    I'd be lost without my pinky. Mainly because after a work accident my ring finger has no feeling. I was a rhythm guitarist at the time and that made it very difficult. The band suggested that bass would be easier with 1 less finger. I think it might have been because they wanted to get rid of the bass player we had at the time. I made the switch and never looked back.
  6. Mario Afonso

    Mario Afonso

    Jan 23, 2019
    In my experience, using the ring finger causes some stress on my wrist. I play more relaxed using the pinky
  7. sheikbass


    Sep 13, 2008
    I find using my pinky finger helps me change hand positions less often, which is critical when I’m singing lead vocal while playing bass. I can focus more on vocal stylings and still play an adequate bass part.
  8. D M C

    D M C Oh good god, this again? Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    North America, Earth
    I have small hands, my pinkies are only 2/3 the length of my ring fingers and I sliced the tendon in my left pinkie about 20 years ago so you would think I would forsake my pinkie when I play, but I don’t. I do rarely use it to fret the E or A strings though and it is, surprisingly, more difficult to fret higher on the fretboard with my pinkie, so I more often use my ring finger under those circumstances.
    Anyway, I use all of my fingers. :)
  9. doctorwholittle


    Oct 27, 2011
    I don't believe I've ever witnessed Eric Clapton so much as lay a millimetre of his pinky on his fretboard, and he does just fine.

    Everyone has a different way that works for him/her. If it isn't affecting your playing in a detrimental way, I say keep on truckin'.

    Down the road, you may experience something that makes you change your mind and give it a try, at which time it will either galvanise you or you'll just say, 'meh... I'm okay.'

    Literally, the choice is yours, and unless you're an instructor, there's no 'wrong way to get getcher groove on.
  10. OregonJim


    Apr 3, 2021
    Wow. Really? I've seen him use his pinky quite a bit. Here's just one example:

  11. Toneguy66


    Mar 3, 2014
  12. icman


    Mar 12, 2012
    Does anybody use their 3 finger and their pinky to press down on a string at the same time. I find myself doing that a lot on the E and A string
  13. Wretched Banana

    Wretched Banana

    Mar 7, 2020
    MA, US
    Maybe due to excessively high action? Those strings have the lowest tension of the bunch too, so I don’t understand this. What problem does that address for you?
  14. ad9000

    ad9000 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Leucadia, CA
    Yes, but Django Reinhardt became one of the most influential guitarists in history with only two fully usable digits on his left hand, so YMMV.
    PrairieThunder13 likes this.
  15. PrairieThunder13


    Dec 21, 2015
    Sometimes i'll find myself using simandl in the "money zone", too, and i set my string height at 5/64" at the last fret with 0.010" relief. In my case, anyway, i'm sure it's just an old upright reflex, but it's certainly not necessary. Just my opinion of course. That said, i've also been mocked for doing frequent 5-6 fret stretches, so what do i know about simandl. I'd also be curious to hear more on this.
  16. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    On double bass, yes.

    On BG, the assistance of the other fingers is not necessary, but putting all fingers down on the string when stopping with the pinky helps keeping a good hand shape (very important for intonation on fretless).
  17. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    knw wht r sng, dn't s vwls, b prncpl.

    'd s stnd b r prncpls, n mttr wht!
    trseal and PrairieThunder13 like this.
  18. uniinu


    Apr 19, 2013
    Hayward Wisconsin
    4 fingers = 100% usage! Same with finger picking. But what works is great!
  19. Regardless of which fingers one has available, using the thumb to pivot can greatly increase the reach and at the same time "if so required" stay in position. When I got my first good digital camera (which took HD video) I made my first YouTube video.

    I made it in hopes of possibly being helpful.
  20. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    I use mine all the time. I can't reach three frets without it, even though I play a short scale bass. I have short stubby fingers, and yes it's true what they say. LOL It satisfies me and that's good enough. When I first read your post, I thought you were asking about the right hand. How many out there use your pinky on your playing hand? I don't but would be interested to know if any of you do use it.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

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