Just noticed my pinky doesn't....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by wicked mr happy, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. I've been playing for about 5 months and I just noticed that I don't use my pinky on my left (neck) hand at all. I tried to see if i could but the thiung is i cant! My ring finger always comes down with it. Wierd thing is when I put my ring finger down on a fret my pinky doesn't have to move with it. It hasnt really been a real obstacle to my playing but I dont feel like a "real" bassist because I cant use the finger. Does anyone know any excercises to "fix" this?


    P.S.: Obviously, im self taught cause an instructor wouldve caught that real quick.
  2. bassandlax


    Dec 31, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    the only way to really train your pinky for regular usage is to use it regularly. It is essential that you learn yo use your pinky as well as any of your other fingers. It expands your reach and keeps shifting to a minimum. Try practicing hamerons and pullofs with just index and pinkie fingers, or something along those lines. The more you use it, the more comfortable it will be.
  3. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    What's the problem? If you can reach the note you are going for, why do you care if your ring finger comes down with your pinky or not?
  4. ill be sure and try that pinky hammer on excercise, thanks.
  5. Starrchild


    Nov 10, 2000
    The Bay.
    try playing octaves using your index and pinkey..
  6. punk in drublic

    punk in drublic

    Sep 18, 2002
    i had the same prob for about 6 months after i first started playing but i decided that the only way to fix it was to use it even if it wasnt necessary. for instance if yoiu play a song with your index and ring fingers try playing it with your middle and pinky instead. get it? it sounds wierd and feels it too and every teacher is probably laughing at this but it worked for me. also try playing songs that require the pinky to be used. dunno what type of music your into but a good one is teenage riot by the ataris as it will teach you to stretch you fingers and allow you to use your pinky. hope that helps!!
  7. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Well, i know my fretting hand pinky is double jointed,,, NOT a good thing, it curls up into it's own little world, and if i want to use it, i have to "Pop" it back out, unless i already have it popped out. but i can't change as quick because of it. i end up falling back on my ring finger, because it's quicker, when i try it with my pinky, there's a lag. Genetics suck.
  8. Well for the most part what you are describing is a typical problem for most if not all beginning bassist. Like the other guy was saying practice using it. I did and am doing the play with only pinky and ring finger and it is working really well for me. So I can honestly recommend the same thing.
  9. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    A good exercise for developing finger dexterity in general is to start at low F (first fret on your E string) and play 1-2-3-4, that is, index, middle, ring, pinky. Then move up one half step and up one whole string, and then repeat the pattern up the WHOLE freboard. It would look roughly like:


    This helps overall finger dexterity, as well as your pinky problem. Then do the same thing with a different finger order, like 1324. Start slowly, and play with a metronome. REALLY slowly. Speed will come with practice. Play your scales, but one finger per fret. The pinky strength will come, but not right away.
  10. Scott Green

    Scott Green

    Sep 16, 2001
    I have a GREAT exercise for you.

    First position your fingers on frets 9,10,11,and 12, one per fret on your G string.

    Next, while keeping fingers 3 and 4 on frets 11 and 12 of your G string, place fingers 1 and 2 on frets 9 and 10 of your D string. alternate 1-2, 1-2, etc. lifting ONLY 1 FINGER at a time. This forces each finger to work independently and strengthens your hand.

    when you finish doing fingers 1 and 2, move to 1 and 3. fingers 2 and 4 stay on the G string frets 10 and 12. fingers 1 and 3 now alternate 1-3, 1-3, etc. Fingers 1 and 3 should be on the D string frets 9 and 11.

    next move to fingers 1 and 4, then 2 and 3, and finally the really tough one 3 and 4. There are six finger combinations to work through and you should only need to do this for 5 MINUTES A DAY.

    do it slowly and remember to only lift 1 finger off the fretboard at a time. I got this out of Bass Player magazine and do it everyday as a warm up

    Good luck
  11. hayngman


    Aug 20, 2002
    Wise County, TX
    I have a problem similar to PollyBass. I got some nerve damage and now my pinky, palm and half of my ring finger are numb. My pinky has no strength and does not move like I want it to. These past few months I have had to change my style completely. I try exercises, but it gets worse every day. I fear my ring finger is next. It sucks :mad:
  12. Sprinkler

    Sprinkler [account disabled]

    Jul 31, 2002
    Do some chords or arpeggio's.

    Also the 1234 that was said is great, but even greater is when you let the fingers remain on the fretboard, to stretch your hand further.
    Like this: E - 3-4-5-6

    when you fret fret4, let your first finger remain at place, and continue, and then move up to the nut.
  13. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    The best thing you can do is to train yourself to use your pinky every time you think you should use your ring finger.

    In other words, practice your bass but do not use your ring finger at all. Think to yourself; ALWAYS use my pinky (even when it seems more natural, or makes more sense, to use your ring finger). After awhile, you will find that you seldom use your ring finger anymore for anything except when necessary (and it will not let you down as it is a naturally stronger finger anyway).

    When I started (about 25 years ago) I too, used my ring finger more. But now I just looked at my hand and I’ve got calluses on my first, second and pinky fingers, but none on my ring finger.
  14. oh!oh!oh!
    i have pinky handicap too! well i did. my pinky actually likes to snap in place and lock so its lame to use. what i did was just worked it ALOT. i actually played super easy basslines that i would usualy play with my index finger with all pinky. sure its hard, but it really builds up the strength in the little guy. now i can use my pinky rather smoothly, and i've bene playing for about a year and 4 months.
  15. work your pinky alot until it becomes natural.

    or, do what i accidentaly did. start playing guitar as well. you HAVE to use your pinky to play most chords(including power chords) so i just got used to having it in place.
  16. Pollybass, I've got the EXACT same proplem as you do. What I do is plan ahead, whether in freestyle or a song, and get that pinky up beforehand, works for me.;)
  17. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA

    Well, it's ok if i REMEMBER to. but i'll be playing a song, then i'll remember a part coming up that i need my pinky for,,,, horrified, i look to see my pinky curled up like the wicked witch's feet when she got hit by dortheys house. Then, as i know whats comming, i just wait till the part comes, and TRY to pop that sucker out, but it takes all of 5 seconds... so by that time,, useless, i end up making funky shift in my postions to compensate. I think i must look like i'm spazzing out up there. IT'S ALL THE PRESSURE!

    Stupid pinky, and i work it ALL the time. O well.
  18. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Another exercise very similar to the one that AMAZING WATERFOWL suggested is this:

    Chromatic scales, play 4 notes per string, one finger per note/fret. You'll not only build strength and dexterity in your weaker fingers, but if you say the notes (or think them) to yourself while you're doing it, you'll be learning the fretboard at the same time. So an example... good god, I'm making tAbZ...


    This pattern is very easy to loop, it's just a C chromatic scale that you wind up extending down to Ab on the low E just to include all the strings. Start with your 4th finger on the 5th fret C and, as stated before, play one note per finger per string, shift, repeat. You wind up shifting and using the same finger in a row at the bottom (with your index) and at the top (with your pinky) if you are looping the pattern. It's generally not the best thing to do to shift and use the same finger you just were just using... but we'll look over that little nit-picky style aspect for this exercise.