Left hand pinky

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Darrellama, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. Darrellama


    Oct 12, 2012
    In trying to improve my speed and accuracy, I am finding that my pinky wants to come off of the neck involuntarily. I can't seem to keep it close to the frets when playing certain exercises or riffs. Has anyone else dealt with this issue? Any suggestions?
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Just stay conscious of it and in time it will fix itself.

    Practice fingertip tapping on tables and such, and focus on lifting the fingertips (especially the pinky) the minimum amount necessary.
  3. msaone


    May 13, 2012
    My left pinky is a little weak. Just gotta keep workin it
  4. My left hand pinky is actually stronger and more used than my ring finger, I'm working on that now.

    For you, consciously acknowledging what you feel is an issue and concentrating to remedy it will prove successful. Just like how I have to think to use my ring finger, it's getting better.
  5. It is usually a problem with hand position. Here's what I was taught...
    Make a fist (palm down), then relax your hand.
    turn your hand over, and bring it up to the neck of your bass.
    let the tip of your thumb rest lightly just BEHIND your first finger (the same place it will be when your hand is relaxed!) in the center of the neck.
    Now your hand should be in ideal playing position, and if you don't squeeze, each finger can achieve independent motion without a "fly away" pinky.

    Hope this helps!
  6. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    I'm sure we have dealt with that when we first start out....just keep at it and thru thousands of reps ur muscle memory will eventually tame the flailing digit to help out fingering fast passages, arpeggios in flawless time.....just remember the longer it does what it wants, the tougher the bad habit/technique is to break. I played for A LONG time and never paid too much attention to my right hand technique always worrying about the left and I bought a video which stressed good right hand technique as well and I found out that I wasn't always crossing strings with my alternating finger and it was a BITCH to get out of that bad habit and really had to go back to the basics of fingering scales and arpeggios slowly con concentrating on keeping those fingers alternating not just on one string but crossing the strings....this did A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE for my playing in time on fast and difficult passages and really the magics all in the right hand so be conscious of both and u will be miles ahead down the road...
  7. Yeah, getting your hand in a proper, relaxed position and just staying aware of the problem and conciously working to correct it will pay off. I'm a lefty playing righty, with my dominant hand on the neck, and even though my left hand is generally stronger and more coordinated than my right, my pinky still tends to go its own way sometimes as well. I just keep doing a lot of repetitive practice with it until muscle memory take over, which it will sooner or later(sooner with more practice).
  8. Darrellama


    Oct 12, 2012
    Thanks for all the great responses. I will keep at it until the issue goes away.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I didn't realize I even had one until you brought it up.

    Just kidding. Look up finger permutations exercises and all will become clear. They are boring and your pinky will get a little tired if you do them right. But it will work.
  10. Jim Kernan

    Jim Kernan

    Sep 25, 2008
    In my case it's my right hand. I'm a lefty. Turned out to be trigger finger & needed surgery. I hope it's not your case.
  11. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Another concept to help build sound left hand technique is always use 4 fingers even if u aren't covering 4 frets.....the "classical" method is say a span of three frets should be played with the first finger on the lower note and the fourth finger on the upper note. The second and third finger should remain on the string behind the fourth finger when playing the upper note. This really keeps ur hand comfortable in the first position where the frets are really long. I started out the one fret one finger guitar kind of position which really stretches ur hand out in the first position....when I finger a passage where I have to span those four frets in one hand position like say the major scale across three strings, I cover each fret with one finger, but only when I HAVE TO. When riffs only span a 3 or less fret per string passage, I use all four fingers which leaves ur hand more comfortable instead of covering each fret with one finger and leaving ur pinky to do nothing. Example is say the main riff of "blackdog", which has uses the chromatic blues scale of 4,,dim 5, 5 in it which I use first finger for 4, middle two finger for dim 5, and pinky for 5. No reason to stretch ur hand out and use the one finger per fret rule and leave ur pinky to do nothing....U will find ur fast riffs and passages will sound better, smoother, and ultimately faster because ur hand is more relaxed and natural vs all spread out and cramping for no reason.
  12. lostinjanuary


    Sep 27, 2011
    Irvine, Ca
    I call it rogue pinky syndrome. It goes away with practice.
  13. Pinky and ring fingers can take a lot more time to build up strenght, one good exercise is to play 7th arpeggios up and down the neck starting from the pinky position, you may want to start from the 5th fret and work up from there bringing the 4th and 3rd frets in at a later stage, they are played as follows: pinky on "A" 5th fret E string then ring finger on "C#" 4th fret A string followed by index finger on "E" 2nd fret D string and finally pinky on "G" 5th fret D string. Play slowly and try and get notes sounding smooth and connected, this can be quite strenuous at first so don't overdo it, the idea is to build strenght not injure muscles. To play a minor 7th simply drop the C# to C 3rd fret A string and play it with the middle finger. To play a half dim 7th play the "A" 5th fret E string with the ring finger then "C" 3rd fret A string with the index finger followed by "Eb" 6th fret A string with the pinky and finally the "G" 5th fret D string with the ring finger, this really works pinky and ring finger. To play a dim 7th play a Gb instead of G and use middle finger 4th fret D string. Try use these arpeggio shapes as part of your practice, working on them chromaticly up and down the neck and across starting on the E or A string. I'm not familiar with posting TAB so I hope these patterns are clear from what I have written.
  14. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Good advice all u tb'ers. Living colors "Cult of personality" is a tune I highly recommend learning, it has some chord and diad work in it, and the 48 note birrage of triplets the bass and guitar match each other riff played at a pretty brisk pace in total control will definitely help ur fingerstyle in the long run. This run has everything from open strings, string skipping, and uses all of ur digits in concert. Learn to play this riff with ur left hand all in the first position, use those open strings to ur advantage for flawless position shifts. Don't worry if u don't master it in one sitting....I doubt many people have and work ur way up tempo wise and when u start clanking notes and playing out of time garbage....SLOW DOWN. I can't tell u how invaluable learning this will be for ur playing...I warm up for gigs playing the run cuz its works all the right things at once....happy learning.