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Little Finger

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fleadom, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Hey

    Ive been playin a few years now and ive just recently noticed that i dont ever use my little finger in the way that you are supposed to, in fact the only time i use at all is with my ring finger on the same fret to make sure i dont get any rattle from loose fretting on my ring finger (which isnt particularly an issue i just do it instinctively).

    Anyway i am now trying to develop my technique with my little finger and while it is relatively strong it isn't particularly coordinated and i often dont fret with it close enough to the frets themselves and get a lot of fret buzz.

    I was wondering if anyone had any excersizes or pointer and tips to help me improve my technique with my little finger.
  2. I was the same way when I was at about 1 year of experience, and I set out to break the habit in order to have another fretting finger at my disposal.

    What I did was -slowly- play on each string, starting at the first fret with my index finger and then fretting up the next three frets with my middle, ring, and then pinky finger. I did this in all registers. After I was a little more mobile, I started practicing scales and runs focusing on using my pinky whenever it was most efficient. Finally, I practiced hammer-ons using index-middle-pinky and index-ring-pinky, pinky-index-ring, ect...

    The best advice is to go slow and gradually pick up speed and difficulty. It's tough to "unhook" your pinky from the ring finger at first, but it's well worth the practice!

    Best of luck!
  3. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    This is a great way to start, play a chromatic scale on every string using each finger for a separate fret, focusing on the pinky. Scale up and down the neck on each string up to the octave. Start slow enough to where you perform the scale flawlessly (this may mean VERY slow) and hit each fret with equal strength and clarity.
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    John Patitucci's "Spider" is a great exercise for the four fingers:


    I've recommended this exercise before, so here are some personal remarks I've posted about it as well:

    -This is to be played using strictly one finger per fret and the pattern is 1-3, 2-4, 3-1, 4-2.
    -60 bpm is a good tempo to start playing it.
    -Don't move to the next repetition until you feel comfortable with the current one.
    -(This is a very personal one) Keep the notes ringing the longest you can (specially on the slower sections - quarter notes). No matter if the notes overlap. Playing the exercise this way forces you to keep your left hand fingers in place the longest possible time and that's a demanding requirement. You'll have to adjust your right hand technique to accomplish this (plucking the strings with an upward motion, without resting your finger on the adjacent string).
    -If you understand the fingering pattern, you can extend the exercise to an instrument with more than four strings (although I can't imagine playing the last repetition on a 9-string bass).

    Hope this helps.
    bmb73 likes this.
  5. 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.

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