Pinkey Salute

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jifdeng3, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. jifdeng3

    jifdeng3 Guest

    Nov 30, 2003
    Charleston SC
    Ok, I have done a search and I cannot find an answer to this. How can I train my pinkey (and index occasionally) finger to stay down on the fretboard, and not stick straight out? I have been "playing" for a couple months, but I am trying to get serious now, and this problen is annoying. I do have control of it to fret notes, I just cannot keep it down! Help!! :confused:
  2. ((ZASDER))


    Feb 26, 2005
    Buffalo NY
    Im a newbie as well...I also started playing a couple months ago and my teacher said when your not playing bass or your like just sitting there watching the tv place your hand palm down and try getting to know your fingers by lifting them speratly them in pairs and get them independent.

    When im playing I use to have the same problem but its gone away since I practice a lot.....

    Also try playing walking bass lines... I actually just learned this but its extremly hard becasue my fingers arent long enough


    For the 5th frets only use your index
    6th - middle
    7th - ring
    8th - pinkie

    Now the hard part... place index on the 5th and keep your finger down then play the 6th middle keeping your fingers down....and keep going...Keep all four fingers down! and only move the one needed to be moved. Start out slow you will get it. The hardest part is moving your ring to G -7 Without moving your pinkie from A -8 but I was told your fingers will stretch and what not to get all good.

    Hope that helps.
  3. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    First off, practice makes perfect, I would reccoment scales at first, to help stretch your fretting hand more. The Gig Bag Book of Bass Scales is a good book, has standard notation and tabs in it.

    What I do to et my pinky onto the fretboard, is before I practice at all, I do this little exersize on my bass put your index finger on the 12th fret of the G string, then your next finger ( middle ) on the 13th, ring on the 14th and your pinky on the 15th, while playing each note, chromatically up and down.

    Now move everythign down! so now yout index will be on 11 middle on the 12th, etc, chromatically all the notes forward and backwards.

    Keep doing that until you get to the end of the fret board

    Once you get that down, try it again, this time your index finger si on the 12th of the D string, while the rest are still on the G, do the same steps as above, but keeping your index on the D string

    Now try it again with your index on the 12th of A, and your middle finger on the 13th of D, same steps

    Eventually you will have your fingers with the index on E 12, middle on A 13, ring on D 14, and pinky on G 15

    Not only will that build callus in your pinky, but it will help doubling up your ring finger with your pinky, to keep that pinky on the fretboard at all times..

  4. i found that it just comes with time, and a lot of practice. when you start out, your hand/wrist muscles arent strong enough, or trained enought to keep your little finger flat. the best way i found was to play walking bass lines like Zasder said, but also, an orchestra technique i learned could be helpful. since you are not supposed to use your third finger on almost anything on a orchestral bass, when ever you use your little finger, your ring finger presses down too, to support it. you might try that.
  5. Not to be depressing but those miniscule motor reflexes take months if not years to come to grips with. All the stuff these guys said is right on; just make sure you're slow and precise.

    Also the fact that your pinky and ring fingers share lower tendons means you will never truly get them independent, Robert Schumann butchered his concert career trying to mend his technique so remember not to over do it!

    Best of luck with your technique. :bassist:
  6. Staceman


    Mar 8, 2005
    Everett, PA
    Just found this forum today, and was looking for a discussion about this kind of stuff.

    I've only been playing for little under 2 months now, so I'm certain I have quite a long way to go. Thus, there are some things that I know will just take time to work out.

    However, there is an issue with my fretboard fingers that makes it feel like I'll never get anywhere. A pentatonic scale, for example; I have a really tough time getting my index and ring fingers to distance themselves from each other, it's as if they bow in towards each other. This makes it tough to use my ring finger where I think I should be. While I try and try to use my ring finger, I always end up just using my pinky instead since it can reach other fret with less resistance, and this gives me other problems it seems.

    Should I continue trying to use my ring finger to get it in shape? Like, will it eventually work it's way out? Or is there cases where the physical structure of your fingers prohibits you from doing things the "right way"? I've messed with computers for many years, and I sometimes think that this may have led to my fingers being the way they are.

    This is especially aggravating when I'm trying to play Sabbath's "Paranoid", not only on the intro, but when trying to throw in those little details Geezer throws in, that I bet a lot of people don't even bother with. Like, on the main riff of the song, on the A string, where you play the 7th fret, then move to the 5th. There's a few places in the song where Geezer throws a little thing in there (sorry, I don't quite know all the proper terms yet, is this a "run"?) where he does a 5h7 on the D string, then 5h7 on G, then returning to the A string, 5th fret, to finish the latter half of the riff. Sometimes I can hit it, but most of the time I'm fumbling around, especially when trying to play along to the song.

    Is there hope? ;)
  7. chekerbored


    Nov 18, 2004
    I've been playing for some 2 years or something.

    When i started, i fretted with fingers in pairs usually (dont know why, might've helped with finger fatigue) I didt this especially with the pinky and ring finger.

    I took a class guitar class last semester, and this has improved my bass skills drastically. It taught me exactly what you guys are trying to learn, and the only way to do is is practice. The way we did it was playing in First Position (assign fingers to frets, ours was index-1, middle-2, etc.). You could only play that fret with that finger. It was real tricky at first but once you practice for a while it feels natural. I cant play any other way now.

    My next adventure is learning more scales and theory, cuz all i know right now is blues scale, but i can totally master all of it. I kind of am teaching myself the major scale, and the pinky helps alot. so again. PRACTICE ALOT. YOU'LL GET THERE. and when you do you'll appreciate the work. everything you do now is the building blocks for later experiences, teach yourself right now, cuz bad habits are hard to break
  8. Staceman


    Mar 8, 2005
    Everett, PA
    I took the advice from this, and other threads, and changed the way I do it, since it's still early.

    I must have built up my pinky pretty good in that little bit of time since I started playing, as now when I use my middle and ring fingers, I get much more fret noise and such, but I understand that's all part of the game when you're still learning, needing to build those finger muscles up.

    Thanks for the advice! :)
  9. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    I have the Pinkey Salute with my right hand. when I really start to get into it my Little pinckey just stick out like I'm drinking some kind of fancey tea.
  10. I don't use my pinky, I know I should though.. And I've been trying goddamn annoying little finger
  11. xonebass


    Feb 17, 2005
    Orange, CA
    As has been mentioned before, the best way to really work the fingers independently is to use first position practice scales. For example try this:

    Play the E string 1st fret with the index finger, 2nd fret with the middle finger, 3rd fret with the ring finger, 4th fret with the pinky finger. Then move onto the other strings.

    If that's too easy, try playing the 3rd and 4th fret only on each string while you keep your other fingers on the fretboard. This will greatly enhance your finger independence and strength. :bassist:

    I CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH - PRACTICE SLOW. Sorry to shout, but I really had a hard time actually doing what my bass instructor first suggested. He's right - the slower you practice the better you will be when you actually need to play at normal speed. Also, it has the added side benefit of strengthening your fingers.

    I see a lot of bassists in particular with what I call the claw - they use four fingers to fret one note and they never stretch out their fingers :mad: . You'll know that when you can reach to the sixth fret (and still fret properly) from the first fret (i.e. index finger first fret, pinky sixth fret) on a 35" scale bass that you've done your homework and you'll no longer be part of the claw crowd. Also, it's highly beneficial if you ever play contrabass.

    As others have mentioned though, Rome wasn't built in a day. It's all about what you do everyday (not for 12 hours one Saturday) month after month, year after year. Also, if you ever stretch too far and it hurts - Stop! :eek: Hands need to be warmed up and cooled down (I do several hand exercises before I practice on bass) but they also need a rest every once in a while.

    Keep with it - you'll get there. Remember it's not about how good you can get this month - it's all about how good you'll bein in 5 years.
  12. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    I don't think it really matters. I've seen Steve Vai, Jimmy Page, Vic Wooten, and even Michael Angelo Batio curl up their pinky when not in use.
    Who's to say they are good players?
    I think it is some sort of genetic thing maybe.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Guitarists tend not to use their pinky fingers.
    I've seen Wooten play since his teens...he always seemed to use everything at his disposal.

    There have been numerous threads about getting one's fretting hand "in shape". You want to use all(if you have 'em, why not use them?) & you want finger independence.
    I say start higher on the neck than lower...on the "E"-string-
    Index at the 9th fret
    Middle at the 10th fret
    Ring at the 11th fret
    Pinky at the 12th fret

    Move ONLY the INDEX up & down...just barely off the string, just enough to break contact. You want to develope 'economy of motion'.

    Now, put the INDEX finger back & repeat the procedure with the MIDDLE.

    Next, the RING.
    Finally, the PINKY.

    Eventulty, start moving the fingers, ONE AT A TIME, to the other strings. Again, use your other hand to help out!

    Also, make sure your fretting hand's wrist is in a decent position.
    From your initial post, it sounds to me like you need to pivot the wrist into your's sounding like you have more of a guitarist's angle goin' on.
    Guitarists play more chords, therefore, a different angle is required.
  14. mashed potatoes

    mashed potatoes

    Nov 11, 2003
    mine used to always do that. over time it just seemed to sit down by itself. i also went through a phase where if i wasn't using my pinky, it was start to sneak under the neck. i didn't know the cause of either problems, but as i played more and more, both went away by themselves. i think it's a matter of finger strength and practicing things that require a lot of steady finger movement like walking basslines.
  15. Staceman


    Mar 8, 2005
    Everett, PA
    hehheh.. I too have the pinky "sneaking under the neck" problem sometimes, especially when playing the D and G strings.

    It seems that practicing the excercises I've learned about on here is helping though.
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