Pinky Excercise?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by KingDavid, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. KingDavid


    Dec 29, 2013
    I had a problem with my left hand not being strong enough to fret far distances. A while back, I did the spider every day for 30 minutes and it really helped my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers a lot! However, my pinky still bends and is stiff. Are there any good exercises for pinky?
  2. Jefff


    Aug 14, 2013
    Tape your two middle fingers together.

    Then practice.
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I used to make up vertical and horizontal patterns over the whole fingerboard using just my pinky and ring finger. That definitely helped bring my pinky more into play as an equal.

    I find the further you stretch the less strength you have especially in the pinky. I tend to shift more rather than go for big stretches.
  4. KingDavid


    Dec 29, 2013
    Yeah, but for a beginner like me, a nice 2nd to 4th finger from, for example, C-D on the A string is difficult. If the tempo is slow enough I shift my hand instead of trying the normal fingering. Like you said, though, ring finger and pinky only exercises seem to really work so far, as I've been practicing them for a few minutes already!
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    ......and potentially harmful. ;) Be careful when stretching on the lower frets. Use the ring and pinkie together and use the thumb as a pivot.

    As for pinkie exercises, this might help :

  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Spider exercises are good but they can, if practiced wrong, impair dexterity rather than improve it.

    In the link is a very simple exercise, if you can do it with ease then you just need to practice music that makes you use your little finger.

    If however you find that your ring-finger 'sticks' to the fretboard, and un-able to lift it and fret then this exercise will help loosen up the muscles and tendon in the hand.

    Issues with the little finger or ring finger are issues with both of them, not any single one, the middle finger can be a factor as is seldom any single finger that creates the issue in a healthy hand. :)

    Fingers Down

    Never restrict the fingers by restraining them, such as taping them together, this is not helping muscle memory as its not a conscious effort to hold them in position. There are exercises that use resistance not restriction.
    Dexterity is developed by practice and training the finger to do what you want them to do, it is a free movement not a restricted one.
  7. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    I stretch my wrist and finger tendons by holding my hands in the "prayer" position....then turning my hands so the fingers are pointing at me....and then raising my elbows and applying subtle pressures.

    I also take sponge balls and stick them one at a time between the fingers on my fret help stretch all the fingers apart.

    Although many problems appear to be the little finger's fault for actuality it's the ring finger that's causing the grief.

    The ring finger seems to have the least individual flexibility
    and it affects the little finger and the middle finger when playing.

    I also do individual stretches for the ring help make it a bit more "independent" from the little and middle fingers.
  8. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Use your pinky when you play as often as possible. That's the best exercise there is.
  9. emdsd

    emdsd Mongo only pawn in game of music!

    Feb 25, 2010
    Boyne City, Michigan
    My first bass teacher taugh me "double bass?" method using 1 3 4 predominantly on the lower frets. I'd say I use my 3 & 4 on the left hand pretty evenly to this day.
  10. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    Try playing with three fingers and notice how your little finger plucks "air" notes at the same time.
  11. KingDavid


    Dec 29, 2013
    True, but the problem is, my pinky is straight and tense whenever I press a note, unless it's a very small stretch. I just need a quick easy on-and-off the bass exercise.
  12. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Squeeze a tennis or squeeze ball between thumb and pinky, keeping the fingers as close to a circle as possible. Then release. Repeat. If your pinky collapses, back off the pressure until it builds up. Keeping the fingers in a circular shape is important. This is what my DB teacher recommended, as you can do this anytime, even without an object to squeeze. It's basically plain old reps.
  13. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    There's no such thing as quick. If there was, everyone would be using those crazy finger exercise machine things. If you just use your pinky while you play, it will do what you want it to over time. You need to develop strength and independence in it, and the only way to do that is to use it. The only exercise I've ever done without a bass on is one where you bend each finger down on your hand (one at a time) until you can get each finger to do so without another finger wanting to go with it (most common with your ring finger and pinky. They like to bend together rather than independently). I actually saw this exercise in Modern Drummer. Even with that, it took months before I gained complete independence in all fingers on both hands.
  14. jam -1

    jam -1

    Jun 17, 2006

    Try this book out its called Bunny Brunels Xtreme Bass with a cd probally find it on ebay cheap or guitar center It has all kinds of hand exercises to build that pinky up I know I have the same problem as you this book is awsome it has really helped me also get on ebay and oder a pro hands grip master it will do individual fingers
    I use mine all the time it has REALLY helped my pinky it runs about 15 bucks I got mine off ebay you can buy them with different tension mine is medium tension I hope this helps you it worked for me

    Take care and good luck
  15. MarkA

    MarkA *** Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Before looking at exercises to strengthen your pinky, I'd look at your hands, your bass, and your technique. I'm not saying that your technique is bad or that you shouldn't do exercises aimed at increasing strength, flexibility, independence, and endurance -- improvements in any of those areas can only help. But they can only help to a very limited extent if your technique is in the way. At best, improvement will be marginal and slow. At worst, you'll get injured.

    Again, not saying your technique is bad or that your pinky doesn't need dedicated exercise. I am saying that, based on your post, it's impossible to tell. The trouble-shooter in me says, "Check those other things first." How you hold your thumb and how you balance your hand on the fretboard, for instance, can make a difference in how far your pinky has to reach and how hard it has to work in general. (It's smaller than your other fingers -- don't put it in an unnecessarily disadvantageous position.)

    Maybe you know all this, though.

    Assuming your technique is sound (everyone's hands are different -- and I'm not saying there's only one "right" technique) and your finger is simply collapsing because it's weak or habituated to do that, you might try a few left-hand pinky-plucks of open strings and see if those encourage a more advantageous position. As with anything, use common sense and listen to your body.
  16. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Your pinky is already strong enough, what you lack is dexterity and to not be tense.

    I played a lot of scale and arpeggio to make it moves ... I also practice stuff like :


    this sound kind of ok over a blues/rock thing. First do it with index and ring fingers then with your middle and pinky.
  17. KingDavid


    Dec 29, 2013
    To clarify for some people:
    I have an '01 Mexican Fender Precision Bass
    My thumb is on the back of the fretboard, almost parallel to my 2nd finger
    By quick, I mean simple and something I can do within 30 minutes a day, minimum.
  18. JeffVanter


    Sep 23, 2012
    My problem is my ring finger! :eyebrow:
    I can use my pinky like nobody business but my ring finger is the one that I almost never use. I started off learning Misifits tunes which probably contributed to the use of my pinky more than my other fingers.
  19. KingDavid


    Dec 29, 2013

    Haha, you are actually correct! My problem is my ring finger. I figured that out today doing an exercise listed above, and my pinky is just weak and not used enough. My ring finger is what stops me.