Pinky Problem.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by 216, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. 216


    Oct 25, 2005
    Ok I have this problem with my fretting hand pinky. It sticks way out there when I use my ring and M finger. I had this problem with my M finger which I fixed somehow. But my pinky just doesnt wana co-operate with me at all.

    Any advice on how to fix this would be appreciated.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I had that problem when I first started out. My teacher was always calling my attention to it. He told me to remember to curl it toward the fret board. You may have to concentrate on doing that and really think hard to keep doing it.

    He told me that if I didn't keep it curled toward the fret board, it would slow down my playing because the finger will have so much further to travel to fret.

    I stubbornly resisted and even tried to play without ever using the pinky because it seemed so much weaker than the other fingers. But I wised up eventually. You can strengthen the pinky finger by working continuously to fret notes with it and, of course, to keep it curled close to the fretboard. Good luck. You can do it with time.
  3. 216


    Oct 25, 2005
    thanks man Im gona spend literally all night working on it. Before the habbit gets much worse then it already is. My buddy said dont worry about it! But I knew it just wasnt right.
  4. ireidt


    Mar 6, 2005
    Simplae way to do this, work on scales through the circle of 4th and 5ths, using all 4 fingers. Will strengthen that pinky, thats for sure.
  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    IMO, this exercise from John Patitucci's first instructional video is great. He calls it "The Spider" and you'll understand why when you play it:


    Some personal remarks:

    -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.
  6. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Because, before I switched to bass, I played guitar with my first three fingers exclusively. My fingers felt squished playing four frets with four fingers on a guitar, but on a bass, it's so much more natural.

    Keep this in mind. The three most important fingers of your hand in terms of grip are your thumb, middle and pinky.

    Without them, you can't hold a ball. Well, you can, but not with much strength.

    Try brushing your teeth with your left hand, etc. Anything that requires good, forceful grip that you may accomplish now with your right hand (assuming your right-handed) can be manipulated to help your left hand strength.

    My pinky on my left hand is one of the strongest fingers now.
  7. 216


    Oct 25, 2005
    Ok I got another question but im just gona put it in here vs starting a whole new topic. If I curl my fingers in to fix the pinky problem how am I supposed to left hand mute too? I wana be able to mute but fix this problem as well.

    Thanks for the help so far guys.
  8. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    I've used this for years with variations. The standard is 1-3-2-4, 3-1-4-2. Next try 1-2-3-4, 2-1-4-3. Then as a group, 1-3-2-4, 3-1-4-2, 1-2-3-4, 2-1-4-3. Then of course, 1-4-2-3, 4-1-3-2, etc, etc...
  9. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I just do not get it. In my mind, none of the advice here is real helpful. All these exercises can be acomplished with sloppy technique. He plays stuff now. How does playing some different stuff magically make this problem go away?

    So. What to do?

    Place all four fretting fingers down on one string next to each other on four frets. All four finger tips will be fretting the same string on four next to each other frets. Play that note. It will be the pinky note. Now raise that pinky up just a little bit and play the next note. It will be the ring finger note. Keep the pinky right above the string. Like 3/16 above. Now, raise the ring finger WHILE KEEPING THE PINKY IN PLACE. This is moving the ring finger independent of the pinky. Now play the middle finger note. Now raise the middle finger WHILE KEEPING THE PINKY AND THE RING IN PLACE. Now you are fretting with just the index finger, and the three other fingers should be at the exact same height above the fretboard.

    This exercise is designed to break the habit of raising the pinky higher and higher up off the fretboard with each raised finger. Most people raise the pinky, then raise the ring and the pinky, then raise the middle and the index and the pinky, so at the end they are each a little higher off the fretboard.

    You can do this away from your instrument on a ruler or CD case or DVD case or book.

    I admit that my pinky is better, but it just is not as well behaved as the other fingers.

    So, yes do the above exercises, but play them slow enough that you are always keeping all your fingers hovering just above the strings.

    Oh, and do not work all night on this. Better to work 15 to 30 min a day for many days in a row instead of a few long periods of time.

    Good luck.
  10. lyle

    lyle Guest

    Jan 10, 2004
    Vernon, B.C. Canada
    I swear by the spider! it's ridiculous becuase it was the first exercise I know and I still do it today, with variations of course