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Question about using your "pinky" finger

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by EclecticBassGuy, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. hello everyone! i have a question about the usage of the pinky finger on your right hand (right handed bass players). here's my story:

    i recently had a little accident on a skateboard, i crashed and really messed up my pinky on my right hand...messed up to the point where i cant straighten it out at all, and i cannot bend it all the way. now, i dont ever remember using my pinky on my right hand...but was wondering if not being able to use it would some how keep me from playing certain things or styles?

    i am still able to practice without any problems...but as times goes on i might want to try certain new things or techniques.

    so here's my question: how often do you use your pinky on the plucking hand?

    thanks in advance!
  2. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't use it at all for plucking. I suppose it does come in useful for damping strings though. But that shouldn't require an awful lot of flexibility on the part of the pinky :) Now if you're a piano player, messed up RH pinky is gonna piss you off...
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There are some techniques that might be difficult, like rippling through a chord shape with one finger after another, using all fingers on the right hand... However, that's not required for most bass playing situations.

    Hopefully your pinky will recover over time... if you want to seriously pursue music, it might be worth considering limiting your skateboarding though. There are great musicians who've had quite damaged fingers but I'd rather not have to overcome that obstacle if I can minimise the chances of it happening.

  4. i hear you loud and clear on this...lol

    thanks =)
  5. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    I do use my pinkie for plucking, but it is certainly not a requirement. I can remember injuring my index finger and not being able to use it for a gig - that was much more difficult.
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I used to skate....and I think one of the reasons I never got very good was because I was afraid to take big risks, because I was worried I might hurt my hands and thus not be able to play bass. So, now I am a terrific flatland skater :D...well not really, I know a couple tricks, and can stationary ollie REALLY high ;)

    One technique that might be hindred is flamenco strumming...there are flamenco styles that use the pinky to strum....but you may still be able to get around that.
  7. I use mine by placing it across the strings next to the bridge to produce tht "Motown" muted sound. That is the only thing I need it for.
  8. i'm not even going to go into detail on how exatly i wrecked my finger...it's just too humiliating. lol...my kids are still ribbing me for it!

    but for muting purposes, your pinky just more or less lays on the strings right?
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah....for the most part, you will have to apply some force to dictate how much mute you want, sometimes I even have my pinky rest beneath the string when I do that muting thing.
  10. You have to control the pressure against the string and move it around until you get the sound you want..
  11. believe it or not, i'm actully missing a joint in each of my pinkies. i have very limited range of motion in both of them. it really sucks cause i have small hands. trust me, you can get around it. some private instructers i've had have been very frustrated with me for "wrong" left hand technique, but noone's said anything about my right. so even if it's real messed up, i don't think you'll notice it much.

    by the way, that's the easiest way for me to tell if an instructor is worth working with. if he says i'm doing it wrong cause i was born that way, then he's not getting paid for another lesson.
  12. Ive never heard or seen anyone use there pinky to pluck or anything. So i wouldnt be too worried if I were you. I dont think it will help or hurt your playing any time soon.
  13. Well then you havn't met me!:p

    Seriously though, I use my pink finger but only minimally. I don't incorporate it into my playing that much. I wouldn't be too worried if you can never fully grasp the four finger technique because of your accident (but I'm sure you'll recover :)) If it was your ring finger, then you'd have a problem! :D

    Cheers, and have a quick recovery!

  14. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Speaking of that Motown sound, it's worth noting that James Jamerson apparently plucked with ONLY his index finger. I think you'll be okay without your pinky...
  15. Mazinger

    Mazinger Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2002
    I use my pinky to pick my nose when playing.

    I couldn't use my other three since I use that to pluck the strings. I'd just get stuff on my strings and that would just be gross.

    Sorry, I've had too much sugar today.