1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Right hand pinky?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by cica, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. cica


    Sep 18, 2012

    I know this isn't a critical thing, but I noticed while playing last night, my pinky and ring finger tend to float up while I'm plucking with the index and middle fingers. This is making my hand a little tense; not too much that I can't play, but I'm migrating from guitar where I used to use all my fingers to walking with just 2 digits.

    I'm sure I can unlearn it, but I'm not sure which direction to head. I've tried:

    • Tucking my fingers tightly under my palm
    • Buddied with my middle finger
    • Floating in the air
    • Perched on the pickguard

    So much focus is put on the left hand, that all I can find on this is "do what feels right". I need to unlearn guitar habits. I did manage to minimize my thumb picking, and get used to the two finger thing, but I'd really like your opinions on this.

  2. russtolium


    Jul 12, 2010
    I've recently been dealing with this as I'm getting more comfortable with 3 finger technique. I also tried all the things you did and none of them worked for me.

    What has been working for me lately is focus on having the entire right hand as relaxed as possible and doing some slow, simple practice and every time I feel my pinky wanting to tense up, I make sure to relax it. I also found it was easier to relax my hand using floating thumb technique which I think helped too.

    I'm still working on it but the progress is promising.
  3. temmrich


    Jan 29, 2012
    Columbus, Ohio
    You might try using your pinky and ring finger to mute unused strings. For example, while playing the g-string use your pinky to mute the E and your ring finger to mute the D. This will get those fingers involved in your playing. It takes practice, but it will help your sound as well as keep your hand relaxed.
    Check out some youtube videos of Ed Friedland to see a perfect example of this type of muting.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Try using a coin, about 25mm (1inch) in diameter. Put it in the crook of your little finger and hold is steady, not tight, but steady and not only see the difference, but feel and hear the difference.
    Check out the links

  5. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Wow,,you got a P strung with 60-120 Flats???

    Tuned to E???

  6. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Not sure why you would need or want to train your pinky to be in that position?

    You will never be able to do a 3 finger technique with that coin trick. The pinky needs to float with the ring finger.

    I am missing the right index finger so essentially use a 3 finger technique -1.
    There is no way that my ring finger would be useful at all with a coin held by my pinky.

  7. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I keep my right hand knuckles bent - as if I'm about to grab something. It's very relaxed and gives me the best dexterity I've found.
  8. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Your not training any one thing, you are through the use of holding the coin doing many things, one of which is allowing the fore and middle finger so work better and more efficient.
    Our hands have two very distinct sides, each side has its own main blood and nerve supplies, so by giving the ulnar side a task to occupy it, that frees up the radial side.
    The radial side is for dexterity, the Ulnar side is for strength and power.

    This is not trying to restrict any finger, it is the opposite, it is given them a job to do so they do not react and interfere with other fingers....the floating up or twitching on the Ulnar side of the hand is a direct reaction to the radial side use.
    The other benefit is that when decide you want use the ring finger it will be better prepared for use as you have been gently stretching the tendon and attachments it shares with the little finger.

    It provides a balanced use of the hand rather than a dominated radial side use so it helps tone the whole hand, not just one side.
    If we alter the relationship to between the little and ring finger, we also change the relationship between the ring and middle finger, that means the relationship between the middle and fore finger has been changed, that's why it is considered a balanced use.

    Now the tendons of the ring finger are not so tight to the little finger, that's why you hold the coin gentle, and allows an easier independence of use.
    When the hand gets tired, the muscle fibres will relax and the coin will fall out. This indicates time to take a rest, so it also gives you an indication to how the hand is developing its use and when to rest so you do not over do it.
    Eventually the coin can be held indefinatly because the tendons are relaxed and gently stretched through use, then no more need for the coin, let playing develop the function. The coin can be used in warming up and then discarded when playing starts.
    If I were a piano player this would not be an issue as the full hand gets used to play, again looking at this as a bass playing issue is a very narrow view of hand use.

    Certainly it is hard to start with, but there is no physical reason why it would not benefit anyone that decided to develop it, there is every chance that you have already developed the use because of the lose of the index finger, so your hand uses the ulnar side of the hand more because of it.
    For those that can hold the coin and play with no problems then you have already developed that side of the hand sufficient to use it....as I said it acts as an indicator to how good the function is or has been developed.
    Our bodies have a great way of adapting when needed, the power properties of the Ulnar side can be adapted and trained to be dexterous like the Radial side. :)
  9. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member


    Thanks for the well thought out explanation. My ring finger is weaker and for obvious reasons. If I am a palling a slow song I try to use only the ring finger. I still have problems with faster 8ths, not with keeping up so much, but with consistency.

    Maybe I should work on the coin trick to help there.
  10. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    By all mean use it, all the coin does is activate the ulnar side of the hand so it does not interfere with what the radial side does.
    As the main use on the radial side is the default position of fore and middle finger with the thumb opposing them.
    To see this in action, put the coin on a table, now pick it up.
    Look at the motion of the ulnar side, the little finger moves in towards the palm and takes the ring finger with it leaving the hand clear to action the precision dexterity of picking the coin up with the Radial side.

    When you carry your bass in a case, look at how you hold the handle, little and ring finger take the strain then add middle and fore finger, the action is controlled by the Ulnar side not the Radial side.
    If you lift flight cases on side handles, notice what part of the hand controls the action.
    If you alter the weight of something you are carrying when the hand gets tired, you will alter it back deeper into the Ulnar side, not forward on the the Radial side.

    When you knock on a door the action is to turn the hand so the palm faces you and knock with the radial side.....if you want to hit the door harder such as bang on it, you turn the hand and bang on it with the Ulnar side.
    The fact all the fingers on the weaker non-dominant hand can be trained to fret notes, means that all the fingers on the stronger dominant hand can pluck better and with better dexterity if the use is developed correctly.:)

    Use finger spread exercises/stretches as well to increase the strength and dexterity of the fingers even more.
    Also try full joint exercises/stretches to keep the fingers supple and develop the correct joint use.

  11. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    well there is Hadrien Feraud and Dominic Di Piazza who play with thumb-index-middle-ring.

    As for the question I use the floating thumb technic because I find it very comfortable on a 6 strings bass also I can use all my fingers and my ring and pinky are curved like all the others

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.