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"Training" the ring finger...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by misterk73, May 21, 2002.


  1. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Anyone have suggestions for "training" the ring finger on my plucking hand? My index and middle fingers are strong, but my ring finger seems palsied when I try to incorporate it -- and I've been trying for awhile now.

    What works? What doesn't? Anyone else frustrated by this problem or is it just me?

    I really want to develop a three-finger technique, but it's a hinderance when I play in a band situation (and I unfortunately don't have much time for practice outside of band rehearsals and jam sessions)...

    Thanks!
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Just play 8ths and 16ths with a strong accent on the one. The accent will move from finger to finger, since you play groups of four with three fingers.
    This will quickly help all three fingers.

    IMO there's no need for specific exercises for the ring finger, since the strength is already there.
    What you want to practice is dexterity, which can be done best with "real world" exercises.
     
  3. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Working in the ring finger is much more difficult than working in the middle finger. The only real answer is to keep playing increasingly tricky lines using all three fingers, until you don't have to think about finger movements anymore.
     
  4. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Good suggestions both. The distinction between strength and dexterity is a good one, methinks. I was hoping, though, that there might be some tricks I could use to help me along in building BOTH strength and dexterity.

    For example, I once heard someone recommend taping the "weaker" ring finger to the "stronger" middle finger. Sounds a little fishy to me, but I'm curious if anyone has tried something like that and achieved good/bad/ugly results...
     
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I don't think too much of that idea, since you want a certain degree of independence in all three fingers, so taping will be contra-productive IMO.

    This taping idea stems from the popular "Hanging Ten" lesson, but I don't think it's essential at all.
     
  6. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I agree with JMX. Taping the finger can help develop its strength, but that won't help speed, dexterity or independence. Only actual practice can do that.

    Still, give it a try, and use the method that you think works best for you! ;)
     
  7. I do solo ring finger playing, ring and middle, and ring and index together. Ya gotta remember that the ring and middle are close brothers and will help each other out. Get those 2 to work independently and then the family of 3 will be a lot happier. Tripelts, groups of 4 (as mentioned above), string skipping, etc. will help. Use a metronome and focus on clarity, dynamics, and accuracy. Good luck!
     
  8. malibu

    malibu Guest

    Dec 26, 2001
    well, yes, I have - seemed like a silly gimmick but hey . . .
    first try taping the index + middle and the ring + pinky so you are still using only two "fingers" initially -
    really feels more like you've grown a lobster claw and play bass with it !
    and then, only taping the ring + pinky together (both "weak" I guess, but together more strength) and start using the three fingers until you won't want the tape anymore.

    Good luck.
     
  9. I keep trying to play with three, but since most things I play are in groups of four, i find it extremely hard.