Using pinky instead of third finger?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Papayas?, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Papayas?


    Feb 18, 2010
    My hands are pretty small, so when in first position, my pinky will go to the third fret when playing fast, instead of my ring finger. Is this acceptable? Or should I practice stretching my ring finger to reach?
  2. dirtymungoo


    Dec 24, 2009
    play how you are comfortable their is no "acceptable" way you make they way you play not anyone else. IMO it's better and more effective if i play with every finger but that doesn't mean its the "way" to play.

    Good Luck
  3. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    If you have small hands, don't use one finger per fret on low notes. Use your thumb to pivot. Tendinitis is not pleasant.
  4. Its okay if you cant stretch the ring finger to the 3F, but work on getting the ring finger next to pinky to support the pinky finger. Use the thumb to pivot, elbow out.
  5. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    The ring finger is the lasiest of them all IME. Just practice using it. Start slow - it will eventually become 2nd nature.
  6. +1 Keep working that ring finger. It can seem hard at first but, one day,
    you'll forget that it was ever a problem.

    One thing you can try is, while keeping your thumb planted on the back
    of the neck, slightly pivot the wrist to get that ring finger over to the
    third fret. Your index finger doesn't have to be directly over the first fret
    as you play that third fret. The goal is to use all four fingers; not to have
    them stretched across four frets. In time, it will become very natural.

    In the long run, I think you'll be better served by using all four fingers
    (e.g. more efficient and most likely better).

    When I was first learning bass, I asked this same question. One finger
    per fret seemed near impossible to me (and it was very easy to find
    a lot of bassists who don't follow this convention so there was a lot of
    temptation to not do it). But, at the insistence of my teacher and at
    the recommendation of many bassists whom I considered to be very
    good, I stuck with it. Now, I find myself often stretching (with a little
    pivot) for that fifth fret. I'm convinced that even small hands can
    handle one fret per finger if they stick with it.
  7. Randall


    Aug 6, 2009
    Or maybe try a short scale bass? Not that I have small hands but the ease of playing a 32" versus 35" is very apparent to me.
  8. j_nition


    Jul 28, 2009
    I'm a pinky player. I like it and it has improved my dexterity when I break out my acoustic guitar too. I find my self grabbing for chords and adding pull offs I had never done as second nature now
  9. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    I usually use fingers 1-2-4 on the lower notes of the neck, as I have pretty small hands. Same technique as the double bass.
  10. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    Feel better now..Having similar pinky, 3rd finger issues. Been working the 3rd finger in hopes of it coming to life one day. Thanks.
  11. 1-2-4 on the lower frets is generally used unless you have massive hands.
    Eventually you'll find you won't need to really think about what fingers you're using, it will just come naturally.
  12. Gasman

    Gasman Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I use my pinky over ring finger all over the place. I was told the DB guys do this by a bass teacher when I was first starting out and stuck to it. It's now extremely comfortable, and saves my hand from cramping.
  13. manny188


    Oct 24, 2009
    I also had a very lazy ring finger, but my teacher insisted that I should learn one finger per fret, so I did some exercises everyday and I gotta say that now it is second nature and it is really nice not having to be all over the fretboard plus you gotta love the fingers walking like a spider, now I can even reached 5th fret using my pinky with a pivot of the thumb, but hey Im 6'5" so I got pretty big hands
  14. Already In Use

    Already In Use

    Jan 3, 2010
    So does BIG hands =(ya know?) :eek:Ha! Couldnt resist.

    I've been playing blues scales up and down with the 1 & 3 finger for exercise.
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    1-2-4 is the most common double bass fingering technique. I use it on electric bass as well. There's obviously more shifting, which with practice, becomes second nature.