Weak pinky

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by stephanie, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    After playing the bass for over 6 years, it shows there will always be things to learn and problems to overcome.

    At my lessons my teacher and I have been working on the song "Vicarious" by Tool. I like Tool, but I'm definately not a hard rock player. If you know me, I'm the classical type. But one needs to be well-rounded.

    Anyway, my teacher has banned me from using my 3rd finger when playing this song. My pinky is weak and I need to build up strength. One particular problem is holding down the strings with the pinky.

    My question is: What are some good strength exercises for the pinky?
  2. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Hey Stephanie, try this one:


    5-string version:


    This is meant to be played exclusively with ring finger and pinky. I think it's great for the little finger. As usual, set your metronome to a really slow tempo and gradually build speed.

    Hope this helps. :)
  3. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    When you say you are the classical type, that suggests to me that you might play DB as well? I've found that since I started playing DB, my fingers are all more than strong enough on electric.

    As for some excercises to strengthen it, you could try using 124 fingering for everything you play for awhile. I'm actually fairly opposed to this fingering on electric, but it would get your pinky going in no time.
  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA

    Oh, Jeff, nope, actually I've never played DB. I've been strictly electric bass. Hopefully, someday, though, I will be able to learn DB.

    I've always been a "1 finger per fret" person, so it's funny that playing first finger on the 3rd fret and then pinky finger on the 5th fret is a new thing to me. I'm used to using the 3rd finger for that 5th fret.
  5. This might be obvious, but try playing it very very slowly, and whether the timing is right or not, and really make sure you're able to hold down the string, you should be able to get it after a while. Some other Tool songs should definately help, especially using hammer-ons with your pinky. Forty Six & 2 and Schism come to mind. Hell, the main riff in Schism is a great workout for the hand I think, and a real test of accuracy in your fretting.
  6. PrimusNut


    Mar 23, 2006
    Nova Scotia
    I had this same problem for almost a year. I was always a 1 finger per fret thing, but then I started experiencing wrist problems, so I adjusted my thumb placement on the neck, and changed to 1-2-4 fingering. The 1-2-4 REALLY built the strength up in my pinky. I suggest using this method for a while, as did Jeff.
  7. Suckbird

    Suckbird Inactive

    May 4, 2004
    Im doing alot of linear stuff, using all 4 fingers on all 4strings ;)
  8. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    My weak pinky resulted in me bending strings with my ring finger to slur into the note. This had a pretty big impact on my whole individual style as now I bend 'em at the drop of a hat. Sometimes a weakness can wind up a strength somewhere else. If everybody did everything correctly it would be much less interesting. Be careful what you 'correct'.
  9. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    Try using the 3rd finger to push the pinky down. Then lighten up after your pinky knows what to do. They share a common tendon. The pinky will learn.

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    Primary TB Assistant

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