beding with 3rd finger

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by rickman769, Jun 6, 2005.


  1. rickman769

    rickman769 Member

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    ever since i started playing ive always bent notes that stretch 4 frets or more with all four of my fingers, as well as just playing notes.
    I seem to use my pinky alot more than other guitar players ive seen.
    It seems like most people use their 3 fingers to reach across 4 frets and bend.
    Is it bad that i use my pinky and my 3rd finger?
    I hope this made sense.
    Thanks
     
  2. rickman769

    rickman769 Member

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    what im talking about is
    supose an E minor scale starting on the twelth fret
    oh the high E string the last 3 notes are on frets 12, 14, and 15
    i fret the 12 with my first, 14 with my 3rd and 15 with my pinky.
    When i do a whole step bend from G to A i fret 12, 13,14, and 15 with fingers 1,2,3,4 and bend up.
    Ive noticed that many players will fret 14(f) with their 3rd finger and slide it up to 15(g) and bend using only those 3 fingers. I've found this especially true when they are playing a pentatonic scale pattern.
    I've always thought it was more efficient to use my pinky in that case, but more and more im seeing players do it the way i just described ( including the likes of Joe Satriani and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others)
    Is my technique improper, or do I just play differently?
    I hope this clears it up
    Thanks
     
  3. rickman769

    rickman769 Member

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    nothin?
    i hope its not because of my foolish spelling error on the title
     
  4. Brian D

    Brian D Member

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    Hey rickman,

    Most of the guitar instruction books that I have seen suggest that you use your pinky in a variety of ways, including for bending. And I can't name any off the top of my head, but rest assured there are many great players who use their pinkies for bends. I'd say if anything your technique is better if you can do it. Most of us use the ring finger because it is stronger and easier to use, and we are too wimpy to build up our pinky. But if you can use yours and get the effect that you want, then you not only have more fingers on the string for control but are also strengthening your pinky for other uses on the fretboard. Even wider bends maybe? Or how about those wide-stretch shredder licks? Anything that gives you more finger strength, control, and improves dexterity has to be good.

    And the bottom line: If it works, don't mess with it!
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    What you are doing is more technically correct (for whatever that's worth). A lot of guitarists never developed the control over the pinkie enough to use it for bends.
    BUT.....in Rock and Blues accurate, expressive bending and a variety of vibrato techniques are critically important. So you might check yourself out on that end, and perhaps think about adding some 3rd finger bends to your arsenal for certain applications.
     
  6. Stew

    Stew Member

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    Rickman, I have the same quandary as you. I'm used to using the little finger and when I concentrate on using just three fingers I do OK, but if I'm concentrating on something else the pinky slips it's way back in there. The way I see it, the ring finger is faster and stronger as long as I don't have to stretch it too far. It works best up the fretboard where the frets are closer. Down the fretboard the pinky works better. I can bend pretty well with the pinky but the pad of the ring finger is bigger and I don't miss with that as often. I've been watching Eric Clapton and he pedals(?) with the index finger and two or three frets up he is fretting with both his middle and ring fingers in an alternating way. Really fast. I've been working on that. My weakness right now is the stretch between the middle and ring fingers. I can barely stretch two frets. I saw the interview with Peter Frampton that's playing on Direct TV now and he admitted, although somewhat sheepishly, that he uses his pinky. I guess in conclusion, I'm not going to abandon the pinky but I'm going to try to use the ring and middle fingers as much as possible.
     
  7. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    Agree with the notion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I do most of my bends with the 3rd finger (reinforced) and the 4th finger (again reinforced), depending on the run.
     
  8. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I'll almost always use the third ringer rather than the pinky for bends, mostly because I want the pinky free to grab another note while the bend is in place.

    Using the same Eminor position from the example above: Let's say you bend the D on the second string, 15th fret, up to the E above it. If you use your third finger to bend, you still have the pinky free to grab the G on the first string, 15th fret. If you bend with the pinky, grabbing that G would be somewhat tricky.
     
  9. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

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    I have seen some good players do some strange things that wouldn't work for me but worked very well for them. After all is said and done, it's how it sounds that counts.

    I never really analyzed it before but I only use a single finger to bend a given note. The other fingers are free to go do something else. When you use all of your fingers as in your example you are locked in to that single note until you release it.

    The ring finger is an important finger for bending notes and I find that I use it most often. I don't think I use my pinky for any more than a half step bend because it is usually in too weak a position relative to my thumb to get enough leverage.
     
  10. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    its funny....i dont use my pinky to bend too much, i use my 3rd finger...but like someone stated above, i use the pinky for other stuff, like hammer ons when im bending....

    my problem is this....how many of you cats on here have trouble with your skin ripping underneath the nails from bending? i only seem to have this problem with my middle fingers nail, but its starting to happen on my pointer finger too. after a long gig, it kinda makes bending a tiny bit painful....i almost always end up shooting some superglue under my nail when i get home or else every time i bend for a few days after, it gets worse/ and or stings like a mofo! a few times its ripped so bad that the nail gets seperated almost half way up the underneath of the fingernail! anyone else have this problem????? sux dont it?!
     
  11. mikeyp123

    mikeyp123 Guest

    yup, I sorta have the same problem, but not as nearly as bad as you. I play 10s and on a Gibson scale, so bending is a breeze.. but when I switch to the strat I sometimes get the string caught under the nail.. my middle finger nail has slowly become shorter due to this.. and the tip of the finger has built up significantly, compared to my right hand.
     
  12. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

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    Esoteric Pete,

    What gauge strings are you using? Are they to heavy for what you are trying to do?

    It sound like you may be bending too much with the tip rather than the pad. The act of bending is separating your finger from the nail which sounds like you are too high on the finertip. They are moving in opposite directions. If you were using more of the pad, you would be pushing/pulling the flesh of the fingertip towards rather than away from the nail.
     
  13. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    It's best if you can use any finger at loction of the guitar to bend with. The more ways you know of doing something the better off you'll be for it. Look Django Reinhardt, the guy basically had two fingers to use but nobody ever says that guy played the wrong way.

    Try this exercise to stretch out the left hand. Rather then playing 1,2,3,4 as the fingers are layed out across the fret board 1st to the 4th frets, do the same thing put skip a fret. For example, 1st finger 1st fret, 2nd finger 3rd fret, 3rd finger 4th fret, and 4th finger 5th fret. Once you feel loose change it up and place the spacing between two other fingers. If you can get that all down then practice putting 2 frets between each finger etc...
     
  14. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    i play with 9.5's or 10's, depending on the guitar, but i usually play gibson scale guitars...strats occasionally....i use the pad of my finger too...not the tip. the action on my guitars are somewhat low, so im not sure what im doing "wrong" i suppose...it hasnt been too bad lately, but then again, ive been not cutting my nails so short these days either....that may have helped, but ive never really cut them unusually short anyway....maybe its just the way im built! in either case, im obviously gonna keep on playin!
     
  15. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

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    Not a matter of wrong, just painful. The strings are light enough but maybe there is too much tension for some reason. Have you taken your guitar to a tech? I'm trying to visualize...do you push or pull or both? Does the string slip under the nail at any point? I cut the fingernails on my fretting hand all the way off and they don't come into play. I feel for you and hope you find the answer.
     

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