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Getting the right hand pinky going

spencerbk

Member
Messages
531
I've been trying to explore pick and three fingers technique, but my pinky just doesn't have that much control and volume. I do okay if I'm grabbing a four-note chord, but any arpeggio pattern (I've tried some excersises from the Giuliani book) is trouble. The pinky just can't compete with the pick.

Any thoughts on what works for you - or do other folks just concentrate on pick and the two stronger fingers?
 

Kappy

Member
Messages
14,032
Originally posted by spencerbk
just concentrate on pick and the two stronger fingers?
+1

My pinky's not too bad, but you're right it wouldn't compete with a pick. What it does well is pull the string and snap it back with the other two fingers, but that's only if you're into the chicken pickin', claw action.

You could probably really develop your pinky's response by practicing mad classical etudes. It just might take a bit of time for it to start coming around.

Good luck,

Dave
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,339
I majored in classical gtr and never had reason to use my RH pinky so when translating to pick-hybred technique I rarely use it. When I do use it I don't think about it but instead just go for it much like the way Dave described. A practice technique that I use is to make an Amaj 7th chord like this:

---4----
-----5---
-------6---
----------7--
x-----
x-----

Pick the A (7th fret/4th string) with the pick and then each subsequent note with middle, third and pinky in an arppegio.

Then start with the pinky on the top E string (G# note) and come back down. Then pluck the whole chord harmonically with all four, listen that you can hear each note. If not, pluck it again until you hear all four notes. Move the chord up a 1/2 step and start again.
 

spencerbk

Member
Messages
531
Originally posted by dkaplowitz
+1
. What it does well is pull the string and snap it back with the other two fingers, but that's only if you're into the chicken pickin', claw action.
I think these last two posts have hit upon something - I'm not really looking for the chickin pickin slap sound ... and if classical guys don't use the pinky, it's probably because the pinky isn't easily usable. I think some guys like Lenny Breau are into it, but there's a bazillion things he can do that I can't.

Anyway, I'm currently leaning towards not worrying about my pinky's inferiority so much ... there's surely enough things to practice without devoting a billion hours to mad classical etudes.
 

Dajbro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,110
Originally posted by spencerbk
I think these last two posts have hit upon something - I'm not really looking for the chickin pickin slap sound ... and if classical guys don't use the pinky, it's probably because the pinky isn't easily usable. I think some guys like Lenny Breau are into it, but there's a bazillion things he can do that I can't.

Anyway, I'm currently leaning towards not worrying about my pinky's inferiority so much ... there's surely enough things to practice without devoting a billion hours to mad classical etudes.
By and large, most classical guitarists don't use their pinky due to the vast difference in strength (volume) from the other fingers. However, flamenco guitarists do use the pinky. So if you are truly interested in integrating your pinky into your playing, you might investigate that tradition.

David
 

EricT

Member
Messages
1,010
Originally posted by spencerbk
I think these last two posts have hit upon something - I'm not really looking for the chickin pickin slap sound ... and if classical guys don't use the pinky, it's probably because the pinky isn't easily usable. I think some guys like Lenny Breau are into it, but there's a bazillion things he can do that I can't.

Anyway, I'm currently leaning towards not worrying about my pinky's inferiority so much ... there's surely enough things to practice without devoting a billion hours to mad classical etudes.
What I think this technique is especially useful for, is jazz guitar playing. You can play four note chords, while still having your pick handy for quick 8-note passages. It's very useful if you like using chords in your solo playing. I know lots of jazz guitarists who play like this.

I practiced using my right hand pinky by just picking ordinary fingerpicking patterns with pick and fingers instead of just fingers. A few examples:

C chord:
-----------0-------------------0-------
--------1-----1-------------1---1-----
-----0-----------0-------0---------0---
----------------------2-----------------
--3--------------------------------------

C6/9
---------------------------------
-----3-------------3------------
-----2-------------2------------
-----2-------------2-----------
--3-----------------------------
---------------3----------------


Practice with different rhythms, different chord progressions and different tempos, and you'll soon get the hang of it.
 

6Tones

Member
Messages
4,992
The pinky for the most part is only used for Rasqueado (strumming) ,and maybe a odd harmonic or something.
 

drummondrs

Member
Messages
230
I feel your pinky pain. I am paying for it now because of my bad habits. After playing for 3 years now, playing everyday for about 1.30 at least. I am playing more advanced things esp. shred which requires the pinky so I am having to start from the beginning, but it is surprising what you can do when you put your mind to it. You'll see.
 
T

The Cat

I can't imagine not using all five fingers. When I started playing fingerstyle, I started doing drum rudiments with each combination of two fingers that I could.

I especially felt paradiddles were most effective. A paradiddle with your hands is right left right right left right left left then repeat. Do that with your pinky and ring finger, then do it with pinky and middle...ect..

Do it in the car on the way to work to songs your listening to...and it will strengthen...

play passages with just the pinky and ring, or any other combination that is awkward, until it's not awkward anymore.
You will be glad you did.
 

drummondrs

Member
Messages
230
This is extremely sad!! But it works well. Get a calculator, and do 1+1 then Ans+1. Keep pressing the equals button with a finger to strengthen it. It works, I managed to get to 7004 in 30 mins by that time my arm was having spasms.
 

spencerbk

Member
Messages
531
A question for the pinky advocates:

Are you using fingernails? Fingertips? Heavily calloused fingertips?
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,339
Originally posted by spencerbk
A question for the pinky advocates:

Are you using fingernails? Fingertips? Heavily calloused fingertips?
On classical gtr - fingernails
On electric gtr - fingertips, sometimes the nails catch which doesn't sound as good. Most important is for each string to get equal volume on chords. Gotta hear those middle notes.
 




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