Getting the right hand pinky going

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by spencerbk, Apr 26, 2005.


  1. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    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?
     
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

    Messages:
    14,044
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    West Village, NYC
    +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
     
  3. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Messages:
    15,551
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Lost
    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.
     
  4. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    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.
     
  5. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

    Messages:
    2,118
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    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
     
  6. EricT

    EricT Member

    Messages:
    1,010
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Location:
    Norway
    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.
     
  7. 6Tones

    6Tones Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,835
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Location:
    NY
    The pinky for the most part is only used for Rasqueado (strumming) ,and maybe a odd harmonic or something.
     
  8. drummondrs

    drummondrs Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    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.
     
  9. The Cat

    The Cat Guest

    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.
     
  10. drummondrs

    drummondrs Member

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    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.
     
  11. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

    Messages:
    531
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY
    A question for the pinky advocates:

    Are you using fingernails? Fingertips? Heavily calloused fingertips?
     
  12. The Cat

    The Cat Guest

    I just use my finger tips.
     
  13. lhallam

    lhallam Member

    Messages:
    15,551
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    Lost
    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.
     

Share This Page