Pinkies

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by BobTheAstronaut, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. BobTheAstronaut

    BobTheAstronaut Member

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    How important is the pinky for technique and speed? I ask because I broke the knucke of my frethand pinky, so it snaps when I bend it which makes it hard to use it while playing. Does this mean that someday I'll hit a level and never be able to improve because of the pinky, or is it possible to be an excellent guitarist without much pinky use?

    Also, it's fine for chords. It's only a factor when I'm playing lead roles.
     
  2. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Member

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    Check out Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. They were ok! Do what you can.
     
  3. AQ808

    AQ808 Member

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    What I have to suggest in this case is you use a classical guitar hand position for your fretting hand.

    I personally don't bend my fingers much at all by playing this way, as it just becomes a very small movement.

    If you play with the typical rock grip you tend to have to bend your fingers more.

    As far as speed goes, as previously mentioned look up Django Reinhardt, who wasn't too shabby with only two fretting fingers... even with chords (his ring and pinky were damaged as a child by a fire and mostly removed)!
     
  4. stevel

    stevel Member

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    It depends on how you define "excellent". Many guitarists don't use (or rarely use) their pinky when playing lead. Clapton comes to mind. Some people think he's "excellent". But he doesn't play like Tony McAlpine. I read an article with Leslie West (of Mountain) who said he only used 2 fingers when playing lead. Is he "excellent". Well, if you like him, I suppose you can at least play that well.

    But as someone else suggested, look up Django Reinhardt and your fears about any disability should be completely alleviated.

    BTW, you'll more likely plateau because of your taste in music, your time available to practice, your equipment, etc. There are many factors in becoming a good guitarist. You have to choose to focus on the ones you find most important.

    Steve
     
  5. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    It's integral to my playing, but tons of folks use it minimally.
     
  6. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Did you go see a doctor about that? If not, why not?
     
  7. SG_Growler

    SG_Growler Member

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    My brother wrecked his motorcycle and dislocated his wrist. When the accident happened it damaged tendons in the wrist also. He can't bend his hand up or down at the wrist much. The doc said he probably would never get that dexterity back.

    My brother said "Eff you, pal!". and at first he had to lay down on his back to be able to use his fretting hand. But that was the only thing he could do to be able to play. After some experimenting he figured out what worked for him. It's pretty unorthodox, but he makes it work. So the real question is "How bad do you want it?"
     
  8. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

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    I have small hands so I use my pinkie a lit, but I think if you have a decent sized hand it shouldn't be a problem...
     
  9. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    pinkies

    yes they hurt too
     
  10. Michael_V

    Michael_V Supporting Member

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    Phil Keaggy is missing a finger! Man, I wish I could play like him!
     
  11. Julia343

    Julia343 Member

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    Play what you want. We all have our limitations. Some things we can do and some things we can't do. My suggestion after only 2-1/2 mos is to go to the doc, but you may have permanent damage. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

    I was basically told I'd never be able to play piano again. I can. I have a very unorthodox technique. Granted it's pretty sloppy, and I'm pretty limited now on exactly what I can play. I don't have the endurance to rip through anything long anymore, but I can still play. Same on the guitar. I had to pretty much focus on what I could do and get better at that and forget about what I could no longer do. And since I'm too old to be starting a career, I'm doing this for myself now.
     

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