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juniperpansy 08-22-2012 12:07 AM

5 finger fingerpicking?
I've always used all 5 of fingers (including pinky) for fingerpicking on my classical guitar. Works good for me. From what I've read though it seems using your pinky is in general not recommended and 'bad technique' but I can't seem to find the reasons.

Anybody know why it is not recommended?

Fingerstylist 08-22-2012 12:09 AM

I only use 4 fingers myself, but if you can use your pinky I say more power to you! It seems like it could only help.

frankhond 08-22-2012 12:30 AM

Flamenco player use pinky a lot. There is no rule against it but most people's pinkies are a lot smaller than the other fingers and produce a different tone, which is why it is not common in classical playing where even tone is king.

I sure wish I had developed my pinky with the other fingers.

Dominus 08-22-2012 03:16 AM

For me it just depends on the song. 90% of the time, 4 fingers but sometimes I'm playing with 3 or 5 just because that seems the smoothest way to play whatever it is.

buddiesorg 08-22-2012 04:54 AM

I started using all my fingers about ten years ago when I got a book that included classical exercises using them. It took awhile to get even tone with the pinky, but it can be done.

When I started learning lefty a couple of years ago, I started by using all my fingers ... and it's not my pinky that's giving me the most trouble with even tone ... it's my thumb!

I think the reason people might not recommend it is because it does take more practice to get the pinky to play independently from the other fingers, but if you work at it, it can be done.

Paikon 08-22-2012 08:09 AM

i have never seen classical pieces using the little finger but there are exercises that use it mostly to separate it from ring finer...

Retroman1969 09-22-2012 05:42 AM

5 finger fingerpicking?
When my lessons advanced to a certain point of getting into heavier classical stuff, my teacher started getting me into using my pinky for certain pieces.
For instance, I couldn't imagine playing Mertz' Nocturne without using it.

At first it surprised me what a floppy useless digit it felt like, but after awhile I developed a fair amount of strength and control with it.

815C 09-22-2012 06:02 AM

I tend to use the pinky more when fingerpicking on electric guitar, less on acoustic/classical. But I do use it.

Here are a couple tunes where I use the pinky. You can see the use of it better in the 2nd vid...

Acoustic fingerpicking

Electric fingerpicking

Dru Edwards 09-22-2012 07:26 AM

For straight fingerpicking, I only use 4 fingers and never my pinky. Strumming I may use all 5. I do remember when I started using my pinky on my fretting hand and thinking how difficult it was and now it's the same as any other finger. I guess it would be the same with the picking pinky as well.

815C 09-23-2012 06:42 AM

I found another video I'd forgotten about that shows a close up of my picking hand using the little finger. You can see it HERE in the lesson part of the vid.

RWG 09-23-2012 07:38 PM

If you play only free strokes with the fingers curled then you could probably use the pinky. But I use rest strokes a lot. Rather than curling the middle joint of the finger most of the motion of the rest stroke comes from the base joint. This leaves the pinky hopelessly too short to work with the rest of the fingers. Having both rest and free strokes is important to me.

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