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  #1  
Old 01-16-2022, 04:24 PM
Martyn Eden Martyn Eden is offline
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Default Flailing Pinky.

My little finger has a mind of its own. It defaults to the straight position when the other fingers are behaving themselves above the fretboard. I still use the finger all the time but it looks messy and it's beginning to bug me and I'd like to address the issue.
There are several YouTube videos on the topic, suggesting it's a common problem, though I haven't found any that useful so far. Anyone else had this problem?
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Old 01-16-2022, 05:01 PM
J-Doug J-Doug is offline
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I wouldn't worry about it. In 36 years of playing and multiple learning sessions with world class instructors my pinky has never come up once. And it does some weird stuff at times.

Is your wonky pinky preventing you from being musical? If not, cut yourself a break because really imo being musical is the one true goal.
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Old 01-16-2022, 05:18 PM
Jim Comeaux Jim Comeaux is offline
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I also had a pinky finger problem, but it’s with my picking hand. I’m a flat picker and I would occasionally catch my little finger on my right (picking) hand on an odd string and completely mess up my rhythm. I just consciously made an effort not to do that and after a while my finger learned to behave itself.
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Old 01-16-2022, 09:21 PM
archerscreek archerscreek is offline
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Yes, I have dealt with it, and in fact I practice training the pinky every day as no doubt it is my slowest finger. Slow might be relative. I’m talking “Devil’s Dream” at 120 BPM, playing four 1/16th notes per beat. I attacked the flailing pinky after watching a Chris Thile instruction video in which he said it was one of the biggest flaws he commonly sees and a severe limit to speed. Or that was my take at least.
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Old 01-17-2022, 04:02 AM
Martyn Eden Martyn Eden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Doug View Post
I wouldn't worry about it. In 36 years of playing and multiple learning sessions with world class instructors my pinky has never come up once. And it does some weird stuff at times.

Is your wonky pinky preventing you from being musical? If not, cut yourself a break because really imo being musical is the one true goal.
You're probably right. It does not make me any less musical, though better practice would likely make for crisper, clearer notes.
I have also been playing - on and off - for several decades, but i have been taking it more seriously in recent years, which is why I've only just started to notice it.
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Old 01-17-2022, 06:49 AM
thefsb thefsb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyn Eden View Post
My little finger has a mind of its own. It defaults to the straight position when the other fingers are behaving themselves above the fretboard. I still use the finger all the time but it looks messy and it's beginning to bug me and I'd like to address the issue.
There are several YouTube videos on the topic, suggesting it's a common problem, though I haven't found any that useful so far. Anyone else had this problem?
If the little one is doing its job fretting strings but has a dancing style of its own while waiting for its next task, that's not a problem to fix, it's an aspect of your personal style. I say lean into it.
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Old 01-17-2022, 11:59 AM
catt catt is offline
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Scale studies. Classical technique.

Of course, using proper form from the outset is optimal - this is the benefit of studying with a teacher, who will correct you every time your ergonomics go astray.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:17 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefsb View Post
If the little one is doing its job fretting strings but has a dancing style of its own while waiting for its next task, that's not a problem to fix, it's an aspect of your personal style. I say lean into it.
A flailing pinky is a late pinky. It gets to the string after the pick has already hit it. If having your notes sound different depending on the finger is a "style," then I guess the sound of Long John Silver's footsteps is a style, too.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyn Eden View Post
My little finger has a mind of its own. It defaults to the straight position when the other fingers are behaving themselves above the fretboard. I still use the finger all the time but it looks messy and it's beginning to bug me and I'd like to address the issue.
There are several YouTube videos on the topic, suggesting it's a common problem, though I haven't found any that useful so far. Anyone else had this problem?
Hi ME

Nope, I solved it about 58 years ago by resting it lightly on the top (glides around as I move my hand position). I don't put pressure on it, but it acts more like a place-finger (like the home row of keys when typing). I always drop it in the same place.

After 40 years of teaching fingerstyle I can tell you there are as many great fingerstyle players who rest or drop a pinky on the top as those who do not (probably more droppers).

Fingerstyle is not classical, as the more oblique hand angle is usually preferred by players, as is right knee versus left knee.

I've never been so narrow as to declare there is a one-size-fits-all because hands are different, styles are different, players are different sizes, and I've seen people play both ways with great success.




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Old 01-17-2022, 01:49 PM
J-Doug J-Doug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi ME

Nope, I solved it about 58 years ago by resting it lightly on the top (glides around as I move my hand position). I don't put pressure on it, but it acts more like a place-finger (like the home row of keys when typing). I always drop it in the same place.

After 40 years of teaching fingerstyle I can tell you there are as many great fingerstyle players who rest or drop a pinky on the top as those who do not (probably more droppers).

Fingerstyle is not classical, as the more oblique hand angle is usually preferred by players, as is right knee versus left knee.

I've never been so narrow as to declare there is a one-size-fits-all because hands are different, styles are different, players are different sizes, and I've seen people play both ways with great success.




Hi Larry,

OP is talking about his fretting hand pinky.
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Old 01-17-2022, 01:50 PM
catt catt is offline
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ljguitar - try reading the OP again

*oops, posted at the same time as above - no snark intended.

Last edited by catt; 01-17-2022 at 10:59 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2022, 10:03 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyn Eden View Post
My little finger has a mind of its own. It defaults to the straight position when the other fingers are behaving themselves above the fretboard. I still use the finger all the time but it looks messy and it's beginning to bug me and I'd like to address the issue.
There are several YouTube videos on the topic, suggesting it's a common problem, though I haven't found any that useful so far. Anyone else had this problem?
For years I had no idea what my pinky was doing when I wasn't using it. And like you, it got to me. The best solution was amputation and now I always know what my pinky is doing.
But really... stop looking at your pinky while you're playing. It's weird and you're going to give your pinky a psychological complex.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2022, 12:22 AM
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Of course there is Django Reinhardt but the fretting hand pinky is a major requirement to be able to play most anything
fingerstyle which involves simultaneous playing of chords and harmony. Make yourself use it and coordination will come.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:39 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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One thing that helps me is to think of the fretting hand "grip" as pinky-and-down, versus index-and-up. I'm mainly a bass player, and that's fundamental because of the silly stretches you encounter. It's a bit counterintuitive because the bulk of God's construction of your fretting hand is on the "low note" side.
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Old 01-18-2022, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Doug View Post
Hi Larry,

OP is talking about his fretting hand pinky.
Hi J-D
This forum is so prolific (soooo many posts) I need a speed reading course and better glasses…

Sorry.



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