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Joined: 30-October 08
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FenderBeater

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30 Oct 2008
Hello,

I have just ONE question and need help figuring something out.
I've been playing for 10 years now and I can play anything related to the pentatonic and as long as I practice things like SRV, etc it all comes rather easy but I want more and I'm getting desperate to the point where I'll sell all my equipment and guitars and just quit forever. I don't want to be stuck playing Rock Blues or Blues the rest of my life. Maybe I have no choice??

I can't use my pinky, i've tried it all, tons of exercises for pinky alone, my own made up torturing pinky exercises and nothing works. I've talked to a ton of people and teachers about this and have gotten no results. It's frustrating and I've wasted a good 2 years or so of playing just trying to improve my pinky. For about a year now all I've done is pinky exercises and I end up the same way every week. No improvement and a tired, weak pinky that loses control and stiffens up on me a couple of times a week. There's never any pain, NO PAIN, no signs of injury or anything else, nothing outside of fatigue. The only thing I can think of is that I'm grossly over training my hands or pinky thru so many exercises but how much is too much? Don't you have to practice exercises over and over to play like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, etc, etc?

I do 10 exercises for 5 min. each using 1st, 3rd and 4th fingers and concentrate on ring and pinky. I do 5 with alternate picking and 5 more exercises using hammerons and pulloffs and by the end of the session my pinky is dead. I come back again for another session later on but this time I work on learning Flight Of The Bumblebee and a Michael Angelo Batio song but my pinky is so tired from the earlier workout that I can't play comfortably and I force it and end up with a torturing session. I can keep this up for 3 or 4 days and usually on the 5th day when I start my session, my pinky just won't respond. It stiffens up and it feels weak and I can't control it when I start doing 1,3 and 4 exercises once the 3rd finger hits the fret the pinky immediately locks up before I get to use it. I then have to take 1 to 3 days off because it's like that for a few days, then start the cycle all over, and over and over. It's been about a year of this with zero improvement and nothing but a fatigued pinky. I have no other issues, my picking hand is exellent, my vibrato and bends are perfect to pitch, etc, etc, it's just the pinky and it keeps me from learning to play things like Neo-Classical stuff or other pieces that utilize the pinky. Can you help or give me any advice?

I'm not a beginner and I've tried everything from supplements to gripmaster exercises. When my pinky is at it's weakest it sort of gets stiff, it straightens out right before I use it to fret a note and it also shakes sometimes. If I take a few days off it's fine and I can start again but as I said, it's always a vicious cycle.

Thanks.
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