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> Defeating Pinky Curl, well, really any unused finger curl
Scott Gentzen
post Sep 12 2007, 11:42 AM
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Here's my left hand when I get to the D string playing the A minor pentatonic box





The 2 finger isn't touching the string, 1 and 3 are fretting. I'm looking for some advice on working on straightening the 2 and 4 fingers. I should probably have my thumb lower, but in trying it, it's not really making it easier to hold those fingers straight without touching the fretboard til I want them to.

Thanks, guys.


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JVM
post Sep 12 2007, 11:52 AM
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Try getting used to patterns where you use all four fingers.

If you're really just not used to using the pinky (and hence not having it up and ready to go like the other fingers), start with just some chromatic stuff like 15 14 13 12 (pinky ring middle index) and backwards, or wherever else, up and down the neck.

Also try stuff like 9 8 6 7 (b string, pinky, ring, index, g string middle). If that makes sense.

Basically what I do is try to put myself in an uncomfortable pattern using any combination of fingers. If it feels uncomfortable (but as long as the fingering is logical) it needs to be worked on, and you'll benefit from working on it. It comes pretty quickly I found.


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RobM
post Sep 12 2007, 12:52 PM
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QUOTE (JVM @ Sep 12 2007, 06:52 AM) *
Try getting used to patterns where you use all four fingers.

If you're really just not used to using the pinky (and hence not having it up and ready to go like the other fingers), start with just some chromatic stuff like 15 14 13 12 (pinky ring middle index) and backwards, or wherever else, up and down the neck.

Also try stuff like 9 8 6 7 (b string, pinky, ring, index, g string middle). If that makes sense.

Basically what I do is try to put myself in an uncomfortable pattern using any combination of fingers. If it feels uncomfortable (but as long as the fingering is logical) it needs to be worked on, and you'll benefit from working on it. It comes pretty quickly I found.



Funny you should ask about this, my guitar teacher just gave me a coupleof exercises the other day that will help with this. it goes like this:

E||----1-2-3-4--
B||----1-2-3-4--
G||----1-2-3-4--
D||----1-2-3-4--
A||----1-2-3-4--
E||----1-2-3-4--

Then switch to:

E||----9-7-5-4--
B||----9-7-5-4--
G||----9-7-5-4--
D||----9-7-5-4--
A||----9-7-5-4--
E||----9-7-5-4--

Then:

E||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4
B||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4
G||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4
D||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4
A||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4
E||----4-1-3-2-3-4-2-1-4-1-3-1-2-3-2-1-4-1-2-4

Do each of these 5 or more times. The key to doing these is to hold down all of your fingers until that finger is suppsed to move to the next fret. to try and explain this in detail it goes like:

Hold down all 4 fingers on frets 1 - 4 on the lower E string then play 1-2-3-4 move to the next string but only move your index finger when hitting the B string for the first fret, so now you have three fingers on the lower e string on your index finger on the first fret of the B string. And so on with all of the exercises.

Seems easy but it's really starts to get to you part way thru the middle section, it did me at least, you pros out there will not find this very hard to do more than likely, but it can also be used for warming up your fingers.

Hope this helps.

Feedback anyone?


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Scott Gentzen
post Sep 13 2007, 01:31 AM
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Thanks to both of you guys.

I've been running the A minor pent box specifically to work on my pinky but not too hard. Improvements haven't been coming. Basically, I have been just trying to hold it out over the fretboard til I need it (E, b and e strings) but it just wasn't working.

Have been trying to avoid chromatics...Chris' early lessons tend to warn against it since while you're doing chromatics you're not training anything musically useful. I see how it makes sense in this case as it's an easier step to move the pinky around and stretch it with some chromatic runs than to go straight to hovering over the strings like that.

I've been trying to do other strengthening exercises but most of the ones that I've found pretty much eat me up before I can get more than one rep in. Will have to save them for another day.

Will try to check back in if I notice progress. biggrin.gif


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exorcyze
post Sep 13 2007, 04:58 AM
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In my opinion there is theory and there is technique ( from a perspective of being able to execute things ). Both are important, and I would advise practicing both. Doing runs where you practice chromatics using all 4 fingers or combinations of 3 fingers doesn't mean you can't still learn the scales, and I don't see why working on your finger movments ( and also your picking, breathing, etc ) would harm working on the scales.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 13 2007, 08:27 AM
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Hi Scott,
I use my pinky a lot - but there are many players much better then me who don't use it all. If you do want to use it though in my experience it needs strengthening. One finger one fret/chromatic exercises does this well as it strengthens and imposes finger independence. Pinky is weak though and it takes practice. Have to say that without using my pinky there are some stretches/runs I just couldn't do.

Don't want to put words in to Kris's mouth but chromatics are used in music a lot- particularly improvisation when playing 'outside'. So perhaps what he means is is that before you can play outside you need to really get to know the scales and modes etc and be able to play 'inside'? If you look at some of David Walliman's and Muris' recent videos they go into 'outside' in some of their improv. It adds tension and 'colour' (ok it's not always chromatics here but...)

Cheers,
Tony


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JVM
post Sep 13 2007, 08:47 AM
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Agreeing with Tony, theres nothing that says chromatics can't be made musically useful.


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