Dead Pinky

Hi, I lost feeling in my left pinky due to illnes and the drugs to cure it. I can still fake alot of it using my ring finger, but does anyone else have this problem and maybe some way of bringing it back. The pinky still goes to the correct note but I cant feel if Im pressing so I end up with muffled notes.


That’s a hard call. Have you worked with a hand specialist?

One thing you can try is playing veeeeeeeery slowly when fretting with the pinky and see if there are other muscles you can feel moving when you get a good sound. If you can focus on those muscles instead of the pinky itself, that might help.

Also, there are stories of people practicing and regaining functionality doctor’s never expected and plenty of stories of people who made music despite having various physical issues.

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath had to down tune his guitar because he lost two of his finger tips (on his fretting hand) in a factory accident. This gave the band it’s signature guitar sound.

Django Reinhardt lost the use of his pinky and ring finger on his fretting hand and changed his style to be able to play with only two fingers on his fretting hand.


Thanks, thats very encouraging. At least I’m not alone.


Not at all. We either have or have had people with all manner of injuries and disabilities.

One of the things that has come up on the forum is that a lot of what gets taught are ‘best practices’ and every individual has to work with what they have and what they can do. Making adjustments where necessary to make sure they can keep learning and playing.


did it affect strength in your pinky or just sensation? because if strength is OK I bet you could learn to compensate for this just by your ear telling your brain to press harder. but I could be wrong. anyhoo it hardly matters, Josh did a video about the simandl technique which many use and requires no pinky


I have strength loss due to a broken finger and hyperextension of the tendon I use one of these:

and it’s slowly regaining my strength, if you speak with an Occupational Therapist that specializes in hand therapy there might be exercises that work for you as well… good luck!

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Its kinda both. Sometimes I drop things because I dont know Im loosing grip.


My pinky has feeling, and I have turned it into my 2nd strongest (or second most used) finger.
My hand goes numb from playing sometimes, from poor circulation, when I play at certain times and / or positions.
My Pinky is first to go, then Ring, middle, and I stop playing about then.

I am able to keep fretting ok when this happens.
I think Eric’s suggestion, about playing slow, and trying to recognize any type of repetitive feeling, when you get the right sound.
Maybe you will notice something, and you will be able to use it accurately.
Plus, for things to happen, like regain feeling, I-would bet that happens in appendages you use often, compared to ones you avoid using, so the more you work it, I think, the more likely it is to come back.

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