Here we go again...SHORT PINKIE players

What did you do to overcome this?

I am loving Beguineer to Badass lessons and Josh is no doubt the best online teacher i’ve seem in my attempts to learn bass, however I struggle sometimes to reach out notes on E and A string due to a short pinkie. Yes I have a short scale bass which helps a bit but I am traying to stick with one fretboard style/shape/spacing only (regular Stingray) not to confuse things.

For instance, on this video @ 3:41, I can’t confortably reach out my pinkie finger on the 10th fret of the E string like Josh is easilly doing which basically derails the whole process of learning that exercise and practicing the scale.

This probably have been covered several times but maybe Josh can dedicate one of his amazing videos to give us some advice on how overcome short pinkies and other limitations. Or maybe how to use alternate fingers to keep speed while moving trough the fretboard.

Thanks and happy playing!


Your stretch will expand over time. That being said, Check out a technique called “micro shifting”.

Do a quick search on the forums for this term and you’ll find lots of people discussing a solution to a similar problem :slight_smile:


Aha! Found the video I was looking for. Josh goes into more detail into the technique in this video


Thanks RoyB, my bad I did not find this lesson before…will watch it later today
Anyways, besides Josh’s advice I also wanted to hear other members feedback as it is also as helpfull as the lessons.


as mentioned, microshifting for sure. You might also be able to bend your wrist some for extra reach. The pinky on my fretting hand comes to the line for the last knuckle of my index/wring finger; I don’t know if this is “short pinky” or what but I can play this exercise on a 5-string.

Believe in me who believes in you!


@Koldunia, thank you for the feedback, we have the same pinkie proportions :slightly_smiling_face:
Yes, I consider my pinkie very short and starts to get hard to fret propery on the E string after the 3rd fret, hopefully time and practice will help.

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Also where do you place your thumb on the back of the neck? Try keeping it around the centerline of the neck.

With me it wasn’t my hands were too small, they weren’t very stretchy. I did a lot of microshifting at the start, but my hands stretch more now. I practice 1FPF everyday now just to improve, any song that fits this will do but I play Killing Floor by Howlin Wolf.

Which is

E5 E5 A4 A4 A5 A5 A6 A7 (x4)
A5 A5 D4 D4 D5 D5 D6 D7 (x2)
E5 E5 A4 A4 A5 A5 A6 A7 (x2)
A7 A7 D6 D6 D7 D7 D8 D9 (x1)
A5 A5 D4 D4 D5 D5 D6 D7 (x1)
E5 E5 A4 A4 A5 A5 A6 A7 (x1)
A7 A7 A7 A7 A7 A7 A7 A7 (X1)

And repeat. Basic 12 bar blues. Mircoshifting helps, but 1FPF makes it easier to keep up the tempo of the song. Which I couldn’t manage when I started, start slow, focus on technique, and add speed as you get it down

Peter Gunn theme is another good one.

E0 E0 E2 E0 E3 E0 E5 E0

I focus on Index Middle and Pinky on it


Thanks! Will try it this afternoon.


Welcome @Hawk600

Can you see me waving hello, or are my hands too small to see? I’m posting here to hear from others and hopefully gather more tips as well.

In addition to having small hands, I have a matched set of crooked, broken pinky fingers from my days competing in gymnastics, along with scar tissue in the index and middle fingers of my left hand, and a ring finger that has recovered from a previous mallet finger injury. These are not valid excuses though, just things to be aware of and to work through.

As an absolute beginner on bass, I started Beginner to Badass a little over a month ago (I am also loving this course.) Josh’s @JoshFossgreen reminders to keep using your pinky finger on the lessons are definitely worthwhile. Josh is right and they have gotten stronger and more comfortable though playing and practice.

With fingers that can barely stretch enough to play an octave on a piano, I need to utilize and continue to practice microshifting. I need to review the videos mentioned earlier in this thread over and over again.

A little more info. I tried out about half a dozen different basses prior to making a purchase. (A Mustang felt a little too small. A Precision felt too big. A StingRay also felt too big. Then I tried a couple of Jazz Basses and the narrower neck felt just right to both me and Goldilocks, so I went with a Fender Jazz Bass.)

Thanks for letting me tag along on this informative thread.

Also, welcome again to this wonderful, supportive community.


I have stubby little sausage fingers and i still play a 35in, 5 string with no problems. I generally use the simandl technique in the first 7 frets and dont reach further than a fifth or octave with my index and pinky; i dont ever reach further than i have to :slight_smile: make sure that your wrist is straight and your hand is in line as much as possible with your forearm, if it’s bent you won’t be able to spread your fingers as far (and it’s not good for your tendons either). Also relax your hand as much as possible, tension slows you down and makes it difficult to stretch. As others have said, microshifting is the way to go; you’ll eventually get much more comfortable, faster and more accurate with time/practice. :slight_smile:


I have very short fingers and a super short pinky. When I started B2B I had no strength in my pinky and found it frustrating. Then one day I just noticed I was using my pinky on the E string around the 7th fret without thinking about it. I’ll have to play something up higher to see how I go but there has definitely been an improvement in a short time. I practice a couple of hours a day, that includes B2B but also playing along to bass tabs on YouTube for fun.


Also, forgot to mention I’ve been trying to work on the pivot technique, where you anchor your thumb somewhere and pivot your hand rather than shifting. I can’t get it quite right and will be seeing a teacher soon to help.


The no strength in my pinky when I started I mitigated by fretting with my ring finger and pinky together

Still can’t do hammer ons with my pinky. Somethings just take time


Thank you everyone for the great insights, very helpfull!

Loving it and at the same time learning on how overcome my limitations.

I am glad I joined BassBuzz, lots of great people here.


And me!


I have small hands and very short pinkies. I broke my left pinky when I was 9 and it never really healed properly. It is very weak, and I always struggled to control it when I tried to learn to play guitar. But I was able to make some progress with the bass. I just forced myself to use my pinky, and tried to concentrate on my hand position. It wasn’t easy, but soon I was able to stretch my fingers in ways I never thought possible.


I feel like we need a pinky measuring competition to see who has the smallest pinky. Measured from the outer edge of the hand where the pinky joins the palm, mine is 5.8cm (2.28 inches).


Mine is 5.0

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5.4 cm or 2 and 1/8 inches for me.

Either that’s cm, or you can easily palm a basketball. :basketball: