My pinky is useless

It must be a birth defect! I cannot move my pinky on the fret board without my ring finger going with it. Same if I move my ring finger to an adjacent fret, my pinky goes right along with it. It’s as if the two fingers are glued together! I end up just using the ring finger where Josh says to use the pinky, and micro shifting as needed. The pinky stays right there with the ring finger like a shadow. I end up essentially playing with three fingers on the fret board.

Is this defect going to prevent me from becoming a Bad-Ass-Bass Player?

P.S. I’m really jealous of Josh’s long, dexterous fingers. :slight_smile:

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I have the same issue, @PamPurrs . . . :frowning_face:

So take heart . . you’re not alone! I try to make a conscious effort to separate my ring and pink fingers, but as you say, they seem to go along together. After a few months, I have made some improvement though, and you can do it, too.

The hardest part for me is playing two notes on top of each other on the same fret (e.g. the F# on the 4th fret of the D string and the B on the 4th fret of the G string), so I use that finger roll technique that Josh mentions in the course. Between that and micro-shifting, I can pretty much get by.

Just hang in there, and keep working at it a little at a time! :+1:

All best, Joe

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Haha, I had the same birth defect, Pam! Thousands of hours later, they sorta work independently…

So practice will help. But in the meantime, it would be much better to use the pinky when I recommend, and microshift as needed.

If you start compensating around your issue, your independence won’t develop. Stick with the discomfort and keep telling your fingers that they can be their own person!

Case in point! We all start in basically the same place, and it just takes some intelligent practice to make progress. There’s no gene for bass fretting finger dexterity (that we know of). :slight_smile:

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We all are! :slight_smile:

One thing that helped me was to find bass-shredding rockstars with tiny hands to use as inspiration.

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I understand what you are going through. I injured my pinkie years ago and it is useless for playing bass. But I still enjoy learning to play and adapting the course material to what I can physically do.

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Don’t feel bad, as others have said here you’re not alone. I have the same issue where my ring and pinky fingers are like Siamese twins and can’t seem to seperate from each other. Definitely use the pinky in the lessons where Josh recommends…it helps! I’m just starting into Mod 4 and I’m noticing a difference. I also use the pinky instead of my ring finger when I’m just playing around with my bass, especially on the first 5-6 frets. Don’t sweat it, it gets better.

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This is what I did/do too and it’s great advice!

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Welcome to the Forums, @Frank.Morse4 . . . :slight_smile:

Hope you enjoy the course . . . I’m finding it very helpful and I’ve improved a lot.

See you around!

All best, Joe

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Thanks for all the responses and words of encouragement! Now that I know my “ailment” is common and can be corrected, I’ll continue to practice and go through the lessons using my pinky.

Cheers,

Pam

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Late to the pinky party here, but still - use that pinky!
I broke my left pinky about 6 years ago, and since then it just doesn’t do all the things it used to.
But I still wrassle it! I need the lil’ guy!

So - keep on fighting that good pinky fight.
One thing I always tell my students (because EVERYONE is reluctant to use the tricksy pinky) is this: Your pinky has been overlooked and unused it’s entire life. It is the finger on the hand that the other fingers make fun of at recess. It’s the smallest, hanging out there at the end of the hand. It doesn’t have an exclusive job in our world… except typing… and then only if you’re using real good technique.
So.
You’re asking this little underdog finger to do a thing it’s never been asked to do before. Be patient with it - coax it out of it’s little pinky shell. It’ll be awesome… eventually.

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@Gio Thank you for the great explanation. That makes me feel better about the whole pinky thing,and inspires me to work with it to get it in shape.

Pam

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I never thought of it that way before, @Gio . . . :slight_smile:

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I started using my pinky instead of ring finger,now it feels awkward using ring finger,go figure.

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Welcome to the club, @steve9631sa . . . :slight_smile:

Believe me . . . you’re not alone!

All best, Joe

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Yea, I am pretty new as well, and the little finger really feels awkward for fretting. Decades ago, when I was a teenager in middle/high school, I was a magician, and did parties etc for about 4 years. The amount of time an effort it takes to train oneself in card manipulation (cuts/shuffles/fans/flourishes, etc) as well as other slight-of-hand skills seems like a similar discipline to training your fingers on the frets.

I can tell you, doing a one handed-cut https://tinyurl.com/y6dqo7dc looks super simple when you see it done… but that move took me about 40 hours of actual practice to master. I am right handed, and taught my left hand to do this particular cut, just because my right hand did most everything else and wanted to give my off hand some capabilities. Perhaps learning it would of been faster via my primary hand. But just like fretting, it’s my off-hand trying to learn, so I know it’s gonna take some effort and practice.

So even though I am no where near a master at the bass yet, and it feels awkward, and my fingers are sore every day… I know it’s possible to accomplish it, it just takes time, and practice and eventually the muscle memory will get there…

Keep with it, we will both get there eventually!

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@method72 it’s been 3 months since I posted that, and I can tell you that after hundreds of hours of practice, my pinky is behaving much better now.

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That’s fantastic. When I started the course I had so much buzz when using my pinky that I thought there must have been an issue with my setup. Nope! Just weak as a lamb, and the stretch I can manage now is soooo much better than when I started.

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