Reaching without muting

I’m really struggling with playing notes on the E string without touching the other strings…

While this is not a major deal right now, I know there will be times when I want to let the G-String ring while playing something on the E string. This is particularly an issue with the dreaded pinky…

My hands are below average. When I play on the E-String with my pinky, it is basically laying flat. If I try to arch it, I can’t reach the E-String.

I know this is probably one of those keep working on it things, but it is really frustrating!


Do you mean you are just touching, or are you fretting the other strings?


Hard to say without seeing, but the culprit is probably actually your thumb.

Don’t feel like you need to anchor your thumb in the middle of the neck at all times. If you need to, move it down to the bottom of the neck to help you reach.

I found this very helpful:


Just touching. I can curve it enough so it isn’t fretting, but it will mute the string. Hardest with my pinky for sure. Can just manage the other fingers.


Great video. Thanks @howard.

The part about what to do with your thumb when playing high on the fretboard was really helpful.

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Me too @howard, thanks for posting.


I’m coming a little late to this thread, but just wanted to pipe in and say that often it’s actually useful to be touching the higher strings while playing a lower string, in the way that you’re doing. It keeps them muted, so they don’t ring when you don’t want them to.

I intentionally angle my hand that way a lot, for that purpose.

So yes, you want to be able to arch your fingers and clear those strings in case you’re playing chords or something - but the way you’re doing it now isn’t a “bad habit,” it’s actually a great way to keep your playing clean without high strings ringing.