What to do with ring + pinky on plucking hand?

Hello fellow bassic beaches,

Just started the course a week ago and had a question. What do people do with their ring and pinky fingers on their plucking hand? I’ve found myself hooking either/both of these fingers under the lower strings when I’m not playing them, which almost certainly can’t be a good habit.

To get out of this habit, I’ve been trying to consciously force these two fingers into my palm which helps with the hooking habit. However, when I watch Josh’s videos/other people playing, I notice them usually keeping these two fingers straight. Is this to mute strings you’re not playing or are they just hanging out?

Please let me know your thoughts!

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Why not?

I find them useful for muting, and this is one way to do it.

What you will find is, over time, you develop your own subconscious muting techniques. This can be one of them.

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Interesting question, one that I’ve never pondered. I play with the floating thumb technique, and my idle fingers are just basically hanging out doing nothing. I don’t recall ever having to stop them from interfering in any way.
Im eager to hear what others have to say.

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My pinky rests on strings, my ring finger is floating around ready to strum. If by “hooked” you mean jammed under a string (which I used to do) then you will find that it doesn’t work when you quickly changing strings while playing and you will probably develop a more refined resting technique. Just remember, that you want your pinky/ring as mobile as the thumb anchor when changing strings.

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my ring finger is floating around ready to strum.

Do you use your ring finger to strum?

If by “hooked” you mean jammed under a string

And yeah, that’s exactly what I mean by “hooked” and the time it takes to “unhook” it is exactly why I figured it was a habit I should break sooner rather than later.

Just remember, that you want your pinky/ring as mobile as the thumb anchor when changing strings.

This is a great note and a good high level answer to my question :slight_smile:

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Situaionally, yes. Sometimes a strumming pattern naturally offers the oportunity to use ring finger as the best strumming alternative. The most often I use it when struming let’s say on A string and in the pattern there’s one note on D string ever so often, then I will use ring finger. Also, quite often when skipping between strings when strumming 8th notes, I use ringfinger to force index and middle finger to right spot on the next string. (Some biomechanics behind the whole ring finger compound movement makes it that one part of that ring finger move forces your wrist in the same configuration like if you changing strings as usual.) … For me, ring finger is really about natural feeling that the finger fits in the strumming pattern, when there’s nothing like that, it rests quietly with pinky on strings.

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Watching some videos on the floating thumb technique now… looks interesting! I have a persistent right shoulder injury that I think might make this difficult but I’ll sure try it. So far the bent wrist isn’t causing me any pain or discomfort but only time will tell!

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I tried each method when I first tired learning bass. The ring and pinky muting just never worked for me and ALWAYS got in the way of moving from string to string no matter how I tried to work with this concept. The floating thumb didn’t seem to get it done either. What I do is rest my thumb on the pickup when I play the E String or B String on the 5 String. I move it to rest on the E String when I move up a string to play notes on the A String. When I move up to play on the D String I rest my thumb on the A String and when I move up to play notes on the G String I rest my thumb on the D String. This may not work for others but what this does is give me crystal clear notes. I occasionally will not move up onto the A or D string and will mute as the playing finger comes to rest against the lower string. It works well but I find my amp picks up that percussive sound when the finger hits the lower string…and I use it when I want that sound. By using this method when I purchased a 5 String there was no learning how to deal with the 5th string muting. In fact picking up the 5 string was no effort at all…NONE. I moved from the lower to the higher strings as I did with the 4 String and the switch was totally un-noticed. My method may not work for others but it does for me and anyone I teach I recommend they try it. After fumbling some instantly see it works rather quickly for them and they use it.

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Funny that you mention this! I was watching Scott from Scott’s Bass Lessons take on this and he does pretty much exactly what you’re describing!

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Mine just hang around relaxed and chill, except for one song where I need to use them for muting.

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After some brief experimentation, it seems like @A1955Harley’s method is the most comfortable and natural for me! I’m still going back and forth between tucking the ring + pinky into my palm or letting them flair out but I guess that’ll develop over time!

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I fully committed to bass and followed the Frankie Four Fingers look. It never gets in the way now.

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:joy::joy::joy: @Barney

I actually can’t think what my ring and pinky do on my non-fretting hand . I’m going to have to check it out later.
I also use the floating thumb and the anchored thumb technique depending on what song I’m playing. Sometimes the more aggressive stuff is easier with the thumb anchored where the melodic stuff requires the thumb to float

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When I’m not using it to mute the string I flare it up like when I’m drinking tea, with my pinky stretching out, lol.

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:joy::joy::joy:

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I talk about muting with rinky and pinky in this video, I call it “The Sneaky Finger” :male_detective:

EDIT: Meant to type “ring” instead of “rinky,” but am not correcting it. :stuck_out_tongue:

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muting with rinky and pinky

I have made this same typo so many times that I almost missed it. Long live the rinky!

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:rofl: :joy: :rofl:

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I am so glad my technique has a name now :slight_smile:

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Lol, I completely didn’t catch that. I guess it’s canon now! Long live the rinky and pinky.

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