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Franck

Left Pinky Blues and Handedness

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Hi,

 

I am 48 years old and bought my first guitar about 12 days ago. I've been playing everyday since and really enjoying myself. I have been using the Uberchord App on iPhone which is really great. At this point as you can imagine, I can only perform a few chords slowly etc... Last night I came upon a G chord with:

- middle finger on 2nd fret of 2nd chord

- ring finger on 3rd fret of 1st chord

- pinky on 3rd fret of 6th chord

I was absolutely not able to place my left pinky on that fret. I had to use my right hand to place it there and I could barely apply pressure. After that, I couldn't really move it out of the way easily either. Since then, I found out there are other ways to execute that chord without the pinky but it made me realize how cripple my poor pinky is. I've searched and found articles about strengthening the pinky with a stress ball amongst other things but my main issue here is flexibility. My pinky just seems to follow my ring finger.

Does anyone have any advice to help develop flexibility? I thought a few things:

- when driving my long LA commute, I could put my 4 other things on one side of the wheel and keep on flexing that pinky independently:)

- I'm a software developer so I think I will try to use my left pinky to type

- Since people get physical therapy when they have motion limitation... is there such a thing for a pinky:)?

 

Finally... Having been typing and programming since I was a young teenager, I actually have great flexibility in my right hand (and right pinky), which almost makes me wonder if I should try a left-handed guitar and use my right hand for fretting. Anyone has any opinion about this? How does handedness really affect guitar play?

 

thanks,

 

franck-

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Switching hands is a viable option, forum member Carolm has experience with that.

Another thing to do is try forming chords using a capo, it puts the fret bars closer together and therefore less of a stretch.

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At this stage in the game, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Form the g wiith the first three fingers.  You may find that after playing for a while, your pinky becomes more flexible.  It takes time to get those fingers to move at your will.

 

by the way, the strings are numbered the other way.  The highest pitch string is numbered one.

 

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Framck,

 

I wouldn't worry about it too much. The pinky finger is the weakest finger on the hand. With practice, the pinky will develop more strength and playing the chords will build muscle memory in your fingers. If there is nothing physically wrong with your pinky, it will come around with more practice and playing. Give yourself some time before playing left handed. We've all been there.

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

Mike

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Thanks everyone! I will give my pinkie some time:) And yes duly noted about the strings in the wrong order. I thought it might be the case when I was writing it!!:)

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4 hours ago, Franck said:

Hi,

 

I am 48 years old and bought my first guitar about 12 days ago. I've been playing everyday since and really enjoying myself. I have been using the Uberchord App on iPhone which is really great. At this point as you can imagine, I can only perform a few chords slowly etc... Last night I came upon a G chord with:

- middle finger on 2nd fret of 2nd chord

- ring finger on 3rd fret of 1st chord

- pinky on 3rd fret of 6th chord

I was absolutely not able to place my left pinky on that fret. I had to use my right hand to place it there and I could barely apply pressure. After that, I couldn't really move it out of the way easily either. Since then, I found out there are other ways to execute that chord without the pinky but it made me realize how cripple my poor pinky is. I've searched and found articles about strengthening the pinky with a stress ball amongst other things but my main issue here is flexibility. My pinky just seems to follow my ring finger.

Does anyone have any advice to help develop flexibility? I thought a few things:

- when driving my long LA commute, I could put my 4 other things on one side of the wheel and keep on flexing that pinky independently:)

- I'm a software developer so I think I will try to use my left pinky to type

- Since people get physical therapy when they have motion limitation... is there such a thing for a pinky:)?

 

Finally... Having been typing and programming since I was a young teenager, I actually have great flexibility in my right hand (and right pinky), which almost makes me wonder if I should try a left-handed guitar and use my right hand for fretting. Anyone has any opinion about this? How does handedness really affect guitar play?

 

thanks,

 

franck-

LOL.I have to use my right hand to tell my left hand what to do also-"what we have here, is a failure to communicate"

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4 hours ago, 6string said:

Switching hands is a viable option, forum member Carolm has experience with that.

Another thing to do is try forming chords using a capo, it puts the fret bars closer together and therefore less of a stretch.

 

Hey goatface ! Yat ? Need mo hep.

xoxo

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Don't overwork your hand.  You can end up with "trigger finger"* which will only slow down your progress.  Just work as you need to during practice.  You aren't going to strengthen your pinky by using a squeeze ball.  Besides, strength is less important to playing well than is leverage and dexterity. 

 

You'll eventually figure out how and where to place your thumb on the back of the neck to gain leverage like a martial artist relies on leverage to gain an advantage over their larger, more powerful opponent.  If you can't figure this out on your own, find a good instructor who can really teach you the basics.  Unlearning bad habits are far more difficult than learning good from the start.  Most guitar players have too many bad habits to begin with.

 

*https://www.google.com/search?q=trigger+finger&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=trigger+finger&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65.4358j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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I'm very new here so my comment might not be helpful but on the topic of 'handedness'......

 

I'm a left hander.  Anything involving a single hand like writing, playing table tennis, drinking from a glass I will use my left hand.  When I used to kick a soccer ball about many years ago my left foot was the natural one.  I'm a software engineer and my mouse is used in the left hand (although I retain the right handed button layout).  When I was into kickboxing my preferred stance was 'southpaw' (although we were taught that if you were any good you should be able to switch naturally between the two).

 

Over 20 years ago my first attempt at learning the guitar having bought a left handed one was a disaster.  I never got on with it and everything felt really awkward.  A month ago I set myself up to try to learn again.  This time I've purchased a 'normal' right handed guitar.  Now obviously after only a few weeks I'm still utterly awful at playing but things don't feel 'wrong' like they did last time around.  There is plenty of stuff that I can't do yet but that is a different issue.  I suppose I may have some interesting times ahead given that my dominant hand is on the fret board and my much weaker one trying to strum or pick out strings but it just feels more natural for some reason.

 

Which I guess is a long winded way of me saying that if the whole thing feels really awkward then maybe think about changing but if it's just the current reach of your pinky finger I'd stick with it.

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