Pinky Paralysis With Weak Finger G

I’ve got a technique problem that I’ve been working on for several weeks now.

When I change from a C (or mini F chord) to a weak finger G, my pinky sometimes locks up, and it takes a few seconds of conscious effort to make it relax.

This only seems to happen when I put my ring finger down first, not when I lead with my pinky.

In the video, you can see this happen several times starting at 1:00, and a big lock up at 2:10 (these times are bookmarked in the description if you view it on YouTube).

It used to happen almost every time I did a change to weak G, but some slow practice identified a lot of tension where my pinky joins my palm that I was completely oblivious to. This new awareness seems to have helped, but it still happens sometimes and I don’t know why.

Can anyone see what is causing this?

Suggestions for an exercise that will help?

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Not really sure about exercises, maybe keep your ringfinger on the low E string and move your pinky up and down? Train that mobility and strength?

But omg, :exploding_head: about playing G like that! So much less moving from C to G!
(Noob gains ftw! :sweat_smile:)

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Tom, I have one suggestion for you - when you play a C chord your pinky goes almost glued up to your ring finger. Try to relax it and slightly drop it, so when you change to G your pinky has smaller distance to high e string and it requires your muscles work more efficiently.

By also keeping finger so low in the future you will be able to play some embellishments more easily, when you glue it to ring finger you are loosing a lot of fun options and makes it harder to change to small G. Pic for you to make more sense of it:

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Thanks Adrian…I think you might be on to something here. I was watching one of Justin’s videos, and noticed he “crooked” his little finger…it looked like he was trying to get it below the e string. I thought it was extra effort, so I didn’t emulate, but maybe that sent me down the wrong path.

Any suggestions on how to create this new habit? I’m thinking maybe perfect fast changes exercise?

Also, I think I’m going to “lead with my pinky” during slow practice, before moving my other fingers into position for the chord, because that has worked in the past for other fingers that were problem children. Then work on doing “in the air” changes.

This looks like a promising way to loosen up my pinky, in a more musical way, and to learn some new chord variations.

EDIT: Spent 20 or 30 minutes on this, and was able to significantly improve pinky dexterity in one session. Looks very promising!

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I practice it by playing songs, best to pick slow ones with not too many chord changes. Discovered this when trying to learn thumb muting with the D chord acutally.

Pretty much what I do is play low bpm songs with C → G changes and while holding down the C chord, prep my pinky to go hover near the first string. Over time it will feel less and less forced and it will become a subconcious thing.

Not sure if this is the most effective way to learn it but it works for me.

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I understand and feel the struggle. Your pinky is doing way better than mine. This video below is dated July, I’m working on this everyday and I’m improving, very slowly, if I don’t give it full attention pinky collapses down, at the best it just freezes :see_no_evil:

https://youtube.com/shorts/xmTd5xw2TSo?feature=share

Thanks for the topic , as we’re having good advices by @adi_mrok and @Aaronwith2dots, thanks for helping :blush:

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@Tbushell this is the best advice, and your suggestion ref one minute changes that is the best way. Try to get yourself familiar with C with relaxed pinky try it just alone a few times and then at some point in the future when you practice the changes it will become more natural as for now you are used to keeping it close to ring finger.

If that reassures you that’s how I have been taught originally to play C and I managed to learn it the other way :wink: good luck!

Silvia, I’m helping my girlfriend learn to play, and she does the same thing sometimes - with both her ring and pinky. Maybe move your elbow forward a bit - toward the fretboard - and bend your wrist a bit more, so your fingers can arch more and come straight down on the strings?

On the bright side, it doesn’t seem to hurt your playing, and you have an impressive ability to hyper extend your distal joints! That’s going to come in super handy when you play A shape major barre chords!

Thank you I will try, I can do quite right now when I do my changes slowly, but getting it automated and doing it right when I play…I’m not there yet. Also I find it useful to put down pinky before ring finger, I don’t know if it’s correct but it helps and anyway
I think we’ll get to air changes here as well. Practice Playing Patience :blush::blush::blush: