Pinky Problems

Just got to module 4 and the Dm cord and finger stretches are really not fun with my pinkies. Not only are they about an inch shorter, but they are also crooked at the last joint. It feels impossible to play with them without them laying down on neighboring strings. Anyone have suggestions?

Nothing is impossible just keep working on the stretch and force that pinky to stand up on string .

I’d say my hand is similar to yours, though it’s harder to see the crook in my pinkie at this angle. I’ve been playing 6 months and I can play the Dm chord just fine now. Just keep at it. Took me a while, too.


I remember thinking that I would never be able to play the Dmin cord.
And the C cord and the G, and the F barre, and B and I am playing them all now.

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What am I missing in this question? This is the open D minor chord I use, and it doesn’t involve the little finger.


Yeah that is the more common way to play Dm, however Justin teaches it with the pinky instead of the third finger.

I learned it a long time ago, but I don’t remember Justin teaching it using the little finger. Is that something new? In the original poster’s picture, is the index finger muting the 5 and 6 strings?

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Ideally, you’ll want to become competent with both fingerings, as each is more efficient in different environments. Eg. Playing with the pinky frees up the third finger for embellishments, extended chords etc…

Cheers, Shane


Justin changed it in the last rewrite, for helping new players. Less of a stretch was the reason I believe. Always done it old skool as per your pic.


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Hello @Dendin and welcome to the community.
I would suggest you increase your time on the beginner finger stretches.
For Dm try it with fingers 1, 2 & 3 if using finger 4 is proving too difficult.
Both are good for different reasons as stated.
I’m not sure what chord or exercise you’re doing in the photo, it looks like you’re holding F# octave notes on 6th and 4th strings. What that photo does reveal is that your guitar action looks high - the gap between strings and the fretboard. This will help you understand what this means. Great visualization of Guitar Action - action, relief, backbow, etc

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My little finger looks very much like yours, even more curved, on top the first joint of my third finger is slightly dislocated due to an old injury and I reached Module 15 without major problems. I admit, that Dm needed a lot of effort to change to and to get it properly ringing out while having the finger “laying” on the string and the finger placement of my pinky isn’t always accurate at 100%, but it finally works satisfactorily. I decided to play Dm with the pinky to train him. Till now, everything worked in the end, but I probably have to invest a lot more time than others. One wall I’ve hit, is to play a certain version of E7 with Pinky envolved. There is no way to do that now and embellishments with the fourth finger will be hard. So a lot of finger excercises needed…or workarounds. Be brave, you will make it in the end!

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Eric @Dendin
My hand looks exactly like yours with my pinky an inch shorter than ring finger and slightly bent over. Don’t get obsessed about it, yes Dm for a beginner is difficult using your pinky and at the time I used my ring finger. Justin wants to get used to using your pinky finger for later chords that need all four fingers.
Haven’t come across it in many songs but would probably play it with either finger depending on the chords before or after.
What I would say and mentioned above that often things are difficult at first and seem impossible but with patience and practice you overcome them. Keep going.
By the way welcome to the community.
Michael :grinning:

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Hi and welcome to the community.
I can sympathize with your difficulties, the fretting hand pinky finger is a problem for a lot of people. I am constantly struggling with anything that involves the pinky.
As a child I had the unfortunate accident of having the end of my left hand pinky cut off by a wind blown door; took the tip right off. (Side note: I think my mother suffered more than I did, all the gushing blood just about did her in that day.) So today, not only is the pinky substantially short, but what remains of the nail is curved over the top.

I’ve learned how to make adjustments or compromises it just takes time and practice, and in some cases just acceptance that I will not be able to do what is suggested.

Hey if Django can play with 2 fingers, the rest of us can suck it up with our strange little pinkies.

Keep practicing and good luck.


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Mark asked what are you doing with your first finger. Placing it on strings 5&6 to mute limits your placement of fifth finger no matter what length it happens to be. Place your first finger on the other E string and see what happens.

I think we had a whole thread a while back about erratic pinky control. We don’t normally do precise tasks with the littlest finger, so it takes time to train it to move smoothly, accurately and with strength.

Mine used to have two positions only. Full y straight and half bent with a jerky abrupt movement in between. It was hard to land on the 3-5 frets. Time and focused effort worked and I don’t even think about it much anymore.

The thing to remember is that there are a lot of people who have managed to learn passible casual guitar, and most of them aren’t different or special compared to us. If they can, we can. Maybe not exactly the same way, but except in exceptional cases, we will get this if we try.


Thanks for the encouragement and advice everyone. Sorry for the first picture confusion. I was not trying to show a particular chord, just show how my pinky very naturally wants to lay along the strings rather than push down on them due to the crook.

I’ll definitely keep working on the stretches, and probably switch to the ring finger for Dm.