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View Full Version : Strengthening, stretching and coordinating with weak pinky.



matakazer
06-24-2015, 05:37 AM
The ukulele is my first ever musical instrument and so I have weak fingers :(. I was trying to learn Jake's 143 kelly's song.

I am trying very hard to get my pinky to fret and shift between 4th and 5th fret while maintaining the A5 chord. It doesn't have the strength and flexibility(to reach 5th fret) yet so it just slips away when I try to press the the strings.

It seems like it will take quite a long time by the looks of it. It really just slips away :(


Update: After about 2 weeks, I am not seeing any improvement at all :(. I was thinking of buying those devices that climbers used to strengthen their fingers for better grip. Will that help? It's really bothering me that I am not able to play a lot of stuff with a crippled pinky.

Down Up Dick
06-24-2015, 06:55 AM
I used "exercise putty" to give my left hand fingers more flexibility, and now I'm having cramps in my left hand. I'm old though, and I don't know if the exercises caused the cramps, but I didn't have them before.

Just a word to the wise. Practice will probably enhance your flexibility too. :old:

Nickie
06-24-2015, 07:02 AM
You might want to try Craig Chee's finger exercises. I'm not sure where to find them, I think he has a website. He showed them to me last year, and they work!

PhilUSAFRet
06-24-2015, 09:03 AM
In all likelihood, time will build the necessary strength and flexibility in that pinky. How long it takes depends on the frequency of your practice sessions. I have small fingers and my pinky was about as weak as it could get. Time took care of it. Took me several weeks, maybe a few months to get it strong enough.

Inksplosive AL
06-24-2015, 09:28 AM
I was given a simple exercise years ago by a friend who was a very advanced guitar player.

This video shows a version of it so nice of Mike to post this and many others for us.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8

It is something we should all do every day and it takes no thought. Focusing on the proper technique shown (3:30 in the video) now will only help as you grow.

I prefer to run this exercise 1234 on each string then move up to 2345 on all strings then 3456 and so on up and down the neck. Play the notes to a steady beat even if its very slow. Slow and steady is better than fast and sloppy. Speed comes with time as your fingers will remember whichever you teach them so its better to focus on this now. Its helped with my pinky strength and control not that I'm anything but an advanced beginner, I hope it can help you too.

Hmm I should go watch his other videos about this.

:cool:

Fleacia
06-24-2015, 09:58 AM
snip...

I prefer to run this exercise 1234 on each string then move up to 2345 on all strings then 3456 and so on up and down the neck. Play the notes to a steady beat even if its very slow. Slow and steady is better than fast and sloppy. Speed comes with time as your fingers will remember whichever you teach them so its better to focus on this now. Its helped with my pinky strength and control not that I'm anything but an advanced beginner, I hope it can help you too.

Hmm I should go watch his other videos about this.

:cool:

I do this same exercise as described. It truly helps a lot! The key is to do this a few minutes every day. Obvious, but it only helps if you actually do it! :o It helps with both strength and the ability to stretch to higher frets. As a bonus, it helps with right hand picking/technique too.

stevepetergal
06-24-2015, 12:46 PM
You must force yourself to use it. Force yourself. Then, it's the only trick that works. Practice, practice, practice. Then practice a lot more.

Camsuke
06-24-2015, 01:41 PM
Daily Hanon Exercises will definitely help; http://ukeofcarl.com/hanon-for-ukulele-free-ebook/

Janebug
06-26-2015, 02:42 AM
One more voucher for the exercises in that Mike Lynch video. They're easy, kind of fun (at least not drudgery), mindlessly soothing and it really didn't take all that much practice before I noticed a big difference in my pinky reach and strength.

Rllink
06-26-2015, 03:28 AM
When I was a kid, I had to milk cows every day. I'm not so old that we didn't have milking machines, but anyone who grew up on a dairy farm knows that there is a lot of hand milking goes on, even if you do have machines. When I got out of the Navy, I worked my way through college framing houses, and swinging a 20 oz framing hammer eight hours a day. All these years later, I have a grip like a vise and a finger spread that wont quit. I guess it is a little late for a lot of people here to start milking cows or framing houses, but it sure worked for me. My dad used to say I was gaining skills that I could fall back on if I needed to, later in life. Little did we know.

matakazer
07-08-2015, 02:48 AM
It's not really helping after 2 weeks it seems :eek:

I did the fingers stretching exercise by mike and am trying to play the major scales and hopefully doesn't get bored doing so for an hour a day.

Down Up Dick
07-08-2015, 04:37 AM
I don't know if anybody cares at all about my hand cramps (see earlier post), but I have Tennis Elbow from time to time. So,I put my TE brace on my forearm, and I haven't had a cramp since. So I guess it was a bad case if TE. I hope so.

Added later: The cramps have returned. I guess it's Arthritis--Ahhh, well . . .

Beginners always seem to pick some impossible tune to play. Perhaps, if you'd just learn chords during your sessions, and maybe an easy tune or two you'll get along better. When I was starting out I bought a Baritone and found that I couldn't fret many of the chords comfortably. Now, I can play any chord I want on it.

So, my advice is: Leave the difficult stuff 'til you're more advanced and work on chords and easy tunes. :old:

Nickie
07-10-2015, 03:03 PM
DUD, sorry to hear about the hand pain. I just started taking a supplement for hand pain, and it seems to work. PM me if you want the name of it, I can't recall it just now, and I'm at work.
Rlink, I grew up around dairy cattle too, and can milk a cow. I'm so old we didn't have mechanical milkers. For a gal, I have a grip like steel, but tonight I can't get my smoothie drink open. Dammit, I'm the one that put it on 5 hours ago. (I like to arm wrestle with my BFFs)

Down Up Dick
07-10-2015, 03:18 PM
Nah, Nickie, it comes and goes, but it's really scary when my left hand cramps up, and I can't get it back to normal. It only hurts a little, but I always think "well, there goes music!"

Tha last coupla times I soaked it in hot water, and it relaxed and became normal. Thanks for the offer though. :old:

Nickie
07-10-2015, 03:38 PM
DUD, glad the hot water soak worked. I don't have the patience to do that! Too many instruments lying about! LOL
Tamara suggested spending another $20 a month for TV cable....I held up a uke and said "What the hell for?"

Inksplosive AL
07-10-2015, 04:56 PM
Update: After about 2 weeks, I am not seeing any improvement at all :(. I was thinking of buying those devices that climbers used to strengthen their fingers for better grip. Will that help? It's really bothering me that I am not able to play a lot of stuff with a crippled pinky.

You are developing and using muscles in ways you never have before give it time and dont work so hard. My thoughts on the use of any device are along the lines of why not just play the instrument. If you are that new to the instrument take a look at uncle rods ukulele bootcamp. Using those chord sheets really helped me in being able to switch between chords smoothly and getting my fingers moving without much thought.

I found an easy song and played it over and over and over and then started playing it different ways again and again and again. Now after a year or more its easier to learn simple songs. I have noodled in the past with a guitar and electric bass so strings were not totally foreign to me. The ukulele is where I feel I finally get it and muscle memory has started to work.

Ive gotten frustrated in the past and put musical instruments down for 15+ years what a waste of time. Try not to get frustrated, learning any instrument things then to happen in bursts then you seem to hit a plateau. Find a different song to play for a bit that doesn't stress your pinky so much and come back to this song later. I realize I haven't really played enough myself lately I need to add some structured practice to my own routine so you are a step ahead there.

~have fun~