How do I reduce finger flapping?

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mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 1828
edited December 2013 in Technique
I've finally got into 3 note per string stuff (major scale shapes mainly) but I can't stop my little finger flapping all over the shop. What's the best way to work through this?.
"A city star won’t shine too far"


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  • By 'flapping all over the shop' does this mean you are not using it?  Or are you using it but struggling with control?
    My muse is not a horse and art is not a race.
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  • Is it actually causing problems? My fingers are somewhat more energetic than they need to be, but I find that a) it doesn't really hinder my playing much, and b) it actually sounds slightly different, especially when playing legato stuff.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • cruxiformcruxiform Frets: 1520
    My little finger flaps a lot, always has done. I just live with it. Look at Gary Moore's playing on youtube, his does the same and it didn't hinder his playing at all.
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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4706
    edited December 2013
    Slow down and focus on not flapping about.

    The laws of muscle memory are - it takes twenty perfect goes to undo every imperfect attempt, so never getting it wrong in the first place is the best way to go and why speed is a by-product of accuracy.

    There's another thing, I think this was something I observed when working through Troy Stetina's speed book - are your fingers flapping about because they're keeping time for you? Are you timing the outward journey of  each pinky and it's return to be where you need it... play at different tempos and see if this is the case... if your finger is simply a thing that presses down the timing has to come from elsewhere but is a habit that can be aquired.

    Also there's an element of showmanship having impressive waggly fingers.. but it's better to ditch it :)

    Stuff like Justin's exercise above and the Spider exercise (which he showed me) are really good at crushing flappy fingers.

    Next thing - do you need to get rid of it? Depends on you. Django Reinhardt played with only two fingers so anything is possible and can be musical - just figure out honestly if it's working for you.

    I've watched Guthrie park his little finger behind the neck for some faster passages.. all this 3NPS and using the pinky thing is MI convention and of limited use.
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • ROOGROOG Frets: 407
    Misterg said:

    This chap's mantra seems to be do it slowly, watch closely what you are doing and do it right.

    Easy for him to say, but I can see his point re muscle memory.

     

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  • Thanks guys. I'm suffering from exactly what Justin describes, but just my pinky. I've always been a 4 finger player but obviously I've not needed to be super accurate until now.

    I'll give this a few days and report back. Thanks for the replies guys.

    "A city star won’t shine too far"


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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21132
    I've seen some really good players with this issue- sometimes you find a way to make it work for you.

    That said- I worked hard on using minimal movement.
    Justin's exercise is good- it is pretty much what I did waaaaay back when.

    "I don't go to mythical places with strange men." Douglas Adams
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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4706
    worth bearing in mind that the 3 and 4th fingers share a load of ligaments iirc. so proper independence isn't going to happen :)
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21132
    edited December 2013
    I thought that was middle and ring- at least the tendons that control movement.

    If you put your palm down you can wiggle your ring finger.
    If you tuck your middle finger back, you can't.

    Correct thumb placement helps with minimising pinky finger movement.
    "I don't go to mythical places with strange men." Douglas Adams
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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4706
    you're right... it's odd, a really common stripping movement when grabbed from behind is to pull the little finger - I assumed it was the shared tendon but it must just be a weaker finger.
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21132
    frankus said:
    you're right... it's odd, a really common stripping movement when grabbed from behind is to pull the little finger - I assumed it was the shared tendon but it must just be a weaker finger.
    That and it is furthest from the point where the hand pivots from, so any movement will be exaggerated at that point.
    "I don't go to mythical places with strange men." Douglas Adams
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  • MistergMisterg Frets: 206
    edited December 2013
    ROOG said:

    This chap's mantra seems to be do it slowly, watch closely what you are doing and do it right.

    I think it's a bit more than that tbh. The point is to do it as an exercise super-slowly, painfully slowly even, but to be in control of your fingers throughout. I found it ridiculously difficult to start with, but very quickly saw improvements - days, not weeks. (I'm a bumbler, not a shredder, mind...!)
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  • use secateurs?
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 1013
    use secateurs?
    Ah! Bone Control!!                  il get me coat.......
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  • Ahem!

    I did about 20 minutes of this last night spread over a couple of hours... I've already noticed a difference. I think it's only focussing on that single aspect of technique that has started to yield results.

    Slowly, slowly is the key.. If I go too fast I start flapping again... like I'm playing a Quo song.

    Anyway, thanks for all the input.

    "A city star won’t shine too far"


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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4706
    I remember Dario Cortese saying something along the lines of "your fastest speed, is the speed you play without making a mistake... If I came to your room tonight held a gun to your head and said play as fast as you can without making a mistake or I'll blow your brains out... you'd play a lot slower than what you currently call your fastest".

    He reckoned an increase of 5bpm a week max :)
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • You could try the Spider exercise with a twist. Once you have put a finger down, you must not remove it until it's absolutely necessary for a new note. You end up with all your fingers in contact with the neck, which may help you stop the 4th finger flailing around.
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 391
    its sometimes a good idea to practice in front of a mirror so you can watch the left..and right hand ..you will be able to see your technique and see what needs to be altered..in my opinion..if it looks smooth and effortless it will come across in your playing ...if it looks awkward it will probably sound the same way...
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