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I've been practicing on my tapping ability. An example of what I mean by tapping can be viewed here, notice how the right hand hits the strings.

I'm currently using all four fingers excluding the thumb to tap the guitar. I find my pinky is not as strong as my other fingers when it comes to applying the appropriate strength on the string. What are some exercises I can do to increase my overall finger strength when tapping? More tapping?

As a sidenote, I've noticed that I use the momentum of my forearm to help apply the appropriate pressure on the string I'm trying to hit. If I remove that momentum and only use force created by the movement of my finger the pressure is significantly less. I was hoping these exercises would also help me to not rely on my forearm as much.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From my experience & from forum surfing, I can confidently say that your pinky finger will always be weaker than the others. I have tried the following techniques and think that they can be used to help bridge the gap for you (aside from unfocused tapping):

  1. Tap softer with the other fingers and tap harder with the pinky finger, slowly and cleanly. Build up speed keeping the sound clean.
  2. Use hand / finger grips to exercise the fingers, focusing on the pinky. (Gripmaster, Planet Waves, Xtensor, etc.)
  3. Use finger weights.
    finger weights

    Place weights on pinky to make it work harder, which will in turn build strength. Start off light, slow, and clean -- gradually increasing speed. After a week or so, increase weight and start back slow. You can alternate between increasing speed and or increasing weight, depending on what you want to train.

If I were you, I would invest in the finger weights. I have found them very helpful. You actually feel faster and stronger after playing with them on and then removing them and playing normally.

Note: I do not consider myself to be an expert guitar player.

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To point #1, I find that when practicing slowly, it is good to make sure that the motions of the individual fingers are done at full speed. This makes the transition from slow to fast more automatic. –  Tim Seguine Mar 18 at 7:58
    
Interesting, haven't heard of finger weights. I'm going to keep this question open a bit longer to see if anyone else has any tips. –  jason328 Mar 19 at 3:11

In moments where you have nothing to do (sitting on the bus, watching tv), you could train your hands by tapping on you knee for example. You could also stretch your fingers backwards and try to counter that with your finger muscles to basically train them.

Also, what really helped me building strength in my left pinky was starting to play the piano. I have pretty small hands and for me it really really helped a lot :). On top of that, I can play a bit of piano now :).

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