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After a recent accident where I had my L index amputated, I would like to start playing classical guitar again after 15 years of absence. to complete the picture, I'm right handed and trauma was on my Left hand. I bought a Left hand acoustic a month ago and have started to relearn as a Lefty. All is going well, but now I would like to get back to classical guitar and play fingerstyle on my acoustic again as a Lefty. I am retired and have plenty of time. I know that PIMA are the fingers used in classsical. Now my question is it feasible/worth it to try relearning without index and use pinky instead?

Thanks in advance for your opinions or experiences

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I would say it certainly is. Now I haven't had any kind of hand injury, but still, after 16 years of playing, I recently started trying to incorporate the right-hand pinky into playing. And it just goes quite well.

By the way, there are even some classical guitarists who vouch hard for the right-hand pinky. I can think of Štěpán Rak, but I think that I have seen Kazuhito Yamashita using the pinky as well. And there will be more guitarists like that, I just don't happen to know about them. I guess that in flamenco guitar, there will be lot of them (because they probably didn't adopt the classical opinion of PIMA being the only "correct" fingers).

So: is it feasible? Yes, certainly, and it could be even recommended that people with healthy hands use the pinky as well. (I still didn't manage to get a good output with it if I try to use it in block chords, but I tried tremolo with 4 fingers and that went very well.) And I would say that with some practice, you can get just as good as anybody using PIMA. The only disadvantage will be that you won't be able to use all five fingers, which makes the right hand even more powerful, but not by much, I would say.

By the way, if you're re-learning from scratch, you will possibly have much easier time than me. I've been playing 16 years without the pinky, so it's not that easy to get into it.

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  • Thanks. Very encouraging. Actually the picture is more complex. I had my middle finger completely amputated as well and reimplanted. Recovery is going great with a very high percentage of sensory recovery after 10 months. Range of motion is also coming pretty good, but still a bit of stiffness with middle finger. I will get down to it soon and let you know of outcome.
    – Michel
    Nov 18 '20 at 18:18
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    @Michel: that's rough. However it is possible (but I'm not a doctor or anything like that!) that if you start practicing, the recovery will actually speed up or maybe you will attain even better portion of recovery (just because you demand more from the finger). BTW, Django Reinhardt had only three fingers on each hand, I believe, and it didn't stop him from being one of the greatest jazz guitarists ever. He is maybe an overused answer to the question "can I play with injured hands", but still it's very inspirational.
    – Ramillies
    Nov 18 '20 at 19:01

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