I was watching this (mindblowingly awesome) SRV video and I noticed that the guy never uses his little finger:

I wonder if it's his habit or it is a legit technique to rely mainly on 2-3-4.

I guess it boils down to "the little finger is naturally weak, small and a crappy finger in general, but can you, should you and, in practice, do you excercise it until it's as strong as the other three?"

I am not a guitarist, but when I try to play it for fun my little finger is an endless source of frustration, and I'm wondering if I'm just using stupid fingering, maybe.

  • 2
    Many great players get away without using their little finger and I am also sure there are some that have no little finger to use, however using your little finger can add power and even possibilities that even the great SRV may miss out on.
    – amalgamate
    May 26, 2015 at 14:26
  • And for us little finger snobs like myself, seeking out techniques that ignore your little finger will also have a power. Seek to be well rounded.
    – amalgamate
    May 26, 2015 at 14:29
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    "excercise it until it's as strong as the other three", this is potentially impossible, since the length of bones and muscles limits the maximum strength that is possible for a given part of the body. If your pinky is short enough, it'll never compete with the other fingers. But you can make it as strong as possible so it's ready when you need it. Sep 15, 2015 at 20:05

2 Answers 2


There's nothing wrong with using your little finger however the other 3 are much stronger and (especially as SRV used strings that were really fat) he may be more comfortable like that.

I remember slash saying in an interview he often used only 3 fingers on give a bluesy sound to his solos. So I guess its just about comfort and preference.


He probably just does this because with his setup the pinky would be very difficult to use. If I remember correctly though he did use fat strings but they where all down tuned a half step. So there really is no reason as to not wanting to use the pinky other than it is hard. I would not teach beginners this way though. Not good to stymie your creativity in this way.

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