I've watched carefully both how my instructor uses her pinky, and how others do so, and it seems to universally be comparatively straight at the second joint to make the stretch, with the first bent to press down on the string.

When I use my pinky in a similar way, the second joint buckles(to 180 degrees or more) upon attack. I had it nearly pop out of place once.

As such, I am trying to keep it arched more than normal, but this makes the stretch far far greater than it would usually be. I can make a 6 fret stretch on a guitar, but this is quite a bit more exhausting, as I'm keeping the second joint at about a 45 degree angle to keep it from snapping flat, which moves my thumb, which moves my other fingers, etc etc.

My question is: is this a usual problem, and I am using my pinky wrong, or am I going to be stuck using more arch than most people? Is there any fix that would let me keep my pinky straighter?

  • I used to have the same problem. I would keep it in that position, for hours on end while listening to an audiobook, and now it does not bother me.
    – xilpex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 22:42
  • 1
    Glad it's not just me. Guess I just need to stretch more!
    – nomad380
    Mar 4, 2019 at 1:09
  • Yeah. I used to think I had a mutated pinky. That was when I was 6. :D
    – xilpex
    Mar 4, 2019 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


the strongest structure is an arch. Look at a cats claws, they are made to withstand great pressure. in the same way, the muscles in your hand support your fingers the best when they are arched. Never, ever think of making a joint "straight" as putting pressure on it while it is straight is very bad for the joint. Also, try fingering a note, but not applying enough pressure with the left hand to make a clean sound. Slowly apply more pressure. Find out what the LEAST amount of pressure you can apply to make a clean note is. This will help GREATLY for the pain, it did for me. Also, dont be scared. Use your hands, strengthen them. When you are afraid to use them for anything else, many small muscles will atrophy and you will start getting more pain. Go rock climbing, do pushups, whatever, but always make sure in the mornings, you put both hands above your head, and shake them out as well as your arms very well, releasing the muscles. Also, you can try tightening all the muscles in your arm at once, and then immediately relaxing all of them, this will improve circulation.

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