Pinky Strengthening Exercises

As your guitar playing matures, your fingers should natural gain more strength and independence. But I have found that one major and important plateau that is hard for many young guitarists to cross is developing the pinky finger in particular.  Many beginners choose to use other fingers in situations that call for the pinky to be used.  This may be ok in the short run, but eventually pinky neglect will catch up to you.  If you have been doing this, you must do some fretboard workouts for you pinky.  These exercises are guaranteed to pump up your little finger and get it in shape.

We’re going to start out with a variation on the basic chromatic exercise that most people know.  This particular variation is a great workout for the pinky. The fingering is shown below on the tab.


If you like that one, try to experiment with some other variations of the basic 1-2-3-4 chromatic stuff.

This next one I came across in a Randy Rhoads lesson. Though it is not in the tab, use hammer-ons and pull-offs.  A good way to practice it is to set a timer to it.  A 3-minute egg timer works well.  Start the timer and continuously play the exercise until the timer goes off.  When you’re done, you’ll definitely feel the burn.  Use only your index and pinky fingers.  It is an amazing exercise for building pinky strength. Use it often.  Note- The stretch involved in this one might be a little to much for some people’s hands.  If this is the case, move the whole thing up a few frets.


Next we have a few diminished arpeggios. The key part of this next one that will help your pinky strength is the slides.  You must exaggerate the slides to get the full effect.  I’ve highlighted the notes you should slide into in red.  Also make sure you use the fingering I’ve given.  It may not be the most economical fingering, but we’re not going for that this time.


The final piece I have is another Randy Rhoads one. Use all pull-offs.


You’re pinky should really be in shape if you do these consistently, and as a result your playing will reap the rewards. If you have a questions about any of the things covered or anything about guitars in general, please email me at

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9 Responses

  1. Thanks, this is really useful! I have always found that my pinkie is weaker than my other fingers and hopefully I will be able to get it in shape. Great excersises, thanks a lot :)

  2. thanks alot! my pinky is so weak, this helped me a tons!

  3. You’re definitely right — beginners that avoid doing pinky exercises have difficulty making long-term progress. Having played for about 25 years, I started doing pinky exercises a few months ago and it’s been really difficult — but has opened a lot more options for me.

    Very young players (I started when I was about 6, but this applies to anyone who hasn’t grown into ‘adult sized hands’) will have difficulty spanning their hands to reach some notes — I’ve never grown adult-sized hands myself (I wear a size 6 3/4″ ring) and exercises like this have given my solos a whole new edge.

    Cheers, and best of luck to your readers!
    — jrl

  4. Thanks alot man.

  5. So helpful.
    I always used to avoid using my pinky, and now its come back to bite me :( Even a week of these excercises has gotten my pinky faster and stronger than before, thank you!

  6. I used something similar after about 4 years of playing and focused on my pinky pretty heavily for about 6 months, My pinky bacame one of my stronger fingers and I alson learned that breaking down a technique to the single spot that is giving you trouble and turning it into an exercise not only gets you over that hurdle, but you can develop other techniques from it more quickly and thoroughly.

  7. Just saw it today.. will practice it later Thanks mate!

  8. Just running this scale once I felt it in my pinky! not to mention it sounds kinda cool lol. Gunna be runnin this with my Riffbandz and soon my fingers will have veins showing when I flex em!

  9. These four exersises are great, i felt like my speed licks were not very accurate and was trying to figure out for ages what the reason was, this helped me a great deal. Thank you

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