We all have that one thing that fulfills us, a passion that makes life worth living. For some, it might be writing, and for some, it might be music. But sometimes, life can make it challenging for us to fulfill our dreams and passions, and if you are someone with a disability, you must know how that feels.
But just because there is a hindrance between you and your passion does not mean you should give up on it, which is why we are here to help you all.
If you are someone who loves playing guitar or someone who wants to learn to play it, but your disability is making it difficult to practice your passion, then worry not, because this article might just be for you!
We have a list of equipment that allows everyone to play guitars, regardless of their disabilities. So let’s get started!
Adaptive Equipment For Playing Guitar
Do you find playing guitar difficult due to your fingers hurting? Or is it hard for you to put pressure on your fingers while playing it?
If yes, then EZ-Fret is made just for you.
If the EZ-fret is appropriately installed, it does not interfere with the strings that vibrate as the button is pushed down. This helps produce clear and perfect tones that are usually very hard to produce when fretting with the string without any external help.
It is relatively easy to install, and once you install it properly, you can remove and replace it easily. The reason this equipment is so great is that with only eighteen buttons, there are a hundred and ten chords available! Talk about range.
2. EZ Chord
EZ chord is another device to help those who lack hand strength, have sensory sensitivity in their hands, or lack mobility in their hands. As mentioned above, this makes fretting really difficult. The EZ chord is attached to the neck of the guitar and produces I, II, III, IV, and V chords with the use of only one finger.
There are other varieties of this equipment that prices more chords; however, that requires the use of more than one finger. Although the songs a person can play are limited, there are a lot of amazing songs a person can play with these chords, like “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran or “Good Riddance” by Greenday.
3. The Wheely
The wheely is a uniquely designed guitar built to be played in a wheelchair. Playing guitars in a wheelchair can be quite tricky, with having to shift around to find a comfortable position for your guitar to fit. The wheely ensures a person’s comfort without any hassle.
The guitar has a custom patent-pending chair arm and leg relief, meaning the guitar is designed so it easily fits on a chair with arms and on the legs of the person playing it. Moreover, its custom body shape feature provides additional comfort when playing in a sitting position.
The wheely comes in four different colors and three varieties of pickup combinations. Each guitar is built keeping up with the standards of its designer and builder, Luthier Mel Bergman. And good news for the kids who have to use a wheelchair, a custom design for kids is also under development. This creation truly keeps up with the notion that music can be modified.
Strumming is one of the most important aspects of playing the guitar. And considering how we see professionals do it, it looks simple enough, right? Wrong! A guitar is this annoying piece of plastic that just looks for different ways to get out of your hand. Many people have disabilities that do not allow them to hold a pick constantly, with enough strength that it does leave their hand. People without any disabilities struggle with it as well.
And the pick either goes flying somewhere or inside the said guitar, and then you have to do everything you can to retrieve the pick. It is a hassle, really. But something that can be helped. This orbit guitar pick ensures that this does not happen. It is attached to this ring in which you insert your finger, and viola, this pick won’t escape anywhere.
5. The Guitar Barre Method
The guitar barre is a great multipurpose device that can be used. It can even be facilitated for blind players. All you have to do is place a little piece of adhesive Velcro, something that they will be able to feel, on top of their 2 to 4 frets that they use the most for barring. Remember to place them in the same position where their labels would be.
Then whoever is playing can feel the adhesive Velcro and align the bat accordingly. Again, playing will be limited to a certain extent, but it’s great for those who struggle with grasping all the chords while seeing them. With time they can work their way up if they want to.
One Handed Guitar Player | Can I play the guitar with one hand?
Although two hands play the guitar, there are people with disabilities that are not able to do that. But that does not mean it’s impossible. There are certain ways that people can play guitar, even with one hand.
First on our list is Robo-Tar, a specialized guitar designed so it can be played with one hand. One-handed guitar players are an excellent option for whom the adaptive equipment doesn’t work well. All a person has to do is use an application to choose a song they want to play and then have at it.
What The person playing the guitar can do is they can cycle through each chord of the song that they choose and use a push button or a single foot pedal to move each chord at a tempo they deem fit. And then use their hand to strum along. This removes the issue of fretting altogether.
It does not matter if the person has been playing guitar for a long time or is a newbie. That’s what’s so great about Robo-Tar. It works for everyone, people with and even without disabilities. Especially those that have been limited when it comes to playing music due to their disability in their hand. It’s so simple to use as well, and you just have to attach the device to the neck of any standard device, and don’t worry, it can be removed as well.
2. The Guitar Barre Method
Here we have a guitar barre, again. But this time it’s for those who want to play guitar, but with only one hand. What you have to do is play the guitar on your lap, hold the guitar barre, and then push it down so you can barre the desired chords.
With that, you can use the index finger to strum along. It can be hard in the beginning, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. And with no time, you will be able to play one-handed guitar, banjo, and even ukulele.
Slowly, the world is trying to expand its horizon and trying to be inclusive, but there is a long way to go. Music instruments are not as such completely exclusive, unfortunately, but there is a start. If you ever struggle or feel as if it’s easier to give up, then keep trying. We want you to remember that although it’s hard, it’s worth it.
There have been several amazing guitarists that became who they are, regardless of their disability. Like Tommy Iommi, who had lost the tips of his fingers, Django Reinhardt, who was told he could never play guitar after suffering severe burns on his left fingers. And Vic Chesnutt, who was paralyzed and had limited hand movements.
The point isn’t that just because they did it, and you have to as well. But it’s the fact that they didn’t let their disabilities be their breaking point. Society makes it so that a person’s disabilities are at their end and won’t be able to do anything else.
But the moment you stop letting the society made up of neurotypical individuals stop telling you what you can or cannot achieve, you will go to great lengths. Never give up, the road may be bumpy, but if you are truly passionate about it, you will know it’s worth it. So happy playing!