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Playing the guitar with a visual impairment


This is my first time using this site, so apologies if I have posted in the wrong section.

My brother is a keen musician and is registered blind, he currently plays the Piano. He has been talking recently about learning Guitar but is worried the chord shapes etc might be tough as it requires more visual experimentation.

I am buying him a guitar for his Birthday and will be making some modifications to the build to make it a little easier. (i.e. raised dots to denote key frets etc). Could I ask if anyone who is blind and plays the guitar, if they would have any advice as to what would be a helpful physical aid on a guitar, that i might be able to install to help him?

I play the guitar myself, but I am fully sighted and was hoping someone who has learned with a visual impairment might be able to give me some ideas or feedback to their learning process? RIght now I am experimenting with shapes and raised surfaces etc, but any ideas would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


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Re: Playing the guitar with a visual impairment

Hi, I have a friend who is very visually impaired, he loves to play the bass, the music is his passion. Is there any outlet for him to play, collaborate musical ideas online??, It would enrich his life I think. Maybe with voice recognition technology, or is there a chat room possibility here too? Anyway he would love to play with another musician. Please respond, thx

Re: Playing the guitar with a visual impairment

Sighted guitar players dont look at their guitars so you wouldnt need to either.
Donald The Blind Webmaster
The US Blind Resource Directory

Re: Playing the guitar with a visual impairment

Please get a hold of me! I have some guitar teaching materials for visually impaired! A guy I knew came up with a program and tried to market it. It never took off and he gave up on his dream. I am very curious to know if this actually works. I wanna send this stuff to you! I feel I owe it to the guy. His son is blind and is a ripping guitar player! He really tried to do something good with this, but was just defeated after years of trying. I would hate to see all of his hard work go to waste. If wanna give it a shot, I would be more than happy to send it to you. Please email me:

Jeff Hershey

Re: Playing the guitar with a visual impairment

Hi , Like the gise abuv said . You can only get better with prac and repetition . If he plays fast metal tipe stuff , you can put that stand out dots you can by , and stik them on the back of the nek of the git . so that his thum can trace it. well I hope it wurks . AND DONT GIVE UP. PEACE OUT

Learning the guitar with a visual impairment

I still have some vision,and there are a lot of websites on the Internet with lessons and websites with chords. I used to be really into computers, and after talking to a few knowledgeable people (about PC monitors) and the fact that I have to view everything at 200% brought about the suggestion of a 27-30" monitor. Anyone have any experience with using really large high resolution monitors that can give me the low vision and visually impaired side of this idea?

Re:Playing the guitar with a visual impairment

Hi, SamuelGuy

I started playing the guitar last January-- I also play the piano, so it seems as if my trajectory is similar to your brothers. (I do have a visual impairment.)

I've played several guitars, and all of them have the frets tactually discernable on the top front edge of the fingerboard. So, what I do is I slide my thumb along and count, then put my fingers where I want them. I learned to my great surprise last week that there are visible markings on the top-- dots or such.

The long and the short of it is, I think, that there is a learning process where the guitarist has to have a feel for how far to go, but once you've gotten over that part of the curve, it's the same learning process as for anyone. In other words, the first time I play a B minor, I need to count to the second fret, then line up my fingers, then play the chord and see if it sounds right. Of course, the first time I do it, it doesn't... Maybe this is the process for the first 200 times. But then my fingers just know where to go.

There was a thread on this board a few years ago about marking the frets, and I asked a few blind guitar-playing friends about it. Nobody I found puts markings on the instruments. But it does make sense if I want to quickly get to a 10th fret barre chord I might benefit from a tactual marker...

It's a little like playing arpeggios on the piano, I think-- when you're learning, you have to use your fingers to find the raised and lowered keys, but once you've done that a few times you just practice a million times (so says my instructor, I'll let you know when I get to a million).

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