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Thread: Playing Guitar

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Playing Guitar

    Hello everyone. Ive always been interested in the guitar and finally decided to try to learn how to play. I picked up a beginner electric and acoustic and video lessons. However, Im having a problem holding the guitar properly in a wheelchair. I'm a T-6 para. The acoustic is almost impossible because of its width(thickness), the electric is much easier but still not ideal or comfortable.

    With the acoustic I feel like a little kid holding a grownup guitar (and I'm 6'0 tall) because it is about 6 inches below my chin. Like I said the electric is easier but still not ideal. This also creates problems playing notes or chords on the lower strings E,A & D since the guitar is so close to my body and high up I cant contort my left hand to reach them properly without deading other strings.

    I never imagined the hardest part about learning to play a guitar would be holding it properly.

    So Im interested if anyone on this forum plays guitar and how do you overcome the issues that Im having. Do you even have these issues?


  2. #2
    I cross my right leg over my left leg and rest the guitar over my right leg.

  3. #3
    Take up the ukulele. Much easier to learn, hold and play. I played guitar for the past 53 years and it's always been kind of a hastle to hold since the injury. The tenor or baritone uke is really fun to play. An electric uke sounds every bit as good as an electric.

    The baritone is tuned like the bottom 4 strings of a guitar so it's using the same chord structure.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Tidewater, VA
    I use a Dynarest cushion. They come in different sizes. Large works best for my full bodied acoustics. I also have an A-Frame guitar support but suction cups and laboriously laid on shellac don't go well together! I've used it on lacquer and polyvinyl UV cured finishes without issues and it is by far the most positionable support I've used, to date.

    He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one.

  5. #5
    I found the dreadnaught shaped acoustic fit well on my lap if the wheelchair is adjusted right, the wheel is low enough not to have the guitar touch it, otherwise it slides forward. I notice most chairs set up nowdays have quite a bit of dump, and the person sits low with the wheels above the hip. What works for an acoustic guitar may not be comfortable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    I just put the guitar in my lap without crossing my legs or anything. I have never noticed any problem with it but I started playing after my injury so I guess I don’t know any different. Sometimes if I play for a really long time it will leave a red mark on my leg but it always goes right away.

  7. #7
    Hi. I played guitar for many years before my accident and play in a gigging band right now from my wheelchair. pm me, I´d be glad to share some of the short cuts and tips I have learned through the years, at least the ones that work for me.
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

  8. #8
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    I agree with trying ukulele, (tenor size is easyiest for man hands.)
    I play my baby taylor guitar the most of my guitars, it is small, and thin, short neck is easy on the shoulder.

  9. #9
    Do a youtube search using the words wheelchair guitar together and you will get a list of videos with people in wheelchairs playing their guitars. It should give you some ideas.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @

    See my personal webpage @

  10. #10
    Senior Member Them Bones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Tyngsborough, MA
    I have been playing for two years, T4 complete para, 5'6" tall. I have an Epi Les Paul (full size elec, heavier than a strat) and a Yamaha acoustic that's about 15/16 the size of a dreadnaught.

    It was a while before I stopped feeling like I was tipping forward, but I kept up with it, and I found my balance. Kinda. I still tip sometimes, but it's very rare at this point. I always use straps to keep it kinda high. I can't balance at all with it just resting on my lap. So if I am testing one at a store I have to ask them to let me use a strap.

    Otherwise, yeah, it sucks about balance. Like learning how to play isn't hard enough
    But you'll get balance as a side-effect of practicing. Remember, the only way to get better at playing is by playing! Even after two years I can see how far I've come! I'm excited for you and your new hobby! I hope the guitar takes a hold on you like it did on me!

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