Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

USB Guitar and Lessons

This instrument might look like a top-notch electric guitar featuring a maple neck, solid body, single-coil pickups with 5-way switching, chrome machine heads and a vintage whammy bar - and that's because it is. But it's also an ingenious USB-friendly axe that allows you to transform your computer into an amp, effects rack and recording system without any additional hardware.

This Strat-style guitar comes with software that lets you jam along with your favourite music files. You can even slow tracks down or speed them up for learning and practising - ideal if you're into shredding metal or plodding pop. There's also a multi-track recording/editing function, so you can record your wicked riffing, two-handed tap-offs and sweeping arpeggios (or something like that) on the spot. NOTE: This software has not been tested with screen reading technology and may not be compatible with all screen readers.

The included software can recreate countless combo sounds, from tube to transistor, soft to distorted, warm to edgy. No wall of speakers or mile-long pedal deck required. And if you're worried about the neighbours (how very un-rock 'n' roll) you can listen to your plucking genius via headphones. Can also be used with any traditional guitar amplifier.

Click this link to purchase the iAxe USB Guitar from

OK, now that you have the USB Guitar, how are you going to learn to play it? Through the internet, naturally!

This site is designed to teach visually impaired people guitar. It is optimized to be accessed with the assistance of the JAWS for Windows Screen Reading program and other screen readers. The site was developed by Bob Craypoe in the US and tested by Terry Hopwood-Jackson in the UK.

Click this link to learn to play guitar:

Learn to Play Guitar with Books in Braille with Tactile Diagrams

These books have been designed specifically to help teach those with a visual impairment how to learn and play the guitar.

  • A Beginners Guide to Playing the Guitar covers everything needed to get started, and is accompanied by a 26 track audio CD and a 27 track MP3 CD-ROM.
  • A concise Chord Book, accompanied by a 75 track CD, covering every chord described in the book, allowing the student to progress at their own pace and with the type of music that they prefer.

Both books are printed in Grade 1 Braille, are in a spiral bound A4 landscape sized format and also contain tactile diagrams for ease of learning. There is no need for students to learn, know or use Braille Music Notation. Diagrams replicate the strings and frets that the student will feel, and clearly demonstrate the correct finger positions.

These books are designed for use by all ages and all levels of ability. It is hoped they will allow students to open up a whole new world for themselves, and a whole new experience.

Further details and other information, including ordering options, are available at

Hunter's Guitar Braille Books
52 Valley Park Drive
United Kingdom
Phone: 07900 060195

1 comment:

Librarian said...

You might also consider the "Music By Ear" courses from I believe most folks start with Intro to the Guitar for the Visually Impaired. Many of the titles in the series can be borrowed from libraries in the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped network.

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