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I just found this forum and figured I would ask a question that has hindered my progress in playing the guitar for quite some time. I've been struggling for awhile now with finding a correct way to hold my electric guitar while sitting in my wheelchair and even sitting in a bed. I had been bed bound do to health issues for awhile now, but am now able to begin sitting in my wheelchair. I have struggled trying to learn while sitting in bed with little success. I am hoping to have better luck in my wheelchair. My chair does have arm rests but they can come off.

I feel I will have to raise the neck of the guitar to prevent my wrist from folding into an awkward and painful position, but for whatever reason as soon as I place my hands around the neck, my thumb always wants to turn sideways pointing towards the headstock. When I correct my thumb position it feels very strenuous. Is this a normal feeling for someone learning the guitar? Any advice would be much appreciated.

  • I always had similar problems - without a wheelchair. I have broken my wrists twice. First time whe I was a little boy and later when I - about 57 years old - was trying to start inline skating down hill a country road. I know the problem of the thumb. So one solution is I don't use it. Then your question reminds me to the difficulties I have to use the tablet when I am in bed. There are some I-pad stands that could also be useful for the keeping the guitar on the board of the wheelchair. – Albrecht Hügli Apr 15 at 8:41
  • Maybe watch some live footage of .Psychotic Waltz - one of their guitarists (Brian McAlpine) is in a wheelchair, and has figured out a way to deal with it... – Richard Metzler Jun 25 at 7:48
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Having the guitar on its strap is the first consideration. Then, it's in the right position l-r on your body. How high it is, is up to you, and needs experimenting with. The angle of the neck is somewhat a personal choice, and doesn't have to be horizontal. If it fits better pointing upwards, so be it - but downwards isn't a good idea.

Your thumb? Well, you actually don't need it much - a lot of players think they do, but even for barre chords, there's little need to press hard on the back of the neck with that thumb. Unless your guitar isn't well set up with a reasonably low action, and not-too-tight strings.

EDIT: it occurred to me that the guitar doesn't have to be played as most of us do. There are several players who rest it on their lap, and play in a similar way to a lap steel guitar. Some playing using hammer-ons with both hands, in roughly a 'piano-playing' style, if that makes sense. You could consider learning (re-learning?) to play thus. It's another feasible option. Google Jeff Healey.

  • There is a guitar player I know who also uses a wheelchair, and he uses a standard strap to hold the instrument relatively high up and tight to his chest. The exact height and angle would be very individual, but I agree that this would be a good starting point for getting a comfortable wrist position. – Alex Y Apr 15 at 21:32
  • Some people also have their guitar on the left leg, which puts it in a more upright position. Apparently it facilitates intricate finger-tapping. – Your Uncle Bob Apr 16 at 9:15
  • @YourUncleBob - do you mean the 'waist' of the guitar is resting on the left thigh? Just as classical players do? – Tim Apr 16 at 9:37
  • Yes. Here's an example from an Adam Neely video, where he critiques viewer submissions, and also comments on the ergonomics of resting your guitar or bass on the left leg: youtube.com/watch?v=TttEi8drWQY&t=7m6s – Your Uncle Bob Apr 16 at 13:01
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  1. I know the problem of the thumb. One solution is: I don't use it. Or if it's needed you keep the neck down just for those chords.

  2. Then your question reminds me to the difficulties I have to use the tablet when I am in bed. There are some I-pad stands that could also be useful for the keeping the guitar on the board of the wheelchair. google: Ipad stands

  3. I'm trying to play my Euphonium solos for euphonium playing with the right hand the volves of the instrument and with the left hand the accompaniment by chords on the piano. There I need not only one brace but two or three. Maybe this could be a solutione also for keeping the guitar in a special position.

  • google.com/… – Albrecht Hügli Apr 15 at 8:43
  • Available is a guitar stand that holds the guitar while one is standing. Possible adaption here? – Tim Apr 16 at 9:39

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