Best Guitar-type Instruments for Special Needs


Over the years I have tried a range of instruments with the children with special needs. Today I want to share the “guitar-type” instruments that work best

Uke my Day

The humble Ukulele is the most appropriate “guitar-type” instrument for a child with special needs. Its small size makes it easier to bring it closer to the child. It also works well when the child is in a wheelchair since normal sized guitars tend to be blocked by the wheelchair handles. I usually tend to hold the ukulele with the strings facing the child and then assist them to strum the strings. To prevent the child grasping the strings, place his/her hand fingers on the top of the ukulele and gradually pull away the ukulele so that his/her fingers automatically strum the strings as its pulled away.

Openly Strung

With young adults, the guitar is often an appealing option due to its coolness factor. However the ability to strum and fret the guitar simultaneously can often hamper progress. An option is to use open tunings. An open tuning is refers to tuning the strings of the guitar to a guitar chord. Strumming a guitar tuned to a open tuning would result in a pleasant sounding major chord, rather than the discordant sound of the standard tuning of a guitar. The most common open tuning is an “E Major chord” open tuning. To obtain this tuning, tune the guitar to the following pitches: Thickest to thinnest string: E, G#, E, G#, B, E. Google “Open-tuning” to learn more about this type of tuning.

Happy Playing!

Published by Ajay Castelino

Ajay Castelino is an Australian and New Zealand registered music therapist.

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