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Instruments for physically disabled ?

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13 Mar 98 - 07:16 PM
Barry Finn 13 Mar 98 - 07:31 PM
Bill D 13 Mar 98 - 09:28 PM
chet w 14 Mar 98 - 12:55 AM
BAZ 15 Mar 98 - 06:38 PM
Nathan Sarvis 15 Mar 98 - 09:55 PM
15 Mar 98 - 10:24 PM
Paul Stamler 16 Mar 98 - 02:38 AM
Art Thieme 16 Mar 98 - 05:54 PM
dulcimer 16 Mar 98 - 09:03 PM
Bill D 17 Mar 98 - 05:07 PM
belter 23 Mar 98 - 06:31 PM
BAZ 23 Mar 98 - 06:41 PM
Alice 23 Mar 98 - 07:22 PM
steve t 24 Mar 98 - 03:15 AM
Bert 25 Mar 98 - 09:18 PM
Jerry Friedman 26 Mar 98 - 11:02 AM
Pauline Lerner 26 Mar 98 - 11:19 PM
judy 27 Mar 98 - 02:26 AM
BAZ 28 Mar 98 - 05:06 PM
space ghost 28 Apr 99 - 01:23 PM
GUEST 02 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM
open mike 02 Apr 05 - 11:11 PM
open mike 02 Apr 05 - 11:23 PM
open mike 02 Apr 05 - 11:30 PM
open mike 02 Apr 05 - 11:41 PM
open mike 03 Apr 05 - 03:20 PM
wysiwyg 03 Apr 05 - 03:22 PM
DonMeixner 03 Apr 05 - 03:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Apr 05 - 07:50 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Apr 05 - 08:04 PM
Leadfingers 03 Apr 05 - 08:26 PM
Ebbie 03 Apr 05 - 08:35 PM
DonMeixner 03 Apr 05 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 03 Apr 05 - 10:24 PM
Mary in Kentucky 03 Apr 05 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 03 Apr 05 - 11:35 PM
DonMeixner 03 Apr 05 - 11:59 PM
Ebbie 04 Apr 05 - 12:34 AM
wysiwyg 04 Apr 05 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Apr 05 - 03:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM
DonMeixner 04 Apr 05 - 04:56 PM
open mike 04 Apr 05 - 09:06 PM
open mike 04 Apr 05 - 09:27 PM
Don Firth 04 Apr 05 - 10:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 05 - 07:06 PM
alanabit 06 Apr 05 - 03:29 AM
Gurney 06 Apr 05 - 03:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Apr 05 - 07:07 AM
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Subject: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From:
Date: 13 Mar 98 - 07:16 PM

I have a young lass of 12yrs old that comes to me for music sessions (I'm not a teacher I just love music and song). She suffers from chronic arthritis, badly affecting the hands. Joe Offer made mention in another thread of playing the Autoharp and this gave me the idea as it may be another instrument this lass could play.

At present she is learning to play the Bowed Psaltry (bow in each hand and psaltry mounted on a tripod) and she can manage a number of jigs and reels on a recorder. Aulos do one with 5 joints so that the holes can be positioned under the fingers making things easier.

The other night my wife and I took her to the pub we play in and she took the lead on a couple of tunes, brought the pub to a standstill, boosted her own ego no end, and had her proud parents in tears. So much so that I now want to take on a couple of more youngsters that I know with physical disabilities. So is there anyone among you talented people out there with this sort of experience that can point out any pitfalls or give me advice on suitable instruments. I want to concentrate more on melody and rythm rather than percussion so any advice really would be appreciated.



Regards



Baz.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Mar 98 - 07:31 PM

Can't give you any of what you're looking for Baz, but I sure would like to give you a pat on the back. Very nice of you. Barry


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Mar 98 - 09:28 PM

The autoharp is indeed an instrument that can be used to make music by the handicapped...it lends itself to all levels of playing...one of the best players of all time, Kilby Snow, played with essentially one finger for the strings and a couple for the chord bars. I ,myself, use mostly one finger for chords part of the time while using 2 for melody.

Another interesting instrument is the Kalimba, or 'thumb piano'...which requires only 'plucking' metal reeds with the thumbs...


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: chet w
Date: 14 Mar 98 - 12:55 AM

I once saw a woman with a missing left hand play a guitar in open tuning. The is also a device you can get at most music stores that makes playing a bar on guitar very easy, in open tuning. The harmonica is also a great instrument that doesn't take much hand usage. I think this is a great project.

Good luck, Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: BAZ
Date: 15 Mar 98 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for the above. That's just the advice I was looking for.
Regards Baz


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Nathan Sarvis
Date: 15 Mar 98 - 09:55 PM

For autoharp information visit the Autoharp page at http://www.fmp.com/harppage/ and subscribe to the Cyberpluckers list. You can get lots of good advice from those that are doing it with autoharps.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From:
Date: 15 Mar 98 - 10:24 PM

The dulcimer--appalachian----is a great instrument for those with disabilities. Put it on a table or platform in front of you and fret just the first string. Strum all three strings. (Don't use these strange 90's dulcimers with extra strings.) The 3-stringed dulcimer, unlike the autoharp, is quite easy to tune. It just took me two MONTHS to tune an autoharp that Brian Bowers sent to me because he heard that I could no longer play the guitar or banjo.(Thanks Brian---Vicki and Flawn too. For sure!) It's easier to tune a helicopter than some autoharps. But autoharps with FINE TUNERS are being made now. Those would help a ton on my autoharp, I'm certain.)

KEEP PICKIN"!! Take it easy, but take it!


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 16 Mar 98 - 02:38 AM

Harmonica is good; also try panpipes a la Henry Thomas or Andean bands, lashed together and perhaps inserted into a harmonica holder.

For folks with minimal use of the hands but okay legs and feet, an organ's pedal board might be appropriate; not typically a "folk" instrument, but there are Midi controllers with organ-type pedals.

Finally, and I'm not joking, the original musical instrument -- the unaccompanied voice.
Peace. Paul


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Mar 98 - 05:54 PM

The HARMONICA LEWINSKY seems to be playing pretty easily lately. (JOKE!!)


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: dulcimer
Date: 16 Mar 98 - 09:03 PM

You can get a pretty darn good sound by just using a finger or noter (piece of wood) up and down the melody string (or strings) on the appalachian or mountain dulcimer. You all know I would have to say something. But let me also say that using one's voice accompanied by a small drum or the spoons can be rewarding.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Mar 98 - 05:07 PM

Art....*tsk*...


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: belter
Date: 23 Mar 98 - 06:31 PM

I have several sugjestion, not all of wich I'm certain will work out. The hamer dulcimer may be an option since it just requires being able to grip the hammers. I'm not sure how quickly the hands would tire. also slide guitar could work. While a wistle with a slide in it may seam like a child's toy, there's no reason it couldn't do everything that a Irish tin wistle is used for given enough practice. Finally, the people I bought my bambo flute from sell what they call a dragon wistle. It's just a short piece of bambo that can be blown like a flute and modulated by covering the end or incerting a finger.

I hope some of this will help you.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: BAZ
Date: 23 Mar 98 - 06:41 PM

Thanks again to all those who helped. I've got more than enough to get going with and I'm sure the young people concerned will be grateful to you all.
Regards Baz.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Alice
Date: 23 Mar 98 - 07:22 PM

BAZ, one more suggestion, to accompany singing, the shruti box. It is basically just a small wooden box with a bellows, and holes that open and close to drone notes. Here are two addresses for manufacturers and photos.
http://www.mid-east.com/sitars.html
photo is at bottom of page.

and
http://www.batish.com/RagaNet/Issues/3/srutibox.html
better photos and a more detailed description.

alice


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: steve t
Date: 24 Mar 98 - 03:15 AM

Not being able to play melodies myself... hmmm.

Like harmonicas, PAN PIPES can be held still in a brace while the player skids his head back and forth to play them. And a note on harmonicas: they don't all sound alike. You can get big, expensive, low toned jobs that blend with human voices instead of wailing over them.

Hmmm... steel drums? They can play melodies. And might make parents cry ;-)

I saw a show about Appalachian music the other day on PBS. They had one guy who had been an accomplished musician before losing his fret hand to a saw mill. He still played the violin, and his music seemed well respected. I think he was included in the show because of his style of music, ratehr than his disability. His stump was pretty well covered in cloth so it was impossible to tell exactly how he pressed down the strings, but man, this guy could play! He sounded great. It was amazing.

Seeing something like that might or might not be inspirational to your students. But it sure startled me. I whine when I break a fingernail. I knew a guy who put his classical guitar away forever when he lost the tip of one finger. Determination can work wonders.

I also once saw video of a professional jazz musician who, if i remember correctly, had a whole system of levers added to his sax so he could play it one handed.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Mar 98 - 09:18 PM

How about a hurdy gurdy? Buttons to push with the left hand and a handle to turn with the right.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 26 Mar 98 - 11:02 AM

Not a folk instrument, but what about the trombone? All you need to do is grip, and you might be able to rig up wrist cuffs so you wouldn't even need your fingers.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Pauline Lerner
Date: 26 Mar 98 - 11:19 PM

I have known two people who played musical instruments, had serious injuries, and continued to play. One was a cellist in a community symphony orchestra I played with. He lost the tip of the first finger of his left hand in an accident and, like the string player mentioned in another note, continued to play with what was left of this finger. The other is a close friend who had a stroke when she was in college and lost fine motor control of the right side of her body. She continues to play piano and organ with her left hand only. She plays the melody note with one finger and uses the other fingers to play chords or arpeggios. In cases like these, the strength of the human spirit overcomes physical disabilities. I have tremendous respect for these people and for the teacher of music for the physically disabled.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: judy
Date: 27 Mar 98 - 02:26 AM

The hammer dulcimer is a good instrument for anyone who gets nervous playing in front of people: The more you shake, the better it sounds

enjoy!
judy


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: BAZ
Date: 28 Mar 98 - 05:06 PM

Judy
I told my lass about the shakes and the Dulcimer. She said book Carnagie Hall (is that how you spell it) now!
Thanks again to all of you for the help and advice. It's been so useful that I've booked an appintment with the music teacher at the local comp. to see if he can get his hands on any of the more unusual instruments tolend me.
Thanks again Baz


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: space ghost
Date: 28 Apr 99 - 01:23 PM

play with your self...its easy and fun...and you can sing all the while!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 10:31 PM

my brother is missing his right arm at the sholder. He loved to play the guitar before his accident and would like to play again. His problem is strumming it . he still knows how to play but needs somthing he can attach to his foot or knee so that when he moves his foot it strumms the gutar. Can you please help me??? reply to :texsara2003@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 11:11 PM

i believe there was mention a while back of a fellow who plays in a
one man band on the street who has invented a way to strum by a device
that he operates with his foot. There was a musician here who wanted to
contact him about it....perhaps it was Don Meixner?? i will see what I
can find out. Best of luck to your brother..I hope he will make music
again...that is bound to help .


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 11:23 PM

yes it was Don and he was looking for "Lonesome Gillette" (eric royer)
in Boston...he was looking to help a stroke victim adapt his guitar.
this might be jsut the ticket for your bro. check this
thread :
to find the info--and you wil see contact info for the
inventor/maker of the music machine. good luck.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 11:30 PM

to find out more or see one of these incredible inventions go here:
Guitar Machine


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 11:41 PM

huh? jsut not my day--(and it is not even april fool's day any more)
in case that link does not take you there...www.guitarmachine.com
maybe not exactly what your brother would want, as it operates
totally with the feet, but it might be a start.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:20 PM

Don--what did you find out about this invention?
"Lonesome" are you there?
What would it take to rig up a device just to strum,
and allow a person to chord wth their left hand?


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:22 PM

Laurel-- did you email the requestor to come see the responses here in the thread?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 03:40 PM

Hi,

I am working on this very device at this moment.

It is very possible to make a strummer for the guitar that is foot powered via a pedal. Similar to a Hi-Hat cymbal or a bass drum pedal. Lonesome Gillette has a system that works very well for him that ( As I deduce by looking at his operation) involves a series of capos with a guitar in open tuning. I heard him play in Boston and it is an amazing thing.

The biggest draw back to the solution as I am able to find is not whether it is possible to build a strummer for certainly it is, but rather one of expectation by the user. I can build something that works. It can't return the player to the player they were.

I know this so frustratingly well from personal experience. Re-attached fingers that work are miraculous. That I can still play at all is another miracle.

I can only say I'm on the case.

Don


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 07:50 PM

Approaching it from another direction, would it be possible to build an instrument where the fingering with the left hand actually played the notes, in a kind of extended hammering-on process? Not the same as having both hands, but I can imagine that for some people it might even feel better to play than with a foot-strumming device.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 08:04 PM

First, has anyone directed Dave Bryant to this thread?

Second, there were a series of things a bit like electric guitars in the 70s and 80s, including one I think called the "synthaxe" that did exactly that - the contact of the string and fret made a circuit.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 08:26 PM

There is a chap (Thalidomide Case , I think ) who does the occasional spot in a pub down here - He plays guitar , open tuned with a flat pick , and while he is never going to be Martin Simpson he does a good spot , and MORE importantly , enjoys himself !I have also heard of a lad with an amputation whao has an artificial hand made holding a plectrum , so he swops his hand over to strum guitar !!
There is always a way round !!


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 08:35 PM

You guys are amazing. This is one of the reasons that I love the Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 08:55 PM

The Synthclavier (?) Frank Zappa prefered it to guitar and he was a great guitar ist.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 10:24 PM

...and I AM SERIOUS:

a kazoo

If, like me, hand coordination and often stiffness and pain are the problems, a kazoo can be held in your mouth and played easily just using the lips and teeth to hold onto it. Then, of course, you just hum into it.

But be careful not to humiliate the player even though you mean well. I always think of the film "Jackie And Hilary" about the absolutely wonderful cellist, Jacqueline Du prey (spelling?) whose MS slowly robs her of her grand talent. Her husband, conductor Daniel Barenboim, in an attempt to "keep her in her music", has her bang a tambourine once or twice at particular moments in a classical orchestral piece. The scene in the film was more than just hard to watch for me.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 10:39 PM

Absolutely the same reaction from me, Art! I finally saw that movie last year after hearing so much about it.

I read this thread several days ago and realized that no one addressed my particular problem. Intentional tremor (a tremor at the end of a long muscle movement - makes it hard to change hand positions on the piano quickly - a hammered dulcimer would be impossible!) And also the stiffness when under pressure - making a lap dulcimer hard to perform.

I have good "sequential" fingering, so the whistle might be possible, but oooooooh, does that take a lot of breath!

I just enjoy playing simple piano arrangements and composing midi files.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 11:35 PM

Hi, Mary,

Yes, I do understand some of what you're saying. -- I can play my banjo a bit, but only in the open-G tuning where there are less strings that need to be accurately depressed. (No pun intended. I mean pressed down ;-)

Our grandaughter, Chloe Moon Thieme, still likes to dance to the banjo---no matter how it sounds. And some juice/jaw's/Jew's harp tunes are still fun to try.--------But the scene in the film that got to me too was where she was playing her cello and looked down to find a puddle of her urine pooling on the floor of the concert stage.

I try my dulcimer too every so often---but I'm not happy with the result. Once in a while I think I could do a couple things at a festival again--but the look on old friends faces tells me not to bother. Hand numbness worsens a ton after ten or fifteen minutes----and involuntary leg spasticity is a big hassle too. I kicked my guitar off the front of the stage once about 10 years back before a definite diagnosis. Then folks expected me to break the instrument in half, or set it on fire I think,--like some silly kid rocker--which I definitely was and am not.

But that sense o' humor (that if you don't have one, it isn't FUNNY) -- I keep mentioning here at Mudcat and folks don't seem to realize I'm joking, well, one does need to nurture that old funny bone. I bet the Pope could see the humor and irony of his last moments. Ya gotta get that good ol' serenity any way you can.

Onward and upward,

Art


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 11:59 PM

Art,

I keep telling you that you have more to offer at festivals than performing. I'd love to have you watch me perform and show me was to improve. And since I have heard you tell stories before, I'd love to hear some again.

And like I said

"The biggest draw back to the solution as I am able to find is not whether it is possible to build a strummer for certainly it is, but rather one of expectation by the user. I can build something that works. It can't return the players to the player they were."

These are people with mechanical limitations. I don't know what I can do for people with deficits caused by a nerve disorder. Especially a progressive disability. But maybe I can give the people I am hoping to help another chance at an instrument they love to play.

Don


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 12:34 AM

This may sound - and be!- off the wall. But I was bemused the other day at a music shop inventory clearance. Among the things on sale are harmonicas, and of course, he has the velvet-lined mechanical bellows on which to try out a harmonica. It struck me then, in the process of playing with it, that a person could actually do a performance with it. Anyone have any ideas on this?


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 09:07 AM

So has anyone e-mailed the requestor????

~S~


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:14 PM

Old friend, Dan Keding, a fine storyteller, is, I'm sure, frustrated by my not telling tales etc. Cognitive parts of MS restrict my diction and my ability to recall sequential narratives.

NONE of that shows up here in my posts to this forum where I can take a whole day, if I want, to make myself heard and coherent sounding. Not much, these days, is easy to get out--if ya know what I mean. **SMILE**

Art


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:45 PM

But you've got the stories inside you, Art. You could maybe have someone to tell them for you, and you could heckle them...

Or even have a robot do the reading - they've got one of those in our library, a reading machine, I think Stevie Wonder fiananced developing the system. You can set it to read some tough macho story, and do it in a girlie voice. Or the other way round. Great sport.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 04:56 PM

OK Art,

Take all day every day as long as you need and write friggin' book everyone is begging you for.

****Bigger SMILE****

Don


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 09:06 PM

yes i e-mailed "tex" to alert them to look at this discussion here and am sending another e-mail with a link to this thread. I am recalling a battery operated device i ahve for my guitar....it creates a magnetic field which "activates" the string for a sustained sound...reqires a
hand to hold it over the string, but might be mounted somehow...it is an E-Bow--i can envision a set of them one for each string, which could be activated by a foot switch....www.ebow.com/

i recently saw a musician who had an elaborate foot-activated system
so he could record a "loop" played with one instrument (such as a bass
line or rhythm) then play melody along on antoher instrument.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: open mike
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 09:27 PM

yes i e-mailed "tex" to alert them to look at this discussion here and am sending another e-mail with a link to this thread. I am recalling a battery operated device i ahve for my guitar....it creates a magnetic field which "activates" the string for a sustained sound...reqires a
hand to hold it over the string, but might be mounted somehow...it is an E-Bow--i can envision a set of them one for each string, which could be activated by a foot switch....www.ebow.com/

i recently saw a musician who had an elaborate foot-activated system
so he could record a "loop" played with one instrument (such as a bass
line or rhythm) then play melody along on antoher instrument.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 10:09 PM

Just generally. Back in the early Fifties, when I first got interested in folk music and started learning to play the guitar, I knew a fellow who was missing the thumb, index, and middle fingers from his left hand. It surprised the hell out of me when, at the first hoot I ever went to, he showed up with a guitar. Left handed. He fingered chords with his right hand and, holding a pick between the two remaining fingers of his left hand, he could flat-pick with the best of them.

Some time later (early Sixties), one of the more prominent folk singers in this area had lost his right arm just below the elbow. Normally he used one of the hook devices, but when he played the guitar, he unscrewed the hook and screwed on a plastic hand which he had boiled until soft, shaped to hold a guitar pick firmly, and then let harden again. He, too, was one helluva flat-picker. [One time he and another guy were hauling some stuff out of a pick-up truck and the guy sez to him, "Hey, Bill, can you give me a hand here?" Too good an opportunity to pass up. Bill handed him his plastic hand.]

Due to polio at the age of two, I've walked with aluminum forearm crutches all my life. Never had any problem playing the guitar until about a decade ago. All that walking with crutches wore out my shoulder joints (I wish my quack had told me about that possibility some time earlier!), and I now have range-of-motion problems with both shoulders, the left in particular. Also, because I can no longer lift myself around on crutches, I've had to take to a wheelchair.

This presented me with two problems:   1) I used to hold the guitar in the classic position (seated, left foot elevated, guitar resting on left leg). Now, in that position, it's hard for me to reach first position chords because of the range-of-motion problem with my left shoulder. If I rest the guitar on my right leg, it's easier, but still difficult. Throws my left hand out of position.   2) When I sit in the wheelchair, the lower bout of a full-size guitar and the right wheel of the chair want to occupy the same space. So what to do?

I got a GO-GW travel guitar. 33 1/4" long, 8" wide, 2 3/4" deep. Since I normally play a classic guitar, I got the nylon-string model. The pitch distance (string length) is 23 1/2", so it doesn't reef on my left shoulder, and being only 8" wide, if I use a strap, the guitar and the right wheel don't interfere with each other. As far as tone is concerned, I lost a little bass, but Sam Radding, the luthier, is some kind of genius to be able to put together a small guitar-like instrument that's shaped a bit like a cricket-bat that still sounds like a real guitar. I've used it in several gigs, and it works just fine. People sometimes ask me if it's a period instrument of some kind.

It may take some head-scratching, but usually there's a way.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 07:06 PM

Always remember how when Django Reinhardt lost half his left hand he just kept on playing with it, but invented a whole different type of music that everyone else wanted to learn.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: alanabit
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 03:29 AM

Keep the posts coming guys. You have just reminded me why I come to Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 03:56 AM

Been thinking of musicians that I've heard with physical incapacities.
There is a big difference between an accomplished musician who refuses to let a new problem stop him/her, and a beginner with a problem to overcome.
Both are, of course, to be admired, but the musician knows how far they have to go, and also how much they have lost, and can better judge the acceptability of what they can now do.

Years ago, in Coventry, Rod Felton was the rhythm section for a very popular duo. He used various drums, a swanee wistle, and a couple of 'instruments' based around kazoos with tin sounding chambers. Several other whistles and devices were clamped in a rack in front of his chest. He had to be heard to be believed. Wonderful stuff.
Rod hadn't any physical problems, but what he did wouldn't be out of reach for someone with arthritis and determination and a friend who could tailor devices and racks to suit.
The assembly would be awkward to transport and set up, though. Big gigs/groups only.
How about a compromise? Art Thieme's kazoo and Rod's tin kazoo resonating chambers.


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Subject: RE: Instruments for physically disabled ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 07:07 AM

The three hole whistle used for "pipe and tabor" is a good one-handed melody instrument.


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