Learning to play guitar with visual disability

Hi everyone, I’m a beginner guitar learner and I’ have low-vision.
It is difficult for me to see the chord diagrams/notes in front of me and also my finger position while playing the guitar.

Not many people face this issue and I’m unable to find any guidance online on how to overcome it

Will greatly appreciate it if someone could help out with some suggestions

Thank you


Hi Jana,

A quick search for audio description of chords fetched this site up:

It doesn’t seem to be very beginner friendly though as it’s just a big list of every chord listed alphabetically. They are on there though, the open chord positions seem to be listed first on each chord page and are described as position 1.

Here is the page for an A chord for example:

And the description for position 1 reads:

Position 1

Fingers Positions

  • Mute the low E string
  • Let the A string play without pressing any fret
  • Let the high E string play without pressing any fret
  • Place your index finger (1) on the fret 2 of the D string
  • Place your middle finger (2) on the fret 2 of the G string
  • Place your ring finger (3) on the fret 2 of the B string

If this seems like it might be helpful I wouldn’t mind searching out a few of the common chords you’ll need to start off with and listing on a thread somewhere on here.

Having said that, Justin usually does describe (as well as show) the finger positions in his how to play a chord lessons.


Hi Jana,

I do not have vision problems, so my ideas here are not tested. I am hoping that you can find some use for these.

“Chord diagrams/notes” could be either learning the chord, or following a song you have not learned. Two ideas here:

  1. For learning a chord, print a blank diagram very large and write it into the diagram yourself. You will be able to see it at a distance (like music stand or table) and writing it will help keep it memorable.

  2. For learning songs, I am assuming you cannot get the print large enough to see easily. If printing it or writing it large enough is unrealistic, then consider skipping ahead into ear training and transcribing classes. You may need to use what you hear as reference instead of relying on your sight. You may find it better in the end anyway. Justin talks about using your hearing as an important piece of playing.

For playing without looking, this is a goal for most folks anyway, and you don’t really need to look. It is a bit slow to locate fingers on the guitar early on, but I’d bet you will probably be really good at it faster than others would. Take some joy in that!

I was thinking the same thing.

For me, realizing that focusing on how things felt and sounded rather than how they looked was a key insight that improved my playing.

I try to always play without looking now, and wish I had started doing this earlier.