This afternoon, I’ve been replying to a website visitor who is trying to find a way for a guitarist to continue playing after a stroke affecting the left-hand side of the body. I thought this reply might also be of interest to others:
“If your guitarist has some use of his left hand, he might be able to play a Suzuki Q Chord, a sort of combination of electronic keyboard and guitar. There are many ways of using this versatile instrument, the most guitar-like of which is to press chord buttons with the left hand and strum various patterns on the ‘strum-plate’ with the right. The internal sounds are pretty good but the Q-chord can also be connected to an external MIDI device such as a sound card or guitar-sampler. (See: http://www.suzukimusic.com/qchord/)
The simplest, and cheapest, solution might be a customised version of GridPlay software. Gridplay, published by my own company, The Full Pitcher Music Resources, is a (Windows) software instrument that can be played by means of the mouse. Each GridPlay package has 15 grids, each a mini-application in which the instrument is configured in a different way. It can be used with the nothing more than the internal sound-system but it also has a full MIDI specification and like the Q-chord can be used with other software/hardware synthesizers and samplers. (see: http://www.fullpitcher.co.uk/gridplay_level_2.htm, for demos of a standard package and http://www.fullpitcher.co.uk/softwareSN.htm for more information about customisation for special needs). Grids could be prepared using guitar sounds and various scales, arpeggios, block chords/ strum patterns.
I know that a stroke often has a negative impact on learning and recall but, if this does not apply to your gentleman, the Sibelius G7 software has great guitar samples and provides an excellent way for an experienced guitarist to channel their musical energies into composing for the instrument. A Suzuki Q-chord or a GridPlay/MIDIgrid software package could be used to play the music for recording/editing in G7. (see: http://www.sibelius.com)
Update 7/02/2014: What do you all think of this? Ian Pearce can play again, after 47 years, with this adapted guitar: