About The Guitar4Blind Website Project


Site Credits: the Guitar4Blind website was created developed and tested by Bob Craypoe, from the state of New Jersey, Terry Hopwood-Jackson, from the United Kingdom, and Casey Harper of Virginia.

About the Website by Bob Craypoe:

Sometime during the spring of 2009, I was going through my e-mails and noticed one with the subject line "Numerics?" It was from a blind guitarist from the United Kingdom named Terry Hopwood-Jackson, someone I had never received any correspondence from before. I opened it and read about how he had been searching for a site that had numeric chord charts for the visually impaired and could not find one. He explained how he had gone to one of my sites that had the visual charts and explained how they were of very little help to someone such as himself.

I had already developed a method of teaching guitar chords by key and had authored a guitar chord book that not only teaches the chords by key but also teaches some of the music theory behind chord construction. So I decided to take the method I had already developed for the book, combined it with the format used on my websites and translated all of the visual chord charts into a numeric format.

I was not at all familiar with screen reading software the visually impaired use at all. So I have no idea as to what was going on at the other end where Terry was testing it. I would create a page, send Terry a link to it and he would test out every aspect of it; the teaching method, the navigational aspects of the site and do typographical error checking. Terry would also check for the accuracy of the chord charts, grammatical errors and consistency in the format. The site was completed in the summer of 2009.

In the spring of 2016, I was contacted once again by a blind guitarist. This time it was someone from Virginia by the name of Casey Harper. Casey suggested offering an additional method of learning the chords as well as the option to learn the chords by their root note name, instead of only having the option to learn them by key. Casey also told me that certain navigational aspects could be improved upon for return visitors who may want to skip over certain sections. So I decided to add all of those features to the site and Casey would test them out on the other end. Upon the completion of that project, the size of the website had more than doubled.

About the project in Terry's words     About the project in Casey's words     Back to the Top of the Page

The Project in Terry's Words:
Although I’ve been playing acoustic guitar off and on for over thirty years, it was only the basic kind of strumming, using well-known chords and playing along to pop songs but, for the last two years, for some indefinable reason, I became totally interested in playing the guitar again in a more structured way; even though I have no background in music theory. So I bought myself a new set of strings, for the first time in about twenty odd years, and a decent capo. I was determined to play along with my musical heroes with more accuracy and diversity.

However, I am totally blind but I can remember the basic chords. So I used the web to search out the songs I wanted to learn but came up against chords of which I had no idea how to play.

I looked at very many websites and though there were only a few which offered some chords written numerically, most just gave the chord names with visual diagrams.

There was and is one particularly very good site featuring one of my all-time heroes, Tim Buckley. Unfortunately all this site listed was the albums with each song and chord. That was it. So I took a chance and wrote to the web developer, Adrie Meijer, and asked if he could possibly write out a few chords numerically and he was nice enough to do so. Additionally, with another singer/songwriter I like too (Nick Drake). So this along with what I had gleaned from other sites, stood me in good stead to progress my guitar playing.

By this time, my knowledge of chord construction was slowly but steadily growing and I also learned about alternate tunings as well and I began to play more and more of the work of people to whom I thought I’d never even get close.

Then, earlier this year (2009), a character (Lol Robinson) from the novels of one of my favourite authors – Phil Rickman – came “to life”; as it were.

Allan Watson, a Glasgow-based folk/rock guitarist and singer/songwriter – and lover of the novels – contacted Phil Rickman and they put together a CD based on the character’s music career.

I bought the CD – “Songs From Lucy’s Cottage” by Lol Robinson and Hazy Jane 2 – and I wrote to Phil asking if the songs and chords were available and he put me in touch with Allan.

I told Allan of my great delight with the songs and asked if he could provide the chords. This he did, but these were chord names and visual charts, so I asked him again if he could possibly transcribe at least one of the ten songs’ chords numerically and he was more than happy to do so. Eventually, he had written me the whole CD's chords in numeric format – for which I am eternally grateful.

This now, of course, spurred me on to find a dedicated website somewhere which had numeric chords and though I searched hundreds, I couldn’t find one.

But there was one guy who, although his chord diagrams were visual, wrote his explanations in a nice and friendly manner so I wrote to him and asked..... – back over to you Bob!

And now for a little autobiographical information about Casey Harper:

My name is Casey Harper, I am totally blind, and I am from the State of Virginia. I earned my Baccalaureate degree in Music--Elect. Studies in Psychology from Shenandoah University, and went on to complete coursework in Music Education at Mary Baldwin College. I have played guitar now on and off for about 15 years, and am currently working on this site with Mr. Craypoe to advance my knowledge of guitar playing and to help others like me to learn how to play the instrument. Have a great time with these methods, and I wish you the best of success!

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