In this post, I’m going to be doing a complete Chordbuddy review. If you don’t know what Chordbuddy is, it’s essentially a beginner’s learning system that allows guitar players to press down a single button to produce a guitar chord instead of playing the chord with your fingers directly on the strings. Now at first, you might be thinking what’s the point of that? If my fingers aren’t making the actual chord shapes how will I ever learn to play additional chords let alone the ones you can play with Chordbuddy?
When I first came across this product, that’s what I thought as well. However, as I started to learn more about the product it changed my mind. One of the biggest reasons I’ve seen beginner guitar players give up on trying to learn how to play guitar has been because they just weren’t seeing results fast enough. Pressing down the strings hurts their fingers, resulting in them not being able to press down hard enough to produce a clear sounding chord. Some have the determination to practice and overcome this, while others might not have the same motivation.
With the Chordbuddy however, the beginner guitar player sees immediate results as they can just simply press down a button and are able to play a great sounding guitar chord. Now, they’re able to focus on some of the basic concepts of guitar and music such as:
- Strumming patterns,
- Tempo / rhythm,
- Finger strength / dexterity,
- and an overall better ear for what a chord should actually sound like.
Furthermore, once the beginner guitarist feels comfortable enough to move on, they can detach the Chordbuddy piece-by-piece to allow themselves to play the chords on their own.
The Chordbuddy was created by a gentleman named Travis Perry who saw his daughter struggle with learning how to play the guitar so he invented this device. He pitched his product on the hit TV show “Shark Tank” and sure enough one of the sharks invested.
In this Chordbuddy review, I’m going to walk through what exactly is included in the Chordbuddy learning system, how to install / use the device, and what I liked about it as well as what I think could be improved.
Table of Contents
The Chordbuddy learning system basically comes with 4 main components.
- A 2-month lesson plan book
- An instructional DVD
- The attachment that goes onto your acoustic guitar
- A 60 song songbook
The first thing I did when I got the Chordbuddy was I took it out of the box and try to attach it to my guitar. Now, I did do some reading up prior to receiving the Chordbuddy and one of the biggest problem that came up was that people just weren’t able to attach it to their guitar properly. Without reading the instructions, I of course, had the same problem. However, once you know how to properly install the Chordbuddy (which I’ll explain in the next section), you should have no troubles.
A far as the other learning material goes (books and DVD) they both looked fine as far as readability and simplicity. Right off the bat, I did feel as though the whole learning system is more geared towards children (which I’m sure it mostly is) rather than adults. This comes from the color scheme, overall look and feel of the learning material, DVD content etc. Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean adults can’t use this product, it’s just an observation that I noticed during my first impressions.
How to Install the Chordbuddy
Properly installing the Chordbuddy on your guitar seems to be one of the biggest issues that come up with this device. However, if installed properly, it should function without any issues. Upon receiving your Chordbuddy you’ll notice that near the top of the device is a screw.
This screw must first be loosened so that the Chordbuddy will properly fit around your guitar neck. Once you’re able to fit the Chordbuddy around your guitar’s neck you’ll need to properly position it. To do this, line up the tab paddings from the blue button so that they sit just before the third metal fret.
Once that’s done, the next thing you’ll need to do is angle the Chordbuddy upwards so that none of the tabs are touching your strings (about a 30 degree angle). This will prevent any buzzing from occurring when you play an open note.
Now that your Chordbuddy is in its proper placement and angled upwards, all you need to do is retighten the screw. Be sure to make it fairly tight so that it doesn’t move around as you start playing. Once that’s done, try playing all of your guitar strings without pressing down on any buttons. If the strings all ring clearly, you’ve properly installed the Chordbuddy. Here’s what it should look like when it’s installed.
How to Use the Chordbuddy
Now that you have the Chordbuddy properly installed on your guitar, it’s time to start using it. Using it is pretty straightforward. Essentially, each button color corresponds to a different chord.
- Yellow = E minor
- Green = C major
- Red = D major
- Blue = G major
As far as which fingers you should use to press down each button, you should be using:
- Yellow = Index finger
- Green = Middle finger
- Red = Ring finger
- Blue = Pinky finger
You’ll also notice that each button requires a different amount of pressure in order for the chord to play properly. The further away the buttons are from the guitar’s nut, the less pressure is required. Vice-versa, the closer you get to the nut, the more pressure is required (i.e. blue button requires the least amount of pressure while the yellow button requires the most).
Chordbuddy Learning Curriculum (DVD / Book)
The Chordbuddy also comes with a “2-month” lesson plan book and DVD. The lesson plan goes over some of the basics of guitar playing then has 3 units that go over using the Chordbuddy to play songs as well as applying different guitar techniques. Below is a picture of the book’s layout.
The DVD is an addition to the lesson plan and provides a more interactive setting where Travis explains certain concept and tricks to using Chordbuddy. In total, the DVD is about 54 minutes long and contains 17 chapters.
The songbook that comes with the Chordbuddy contains 60 easy chord-based songs that are laid out neatly with color-coded chord changes and lyrics.
Although the songs may or may not be in the genre of music you prefer, they are fairly good examples to learn as a beginner guitar player. You can also check out the Chordbuddy site where they offer other songbooks in various genres.
Each song is very well laid out and easy to understand, especially for beginners. It is recommended to play these songs along with a metronome so that you can also practice your tempo and rhythm as you begin playing guitar. Alternatively, if you don’t know how the song goes, you can also play the original song in the background as you play along with it.
Removing the Chordbuddy Tabs
The neat thing about Chordbuddy is that once you feel comfortable with playing the songs in the songbook, switching between chords, and strumming, you can begin removing the tabs. This means that instead of just pressing down a button, you’ll actually be playing the chord with your fingers against the strings.
At first, this may still be a bit challenging for some players as little to no calluses have been developed yet. However, you should have already built up some strength in your fingers through using Chordbuddy and as you play more, the calluses will form.
According to the Chordbuddy founder, it is recommended to remove the Chordbuddy tabs one at a time so that you can focus on learning a single chord while still using buttons to play the others. The recommended order of Chordbuddy tab removal is.
- Red button (D chord)
- Green button (C chord)
- Blue button (G chord)
- Yellow button (Em chord)
Removal of the Chordbuddy tabs is pretty straightforward, you just need to angle the tab upwards slightly and pull outward.
Once you’re comfortable playing the chord shape that corresponds to the tab you removed, you can move on to removing the next tab, the next tab, and the next tab. Once all of the tabs are removed, the ultimate goal is that you should have a basic understanding of the fundamental concepts of how to play guitar and shouldn’t require the Chordbuddy anymore. At this point, you can remove the Chordbuddy system completely from your guitar and you’re free to explore.
Pros vs Cons of the Chordbuddy
Throughout my own personal testing of the Chordbuddy learning system, I did find some pros and cons that I’d like to address. Like anything, there are ups and downs, but I just thought that you should be aware of both sides if you’re planning on purchasing this system.
- Gives beginner players the ability to focus on strumming and finger strength first without having to worry about making the actual chord shape.
- Keeps players motivated to continue practicing as its easier to see progress.
- Acts as “training wheels” for the guitar.
- Chordbuddy allows you to press down on 2 buttons at once to play chord variations outside of just C, G, D, and Em.
- Comes with a long list of songs to learn with great chord changing visuals.
- DVD is easy to follow and provides useful beginner information.
- Great for children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, people with arthritis.
- The Chordbuddy system may get in the way as you start removing tabs and playing chords on your own, especially if you have large fingers.
- Not overly intuitive as far as installation goes (however once done properly works fine).
- Somewhat limiting as in you can’t really practice basic single note picking without having to remove the device.
- Does not fit on all guitars (needs to be a standard size guitar or a slight variation).
Chordbuddy Review – In Summary
Hopefully, this Chordbuddy review has given you some more information about how this learning system works and what it includes. For children, people with disabilities, etc Chordbuddy is a great product as the player can start seeing results immediately. It allows people to enjoy creating music that otherwise may not have been able to.
It’s an interesting product and does have its uses. I believe there are still a few things that could be improved upon (as mentioned above. However, Chordbuddy is certainly worth a try if you or someone you know has been wanting to learn the basic of guitar but just hasn’t been able to get there yet.
If you have any questions about this Chordbuddy review or have owned a Chordbuddy yourself, leave a comment in the section below and tell me what your experience has been.
Overall, I believe that the Chordbuddy guitar learning system does have its purposes. It’s a good tool to keep children, senior citizens, or people with disabilities motivated and eager to learn how to play the guitar. One of the main issues is that users aren’t able to easily attach the device to their guitar which I believe could be improved upon. However, if done properly, the Chordbuddy should work fine and allow you to strum clear sounding chords in a matter of minutes.
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