Who doesn’t like a shortcut?
To save time, I’ll take the back-roads any day.
But when it comes to learning guitar, shortcuts don’t work for everyone.
So in this Chord Buddy review, we’ll figure out whether this approach is right for you, but also show you some more reliable alternatives.
I want to explain exactly what you get with The ChordBuddy, who it’s best for, and also reveal some better suggestions for those who are serious about learning guitar.
Exclusive Download: Click here to download The Insider's Guide to Online Guitar Lessons, which outlines the 3 best ways to learn guitar this year...
What It Really Takes to Learn Guitar
Everyone wants to learn how to play guitar.
When there’s a high demand for a skill like this, the market for products tends to get flooded. The guitar learning market is definitely getting there.
This is really one of the reasons why this website exists:
We want to research and analyze music learning products in order to make the best recommendations for our readers.
But in this market, every product that survives for a few years does have its ideal customer.
The ChordBuddy has come a long way from its days on Shark Tank. There are definitely some people who will love it, and those that will be better off with an alternative method.
If you’re looking to master a few easy guitar chords, than the ChordBuddy can help. If you want more of a complete guitar learning platform, than you might want to look elsewhere.
That’s what we want to figure out: Are YOU a match for the ChordBuddy?
Enter The ChordBuddy
If there’s one thing you need to know, this is it:
The ChordBuddy is just a tool.
This is not a full solution to learning and mastering the guitar. And to be honest, it doesn’t really claim to be either.
Some of the packaging does claim it to be “the easiest and most effective guitar learning system”, however once you dig in a little deeper, you can clearly see that it’s not a total solution to mastering the guitar, and even the ChordBuddy states that you eventually want to move away from using it.
It is simply a tool used to learn some basic guitar chords. Once those are mastered, you are meant to leave it behind.
Here’s a quote from Travis Perry, who created the ChordBuddy:
The primary goal is to graduate you up to where you are playing the guitar on your own without the use of ChordBuddy.
This is a tool for beginners to learn some rhythm and strumming techniques while getting the left hand familiar with fingering chords.
Here is a clear overview that everyone should read:
For those wanting to learn the guitar, the ChordBuddy is helpful because it works on building up the strength and finger skills on the left hand, while also working on the right hand rhythm. As you progress with our system and gain more confidence, you begin to start playing without the aid of the ChordBuddy. Many people quite before getting here, but the ChordBuddy help people stick with it.
Here is how the ChordBuddy actually works:
- The tool is attached to the fretboard of the guitar
- There are 4 colour coded buttons
- Your pinky plays the blue button, the G chord
- The ring finger plays the red button, the D chord
- The middle finger plays the green button, the C chord
- The index finger plays the yellow button, the E minor chord
After progress is made, you can remove a button and place your actual finger on the strings.
The songbook is all colour coded which makes reading the music easy. The DVD shows you how to learn strum patterns and songs.
The idea is that you first build finger strength in your left hand, while working on a strum pattern with your right hand (or the other way around if you play a left handed guitar).
It works on all types of guitars, and there is even a ChordBuddy Junior which is built for kids.
Why The ChordBuddy Could Be a Good Fit
If you’re not a pure beginner, than you should probably jump down to the alternative section.
The ChordBuddy does have some clear benefits which I want to highlight here, however they’re all for beginners who can’t play any guitar chords yet.
Start to Learn While Avoiding Sore Fingers
Guitar teachers know that many people quit guitar simply because it hurts their fingers too much. The ChordBuddy helps beginners continue in the very early stages because it eliminates the pain of pressing guitar strings with soft finger tips.
Eventually everyone will need to push past this pain and build up some callouses, however this barrier is easier to get past once you’ve actually learned a few chords and can have some fun in the process.
Build Your Muscle Memory Without Any Frustration
In order to play guitar, you absolutely need to be able to change between chords easily. At the beginning this can be difficult because you have no muscle memory.
The ChordBuddy helps with this. It’s a bit of a step-by-step approach to learning and forming chords with your left hand.
It Makes Things Easier So You Don’t Quit
This device can help some people get over an initial learning curve before quitting.
Because it makes the first few guitar chords very easy to play, there will be a group of people who don’t get discouraged, and thus continue with the next learning progression.
We have to give it credit for that.
See Some Progress Very Quickly
The tool is designed to fit on most guitars. It’s important that you choose the right fit when ordering. There’s a right handed fit, left handed fit, and one for classical guitars.
Once you’re all set up, with the press of a few buttons you’ll be able to strum your first few chords. With these quick first results, many people will tend to stick with the program, progress through all the material, and hopefully be ready to move away from the tool altogether.
It is designed to be very easy to get started with, which many new players will find helpful.
Comes With Enough Material to Keep You Engaged
Along with the tool itself, you do get some other useful stuff.
There are some clear instructions along with a lesson plan and companion DVD. What’s also really good is that there is a songbook included that comes with over 100 songs you can play.
So there’s definitely enough material to keep you progressing.
Mixed Reviews: Sometimes a Sign of a Lack of Understanding
The Chord Buddy definitely works, but you’ll see a lot of negative reviews regarding installation.
Many people simply don’t set it up properly, and then state that it doesn’t work or fit properly.
There are definitely some legitimate cases, as is understandable with a product like this (built out of plastic), however there are many people that simply have not installed it properly and claim it doesn’t fit on their guitar.
Apart from installation complaints, you’ll also find some mixed reviews from people who don’t really understand what the ChordBuddy is.
Remember it’s just a training tool.
This is not the tool that is going to help you master difficult songs, or really become a great player.
It’s just going to help you learn a few easy chords and songs.
There are a few easy guitar songs you can play with only a handful of chords, and the ChordBuddy can help you get there without quitting.
Want to read more reviews? Find real of consumer reviews here.
Many negative comments tend to look like this:
- This is BS... guitar takes time and dedication
- This is lame, I already knew some basic guitar
- You can't learn guitar in 2 months
Some of these negative comments are from people who haven't used the product, and really don't understand what it is intended for.
I would agree, the guitar takes time and dedication. There are many skills to master, and you can't get really good in a few months. But you certainly can learn a few basic chords and play some easy songs.
This tool can be beneficial in this regard.
But keep in mind it is for beginners, and it is something you will want to eventually move away from.
As is stated in some of its marketing material: It's like training wheels for the guitar.
Better Alternatives That Will Take You Much Further in Your Guitar Learning Journey
There are two types of alternatives worth considering.
1 is a different type of guitar attachment, while the other is a completely different approach to learning the guitar.
Ez-Fret Guitar Attachment
There are a few other guitar attachments out on the market.
One that has received some good reviews is the Ez-Fret Guitar Attachment.
Its main objective is to get you playing chords while avoiding finger pain. It fits on the fretboard and allows you to play over 110 chords.
This is ideal for beginners who are getting discouraged due to finger pain.
Online Guitar Lessons (My Top Recommendation)
Another alternative would be a completely different approach to learning the guitar.
With online lessons there are no attachment tools or external devices. You learn the guitar as it's meant to be played. If you're very serious about learning the guitar, this approach is highly recommended.
The main advantage here is that you're getting world-class coaching and instruction, from the comfort of your own home.
There are beginner lessons, and a step-by-step approach to learning. The main distinction here is that you're watching online video lessons and demonstration from real teachers.
There are no short-cut tools, just real guidance and instruction from professionals.
Just like anything in the guitar market, there are quite a few different options:
Shortcuts Don't Always Work... You Might Get Lost
There's one huge takeaway to remember:
There's more to learning guitar than just chords.
If you're driving from L.A to New York City, you might get out of California with the ChordBuddy.
But in order to make it across the country safely, you're going to need a better set of directions.
So the ChordBuddy is a tool for pure beginners to get the feel for learning some guitar chords. It makes this process easy and fun. You can definitely learn a few chords and actually play some songs.
If that sounds like something you're into, then great, give it shot.
But it's very much just a small first step in your guitar learning process.
It's also not something that is necessary.
People have been learning the basic chords quite easily without any "training wheels".
If you're interested in a much more thorough approach to learning the guitar, I would recommend you read my full Guitar Tricks review, which is ideal for beginners.
I have also outlined some of the top websites which are purely dedicated to learning the guitar online. You can check out some of my top picks here.
Shortcuts are fun and easy.
But they usually won't take you all the way.