Chord Buddy Guitar Learning System
By Chris Loeffler |
Chord Buddy Guitar Learning System
Let your fingers do the talkin' ...
by Chris Loeffler
Learning to play an instrument is a challenge. Building the muscle memory and attempting to master the physical symmetry of the instrument as it relates to musical scales is no easy task, especially with audible feedback of every flub. While there is no way to entirely circumvent the onboarding curve of learning guitar, the ChordBuddy guitar learning system offers some creative tricks and shortcuts to get new students on the road to playing.
The ChordBuddy learning system for guitar is comprised of a specialized capo-style mechanism called the ChordBuddy, an instruction book, companion DVD, and a songbook with over 100 songs.
What You Need to Know
The ChordBuddy program breaks learning guitar down into stages, and decouples learning strumming rhythm from chord fingering by having the ChordBuddy do the chording work so novices can focus on strumming first. The ChordBuddy capo, mounted without tools to the top of your guitar, features four brightly colored buttons that, when pressed, form a C, D, G, or E minor open chord through a collection of forked contact points that fret the strings.
The ChordBuddy methodology lets the player focus on strumming and rhythm, without being distracted by how to form chords with their left hand while still building some finger strength for holding individual notes and dual-handed dexterity. By pressing different chord buttons, novices also get to practice transitioning chords and how that feeds in to strumming.
After getting a strong handle on strumming, the ChordBuddy system incorporates the color coding of the four buttons on the ChordBuddy into their music notation, so both chords and their corresponding button colors are used to in their instruction book and accompanying song book. The benefit of this is it builds confidence and more quickly expands the student’s repertoire, which increases the likelihood they’ll stick with the learning process.
The final step in the ChordBuddy system involves removing the buttons, one at a time, to begin practicing fingering the actual open chords individually, with the other three buttons keeping the music flowing.
Both the instruction book and song book are filled with simple, clear instructions and a good mix of classic and modern music of various genres, and the DVD is well produced and an excellent supplement to reinforce and support what the books are demonstrating for visual learners.
The paper quality of the printed materials varies from “ok” to sub-standard… it's not of the material nor print quality one finds in typical Hal Leonard or Alfred publications.
Players will need to commit to a left- or right-hand version…they aren’t interchangeable.
As someone who has been playing for a couple of decades now, the frustrations of trying to learn so many different things at once when I first picked up the guitar are a distant memory. But working through the materials, ChordBuddy certainly seemed like an easier way to become proficient with guitar. The greater test will be to place it in the hands of a new starter, which is exactly what I did.
While my budding tester is only a few weeks into the program, she has made quite a bit more headway than I expected, confidently playing through songs with a rhythmic accuracy and smooth(ish) transitions with only 15 minutes of practice a day. I’ve also noticed her left-hand finger positioning on strings is surprisingly well-developed due to the ergonomics she formed using the ChordBuddy buttons, so forming those pesky callouses is the next step. She says she feels more confident because the guitar "sounds right" so she can focus on technique, not how the chord sounds. Bottom line: It looks like ChordBuddy is well on its way to adding another member to the family of guitar players.
Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.