ChordBuddy Makes Learning Guitar Fun & Easy…
Thirty-two years ago, musician, guitar player & teacher Travis Perry came up with a passionate idea which he felt confident would make playing the guitar much easier. He watched student after student quit after only a few months of lessons, complaining that it was too difficult for them. It was not until he hit rock bottom with his real estate business that this early idea came back to him and today his dream has taken him further than he ever imagined possible. The groundbreaking invention known as the “ChordBuddy” is a guitar teaching tool that is essentially training wheels for the guitar – allowing beginner students the ability to play chords and songs immediately by following color coded attachments. After lots of hard work and sacrifice, Perry got a huge break when producers of ABC’s hit reality TV show, Shark Tank called and invited him to feature ChordBuddy on the show in hopes of scoring a deal. He wooed the Sharks and landed an investment partnership by Shark Tank star investor Robert Herjavec. Shark Tank catapulted ChordBuddy to immediate success and is now used by thousands of guitar students and teachers worldwide. Perry stayed true to his heartfelt goal of keeping the manufacturing for the ChordBuddy here in the United States, even if it dug into his profits. With new deals in the works with big retail chains and more, the future is bright for Travis Perry and ChordBuddy.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with this innovative musician to learn more about ChordBuddy, how it was to work with a “Shark” and what inspired him to come up with this cool idea.
Sason Bishope Parry: Hi Travis Perry, tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?
Travis Perry: I was born and raised in L. A. (Lower Alabama, LOL “laughing out loud”) the Perry store community to be exact. I was raised on a peanut and cattle farm where my day started at 4 AM.
SBP: When did you start playing guitar, are you a pro?
TP: My mother, Agnes Perry, introduced me to the guitar at the age of nine. I made a living playing, performing in a band and teaching guitar (and several other instruments) most of my life.
SBP: Did you always want to be a musician?
TP: YES! Music is my passion, playing and teaching.
SBP: Do you play acoustic guitar or electric? What style of music?
TP: Yes, I play both acoustic and electric; lead and rhythm. I play all styles, from blues to bluegrass, rock to soul and country to folk.
SBP: You’re also a guitar teacher?
TP: Yes, I have taught guitar, Dobro, banjo, mandolin and fiddle for over 30 years.
SBP: You are the founder and inventor of the ChordBuddy, when did you come up with this great idea?
TP: Yes, I am. I had the idea for a better way of teaching guitar when I was 18 years old (when I first started teaching) but did nothing with it until some 30 years later when I was trying to teach my then nine-year-old daughter Bradi to play. She got frustrated and wanted to quit like 70 percent of beginners do. When I told her about the “magical guitar teaching device” she said, “Daddy if you will invent that for me I promise I can learn to play”…so I did.
SBP: How does the ChordBuddy work?
TP: It is a teaching device you attach to the neck of the guitar that plays the primary chords you learn first: G, C, D and E minor. All you do is push the correct chord tab and it will make the chord for you. As you learn the strumming/rhythm patterns you can start removing the chord making tabs and play the chords on your own. It’s like training wheels for the guitar.
SBP: Do you see ChordBuddy making it easier to play the guitar?
TP: Yes, with ChordBuddy you are playing real songs from day one and playing the guitar on your own without the aid of ChordBuddy within two months.
SBP: Is ChordBuddy for beginners or for guitar players of all levels?
TP: ChordBuddy with designed for the beginner BUT I have found that it is also a great tool for kids with special needs, rehabilitation of the hand, as well as adults with arthritis.
SBP: You and ChordBuddy were featured on Shark Tank, were you nervous?
TP: Yes, it is a big deal to be on Shark Tank in front of millions of people but my performing days helped me be a bit more comfortable.
SBP: You got a deal on Shark Tank with Robert Herjavec, he seems like a really nice guy, how is it to work with him?
TP: Robert is a “top shelf” guy. Anytime I need to talk to him and ask his advice he is there for me.
SBP: After Shark Tank, how did life change for you and ChordBuddy?
TP: Shark Tank put us on the map, and made us known all over the USA and now that other countries are seeing past episodes, we’re becoming global.
SBP: Was Shark Tank the biggest stage you’ve ever been on and was that your biggest deal?
TP: I would say it was, but I have also appeared on The Today Show, Fox, and featured on a show on the history channel called Million Dollar Genius.
SBP: How has the public responded to ChordBuddy?
TP: For the 98% that wished they could play the guitar ChordBuddy is a God send.
SBP: How do guitar players and musicians feel about ChordBuddy?
TP: LOL. Good question… almost always when they just see a picture of it. they HATE it, BUT when they see what it does and that it is a real teaching system they almost always fall in love it and start using it to teach their students. We have testimonials to that fact.
SBP: Does ChordBuddy work for both acoustic and electric guitar?
TP: Yes, right-handed, left-handed and classical.
SBP: Once you start playing with the ChordBuddy, can you then play the guitar without it?
TP: Yes! That is why it was invented! We want you to use it to get you over the “two-month hump” and wean yourself off of it which means removing the tabs and making the chords with your fingers on the guitar.
SBP: Where can you buy the ChordBuddy and what is the price?
TP: From our website www.ChordBuddy.com as well as all guitar center stores and most mom and pop music stores.
SBP: Have you come out with other ChordBuddy products and for other instruments?
TP: Yes, we now have over twenty products under the ChordBuddy Brand…we have PERRY Guitars for all ages from five and up, we have song books, guitar tuners, guitar stands and hangers, capos and much more.
SBP: So do you see yourself as a musician or an inventor?
TP: It is hard to separate what I love more. I am always thinking about how to make learning the guitar easier.
SBP: You’ve also got a band; how do you find time to play?
TP: You always find time to do what you love.
SBP: What’s next for Travis Perry and also for ChordBuddy?
TP: Our big focus is and has been for the past two years – getting our products in schools. Ninety-eight percent of kids in school wish a guitar program was offered but sadly guitar is only in seven percent of schools nationwide.
Watch Travis Perry on Shark Tank & FOX: