PRS & Music Education: An Interview with Brad Wendkos // TrueFire

Posted Mar 13, 2017


Paul Reed Smith and our company believe that guitar building is an ongoing process of discovery. In the same way, we believe guitar playing is an ongoing process of discovery. And of course to be discovering means you need to be learning!

In this blog post series, we interview music educators who love PRS and have built businesses that educate tens of thousands of musicians.


Brad Wendkos // TrueFire

Founded in 1991, the guitar education platform "TrueFire" is a collection of over 600 top educators who produce what Guitar Player Magazine calls "the planet's largest and most comprehensive selection of online guitar lessons."

1 million+ guitar players, from virtually every country in the world, "learn, practice, and play" with TrueFire's interactive video courses and patented learning systems for personalized and private online instruction.

TrueFire's music instruction library features over 500 video software courses and 25,000+ interactive video guitar lessons covering all styles, all techniques, and all levels of play.

Students can work with TrueFire courses anytime, anywhere, on any device (desktop, mobile, and streaming).

TrueFire also offers private lessons and group instruction leveraging their proprietary technologies and patented methods for facilitating personalized online instruction to students anywhere in the world.

One of PRS' own signature artists, David Grissom (DGT Model), is a TrueFire contributer.

Q&A With Brad

PRS: How does the inclusion of artists (like David Grissom) aid in the learning process for students of guitar?

Brad: Students of the arts, and music students in particular, start their learning journey by emulating established artists that inspire them. Very typically, students learn their favorite artists’ licks and solos note-for-note, and then they start to craft their own voice on their instrument. So, an artist’s influence is of paramount importance in the learning process. David Grissom is a great example of an artist who has influenced countless students because he has such a unique signature sound and musicality.

PRS: TrueFire offers a number of different methods of learning, in what ways do private lessons add a new dimension to learning?

Brad: The Internet and all of the new and cool technologies available to musicians today has had a very obvious, and very powerful impact on the learning process. The downside is that it has also isolated students by handcuffing them to their desktop and mobile screens in self-study mode. This technology paradigm had initially displaced instructors removing a critical element of the learning process — music students need a mentor to inspire them, motivate them, guide their studies. Technology to the rescue once again! Today, using technologies like Skype or TrueFire’s private lesson platforms, music students can now interact and learn from top notch instructors anywhere in the world.

PRS: What categorizes a good teacher, and what should learning guitarists look for in that regard?

Brad: Believe it or not, great teachers do not necessarily have to be great players. Some certainly are of course, but the key qualities of a great teacher have more to do with their ability to listen, assess, and communicate. Is the instructor listening to your stated objectives, or just slamming you through their standard boilerplate method? There’s a big difference in the approach that an instructor would take for a student who wants to play professionally versus a student who just wants to sit on the porch and play for family and friends. Can the teacher accurately assess your playing to identify both your strengths and weaknesses — this is key to structuring a personalized lesson plan. Most importantly, can the instructor communicate new, and oftentimes fairly sophisticated, information in clear, accessible bite-size chunks. Unfortunately, finding the perfect instructor for one’s self is usually a trial and error process. Fortunately, this is very easy given the ease with which students can now select and work with different instructors online.

Below, check out a sample of TrueFire's online content with this lesson from David Grissom!

"Wide Open E"

To see David Grissom's courses on TrueFire, click HERE.

For the full TrueFire catalog, visit their website HERE.