Top 6 tips to help you memorize guitar chords

There are so many memory tricks and games you can use to help you memorize all those guitar chords. We will look at ten extremely effective ways to memorize those chords. As this is a site dedicated to using guitar flash cards to learn chords, some of the tips will require you to have the 50 Essential Chords Pack. If you don’t have the pack yet, there are other tips you can still use right now.


1. Using mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are little tricks you can use to help you remember chord names and shapes. This is similar to how people remember how many days are in a certain month, you probably learned a song at school. Mnemonic devices are effective because they are easy to memorize on their own. If you did learn the song to memorize the days in each month you probably still remember it now. In the same way it’s really easy to memorize guitar chords using similar tricks.

In this lesson on mnemonic devices you will learn an extremely easy way to memorize the shapes and names of guitar chords. The lesson gives you examples and diagrams to help you understand how to properly use the technique. By spending a few minutes each day thinking about this tip you can drastically improve your recall rate on all chords.


2. The 10 minute method

We have put together a comprehensive method to help you memorize all chord names, positions and to even help you change between the chords faster. As the name suggests, the method will only take 10 minutes every day. The reason for the very short practice session time is because it focuses your attention and helps you remember what you did. If on the other hand you tried to spend one to two hours following the same method, you would burn out and wouldn’t remember anything.

Read about the 10 minute method here. The 10 minute method is also incorporated in our 30 Day Guide which comes with our flash card packs.


3. Learn to work out chords in a key

When you understand keys and how to figure out the chords within a key, it actually makes it easier to memorize each chord because you will know which keys they fit into. For example, if you know which chords work with the key of C Major, then you will understand how each of those chords are related and you will be able to group those chords together. So as soon as somebody says, ‘what chords are in C Major?’ you will find it a lot easier to remember each individual chord.


This lesson will help you understand how chords fit into keys and if you don’t understand the Major Scale, it’s recommended you read this lesson first.


4. Carry one flash card around with you each day

This is a very easy way to memorize chords if you have our Guitar Flash Cards Pack. You simply pick one of the cards and carry it around with you everywhere you go. Keep it in your pocket and whenever you have a spare second simply pull the card out and look at it. Look at the shape of the chord, the chord name, the chord formula, the finger positions, the notes in the chords and imagine holding your hand in the correct position. This is a really easy way to improve your memory without having a guitar with you. The next day you simply pick a new card and take that with you all day. Over time by following this easy tip you will find that whenever you think of those chords your memory will be able to picture the chord shape, notes, name, etc.


5. Just practice strumming between chords

If you ask most guitarists how to memorize all the chords they will most likely respond with, ‘practice!’. There is a good reason for this. Practicing is the best method because when you actually use the chords in a practical way, your brain works harder to memorize them. Every time you place your fingers in the correct positions you brain will be trying to memorize that position. So this tip is simple: pick a few chords and practicing strumming each one four times then move on to the next chord. Repeat this over and over then pick another set of chords. The more often you follow this method the faster you will memorize them. Plus there is the other benefit of improving your strumming and chord changes.


Although the other tips listed here will definitely help you memorize the chords, unless you practice using them you will still have trouble playing. So use a combination of all of the above tips and you will find that you memorize all the chords in a very short time.


6. Use a metronome

This tip follows on from tip 5. Instead of just strumming the chords then changing to the next chord, try using a metronome to force you to play along with a certain tempo. Start the tempo very slow to begin with then gradually increase it until you find it hard to keep up. The reason this is so effective is because it forces you to push yourself to play faster. Every time you challenge yourself to play faster and better, you will improve.


This lesson will help you use the metronome if you have never used one before.



The reason all these tips work is because they each work you in different ways. Some of them get you to think about the chord shapes, some get you to think about the theory behind the chords and others get you to memorize them by simply playing them over and over. The best way to memorize all the chords in the shortest time is to use all the tips above. Using learning tools such as our Guitar Flash Cards and a metronome will enhance your learning. For more tips and hints check out our Tips and Games page.

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