Using flash cards to master guitar chords


There are so many different ways you can learn guitar that most people don’t know about. So many think the old way of learning with a guitar book is the best and only way to learn. It isn’t. Everybody learns differently so learning from a book is very limiting. It doesn’t allow you to learn the way that suits you best. In this article we will look at why flash cards can be so effective and how you can use them to become an expert at basic open chords.


You probably know of flash cards as those basic cards with a word on one side and a picture on the other used for children to learn basic words. Everybody knows they are effective in teaching children the basics but many don’t realize they are effective in other uses. Whether learning a foreign language, preparing for exams or even learning guitar chords, flash cards have been proven to be very effective learning tools.

Flash cards are so effective because you use them differently than you would use a book. People are used to picking up a book and reading it from cover to cover. Once they read it through the first time, it’s unlikely they’ll go back to the start. With flash cards you can use them in so many different ways. You can play memory games, study one at a time, flick through them trying to memorize the details, really whatever you want to do with them. Because of this flexibility, flash cards end up being more effective than a book despite having less information.


Think about what it means to be an expert at chords. An expert can:

  1. Instantly recall chords
  2. Change back and forth between chords effortlessly
  3. Understand everything about the chords.


Now that we know what it takes to become an expert at chords we can look at how to get there.

1. Instant recall

If we want to practice the first goal – instant recall, we can take some flash cards and play memory games. This is something a book won’t teach you. Memory games with flash cards are easy and can be fun which makes it even easier to learn. You don’t even need to have a guitar with you to become an expert at the first goal; you can play memory games with flash cards anywhere and anytime.

2. Changing between chords

To become an expert at the second goal – changing back and forth between the chords you simply need to practice every combination of chord changes. With flash cards this is easy. You simply pick out two cards and practice changing between them until it feels easy. Then you simply change one of those cards. You continue changing card combinations and eventually you will feel comfortable playing any chord change. It’s so simple yet so effective.

3. Chord understanding

To become an expert at the third goal – know everything about the chords, you need to understand a bit about music theory and the chord names. This may sound harder, but it doesn’t have to be.

You start off by memorizing the chord names. That’s pretty easy to do. You will probably do that with the memory games mentioned earlier. Once you know the chord names you can start to learn what they mean. What makes a major chord? What does sus2 mean? What’s the difference between E9 and Eadd9? The good thing is that once you know what each type of chord means then your songwriting, playing and understanding of music will improve. Flash cards will give you a starting point to understanding chords as you can look at the notes that make up the chords and see the patterns between the cards.


This site has a few different resources to help you achieve the three goals described above. Think which goal would help you out the most then check out the related resources to get started.

Flash Cards – Available here

Instant recall resources:

Changing between chords resources:

Understanding chords resources:



You should be able to see that everything written above is fairly simple to do. There’s no magic formula or secret to becoming an expert, it’s simply practice with the right tools. Practicing with flash cards is a great way to speed up the learning process. You can become an expert at chords with a book, it just takes longer and can be a bit harder to stay motivated. Once you become an expert at chords, you will be amazed at how many doors open up in your playing and songwriting. It’s definitely worth the effort. The resources listed above will walk you through step-by-step and break down all the concepts with simple explanations and examples. You can read more on the flash cards pack available on this site here.

Click here to purchase this package

Special Offer on Guitar Flash Cards & eBook Bundle

Thanks to popular demand on the Flash Cards Pack & 30 Day Guide Bundle, we have reduced the price from $15.99 (+$4.99 postage) to $12.99.

The brand new 30 Day Guide was released to celebrate Tempo Music Cards’ first birthday and it contains a stack of resources to help you get the most out of the flash cards. The Guide contains:

  • 9 detailed lessons on how to get the most out of the cards
  • 16 exercises specifically designed and chosen to help you with the cards
  • A 30 Day Practice Plan you can use to learn all 50 chords within 30 days
  • Printouts to help you in future development

Read more on the 50 Essential Chords Pack here then stop by the online store to get your hands on a pack before the free shipping offer ends.

Click here to purchase this package

Guitar Flash Cards with free shipping worldwide

Brand new eBook available with our guitar flash cards

To celebrate Tempo Music Cards’ first birthday, we have put together a comprehensive eBook that is now included with every purchase of our 50 Essential Chords Pack.

This brand new eBook contains over 80 pages filled with:

  • 9 in-depth lessons
  • 16 specifically designed exercises for the flash cards
  • A 30 Day Practice Plan to walk you through effective practice sessions
  • Print-outs you can use to write your own music

For the next two weeks, any purchases of the new Flash Cards package will receive a discount of FREE SHIPPING worldwide. So if you have been thinking about learning guitar or have just started, this is the perfect time to get yourself a pack of Flash Cards to help you out with the brand new 30 Day Guide eBook.

Check out the 50 Essential Chords Flash Cards Pack with the brand new 30 Day Guide eBook here at our online store.

NOTE: This special offer for free shipping will only be valid until the 10th of August. So stop by the store here to place your order.

Guitar Flash Cards with free shipping worldwide

A guitar flash card game to write new chord progressions and overcome writer’s block

This simple game will give you a fresh way to come up with interesting chord progressions next time you’re faced with the dreaded writer’s block or want to try something different. It’s based on the word game ‘last letter’ where you say a word then the next person must come up with a word that starts with the last letter of the first word.

For example: Cat, Tiger, Rabbit, Turtle, Elephant, and so on. The difference with this game is that you will be using chords and the notes in the chords to pick the next chord.

Steps for the game:

  1. Pick a chord
  2. Pick the last note out of the chord (refer to the chord formula)
  3. Pick a chord based on that note
  4. Repeat until you have enough chords


An example using playing this game:

Let’s say the first chord we pick is Em. The chord Em uses the notes: E G B. The last note in that chord formula is B so we can pick any chord based on B now. So Lets pick B7. B7 uses the notes: B D# F# A. So the next chord will be based on A. Let’s pick Am7 which uses the notes: A C E G. For our final chord we will pick G Major.

So our chord progression will be:
Em  B7  Am7  G

If you pick a chord and it ends with a note such as C# or G# and you don’t know any chords based on C# or G#, you can either pick the second last note of the chord or pick a different chord that ends in a note you’re more familiar with.

When you play through the chords you will find you either like how they sound or you don’t. Either way, try to come up with a way to make those chords work together. This is a great creative exercise to get you thinking of different ways to play chord progressions. Something as simple as this is a great way to work through any writer’s block and try something different. If you don’t like the sound of the progression and can’t get it to sound right, simply start again – it’s very simple to come up with a new progression.


How flash cards can help you

Guitar Flash Card with chord formula

Using flash cards like the 50 Essential Chords Pack to help you find and pick out chords will help you in several ways.

First, the chord formula and the chord notes are displayed on every card (see picture to the right) so it’s very simple to pick out the last note in every chord. This will help you learn the notes faster.

Second, if you get stuck on one of the chords (eg: the last note is G# and you don’t know any G# chords), you can easily find several alternative chords that will end on a note you feel more comfortable with (eg: ending with G).

Third, by using the cards you aren’t limited to the chords you have in your head and can learn new chords you normally wouldn’t try.

All these small points make a big difference when taken together and will help you learn faster and come up with more chord options.


What this simple game does for you:

  • Helps you learn and memorize the notes in a chord
  • Gets you thinking ‘outside the box’ with chord progressions
  • Gives you a quick and fun way to come up with song ideas
  • Teaches you why certain chords will work together while others won’t.


Give the game a go and see how many unique sounding progressions you end up with. Once you get the hang of this game you can easily come up with similar games to try out. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other similar games people can try out or any great sounding progressions you come up with using this game.

Guest article at on learning tools

If you are planning on teaching yourself to play guitar then this article will give you an idea on five different tools that will help you learn faster and easier. This article has been posted on the website and can be read by clicking the link below.

5 Tools to Help You Become A Better Guitarist – click here

The article explains why tools are so important to your development and explains how the five tools will benefit you and what you can get out of them. Check out the article and feel free to ask in the comments here if you have any questions.

12 reasons to use flash cards to learn guitar chords

Flash cards are well known to be powerful educational tools – they can help people learn math, languages, formulas and even guitar chords. So many people have been using flash cards as a simple tool to help them learn so many different subjects. Here are 12 reasons why the same simple tool can be used to learn guitar chords and why you should get yourself a pack and give them a go.

  1. They’re easy to use – what’s easier than using a pack of cards?
  2. They’re the cheapest method (versus books, dictionaries or charts)
  3. They’re fun to use  – learning from a chord dictionary is as boring as it sounds
  4. They’re effective – I’ve noticed that my students who use them know up to 10 times more chords then the students that don’t
  5. You can take them anywhere – which means you can learn faster
  6. You can use them to write basic songs and find new chord progressions
  7. They can teach you music theory
  8. You can focus on whichever chords you pick from the deck
  9. They can help songwriters break the feared “writers’ block”
  10. You can use them to practice chord changes easier than a book
  11. You can play memory games with them to learn faster
  12. You can focus on one card a day and potentially memorize 50 chords in under two months


There are many more reasons and ways you can use flash cards to help you learn guitar chords faster and easier. Once you give them a go you’ll find out why they’re so effective. A chord dictionary with 400+ chords may sound like a good idea, but if its boring to use you won’t even learn 10 chords from it. Find out more about flash cards here or visit the store here to get yourself a pack.