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.

Guitar FAQ: How long does it take to memorize all open guitar chords?

If you’re just starting to learn guitar, you’ve probably wondered how long it takes to memorize most of the basic chords. It can seem pretty overwhelming at first when you see how many chords are out there. But the truth is once you get started it doesn’t take long to get through them all. In this post we’ll look at how long it realistically takes to memorize them all.

Time you spend practicing the chords

Obviously the more you practice the chords the faster you will learn them. But the important point to remember here is you shouldn’t think of how much time you spend practicing, but should think about how often you practice.

For example: if you practice once a week and spend two hours practicing, it will take you months to learn the first 10 chords. On the other hand, if you spend 10 minutes a day practicing, you can learn 20-50 in a month. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more practice is better. Three short practice sessions a day is far better than one very long practice session.

How you practice the chords

If you pick a chord and strum it a few times then move on to the next chord, it will take you a long time to memorize them properly. How you practice the chords plays a big part in how fast you can memorize them. The trick to memorizing chords is to practice changing between the chords as often as possible. It’s pretty easy to figure out where to place your fingers for each chord but it can be tricky to change between different chords quickly. By focusing on how you change between chords, you will learn faster.

The resources you use

Some chords are better to start with and others better to leave to later on. If the first chord you try to play is F Major, you’re going to have a hard time getting started. On the other hand if the first chord you try to play is E minor, you will ease into the routine and learn faster. Possibly the worst resource you can use in this regard is a chord dictionary. If you practice by opening the dictionary and starting on A and working your way through the pages towards G, you’re going to struggle. If on the other hand you can rank the chords based on difficulty, you will be able to gradually work towards the harder chords over time.

How we can help you memorize 50 chords in 30 days

We have taken the above points and combined them all in a 30 day practice plan suitable for beginners. In this practice plan we rank the chords from easiest to hardest and explain the best method you can use to memorize the chords effectively. Each day in the 30 day plan will detail which chords to focus on and exercises you can use to learn faster. The 30 day practice plan is included in the comprehensive 30 Day Guide eBook available with our popular 50 Essential Chords Pack.

Using the 50 Essential Chords Pack along with the 30 Day Guide really is the most effective way to memorize 50 basic open chords within 30 days. The practice plan has been tested on many students who all found that their recall increased as well as their ability to instantly switch between chords. If you want to learn 50 chords as fast as possible, grab yourself a pack with the included eBook here.

New guitar lesson: Method to memorize 50 chords in 10 minutes a day

Our latest lesson has been used over the last couple of years by students and works suprisingly well. Some students managed to properly memorize all 50 chords within a few weeks while other students took up to two months. But in the end all students managed to memorize all 50 chords using this method so because it has been so effective it has been written out in the lessons section for you to try.

The lesson details step-by-step what to do as well as why it is important to do it. This method works because it focuses your attention on the important points you need to learn. When most people try to practice and learn chords they often take an unfocused approach which takes longer to learn. By focusing your attention you can work at this method as little as 10 minutes a day to see results.

Included with the lesson is a PDF instruction sheet you can print out so you have a quick step-by-step reference right in front of you any time.

Check out the lesson by clicking the link below and give it a go.

How to memorize 50 chords in 10 minutes a day

Good luck and remember that to achieve results you need to put in the practice.