For beginners, one of the hardest hurdles to overcome during the early stages of learning is chord fretting. Heck, even pro players like Billy Gibbons struggled with that pesky F chord back in the day.
With that in mind, music educator Mike Grande has developed the CardChord, a visual and physical learning aid that attempts to help aspiring strummers in their quest to master the chord.
In practice, CardChord flashcards promise to help “both guitar teachers and new guitarists demonstrate, learn and memorize guitar chords quickly and easily”. To that end, they will also apparently “increase the speed in which a new student learns chord finger placement through visual acuity”.
Grande created CardChords following the onset of the pandemic, with Covid-19 restrictions preventing in-person guitar lessons. As such, the flash cards were designed to acquire new remote students while at the same time ensuring current learners would stick to their lesson programs.
The concept is pretty simple: a CardChord flashcard features three fret slots and a perforated tab that help it fasten to the fretboard, with finger placement dots positioned on the relative frets, depending on the chosen chord.
Naturally, owing to the decreasing spaces between frets as you work your way up the neck, the CardChords can only fit on the first three frets of a guitar – still, that’s enough room to cover 15 different chords, according to the company.
Although it’s not specified, it’s safe to assume each deck contains all basic major and minor shapes.
And, while many would assume a slab of plastic hanging from the frets would lead to all sorts of fret buzz and sound issues, surprisingly this isn’t the case. According to CardChords – and as per various demo videos – the flashcards do a decent job of preserving a guitar’s tone.
An extended tab on the upper side of the flashcard also allows for a swift removal with the picking hand, while the fretting hand remains in place without the prompt in order to help build muscle memory.
Three different sets of CardChords are available depending on the model of guitar used: Stratocaster Edition, Les Paul Edition and Universal Edition. Specifically, the first will accommodate Fender, Fender clones, Ibanez, Guild and Yamaha guitars, while the second is geared towards Gibson, Epiphone and Gretsch models.
The Universal Edition, meanwhile, works on any solidbody electric guitar or acoustic guitar, though no set will work with the dimensions of a nylon-string six-string. As such, multi-scale and fanned-fret guitars are out of the question, although it would take an especially brave soul to learn chords on such instruments.
Whether CardChords are the answer to beginner players’ plights to conquer chords once and for all is up for debate, but we imagine they'll certainly be useful to numerous aspiring guitarists.
CardChords are available now from $24.97.
Find out more over at CardChords.