Common Chord Progressions
Learn How To Play Common Chord Progressions On The Guitar!
In this guitar lesson we are going to be going over some of the more common chord progressions that you will see over and over again in pop, rock, blues and a lot of other styles of music. We will cover six different progressions. Five of them will be in the key of G major and the last one will be in the key of E minor.
Both G major and E minor have the same key signature which is one sharp, F#. I will write out the G major scale and the chords that are in that key for you now. The G major scale is spelled 1G 2A 3B 4C 5D 6E 7F#. The chords in the key of G major are 1 G major, 2 A minor, 3 B minor, 4 C major, 5 D major, 6 E minor, and 7 F# diminished.
Now that we know the notes and chords in the key of G major let’s take a look at our first progression. The 145 progression is a super common progression that you will hear all over the place. Since we are in the key of G major all you have to do in order to build this progression is pick out the 1, 4 and 5 chords. Those chords would be G major, C major and D major. Try Playing through this progression using any chord shapes that you like.
The 251 progression is usually though of as jazz progression but you can find it in just about any other kind of music too. A 251 progression in the key of G would be A minor, D major and G major. Try playing through this progression using several different chord voicings for each chord.
Let’s add two chords to the 251 progression to come up with a 36251. If you add the 3 and the 6 to the 251 that you just built you would end up the B minor, E minor, A minor, D major and G major.
The 1564 chord progression is really popular in pop and contemporary church music. G major, D major, E minor and C major make up the 1564 progression in the key of G major.
The 1 b7 4 chord progression uses a chord that does not occur naturally in the key of G. G major is the 1 chord. The b7 chord is an F major. Normally the 7 chord in the key of G major would be an F# diminished chord but this time we are going to lower, or flat, the 7th scale degree one half step to an F natural and use a major chord to go with it. Finally, C major will be the 4 chord. Play through this progression a few times and see if you start to recognize it from some of the songs that you have heard.
Let’s shift gears a bit and look at a minor blues progression in the key of E minor. A minor 145 blues progression in the key of E minor would be E minor, A minor and B7. I love to practice improvising over this progression. Try playing through and even recording this progression. Once you have it recorded you can use it as a play along track to practice your improvising.
All of these progressions are used quite often in many different styles of music. Keep an ear out for these progressions and see if you can identify them in some of the music that you enjoy listening to. If you are a writer you can try out some of these progressions with some lyrics that you already have.