Posts Tagged ‘chords’

I was surfing along this afternoon and came upon this article over at The Boston Globe.  He describes the vi-IV-I-V as the Sensative Female Chord progression…lol.  He’s absolutely on the money!  I won’t rewrite his article here so head on over there and check it out.  I like it in Am where it goes like Am F C G.  That’s the progression in Joan Osborne’s “One of Us”.  You know…”What if God was one of us…”

I was surfing around looking for common chord progressions that I can solo over using my RC-20 looper pedal.  I found a site that had an interesting chart that I’ll be “playing” with for a while.  The first picture below is the Major chord pattern flow.  You can start from anywhere on the chart, just pick a chord within the key your playing and then follow it from left to right.  When you get to a bracket, you need to choos whether you’re going to go with the upper chord or the lower.   Now when you’re done with the I chord and you get the the *.  The astericks means you can then go to any chord.  If you’re doing a repeating pattern you may likely go to where you started. 

Below is the Minor version of the above chart.  Note that it adds the VII chord and shows that the best way to get there is from the iv which means the minor iv chord (lower case is minor)

Let’s play with these for a minute and see what sort of progressions we can come up with.  Let’s start with the easiest which I think is the key of C Major which means we’ll be using the upper chart.  Lets pick E to start and see where this takes us…

Em (which is the iii) which means it really needs to be Em
Am (vi)
F (IV)  I chose the lower path in the brackets
G (V) (I chose this route rather than the diminished becuase I’m not so good at grabbing a diminshed chords…need to work on that)

You’ll have to grab your guitar and give this a quick play to see how it sounds.  I’ll grab my ukulele since it’s sitting here next me.

But that’s how it works folks.   Hmmm…before I go…what sort of scales can we play on this progression?  Sounds like a topic for another post in the near future!


Connected learning is the best way to learn anything, the idea is to associate new material with something you already know. Usually guitar players tend to learn one aspect of their craft and then move on to some other project, it’s much better if you can link the various areas of musicianship together.

Here’s a classic way to improve your ear and learn chords on the guitar at the same time.

Theory application – know which scale the chord was derived from by applying the process of stacking a scale in thirds to create either triadic (three note) chords or scaletone seventh (four note) chords.

Knowing the parent scale of a chord will help your ear find the correct notes to play over the chord by identifying the “key centre” of a chord progression sometimes referred to as K.O.M
(key of the moment.)

Some examples…

Let’s say you have an Em chord, if you knew that the Em chord existed in the keys of C major, G major and D major you would have three possible scale solutions to solo over the E minor chord, as you try all three options your ear will select the scale that you are hearing in your head; as you can see already we have accelerated the process of playing what you are hearing by reducing the amount of resource material to choose from.

Here’s how I arrived at the three options.

Triadic version of the C scale would produce the following chords.

C – Dm – [Em] – F – G – Am – Bdim

G scale presented in triadic format would be:

G – Am – Bm – C – D – [Em] – F#dim

The D scale would create the following chords.

D – [Em] – F#m – G – A – Bm – C#dim

As you review these scales notice how the Em chord is chord three in the C scale, chord six in the G scale and chord three in the D scale.

If your chord progression consisted of the following chords we could confidently say that the key centre of the progression would be either the key of G or D; both keys would work because the two chords presented in the progression exist in both keys.

Em /// | D /// |

Now if we had a chord progression like this…

G /// | A /// | Bm /// | Em /// |

We could correctly identify the entire progression as being in the key of D, since the key of D is the only key that contains all of the chords.

To recap: an isolated Em chord could exist in three keys, which scale you choose to play over the Em chord is entirely up to you; as more chords are introduced to the progression a process of elimination takes place, the name of the game is to try and find the key that is the ‘parent key’ to as many chords as possible.

The idea is to stay in one key as long as you can to develop a feel for the music you are playing… it’s difficult to play music with high emotional content when you are changing key centers every two beats.

Music is about story telling and anything that helps us tell our musical story is a plus, our ear can only take us so far that’s when a good theoretical background can come to our rescue and help us play meaningful music on the guitar.

And now I’d like to invite you to get free access to my “How To Remember 1,000 Songs” eCourse. You can download the course for free at: http://www.guitarcoaching.com

You’ll learn about hit song templates, easy chords, simple scales, red hot rhythms, and successful practice strategies in text, audio and video.

From Mike Hayes – The Guitar Coaching Guy & the Express Guitar System.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_P_Hayes

I decided to start a series of posts that are basically reference posts.  A reference post is something that you’ll refer back to over and over again until you commit it to memory.   I’m starting this off with the Circle of Fifths.  This diagram has a number of uses which I’m not going to go into at the moment but in time we’ll cover everything we can about it.  For now I’m just going to put the graphic up and say that you REALLY should memorize this thing.  Very briefly, when you start at a key (C in this graphic), when you go around clockwise you are stepping up a 5th.  When you go counter-clockwise, you going down a 5th.  So for C, the 5th is F and the 4th is G.  Now you know the I-IV-V of a key.  If you have this memorized you won’t have to work this out on your fingers.  In addition, you can figure out every note in the key as outlined in the green area of the graphic for the key of C.  Anyway, more to come on the great tool. 

Here’s a quick interpretation for you on what the green zone means.  See the table below…

C Scale

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