The ability to use your guitar chords to play common chord sequences is really handy when practising with friends or learning a song that you have less familiarity with. There are so many chord progressions out there.
Just like many popular songs these days, the chords in them tend to be the same ones. This article is a guide of five chord progressions that have been used in hundreds of songs, and learning them will make playing guitar so much easier. Note the chord progressions will be written in the key of C and using Roman numerals, so they can be easily moved to any other key.
- Top Simple and Easy to Remember Chord Sequences
- 1. C – G – Am – F (I – V -vi – IV)
- 2. C – F – G (I – IV – V)
- 3. C – Am – F – G (I – vi – IV – V)
- 4. Am – F – C – G, vi – IV – I – V
- 5. C – F – Am – G, I – IV – vi – V
- How Many Chords Do I Have to Practice
- Using the Capo to Change Keys
- FAQ for Play Chord Progressions by Position
- What are chord progressions?
- How many types of chord progressions are there?
- What is the significance of a chord progression?
- How do you play a chord progression by position?
- What is the difference between playing a chord progression by position and by name?
- What is the benefit of playing a chord progression by position?
- What does playing a chord progression by position mean?
- How can I play a chord progression by position?
- How often should I change chords in my progression?
- How do I memorize the positions of chords on the guitar fretboard?
- Why do chord progressions change from position to position?
- What are the most common chord progressions in Western music?
- How do I know what chords to play in any given position?
Top Simple and Easy to Remember Chord Sequences
Getting familiar with guitar chords is a great way to expand your knowledge of the instrument. One method is to play chord progressions using the different chord shapes in all areas of the fretboard. One way to expand your chord knowledge is to instead of playing chords out of their usual position, try placing them in one specific place on the neck. For example, let’s take a look at the following chord progression:
1. C – G – Am – F (I – V -vi – IV)
This is probably the most well-known chord progression in Western pop music. It has a mathematical explanation that explains why it is so popular. These four chords are all opposites. The V chord is opposite to I, while the vi is opposite to V and the IV opposite of vi. This is what makes the progression so interesting.
This progression can be found in the lyrics of “Let It Be” (by The Beatles), the entire of “No Woman No Cry”, by Bob Marley, the chorus and verse of the song “Love Someone” (by Taylor Swift), the verse and chorus to “Love Story” (by Journey), the verse of the “Hey Soul Sister”, by Train, and the chorus to “Someone Like You” from Adele. This popular progression can be seen in our video “Collide” by Howie day.
2. C – F – G (I – IV – V)
The second chord progression could be considered to be the foundation of pop music, classic rock ‘n roll, and modern rock. It’s a common chord progression in songs from 1960s to 1970s, and it traces its roots back to blues. You can also play these chords in various variations to create other common progressions. The 12 bar blues is a good example. It goes I – I – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – IV – I – V.
Another example is I – IV – V – IV, which allows us play songs such as “Louie Louie”, by Richard Berry, and “Wild Thing”, by The Troggs. Bob Marley’s entire song “Stir it Up”, which uses the I – IV-V – V progression, is an example. This lesson will show you how to play the chord progression for the Green Day song “Good Riddance”. You’ll be amazed at how many songs you can create by just changing the order of these chords.
3. C – Am – F – G (I – vi – IV – V)
This chord progression, also known as the 1950s progression, is closely associated with the widespread popularity of doo-wop at that time. This progression is used in many popular songs, including “Stand By Me” (the entirety), “Chain Gang”, by Sam Cooke, “Stand By Me”, and “Unchained Melody”, which was popularized by The Righteous Brothers.
Many popular songs today also use the 50s progression. Examples include the entire of “Beautiful Girls”, by Sean Kingston, and the chorus to “What About Now” (Daughtry). And, of course, the entire of “Friday” from Rebecca Black.
4. Am – F – C – G, vi – IV – I – V
This progression starts with a minor chord and tends to sound darker than the other four. This progression can be found in the entirety “Cheap Thrills”, by Sia, the chorus to “Africa” (by Toto), the entirety “Apologize” (by OneRepublic), and the chorus to “Numb” (by Linkin Park). This emotive progression can be seen in our video “Zombie” by The Cranberries.
5. C – F – Am – G, I – IV – vi – V
The final progression is very similar in sound to progression number 4. However, the vi and I chords have been moved. You’ll get a chord progression that sounds similar to the one in number 4, but not as sad.
You can see examples of the chorus and verse of “Say” from John Mayer, the entire of “Magic”, Enrique Iglesias’ “Escape”, the chorus and verse of “Good Life” and the intro riff to “Hit me With Your Best Shot” (Pat Benatar).
These songs use many different chord progressions throughout the song. They would use several chord progressions to cover the various sections (verse, prechorus and chorus). However, it’s possible that each section uses one of these five common chord progressions.
How Many Chords Do I Have to Practice
You might have noticed that each of these chord progressions only uses a single combination of four chords, the IV, V and vi chords. You’ll be able to play many songs if you know the four most popular guitar keys (C. A. G. E. D).
I suggest that you start with G as it’s the easiest to play in. Then, work your way up to A, C, D and finally E.
Using the Capo to Change Keys
What if the song you’re trying to play is not in one of the guitar keys?
Your trusted capo can help you with this. You’ll simply need to pick the closest common key to the key of your song and then use the capo for moving those chords up until you reach your target key.
Please note that the capo cannot move the key down or up. For example, if you want to play a song in B major, your chords would be from A. You can move A up to A, but not C to B.
Check out this video and the accompanying article for a deeper understanding of how to use a Capo.
It’s not difficult to learn pop music on the guitar. Pop songwriters don’t use many chord progressions, as I’ve already mentioned. These five chord progressions will allow you to create enough songs to last a lifetime. These chord progressions are also found in other music genres, so be sure to keep your eyes open for them as you pursue your career as a musician. Always start with G and work your way up to the keys A, C, D, E.
It is a great way of getting to know the various chord shapes all around the neck by playing chord progressions by position. This helps to open up your fretboard and decreases dependence on playing only open chords or basic barre chord shapes.
This technique can be used for any chord progression, in any key. Try it out by taking songs that you know and playing chord progressions according to their position.
FAQ for Play Chord Progressions by Position
What are chord progressions?
Chord progressions are a series of chords that follow a common pattern. They are usually written in the order of I, IV, V or I, V, IV.
There are many different types of chords, but the most common chord progression is I-IV-V. This is the most basic chord progression and is used in many songs.
How many types of chord progressions are there?
There are only 12 types of chord progressions.
Chord progressions are a key component in the structure of a song. They provide the framework for the melody and lyrics, and they can also dictate a song’s mood.
The most common chord progression is I-IV-V, which is used in most pop songs.
What is the significance of a chord progression?
A chord progression is a sequence of chords played one chord at a time. It’s the backbone of the song and it can dictate how the song feels.
The significance of a chord progression is that it can dictate how the song feels.
How do you play a chord progression by position?
Playing a chord progression by position is a great way to learn how to play chords.
The first step is to find the root note of the chord progression. If you are playing a song in the key of C, then the root note would be C.
The next step is to find the key signature, which tells you how many sharps or flats there are in that key. In the key of C, there are no sharps or flats and therefore it’s just C major.
If there was a sharp in that key, then it would be called G major and if there were two sharps in that key then it would be called D major.
If there were any flats in that key then it would be called F major.
What is the difference between playing a chord progression by position and by name?
Playing a chord progression by position is when you know the numerical order of the chords in the progression. Playing a chord progression by name is when you know the chords by their names, such as G major, C minor, and D7.
The difference between playing a chord progression by position and by name is that one tells you the order of the chords, and one tells you what chords are being played.
What is the benefit of playing a chord progression by position?
Playing a chord progression by position means that you play it from the root, then the third, then the fifth and so on. This is a very common practice in jazz music.
Benefits of playing a chord progression by position include:
- The sound is more full because you are doubling up on notes that are close together
- Makes soloing over chords easier because you can use any note in the scale to create melodies
- Creates less tension because there are no unaccented notes
What does playing a chord progression by position mean?
Playing a chord progression by position is a type of fingering for the guitar, in which one finger per fret is used to play chords. It allows for the guitarist to play chords with more than three notes, such as seventh chords, without having to use more than four fingers.
How can I play a chord progression by position?
A chord progression is a sequence of chords that are played in a certain order. The most common chord progressions use I, IV, and V chords. A chord progression can be played by either strumming or fingerpicking the chords in their order.
How often should I change chords in my progression?
A progression is a series of chords played one after the other. Chords are the building blocks of progressions. A progression can be as simple as two chords played one after the other, or it can be as complex as four or five chords played consecutively. For example: C – G – Am – F
The progression in this example is made up of a two-chord sequence and a three-chord sequence.
The best way to figure out how many chords you need for your own progression is to experiment and see what works for you. You should also consider what type of song you are composing, whether it’s a ballad, rock song, etc., and how many chord changes will work well with that genre’s style.
How do I memorize the positions of chords on the guitar fretboard?
The guitar fretboard is a map of the guitar’s neck, or fingerboard. The strings are numbered from 1 to 6, starting from the top string on the left. The numbers correspond to the order in which they are played.
Memorizing the positions of chords on the guitar fretboard is not an easy task. However, it can be done by using some simple tricks and techniques that will help you memorize them more easily and quickly. One way is to associate each chord with a color and then use that color when playing that chord.
For example, if you have D major chord, you could associate it with yellow and use yellow for every D major chord you play after that. Another trick is to visualize your fingers as being a set of steps on a staircase so you can remember the positions of chords on the guitar.
Why do chord progressions change from position to position?
A chord progression is a series of chords that are played one after the other and make up a song.
There are many reasons why chord progressions change from position to position. The most common reason is to create a sense of tension and release in music. This can be done by playing chords with different notes, intervals, or rhythms.
What are the most common chord progressions in Western music?
In Western music, there are 12 possible chord progressions that can be used to create a song. These chord progressions are made up of the following chords: I, IV, V7, vi, ii, iii (or ii7), IV7/III (or iv6/iii), iiadd9/V (or iiiadd11/V), VImaj7 (or V6), and VI.
There are two ways in which a chord progression can be created: by starting on the tonic or the dominant. For example: The most common chord progression is I-IV-V-I or I-vi-ii-iii.
How do I know what chords to play in any given position?
The best way to learn chords is to learn the different positions on the guitar. Once you know where a chord is on the guitar, you can play it in any position.
There are six basic positions: first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. The first position is where your index finger naturally falls when you hold your guitar. The second position is two frets higher than the first position. The third position is three frets higher than the first position. And so on and so forth until you reach the sixth position which is twelve frets higher than the first position.
Playing a chord in a different position means that you’ll have to move your fingers around on the fretboard in order to make it happen. This can be difficult at first but with practice it to do easier.