Guitar Chord Progressions


Guitar Chord Progression Rules

Chord boredom setting in?  Playing the same progressions over and over?  There’s an easy way to get outside your key and have access to new and different chords to spice things up.

“Borrowing a chord” is the idea of using a chord from another key so that you’re not stuck with the same seven diatonic chords all the time.  “Diatonic” simply means the notes and chords that naturally occur based on the key signature.  In C major your diatonic notes are:
C  D  E  F  G  A  B.

So, how do we escape from this 7-walled prison cell?  Let’s start with the most basic borrowed chord, the V/V, “five of five”.

In the key of C you might have a progression that goes: C  Am  F  G7
When we borrow a chord we’re going next door to another key and saying “Hey, I’ve got your I chord and I want to make you sound cool.  Can I borrow your V chord?”

We’ll do it with the G7 first.  If we pretend we’re in the key of G major for a second, what’s it’s V chord?  D, and usually D7.  (Side note: To learn all you need about 7 chords, check out another of my articles at: ezinearticles /?Understanding-Seventh-Chords-For-Guitar&id=3863018 )

Back to our progression, we’ll now take that D7 chord and put it just before the G7.  Now we have: C  Am  F  D7  G7.  Try it on your guitar and see how you like it.  You’ll find that you slide very easily into that final G7 sound.  The D7 includes a non-diatonic (outside our key) note, the F#.  In analyzing the progression we’d have:  I  vi  IV  V7/V  V – with D7 being the V7/V

Notice that right after we use the borrowed chord, we resolve it to the G7, the chord we borrowed it from.  Later on you can play around with delaying that resolution, but right now stick to putting it right after the borrowed chord.

V/V isn’t the only borrow we can make.  Let’s drop another in.  One of my favorites is to borrow the diminished vii chord.  Let’s hook that to the Am.  What’s the vii chord in Am?  We can use either G major ( from the natural minor) or G#dim7 (from the harmonic minor).  Since G major is already in our key, let’s use the G#dim7.  And again, we resolve that right to the Am.

C  G#dim7  Am  F  D7  G7

And we would analyze that as viidim/vi.

Let’s drop one more in for the F.  Let’s try a borrowed ii chord.  What’s the ii chord in the key of F major?  Gm.  We’ll drop that in right before the F.  We would analyze that move as ii/IV.  Below the chords, I’ve included the non-diatonic notes we’re using for that particular chord.

C  G#dim7  Am  Gm  F  D7  G7
G# Bb F#

With the addition of a couple borrowed chord ideas, now we’ve taken a boring old progression that’s been used thousands of times and spiced it up with some new sounds.  You can borrow anything from anything as long as you resolve it correctly.  Sometimes your borrowed chord will end up being the same as a chord you already have in the key.  For instance, the ii/V ends up being the same as the vi chord.

One last thought.  Could you possibly string together borrowed chords, each resolving into the next?  Absolutely.
C  E7  A7  D7  G7  C

This would be analyzed as (ready?) – I – V/V/V/V – V/V/V – V/V – V – I

So get out there and start playing with some borrowed chords.  It will open up a whole new realm of sounds for you.

Ralph Paul Guitar Lessons |

12 Bar Blues Chord Progressions

When first getting started the 12 bar blues chord progressions might seem strange, especially if your first introduction to them is through music theory. But, once you understand how this style of music works you can apply it to anything, which makes it quite versatile. Additionally there is the added benefit of fellow musicians nodding their heads because you will be able to talk the talk concerning the blues.

This repeating set of progressions makes it easy inside the framework to adlib and freestyle when you and others play which makes it fun and creative rather than just “rehearsing” the same old stuff. Writing flows from this type of creativity and it’s just plain fun.

Start by learning the blues chord progressions and you’ll be well on your way to mastering the 12 bar blues.

Blues Guitar Chord Progressions For Beginners

There’s more to playing the blues than just learning blues guitar chord progressions for beginners. If you are a beginner when it comes to playing the blues there are a few things you should know first. Playing blues guitar is different than other types of playing as it involves certain chord progressions and repetitive sequences of them. It’s not quite as free, but at the same time, because it is defined in many ways it allows you to have a lot of freedom when playing.

If you are a beginning guitar player you may want to consider if this is where you really want to start your education. Unless you are very interested in playing the blues I would reconsider beginning with this style of playing. It is a lot of fun and there are lots of people who enjoy playing this way. I am one of them, but there are lots of other things to learn if you aren’t going to really get into the blues. It all just depends on what you want to do with your playing. There’s no right or wrong way to learn to play.

But, if you’ve learned a bit about guitar and can play some and want to learn how to jam with blues players, then by all means, delve  in.

That being said, the best place to start them is with guitar chord progressions for the blues. After you see how the theory works you’ll be better prepared to tackle 12 bar and 8 bar blues progressions.

Blues Guitar Music Theory

It’s important to learn the blues guitar music theory as well as the runs and chord progressions. in fact the blues chord progressions are only part of what you need to know to really start jamming the blues with other players. It’s a skill worth the effort to learn, but you do need to know about the theory of what makes the blues, well, the blues.