Watch the More Chord Progressions online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Acoustic Rhythm Survival Guide
The following progressions have all been used in hit songs throughout the last 50 years and they span many different musical genres. I encourage you to play through them and incorporate some of the tools from the course as you do so.
A lot of them will no doubt sound familiar – and now you're equipped to make them 'your own' if you like, either as a songwriter or arranger. In my preparation for this course, I had to choose the progressions I wanted to focus on, and in that process, played through all of these below as well as a handful more. It was a blast, and has given me a great slew of ideas for new compositions.
And remember, with the tools and techniques we've worked with and your ever growing, flowing creative well, you can use any progression in ANY genre of music! Don't let a 'jazz' label on a progression keep you from using it in a metal song. It's all about what you do with it.
This list is just skimming the surface of what's out there to work with. If you want to go deeper into the progressions, gain a broader knowledge of the historical context and evolution of 'popular' western music, and look at even more variations then you will find all this and more in Richard Scott's book, 'Chord Progressions for Songwriters'.
Variations on the 'Classic Rock' Progression:
Variations on the 'Basic' Progression:
Descending Bass Lines – Exactly the same as Ascending, just moving down in whole or half steps.
Example: C-C/B-Am-Am/G as used in songs such as Bojangles by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Something by the Beatles, Always on my Mind by Willie Nelson, I'll be There by the Jackson 5, Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, Your Smiling Face by James Taylor and thousands more!
Pedal Point – Sustaining one note, usually in the bass, through a series of chord changes.
I-IV/I -I (In the key of C: C-F/C-C)