Watch the Chord Progressions online guitar lesson by Rich Maloof from Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
Ever heard the expression "Three chords and the truth"? It comes from the idea that it takes just three chords to make a great song, and you don't have to look far to find many examples. Very often each section of a popular song (verse, chorus, or bridge) will include no more than three chords each.
The exercise here is a three-chord progression using Am, C and D. The three chords are played over the course of 4 measures: Am for 1 measure, C for 1 measure, and D for 2 measures. Written in shorthand, it would look something like this:
| Am | C | D | D |
It doesn't matter if you're playing whole notes, quarter notes, or 8th notes - the progression still takes up just 4 measures, or bars, of music. Each time the fourth bar ends, you loop back around to Am.
Try playing the 4-bar progression shown at a comfortable tempo - as always, starting as slow as needed to switch chords in time. Then look for other three-chord combinations, using the chords you know, to develop progressions of your own.