Watch the C Ballad online guitar lesson by Johnny Hiland from Ten Gallon Guitar: Intros, Outros & Turnarounds
We're moving on to a ballad in the key of C. Now folks, this gets a little scary for me when I'm on the stage and I've just played a country shuffle or a rippin' blues groove. When they call out a ballad, and your heart's racing after playing those fast tunes, it can be a little daunting to slow it down. Is it a must at a show? Yes! People need to have a break, they need to give their ears a rest.
When playing a ballad, you really need to pay attention to the chord progression in the intro, outro, and turnaround. You'll find that most ballads have almost identical chord progressions, so you don't necessarily have to worry about it once you learn it, but you have to know it. In this one, we're actually going to do a 12-44-15-15. Now you're thinking to yourself, "Oh my goodness. There's a 2 in there, is it minor or major?" Well, usually the lead singer will specify that to you, unless it's one that you already know, but in this one we're going to a 2 minor. So, when I know we're going into a 2 minor, I know that it's going to be a 4 after that. Now, I like 2 minors a lot (and 2 majors in uptempo stuff!). Why? Because it separates the root chord (1) and the 4 chord. So, it's kind of like a little segue, if you will - it helps move it along. I like to play nice, pretty things in ballads; we don't want to fill it full of notes or licks. The feel of a ballad has to be so true. Let's get started.