Watch the The vi V IV Progression online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Rhythm Makeover: Vicki Genfan
This is a vi-V-IV progression in the key of D. The vi chord can be seen (and heard) as a relative minor substitution for the I chord (D), which gives this progression its minor, or darker feel. Our rhythm section is laying down a slow shuffle feel. The first approach uses a combination of single note lines and tightly voiced triads on the upper strings to give this a Motown kind of feel. The second approach uses a much sparser and syncopated rhythm pattern as well as voicings that use the middle strings of the guitar (2,3 and 4). These voicings are more like something a piano would play than a guitar, putting a different spin on the riff.