Watch the The I vi ii V Progression online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Rhythm Makeover: Vicki Genfan
This is a I-vi-ii-V progression in the key of G. So we have G-Em-Am-D. This progession is sometimes referred to as the 50's progression, since so many songs from that time use it. For instance, Jack Lawrence and Charles Trenet's 'Beyond the Sea', Sam Cooke's 'Loveable', and we also see it in more current pop songs like Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’, Green Day’s ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ or Led Zeppelin’s ‘D’yer Mak’er'.
In our first example we’re using first position chords and playing our bass notes in time with the kick drum. We add a few color tones to provide a nice movement within the progression.
Our 2nd approach uses voicings up in the 8-12th frets giving us some very high notes on the 2nd string that move in a simple melody. We use the open 1st string as a drone for this version. The rhythm is completely in opposition to the movement of the bass and kick drum, giving us a real nice syncopated feel.