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Watch the The IV iii ii I Progression online guitar lesson by Vicki Genfan from Rhythm Makeover: Vicki Genfan

This is a IV-iii-ii-I progression - or I like to refer to it as a descending bass line. It’s probably more common to start with the I chord and take your bass line down either by ½ or whole steps, but we’ve chosen to give you something a little different and start on the IV chord. Paul Simon’s ‘59th St. Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) uses this progression for the entire song. For our demonstration we’ll be in the key of E so our chords will be A-G#m-F#m-E.

Our first approach uses a minimalistic pattern of descending 5ths played on the 3rd and 1st strings. This could work well underneath a busy lyric or melody. In contrast, our second approach uses voicings that let us keep the 1st and 2nd strings open and with a full, rhythmic triplet feel strum we’re taking up a lot more sonic space. This approach works well with a simpler melody idea on top of it or over a solo. This approach gives us a chance to practice our left hand muting technique.