Writing Chord Progressions

Eric Johnson
A free video tutorial from Eric Johnson
Musician and Educator from Los Angeles, CA
4.2 instructor rating • 1 course • 12,651 students

Lecture description

In this lesson, I'll show you how you can write your very own chord progressions! After this lecture is over you should be able to put together chord progression using the 9 open chords.

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The 80/20 Guitar: Write Music and Play Guitar in 30 Days

Learn to play guitar and write music in as little as 30 Days by optimizing learning and practice strategies.

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English [Auto] You guys welcome back to the 80:20 course in this video I'm going to take you through how to write your own chord progressions and how to make those common chords sound uncommon. But first let's dive into what exactly is a chord progression and what type of music has chord progressions in it. All right so the definition of a chord progression is any sequence of chords. Any row. This definition may surprise some of you because you think there are strict guidelines and strict rules to follow when creating corporations or anything in music. This is false. Music theory is more of just these guidelines that you can follow that really aren't that strict. It's just things that have worked over the past centuries that has been recorded. What type of music has chord progressions in it. Well it is a trick question because every music has chord progressions in it or a word regression in it. Why. Because chord progressions are the engine of this song. They drive the song forward. They have the they contribute the dynamics to the song you know the verse the chorus is the bridge. Those are all things that play an important part in a song. But they're all built from the corporations different corporations and how they're used to whether the songwriter likes it or not and whether it's obvious or not they are still using chords and there is still underlying chord Hermy beneath what is going on in the song. All right so now let's dive into how to make your own chord progressions. So I call this the guest check method and I love teaching this method because without any knowledge of scales or chords or any advanced music theory topics you can start writing your own pieces on guitar. So we're going to be using a C H E A D F A minor D minor in my ear we're going to be using the nine chords for reading our core progressions till we get to it. So I was going to start I'll go through a demonstration and I can just walk you through the process and you just kind of can copy it and apply it to writing your own. Don't start with a minor you. If I can figure that that minor to reality there. And next I going to see I'm going to see if I like that I'm sure. No I'm too happy for me like that in my ear. I go to D-minor. Yeah that sounds like that sounds good so far. And I think we'll up other major chord in there after D-minor who are good at math majors. That sounds more awesome. Totla that sounds so far less than four chords in a progression. Let's do each asked. They will be our last and final four and that's going to go with this. And then I just turn it back on again minor. So my corp was a minor D minor F and D E. So the last two chords were major and I like that chord progression and you know even though I have an unfair advantage I know exactly why those chords work. So that's kind of why I chose them in the order that I did. But nonetheless without that knowledge you can create the same the same sound the chord progression you just didn't know the music theory behind it but nonetheless you could still create corporate versions of the same quality. So it's just up to you to do a lot of experimenting and switching from one court to the next to see what works. And that's really all that subject matter is is a lot of experimenting. All right so now let's go through and I'll walk you through the process of making a common chord not so common. I'll demonstrate this with two chords D and a minor seeking to get a feel of what to do you know kind of how to apply this process to a chord that you choose. Or is it a certainty that this is our normal D major chord. All right so now making humming chords not so common. How do we do it. Well I take it I go through the process by first adding and subtracting fingers. So how does this sound so I'm gonna take out the middle then my little finger here and see how it sounds. There she comes. Kind some good. So you know I'll keep that. So switching from the to that that open string is add a finger let's add a finger behind the ring finger so the high either fret. Let's see how that sounds more that sounds good as well. Non-straight searching you know between all three and see how much you can get out of this one course you so just by switching those two notes. Now we have these three melody knows you know it's kind of work with the rest of the courtship. But not only that you could also use something like this. You can also take off say the ring finger and play something like this. Right. So that also works as well. And you can take off not just take off fingers but you can move the fingers maybe two different frets the same want to take this third front of the string and move into the second fret so just readjust your finger and you get something like this. You may or may not like the sound. It actually doesn't sound that bad. So keep that in a list of options. Another one I like is taking the index finger off of the second fret G and just playing the display of the second fret Heidi and third grade B of the shape turns into a nice rainy day like you're looking out of a nice rainy window. All right. So that is for the D-CT. And you can of course explore other options as well. You can try moving it down or up try adding subtracting fingers on different fronts and see when you come up with one question. All right let's move to a minor measles outbreak. All right so now let's start with just taking off your index finger. Let's see how that sounds. So you have some good right away. There's one that has the sound of tension to it. Right. Now another common thing to do with the minor is to add your pinky on the third fret the string and see what that's all. Know right away. Developing some interesting options. It's interesting. Tonalities to choose from. Also you just take off your finger and let's you. That sounds like good. Well a bit different a bit lighter than in a manner that is quite dark. Or it could take off your middle finger. And he has something like this the good way to test the CT tonality and wait to hear every single note is to pick one string at a time. And that way you can really hear the contents of cord clearly. Those are some options for a minor chord and your d d major shapes. So try applying the same concepts and ideas to your own chords. So maybe a chord like c Try experimenting with that and see what you come up with and try to some of them in the court progressions and make sure to follow along the 30 day guitar schedule and they'll tell you exactly what to do with your corporations after you made them. So thank you for joining me in this 820 video and I'll see you next time.