Chord Progression Chart, Part 1 | Hub Guitar

Chord Progression Chart, Part 1

Who needs a chord progression generator when you can learn them all yourself using a chord progression chart?

Which chord progressions sound good, and why do some work better than others? The answer to these questions is in the exploration of chord progressions. We can see for ourselves what chord progressions we find satisfying, and why that is.

The goal of this exercise is to uncover the possible chord progressions. Do not skip over this work. Take your time with it, over the course of many days if necessary, checking off each progression with a pencil as you play and hear it.

Operational rules

  1. All chord progressions will start with the I chord.
  2. All chord progressions will (presumably) resolve to the I chord.
  3. Chords will be described by function (Roman numeral) rather than by key.
  4. Chord progressions will be diatonic.

Chord Progressions: Two Chords (6 possibilities)

I–ii I–iii I–IV I–V I–vi I–vii°

There are 6 possible chord progressions consisting of two chords in which the I chord is the first chord. Already we can begin to hear how we might prefer some of these over others. Now we can choose each of these progressions and expand upon it by adding every possible third chord to every one of these progressions.

Diatonic Chord Progressions: 3 Chords (30 possibilities)

I–ii–iii I–iii–ii I–IV–ii I–V–ii I–vi–ii I–vii°–ii
I–ii–IV I–iii–IV I–IV–iii I–V–iii I–vi–iii I–vii°–iii
I–ii–V I–iii–V I–IV–V I–V–IV I–vi–IV I–vii°–IV
I–ii–vi I–iii–vi I–IV–vi I–V–vi I–vi–V I–vii°–V
I–ii–vii° I–iii–vii° I–IV–vii° I–V–vii° I–vi–vii° I–vii°–vi

Key Tasks

  1. Play through all of the sequences using any chords.
  2. Try voice-leading the chords together to reveal the true sound of the progression.
  3. Make special note of your favorite progressions. They will likely always appeal to you.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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