Using Scales For Chord Progressions

author: CPDmusic date: 07/02/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 8.8 / votes: 16 
Intro: Hello, and welcome to another CPDmusic guitar lesson. I'm sorry I haven't published a lesson in a while, but I'm back in business! Today's lesson will be about how to use scales to make an in-key chord progression. A lot of beginners have absolutely no clue on how chord progressions are formed, or any of the theory behind them. Luckily for you, I am going to show you an easy way to construct chord progressions, that requires minimal theory or heavy duty music knowledge. The only thing you will have to have knowledge on before we start iswellhow to play chords, as well as how major and minor scales work. If you don't know about major and minor scales, read this lesson: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/major_vs_minor.html A Scenario: Well, lets think up a scenario. Lets say a bunch of your friends wanted you to jam with them. You're down with that, it's a cool. But, when you're about to start, someone says okay, lets start in A major! WHAT! People jamin KEY!? What do you do now, you don't know any chord progressions! Or at least you don't think you do! There is an easy way to think of chord progressions on the fly! The Root: Okay, you're about to jam in A major. So, you will want a chord progression inA major! So, lets make your first chord of this chord progression A major:
E||--0----||
B||--2----||
G||--2----||
D||--2----||
A||--0----||
E||-------||
Okay, now what? Are you just going to play A major over and over and over and over again? No! What you are going to do next is build off that A major using a scale. What scale? WellA major! Using The Scale: Okay, so we know how a major scale works. It starts at the root and goes tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone. So, than the A major scale is A B C# D E F# G#. And guess what? The same thing applies to chords! So, lets take some chords we already know really well out of there. How about D and E major:
E||--2----0----||
B||--3----0----||
G||--2----1----||
D||--0----2----||
A||-------2----||
E||-------0----||
So, now we have three chords to use in our chord progression, A D and E! Building The Progression: Now, you have three chords that you can play around with. First of all, you shouldn't feel restrained to play them in the order they are in the scale. So, how about we change this progression to A E D. Secondly, feel free to repeat any chords. So, how about we repeat the root chord at the end, to make our progression A E D A. And finally, feel free to stray away from major. As long as the root stays major or minor, the chord progression should still sound good. Likehow about we try changing the D to Dsus4. So, if you remember to not be restrained by order, feel free to repeat chords, and not be restrained by major of minor, you should get a pretty rockin' chord progression! Try playing our A E Dsus4 A progression:
E||--0----|--0----|--3----|--0----||
B||--2----|--0----|--3----|--2----||
G||--2----|--1----|--2----|--2----||
D||--2----|--2----|--0----|--2----||
A||--0----|--2----|-------|--0----||
E||-------|--0----|-------|-------||
Pretty sweet, eh?
Don't Stop At The Top! You thought you were done, didn't you. Wellyou're not. You can get even better with you chord progression! There are many more things you can do other than add a pretty little strumming pattern to this progression. One thing I should defiantly mention is that you should know what style you're playing in. If your friends are playing with a kind of jazzy feel, for example, you probably won't be tuning down to drop C much. If it's blues, change the progression to A7 E7 D7 A7, and maybe add a bit of swing to your strumming pattern. If it's metal, play them all as power chords, A5 E5 D5 A5, and maybe add some palm mutes. Be aware of your style! Secondly, I'm just going to challenge you to take it to the next level. I'm not going to say anything, I'm just going to link you to one of my previous lessons, here. Add THAT to your chord progressions (but only if the style allows it!) andwellyou're looking pretty cool in front of the ladies! (or the guys!) Closing: Well, that's all for today! I hope you had as much fun as I did! A few things before I go: if you haven't checked out my YouTube channel yet, check it out here. It has some interval training videos, some transcription training videos, and the backing track for my harmonization lesson. Also, I will upload a short video so you can hear the stuff you can do with that basic A E D A chord progression. Finally, if you have the time, become my friend! I won't bite! And hey, join the War Against Pre-Manufactured Pop! Or ready my blog! I do more than write lessons you know! Well, that's all! Goodbye! Did You Like This Lesson? Check Out My Last Lesson, Tips For Transcription. More Lessons Coming Soon!
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