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Guitar Chord Progressions: A Complete Beginner’s Guide…

Guitar chord progressions for beginners
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Today, you will become a better guitarist and song writer. How? Simple: you’re going to learn the basics of what makes songs sound great: chord progressions



Learning and understanding how chord progressions work is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to improve your playing. 

How so? Think about it: what do all of the most well known and popular songs of all time have in common? 

They’re not technical. They’re not hard to play. But they’re beautifully catchy and very easy on the ears. 

And the reason why this is the case? Chord progressions.

All the best songwriters KNOW what chords go together and in what order. Sure, they have other things going for them too, things like natural talent and good looks, but all good – and most importantly, successful – musicians know their chord progressions.

Whether you’re talking about The Beatles, Metallica, or Interpol. Anyone who has ever made a house-hold name of themselves with a guitar knows their chord progressions forwards and backwards. 

So let’s get you up to speed with some of the basics surrounding chord progressions. 

What Are Chord Progressions?

guitar chord progressions

A chord progression is like a roadmap for a song. It’s a sequence of chords, or musical “building blocks,” that are played one after the other. Each chord is like a signpost that tells the song where to go next, creating a sense of movement and emotion.

Think of it like a journey: You start at one place, visit a few different spots along the way, and then either return home or end up somewhere new.

The chords guide you through the song, setting the mood and helping to tell a story.

They can make you feel happy, sad, relaxed, or excited, just like different places you visit might make you feel different emotions.

So, when you listen to a song, the chord progression is the underlying structure that’s guiding you through the musical landscape. It’s a key part of what makes each song unique and emotionally impactful.

You can use minor chords for heavier, sad songs and major chords for happy, more upbeat music. Or, you can mix the two together and create great music.

Guitar Chord Progressions For Beginners

Beautiful Chord Progressions For Guitar

You now know what a chord progression is, in its most basic form, but in order to start actually putting two and two together, it’s best to do some practical work. 

Grab you guitar. Sit down. Below, you’ll find a selection of chord progressions for a variety of different genres of music from pop to jazz, to sad and happy to things like funk and, well… I couldn’t resist, Bossa nova. 

Minor Chord Progressions

  1. Am – G – F – Am
  2. Em – D – C – Em
  3. Cm – Ab – Bb – Cm
  4. Dm – C – Bb – A
  5. Fm – Eb – Db – C
  6. Gm – F – Eb – D
  7. Bm – A – G – F#m
  8. Am – F – C – G

Basic Chord Progressions

  1. G – D – Em – C
  2. A – E – F#m – D
  3. C – G – Am – F
  4. D – A – Bm – G
  5. E – B – C#m – A
  6. F – C – Dm – Bb
  7. B – F# – G#m – E
  8. G – Cadd9 – D – G

Common Chord Progressions

  1. C – F – G – C
  2. Dm – G – C
  3. C – G – Am – F
  4. C – Am – F – G
  5. Am – F – C – G
  6. C – F – Dm – G
  7. C – Em – F – G
  8. F – C – F – G

Sad Chord Progressions

  1. Am – F – C – G
  2. Dm – Bb – A – Dm
  3. Em – C – G – D
  4. Cm – G – Bb – Ab
  5. Fm – C – Db – Bbm
  6. Gm – Eb – F – Gm
  7. Bm – G – D – A
  8. Am – Dm – E – Am

Pop Chord Progressions

  1. C – G – Am – F
  2. D – A – Bm – G
  3. E – B – C#m – A
  4. F – C – Dm – Bb
  5. G – D – Em – C
  6. A – E – F#m – D
  7. B – F# – G#m – E
  8. C – F – G – Am

Cool Chord Progressions

  1. Cmaj7 – Amin7 – Dmin7 – G7
  2. Em9 – A7 – Dmaj7 – G#dim
  3. F#m7 – B7 – E9 – Aadd9
  4. G13 – C9 – F#7b5 – Bm7
  5. Am11 – D7#9 – Gmaj7 – C#m7b5
  6. Bb9 – Ebmaj7 – Ab13 – Dm7
  7. C#m9 – F#11 – B7 – Eaug
  8. D9 – Gm6 – A7 – Dmaj7

Dark Chord Progressions

  1. Cm – G – Cm – G
  2. Dm – A – Dm – A
  3. Em – B – Em – B
  4. F#m – C# – F#m – C#
  5. Gm – D – Gm – D
  6. Am – E – Am – E
  7. Bm – F# – Bm – F#
  8. C#m – G# – C#m – G#

RnB Chord Progressions

  1. Cmaj7 – Amin7 – Fmaj7 – G7
  2. Dmin9 – G13 – Cmaj9 – F#dim7
  3. Emaj7 – C#min7 – G#min7 – F#9
  4. Fmin9 – Bb13 – Ebmaj7 – Ab9
  5. Gmin7 – C9 – Fmaj7 – D7
  6. Amaj7 – F#min9 – B7 – E9
  7. Bmin7 – E9 – Amin7 – D7
  8. C#min9 – F#13 – Bmaj7 – G#7

Jazz Chord Progressions (Guitar)

  1. Am7 – D7 – Gmaj7 – Cmaj7
  2. Bm7 – E7 – Amaj7 – Dmaj7
  3. Cm7 – F7 – BbMaj7 – EbMaj7
  4. Dm7 – G7 – CMaj7 – FMaj7
  5. Em7 – A7 – DMaj7 – GMaj7
  6. F#m7 – B7 – EMaj7 – AMaj7
  7. Gm7 – C7 – FMaj7 – BbMaj7
  8. Am7 – Dm7 – G7 – Cmaj7

Bossa Nova Chord Progressions

  1. Am7 – D9 – Gmaj7 – C#7b5
  2. Bm7 – E9 – Amaj7 – D#7b5
  3. Cm7 – F9 – Bbmaj7 – E7b5
  4. Dm7 – G9 – Cmaj7 – F#7b5
  5. Em7 – A9 – Dmaj7 – G7b5
  6. F#m7 – B9 – Emaj7 – A7b5
  7. Gm7 – C9 – Fmaj7 – B7b5
  8. Am7 – D9 – Gmaj7 – C7b5

Funk Chord Progressions

  1. E9 – A7 – D9 – G7
  2. F9 – Bb7 – C9 – Eb7
  3. G9 – C7 – F9 – Bb7
  4. A9 – D7 – G9 – C7
  5. B9 – E7 – A9 – D7
  6. C9 – F7 – Bb9 – Eb7
  7. D9 – G7 – C9 – F7
  8. E9 – A7 – D9 – G7

Happy Chord Progressions

  1. C – G – A – F
  2. D – A – G – Bm
  3. E – B – A – C#m
  4. F – C – G – Am
  5. G – D – C – Em
  6. A – E – D – F#m
  7. B – F# – E – G#m
  8. C – F – G – C

10 Examples of EPIC Guitar Chord Progressions

Jimmy Page’s Favourite Guitar

Here’s 10 iconic, well known songs that use memorable yet simple chord progressions. As you can see below, literally none of them are particularly fancy.

They’re just nice sounding chords, stacked together in a meaningful order.

  1. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin – Am – Cmaj7/G – C – D – F – Am – Am/G – Am/F# – Am/F – Am
  2. “Hotel California” by Eagles – Bm – F# – A – E – G – D – Em – F#
  3. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd – G – Em – G – Em – C – D – Am
  4. “Blackbird” by The Beatles – G – A – D – G – C – F – Em – D
  5. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses – D – C – G – D
  6. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – D – F# – A – E
  7. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana – F – Bb – Ab – Db
  8. “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix – E7#9 – G – A
  9. “Wonderwall” by Oasis – Em7 – G – Dsus4 – A7sus4
  10. “Back in Black” by AC/DC – E – D – A – E – D – A – B – A

So, here’s some homework. For the next couple of weeks, rather than trying to play faster and faster or learn a face-melting solo, instead focus your creative energies on experimenting with chord progressions.

Personally, I like to work in Ableton with a MIDI keyboard to do this. I mess around with different notes and chords and progressions until I find something that sounds good, and then I’ll sit down with my guitar and transpose it.

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If you liked what you read above, check out these posts.

They’re all written with the beginner in mind. No jargon, no nonsense. Just the basics, explained in a way anyone can understand.

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