Mike Moxcey ©2005
So far, all the songs have used only two chords (the I and V) or three chords (the I, IV, and V). Of course, if you’ve been playing these songs in different keys, then you’ll have played a lot of different chords. For example, if you’ve played the songs in D, and also in G, you’ll have probably played: D, G, A, A7, and G, C, D, and D7. Many books teach songs in all different keys and wait until later, if ever, to explain the theory.
That’s one method, but I want to teach you how to figure out songs on your own so I need to teach a method of learning.
Three chords will get you through a lot of songs, but not through all of them. You also need to learn minor chords and a couple other chord progressions.
The Two Chord
The next most common chord progression uses the second chord of the scale. This is the A chord when you’re playing in G and is the next chord alphabetically when playing in other regular keys:
When theorists talk of the II chord, they often refer to it in the context of the Jazz progression: I-II-V. There are some folk songs that just use those chords, but in most folk/bluegrass/country/rock, the songs use the regular chords along with the extra II chord. However, the chord that comes right after the II is almost always the V so thinking about it as a II-V collection is useful.
| G -> A |
| A -> B |
|B -> C#|
| C -> D|
| D -> E|
| E -> F#|
| F -> G|
Here are the chords you might want to use: