Integrating theory, chords and strumming in a 1,3,4,5 progression

24 Feb

Hi there,

In previous blogs we’ve covered:

1. How the major scale is constructed and the chords that belong to each key.

2. basics of the CAGED chord system and how to move your open shapes up the neck

3. A simple DDUUDU strumming pattern

So now it’s time to integrate all these together to start writing your own songs and understand how others are produced.

A 1,3,4,5 chord progression is simple the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th harmonized chords from any major scale.

Let’s take G major for example:

Using the TTSTTTS rule, the notes of G major would be:

G,A,B,C,D,E and F#

Using the harmonizing rule you can produce the chords:

So G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em and F#diminised.

  • The 1st chord is G
  • The 3rd chord is Bm
  • The 4th chord is C
  • The 5th chord is D

So a 1,3,4,5 progression in the key of G would be G, Bm, C and D

Now the idea is that you can play your common strumming pattern, that was in the previous blog

Start with 1 chord per bar so DDUUDU for every chord.

Then you can play different CAGED shapes to reinforce your knowledge of the fretboard and utilize different sounding chord voicings.

So let’s take the progression just using ‘E’ shapes – these are the chords that you’d use:

So the above you have G major in an E shape, B minor in an E shape etc – remember all your E shapes will have the root note (the first note that is strummed and the key letter of the chord) on the 6th string

Now have a go with just A shapes:

As you can see here all the root notes are on the A string – this will be the same for all A shapes, whether it’s Amajor or Asus4

Have a go doing it in G,C and D shapes as well.

Thanks for reading!


You can find more useful tips on twitter @jsmusicschool



Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Songwriting skills


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Integrating theory, chords and strumming in a 1,3,4,5 progression

  1. guitar picks

    August 16, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Thank you so much for another great post. I have learned so much from your previous blogs and this just added more to my knowledge. I hope that you keep posting materials like this because we really appreciate them so much. Thank you again.

    • jsmusicschool

      August 16, 2012 at 11:49 am

      no problem! yes there will be some more soon. Glad you like them


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