Chord Changes Key of C

In this lesson, Charlie will take us through a simple chord progression. It is called a 1-4-5 chord progression, and it involves the C, F and G Major chords.

The diagrams below show the position of the fingers on your left hand to play the chords used in this lesson.

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We're going to take a look at another common chord progression, One-Four-Five progression, C being the One, F being the Four and G being the Five. I'll take you through the shapes, and we'll also add a very simple chord rhythm as well.

So, taking a look at our very first chord, our One chord, we're putting our first finger on the second string, first fret, second finger on the forth string second fret, and third finger on the third fret of the fifth string. And that gives us our C chord ...

Going to our F chord, a little bit different here because we've gotta put our first finger flat over the E and B string on the first fret. That isn't too difficult to do by itself, but once we try and get the other two fingers on, like our second finger here on the third string, second fret, and our third finer on the fourth string, third fret, what tends to happen is that the first finger tends to lift ... we end up muting our top string.

So as a way of practicing it, it's a good idea to keep that first finger down nice and flat. Try and get that final joint in your finger to buckle so that it lies very flat over those two strings and then put your second finger on the third string on the second fret, and try getting those three notes, the A, the C and the F ... or the three strings, we can think of it as the G string, the B string and the E string ... Then I'm going to try and get that third finger up here on the fourth string third fret, which is my F note ... and hopefully ... get a nice chord sound ... over those ... four strings. I'm only strumming from the F note down or from the D string down ...

That was our C chord ... that F chord ... and now finally our G chord. Second finger ... oh well, there is a number of ways you can play it, but we'll go with this format. We go second finger here on a B note, which is on the second fret of the A string. Then, we've got our third finger at the top here on the G (ahem E!!) string third fret, and the pinkie is going to be here on the third fret of the E string. So I've now got ... that chord which is our G chord, and I'm strumming all six strings, that being our G note at the top ...

So the chords are C ... F ... and G ...

Just getting a little bit of a look at my thumb position here. I definitely don't want it sort of parallel to the neck. So, a little bit left to right it's ok, a little bit up and down it's ok ... C chord ... F chord ... G chord ... just a little bit of movement there but make sure you don't have ti sitting flat down here facing the head stock, with your nail up towards the head stock. Keep it pretty much pointing towards the ceiling ...

Now, rhythmically, what I'm doing is I'm just going to play
down, down-up, down-up, down-up
down, down-up, down-up, down-up

So my down stroke is a crochet:
"one" ... "two, and" ... I'm going into quavers "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...

Interesting thing to note, is when I'm playing down on the chord ... I'm kind of playing from my A string here ... right through. When I'm playing my up strokes ... I'm really only getting probably the first, second and third string on the up stroke, so I get that sound ... as opposed to coming back up again, it's too full a sound. So we're getting ... down stroke ... up stroke.

So we get "one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ... into my F chord ... back to my C ... into my G chord ... and of course as you get a little bit more confident, you can speed that process up ...

Just another little, when you're strumming, make sure your strumming is nice and even. We're playing four beats to the bar, so we've got
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
"one" ...

We don't want to have a situation where we've got a little gap between the chords. When you first start playing those chord changes you do tend to have a gap, but try and keep the rhythm going regardless.
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
(straight onto) "one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...
"one" ... "two, and" ... "three, and" ... "four, and" ...

Ok, that pretty much covers our standard chord progression C, F and G. Take your time with the changes. Sometimes, as I've said to you before, what works for me when I've got a new chord progression, or new chord changes, I just literally play my way through the shapes, I don't even strum. I just sort of get my hand on a C chord, into an F chord, C chord, G chord, get used to the motion of changing and then add the rhythm. So, a good thing to practice those things sometimes separately. Anyway, good luck with it, have fun and I'll see you next time.

Copyright © C. Pennell & J. Marco (cpguitar.com)