Chord Changes Key of G

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 G, C and D 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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Ok, today we're going to have a look at a very simple progression. It is a One-Four-Five progression. For those of you that aren't familiar with the chords, I'll take you through. We are going to be playing a G Maj chord... We're going to be playing a C Maj Chord and a D chord.

These chords are extremely common in the key of G. Just a simple explanation: 1 being the G, go four letters up in the alphabet, we get g, a, b, C being the fourth chord, and then our fifth chord being the D. One-Four-Five. Let's take a look at the three chords.

Ok, taking a look at our G chord. There are a few options when playing the G chord. To make our change to our C chord a little easier, we are going to try and play using our second finger on the A string second fret. Our third finger on the E string third fret, and our fourth finger, trying to make it down here onto the first string, third fret.

And, it might take a little bit getting used to particularly if you don't have a lot of control with that fourth finger, but the idea is to just persist with it because it will eventually become a lot easier. Strum through the chord ... and you can strum all 6 strings in this case.

Looking at our C chord. First finger on the first fret of the second string, second finger on the second fret of the fourth string, third finger, a bit of a stretch, on the third fret of the second string. When I'm strumming this chord, I'm going to strum from the A string down, or my fifth string down...

Looking at our D chird. First finger third string, second fret. Second finger, first string, second fret, directly underneath that first finger. Our third finger, on second string, third fret. And we can strum straight down from our D string or our A string.

One of the suggestions I'd like to make is when you are learning a new chord shape get your fingers on the shape, press down on the chord, strum your chord and then just release the pressure off the chord, and then put it straight back on again, and strum the chord, release the pressure, strum straight down.

Repeat that with each chord. C chord shape. Strum through. Release the pressure off the chord. Back on it... and again strumming through. D chord. Pressure on. Strum through the chord. Release the pressure. Back on. Strum through the chord.

The other thing to be aware of is when you are playing or going from chord to chord, you have to think of them as shapes. When you're first starting, we tend to put our fingers on one note at a time. I want you to be thinking of it as a shape, and try to get those fingers to work together, so they came down on the chord as one, not individually.

Just one other thing I'd like to mention, in case I haven't mentioned it before. Make sure it is the tips of your fingers that come down on the chord shape, and don't let your fingers bend backwards. If you let them bend backwards you tend to get ... a dirty sound in chords like that. We want to keep the finger tips up, and push your wrists out a little bit. It may not feel extremely comfortable, but keep that wrist pushed out a little bit. That helps to stand those fingers up nice and high. It stops you from laying one of your other fingers on top of another string and muting that string. We push the wrist out, we get a nice, clean chord sound.

Let's take a look at the strumming pattern that I use through the chord changes. As you can see, I am not using a plectrum this time. I'm just basically strumming using my fingers, running my nails over the strings, and the rhythm I'm playing is:
Down, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down
Down, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down

G chord ...
C chord ...
G chord ...
D chord ...
G chord ...
C chord ...
G chord (2 bars)
D Chord (2 bars)
G chord (1 strum)
D chord (1 strum)
G chord (1 strum)

The important thing to remember with chord changes is to give your hands a chance to get used to the shapes. One of the exercises you can do is just simply play through each chord once. Work on making sure that those fingers all work together, they work in unison. They come down on the chord in groups rather than separately. It takes a little while before that happens, but if you take your time, work through it very, very slowly get your confidence up on the chord changes.

Then when you think you are ready to go, give yourself a little rhythm. Trying to keep you change nice and even, don't play too fast. Keep it nice and slow. Good luck with it!

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