If you are at the stage of beginning to write your own music, then it is not uncommon to want to create your own original chord progressions. However, in the case of guitar chords it is close to impossible to create chord progressions that have never been used before. When you are learning guitar chords, guitar scales and chord progressions, you will also begin to learn songs. It is then that you will notice patterns in the music that you play and you’ll start to recognise chord progressions that feature regularly in a variety of songs. However, it is important to bear in mind that this does not mean that by using them your music will be any less unique or in any way inferior.
Using common chord progressions
Common guitar chords and guitar chord progressions can be used in many different pieces of music, regardless of the genre. Using recognisable progressions is not a weakness. If anything, their predictability is a feature and is more likely to make your song more memorable to a listener. You can save time on trying to find something unique and simply enjoy trying new ways to include these progressions in your music.
Adaptable guitar chords
Of all the common chord progressions used in music these are amongst the most common and the ones that you will likely come across:
E B C#m A
This is a progression that accompanies many songs. It incorporates strong 4ths and 5ths movements of the roots from A back to E and from E to B.
Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 Fmaj7 Bm7(b5) E7 Am7
This is great to use as a jazz sequence.
E -A -G#m -A -B -E
Hold each chord for 2 beats and the G#m for 4 beats. The G#m is an iii-chord. In pop music, this is quite uncommon so you could work on something original here.
C -G/B -Am -F -Fm -C
This progression adds a melancholy feel to your music – create an atmosphere.
C -G/D -C/E -F -G -F/A -G/B –C
The result of this progression is an upward-moving bass scale.
C -G/B -Am -Am/G -F -C/E -Dm7 –C
Whereas this progression is a descending bass line.
C -A7 -D7 -G –C
This progression uses secondary dominant chords. This is when you change a chord that is usually minor chord into a major chord and then follow it with guitar chords that have a root a 4th higher.
You should practise each of these chord progressions to perfect them and then experiment with using them in different ways. A good way of practising them is online with virtual guitar chords. Once you have got past the first stage of learning guitar chords and common progressions, you can progress on to combining different chord progressions together. Then you can try exchanging one note in the progression for another until you achieve the sounds you are aiming for.
Also check out this tutorial on common chord progression.