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How to make a boring chord progression sound interesting // Guitar Lesson

In this lesson, Bradford teaches Brian how to play a simple chord progression in a very interesting way. Here is the progression we learned (in the key of E):

Chord Progression:

E – F#m – G#m – C#m – B – A

In number form, it’s this:

I – II – III – VI – V – IV

Chord Diagrams:

The ‘boring way’

If you play these chords using the following diagrams, the progression will sound fine, but you might think it’s a bit boring or a bit ‘vanilla’. These are probably the way you first learned how to play these chords.

The ‘interesting way’

Here is the way Bradford played these chords, using a combination of different chord voicing and moveable shapes.

Here are a few notes about these chord voicing and shapes:

  • All the minor chords (F#m, G#m, and C#m) use the same exact finger positions, just moved around the neck. With this moveable shape, the low E string determines the chord you’re playing.
  • The B and A chords use the same moveable shape. Again, the low E string determines what chord you’re playing.
  • When playing the C#m shape, you are in position to play the C#m Pentatonic scale. Since C#m is the relative minor in the key of E, anything you play inside this scale will work in this key.
  • You can suspect the B (the V chord) by fretting the G string on the 9th fret.

Gear we used in this video:

Brad’s gear:

  • Guitar: PRS (Paul Reed Smith) DGT
  • Amp: Kemper Profiling Amp – Bogner Duende profile found on the rig exchange
  • Sinasoid cables
  • Elixir strings

Brian’s gear:

  • Guitar: Shelton Electric Instruments SkyFlite IV
  • Amp: Line 6 Helix // using our DLX + JTM45 patch
  • Sinasoid cables
  • Elixir strings

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