Learning chord progressions

Eggs_n_Ham

Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
76
Points
8
Can anyone recommend a good series of chord progression exercises for a beginner?

I don't know any music theory or any of the rather complex aspects of music; I use as much online content as I can but am wondering if there's a specific lesson series or a book ("chord progression for dummies").
 

Wiggy

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2011
Messages
301
Points
28
Last edited:

Uncle Rod Higuchi

Active member
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
2,344
Points
38
Shameless Self-Promotion:

( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) [see link below in signature]

5 Practice Sheets of Chord Progressions for 5 common ukulele Keys :)

keep uke'in',
 

UkingViking

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
1,311
Points
48
Are you looking to learn a song or write one?

Perhaps it is bad advice, but I would just focus on the chord progressions in the song you want to learn. It will most likely be a common chord progression you can also use in other songs, and if not you still learned the song you wanted to.
Perhaps you can practice a 12 bar blues in your favorite key. That will come in handy. Look it up.
If you have written lyrics for a song and dont have advanced theoretical knowledge to determine chords for it, you can Google common chord progressions and try them out to see if they fit.
 

Lifestion

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
99
Points
6
Are you looking to learn a song or write one?

Perhaps it is bad advice, but I would just focus on the chord progressions in the song you want to learn. It will most likely be a common chord progression you can also use in other songs, and if not you still learned the song you wanted to.
Perhaps you can practice a 12 bar blues in your favorite key. That will come in handy. Look it up.
If you have written lyrics for a song and dont have advanced theoretical knowledge to determine chords for it, you can Google common chord progressions and try them out to see if they fit.

I agree with you, I take it song-by-song. I find it hard to do otherwise.
 

Knows Picker

Member
Joined
May 25, 2021
Messages
66
Points
8
12 bar is as good of a place to start as any.

Also try using the circle of fifths. The most commonly used keys are C, G, D and A. Get to where you can do a nice three chord progression in all of those keys, then challenge yourself to do the same thing all the way around the circle. Then go back the other way!!

Also good advice from Woody Guthrie:

"Anyone who uses more than two chords is just showing off."
 

Ed1

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Messages
475
Points
28
I highly recommend Uncle Rod's! You can find a play-along for this at Chris' http://ukestuff.info/ under "skill drill videos".

His exercises are some of the most important chords and progressions you'll need to learn.

Uncle Rod once wrote if you can do this at one chord change per beat you are no longer a beginner.

Shameless Self-Promotion:

( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) [see link below in signature]

5 Practice Sheets of Chord Progressions for 5 common ukulele Keys :)

keep uke'in',
 

donboody

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
251
Points
28
Shameless Self-Promotion:

( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) [see link below in signature]

5 Practice Sheets of Chord Progressions for 5 common ukulele Keys :)

keep uke'in',

This is such a great resource. Thank you very much.
 

donboody

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
251
Points
28
Shameless Self-Promotion:

( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) [see link below in signature]

5 Practice Sheets of Chord Progressions for 5 common ukulele Keys :)

keep uke'in',

This is such a great resource. Thank you very much.
 

Eggs_n_Ham

Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
76
Points
8
I've found a few chord progression examples and have been practicing them to learn them by how they sound and hand/finger muscle memory, saying the name of the chord as I create them. I'm a very visual learner; I excelled in my anatomy classes by drawing cells and organs and labeling the parts!

I apologize for not knowing this but- how do I "switching between chords in different inversions up the neck, then try to do the same in as many keys as you like." I want to learn how to do that but don't know how (red-faced embarrassed!).

My little aklot (waiting for the opio concert) is my constant companion and I seem to be in a positive trajectory in learning to play; especially since I've joined this forum. You all are unbelievably generous, kind and encouraging folks- I mean that seriously!
 

Eggs_n_Ham

Member
Joined
May 15, 2021
Messages
76
Points
8
Are you looking to learn a song or write one?

Perhaps it is bad advice, but I would just focus on the chord progressions in the song you want to learn. It will most likely be a common chord progression you can also use in other songs, and if not you still learned the song you wanted to.
Perhaps you can practice a 12 bar blues in your favorite key. That will come in handy. Look it up.
If you have written lyrics for a song and dont have advanced theoretical knowledge to determine chords for it, you can Google common chord progressions and try them out to see if they fit.

No writing yet but that does sound like a great goal! I'm less than one year into learning ukulele (all self-teaching with free online sources). I'm frustrated with the "let's play riptide!" tutorials and want to parse out my self-teaching; as much as I want to learn to play "riptide" I also want to understand what and how I'm playing.

And I still struggle with strumming. But that might be because I play with my non-dominant hand.
 

captain-janeway

Active member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
1,010
Points
38
And I still struggle with strumming. But that might be because I play with my non-dominant hand.[/QUOTE said:
Strumming has and still does, make me nuts. I'm finally somewhat getting the hang of it and I've been at it a couple of years. I don't know why, but fingerstyle is much easier for me. I usually play alone so that's fine for me. Like everyone says, try it really slowly. I did this for awhile and I could get the strum but couldn't match it to the music. I'm getting better at trying to figure what strum would work with this song. Plus I kind of started to ignore what was written on pages to use with a particular song. I thing I was trying to follow the strum and losing the song.
I'd be going nuts playing with my non-dominant hand. Good for you for sticking with it.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
1,854
Points
48
Eggs-n-Ham. Get The Chord Wheel. It is the best $10-$15 you can spend on music theory. On the most basic level, it is a circle of fifths with a dial that lets you transpose to every key. It has a lot of other features, but I don't want to overburden you with details in this chatty post. Here's how you can use it: 1. get a progression you like. E.g., the I-vi-ii-V, a staple of jazz. Of course, you'll learn it in C: C-Am-Dm-G. 2. use the chord wheel to transpose the progression to another key, like Ab.

After a while you'll just start understanding intervals by osmosis, and that's a very fundamental element to understand in music.
 

clear

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
1,009
Points
48
Can anyone recommend a good series of chord progression exercises for a beginner?

I don't know any music theory or any of the rather complex aspects of music; I use as much online content as I can but am wondering if there's a specific lesson series or a book ("chord progression for dummies").

Funny you should mention "chord progression for dummies". If you get Music Composition for Dummies book, it has large sections on chord progressions that I think is very readable for people without any music theory background.

I extracted the following tips from the book for you:


*** Typical progressions for major chords
I appear anywhere and go anywhere
ii goes to I, V, vii(dim)
iii goes to I, ii, IV, vi
IV goes to I, ii, iii, V, vii(dim)
V goes to I . vi
vi goes to I, ii, iii, IV, V
vii(dim) goes to I, iii

I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(dim) are chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim on your chord charts for C major.

*** Chord moods (the book is on composition, and the author listed much more details than what I've typed here)
major = happy
minor = sad
diminished = dark