Well known 1-4-5 songs, common open chords, and basic scale theory
- From: "Jimbo" <jimkernicky@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 4 Aug 2006 08:15:15 -0700
The most common chord progression (and hence "song") is the 1-4-5
progression. 1-4-5 stands for the chords built on the 1st, 4th, and 5th
notes of the major scale. Here are the easiest OPEN 1-4-5
progressions/keys. Common to see roman numerals as well (I-IV-V):
C major: C-F-G or G7 or Blues C7-F7-G7 though the F & F7 can be hard to
G major: G-C-D or D7 or Blues G7-C7-D7
D major: D-G-A or A7 or Blues D7-G7-A7
A major: A-D-E or E7 or Blues A7-D7-E7
E is common if you can hold a B barre chord or an open B7 chord. Here
are common 1-4-5 tunes - use any of the above progressions:
Should I Stay or Should I Go, Hey Bo Diddley, Not Fade
Away, My Girl, Summertime Blues, Aiko Aiko, Willie & the Hand Jive
Give Peace a Chance, Heartbreak Hotel, Crossroads, After Midnight,
Summertime Blues, That's alright Mama, Susie Q, Get Off My Cloud, La
Bamba, Great Balls of Fire, Wild Thing, Your Song, Twist & Shout,
Hang on Sloopy, Louie Louie, Mustang Sally, Already Gone, Knockin'
On Heaven's Door, Key to the Highway, Wonderful Tonight, What I like
about You, Born on the Bayou, Rocking in the USA, Sweet Home
Alabama, Takin Care of Business, Sympathy for the Devil, Fortunate
Son, I Know You Rider, La Bamba, Down on the Corner, Midnight
Special, Birthday, Can't Buy Me Love, Money, Johhny B Goode, I Am a
Rock, Jailhouse Rock, Roll Over Beethboven, ...
Neat alteration is I Shot the Sheriff - I Shot the Sheriff is 1-4-5
but all minor chords - like Am-Dm-Em
The exceptions - some of the above songs are only I-IV or I-V or
some might involve more chords when you get to the chorus &/or
bridge. Also, the rhythms and tempos for each of those songs, as
well as the exact progressions, differ - like some songs may be 1-4-
5-4, while others may be 5-4-1-5.
For example, pretty sure Down on the Corner by CCR is (for arguments
sake) is in C major: C-G-C-F for the verse section - that's 1-5-1-4 or
I-V-I-IV in roman numerals;
while Get Off My Cloud, Wild Thing, & Twist & Shout are (in C again)
C-F-G-F or I-IV-V-IV, while Sympathy for the Devil is G-F-C-G or V-
You need to figure out the actual combination of the 1-4-5. You need
to do some ear training and figure out the key if you want to play
along with the CD - e.g. - Sympathy for the Devil is (if I recall
correctly) E-D-A-E so G-F-C-G wouldn't work. But if you understand
the whole 1-4-5 thing you can try playing it in G as D-C-G-D or in D
as A-G-D-A. You need to figure out the strum and tempo yourself. If
you can't figure out how to play a 1-4-5 without being told the
strum pattern - then get back cause you will need basic rhythm
practice like a basic 1-4-5 chord progression with an alternating
You can use any of those progressions to play 8 or 12 bar blues. Do you
know what 12 bar blues is? "Bar" means measure - and in 4/4 time
that would mean 4 beats, or 4 strums of the chord in simplest terms. In
case you're not familiar with "da bluuuuuues", here's a 12 bar
blues progression in A:
A7 - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - |
D7 - - - | - - - - | A7 - - - | - - - - |
E7 - - - | D7 - - | A7 - - - | - - - - |
4 measures of A7, 2 measure of D7, back to A7 for 2 measures, then one
each of E7 and D7 ending with 2 measures of A7. In the old days, blues
guys would just play the triads.
A7 - - - | D7 - - - | A7 - - - | - - - - |
D7 - - - | - - - - | A7 - - - | - - - - |
E7 - - - | D7 - - | A7 - - - | E7 - - - |
- or -
E7 - - - | D7 - - | A7 - - - | E+ - - - |
So the 1st variation added the 4 chord in the 2nd measure and the 5
chord in the 12th measure. The 2nd variation replaces the V7 chord in
the 5th measure with an E augmented triad often played as an arpeggio.
There are other variations especially for the last measure or two which
is also referred to as the "Turn-around".
Here are the most common open chords and a few barre chords - this
is just a future list to work on - believe me you'll see a lot of
these VERY often, some less often, some rarely seen but those ones
always sound cool - the ones in parentheses are less commonly seen
or are jazz or blues chords - learn ALL the others:
C x-3-2-0-1-0 or x-3-2-0-1-3
C add9 x-3-2-0-3-0
Dmaj7 x-x-0-2-2-2 or x-0-0-2-2-2
Dsus x-x-0-2-3-3 or x-0-0-2-3-3
D7sus x-x-0-2-1-3 or x-0-0-2-1-3
Dm7 x-x-0-2-1-1 or x-0-0-2-1-1
(Dm6 x-x-0-2-0-1 or x-0-0-2-0-1)
(Em9 0-2-0-0-0-2 or 0-2-2-0-3-2)
E7 0-2-0-1-0-0 or 0-2-0-1-3-0 or 0-2-2-1-3-0
E add9 0-2-2-1-0-2
(E7#9 - 0-2-0-1-3-3)
Fmaj7 x-x-3-2-1-0 or 1-x-3-2-1
(Fmaj7#11 1-3-3-2-0-0 or x-3-3-2-0-0)
F7 x-x-1-2-1-1 - tough for newbies to hold
G 3-2-0-0-0-3 or 3-2-0-0-3-3 or x-x-0-4-3-3
(G6 3-2-0-0-0-0 or 3-2-2-0-0-1)
A7sus x-0-2-0-3-0 or x-0-2-2-3-3
Am7 x-0-2-0-1-0 or x-0-2-0-1-3
A cool A maj x-0-2-2-2-5 or Amaj7 x-0-2-2-2-4 or A7 x-0-2-2-2-3
Hope I didn't miss any.
Common dom9 chord shape - like a C9 is x-3-2-3-3-3
You have to find the fingerings yourself.
Note: Beatles are one band where you'll see m6's, 13's, 9's, etc, as
well as some other bands like Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd,
Sting/Police, ... And 9's, 11th's, 13's, 7#9's are common in
Basic scale-chord theory/knowledge: Do you know all of triads in the
above major scales? The following is basic, basic, basic music
theory - the chords that go with scales:
C major triads: C, Dm, Em, F, G/G7, Am, Bdim - and 7ths are Cmaj7,
Dm7, Em7, Fmaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5 - don't get hung up on the
diminished chords - they are rarely seen.
In roman numerals and using lower case for minor and dimisihed chords
and upper class for major chords - that pattern would also be shown as
I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii dim or vii o.
G major triads: G, Am, Bm, C, D/D7, Em, F#dim - same 7th's pattern
D major triads: D, Em, F#m, G, A/A7, Bm, C#dim - same 7th's pattern
A major triads: A, Bm, C#m, D, E/E7, F#m, G#dim - same 7th's
pattern as above
The next 2 keys you should learn are E and F major.
E major triads - E, F#m, G#m, A, B, C#m, D#dim - same 7th's pattern
F major triads (F, Gm, Am, Bb, C, Dm, Edim - same 7th's pattern as
They are the 6 easiest keys for open chords in standard tuning.
Hope that helps clear some things, gives you songs to jam, and shows
you some new chords.
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