The Basic Chord Shapes
Shown below are all the basic major and minor open chords you should know. Get to know the shapes as well as the names. Learning your chords first is a great way to learn songs faster, because instead of having to learn new shapes every time you want to learn a song, you can just apply what you already know to getting the song down. Try using some of these chords that you use less to write a chord progression or song idea.
Here are some examples of popular progressions using 7th chord variations:
ii V I | I IV V | I V bV IV ii | I iii vi IV | I I7 iv vi |
Can't Help Falling in Love (With You)
Something - The Beatles
C | Cmaj7 | C7 | F (F-E Walk)
D7 | G (A-B) | Am Am(maj7) | Am7 D9
F Eb G | C
- Notice the descending chromatic melody through the first 4 bars, harmonized by variations on a I IV harmony.
- Notice the transition to D7 (a normally jarring chord in C Major) with a bass walk in the key of C of - IV III II (the root of the D7).
- Notice both Dominant Chords progressing to their relative IVs (acting as the fifth of the next chord).
- Notice again the chromatic walkdown though another I IV harmony, this time outlined by an Am-D (the relative minor of the initial chromatic descent).
- Notice the turnaround changing a classic progression (IV V) by adding the III chord of the parallel minor key - C Minor. The Eb high root in the chord shape provides a bluesier walkdown to the C.